I am currently preaching two new series, “The Keys to Revival in America” on Sunday mornings and “Unfaithful” from the Book of Judges on Sunday evenings. As I prepare and preach, I’ve made two observances:
1) Occupy the altar every Sunday to say to those who are casually observing in our services and to God who is seriously watching, “We are serious…we want revival…we desperately need you.” I know this, you can’t read 2 Chronicles 7:14 and think God will answer a half-hearted prayer or a contented people. We need extraordinary effort and desperation to see any change.
2) While we at Sherwood live with some sense of revival, we’ve not seen an earth shaking, life altering, tears dripping, hearts breaking, hell shaking, God glorifying move of His Spirit. For that to happen, the prayer warriors need to step up our game. We need to take everything to another level. We need to be consumed with a passion for God to work as we’ve never seen Him work. Who will join me? Who will kneel before God at the altar? Who will intensify their praying? Who will ask God for tears?
As I’ve been working on these messages I am convinced, beyond any doubt, THIS SERIES along with the morning series, may be the most important series I’ve ever preached at Sherwood. I realize I’m doing this during the summer and they may continue past ReFRESH®. But the reality is, the devil will tell us there’s never a good time to stop our plans and cry out to God.
It’s as if I am reading the front page of every newspaper and seeing the trends of our times unfolding in the book of Judges. NO BOOK in Scripture has more to say to this carnal, backslidden, godless nation than the book of Judges. I can’t tell you how serious I think the times are. Not just because we have elections this year (one commentator has said this election is the most important in our lifetime), but because we are pushing the patience and grace of God to the limit. God is not going to sit back and let us mock Him, mock marriage, mock laws, mock morality, and get away with it. We were founded and blessed to be a blessing. Now we are a mockery of all that our nation once was.
I’m telling you, we need Sunday morning crowds on Sunday night. IT WILL HAPPEN IF AND WHEN GOD SHOWS UP. Until then, Sherwood will be content to have a taste of revival but never a banquet of blessings. While you might argue that point, I know that God has more for us than we are experiencing. I am one who lives on a personal and pastoral level with a holy discontent with the way things are. I know God has more for ME, and for US than we are experiencing.
It is said that the key to the Canadian Revival was when the prayer meeting became as big as the Sunday morning meeting. That being the case, we are 1400 people short of seeing revival. I’m not saying that’s a magical formula; I am saying that we talk about prayer more than we pray as a church. How often I’ve watched people looking around and doing nothing when we’ve called on people to pray before I led in a corporate prayer. This must change if we want God to take us seriously.
I believe we are wallowing in undeserved blessings. I know I am. God has been better than I deserve, and I’ve settled for less than He demands of me. I need to be all in. I need you to be all in. Time is short. Hell is hot. Eternity is long. We only get this life to do what we are going to do for the Lord.
Let’s pray as if the very life of our families, our children, our grandchildren and our nation depends on it. FYI – it does.
(copyright 2012, Michael Catt)
Michael served as the President of the Large Church Roundtable, the Southern Baptist Convention as an IMB Trustee, President of the Georgia Baptist Convention’s Preaching Conference, Vice President of the Georgia Baptist Convention, and President of the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference. He has spoken at conferences, colleges, seminaries, rallies, camps, NBA and college chapel services, well as The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. Michael is the recipient of The Martin Luther King Award, The MLK Unity Award, and a Georgia Senate Resolution in recognition of his work in the community and in racial reconciliation.
Michael and his wife, Terri, have two grown daughters, Erin and Hayley.