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The Problem with Shredded Wheat

Can you believe that we are already in October?  That doesn’t seem possible, yet here we are.  And with the arrival of October comes the arrival of all things fall, right?  Cool weather, football, the beautiful color changes in foliage, and of course, pumpkin spice lattes.  All combine to usher in a season that is equal parts comforting and familiar yet exciting and new. 

 

Well, for the people of University Baptist Church, I am anticipating the arrival of a different type of season, but one that will bring similar emotions.  For us, the fall season is ushering in a season of revival.  We have been praying for months now for authentic Biblical revival to take place not only in UBC but in the city of Thibodaux, and at last, we have approached the time of our corporate revival meetings.  On Sunday through Wednesday of next week, at seven o’clock each evening, we will gather together to experience what I believe will result in the Lord pouring out His Spirit on His people in a way He never has before.

 

This naturally begs the question, “What is revival?”  In church life, we all too often consider revival to be something that we place on the church calendar nearly a year in advance.  We get a guest speaker, maybe even a guest praise band.  We hold special services for three or four days in a row, and voila, we have revival!!!  Does that sound familiar?  The problem there is that more often than not, we leave the same way we came in, with no discernible change whatsoever.  Why?  Well, I would submit to you that we experience no real change because we haven’t done what is necessary ahead of time to experience real life transformation.  We don’t really know what revival is.

 

The dictionary defines revival as “an improvement in the condition or strength of something.”  So if we apply that definition to our spiritual lives, I would say that revival in strengthening our spiritual lives.  It is drawing closer to God.  It is a dramatic improvement in our relationship with Christ, reviving what is perhaps near death.  It is not an event.  It is not a service.  The services merely prompt us to a real encounter with Christ.  It is about a relationship, and if we truly want authentic Biblical revival to take place, then we need to prepare our hearts now for what God wants to do in and through us.  One of the ways that we can do that is reconciliation.  Let us not forget that God is a God of reconciliation, and He desires for us to have reconciliation with others and with Him.  I love how the apostle Paul phrases it in Romans 12:17-18.  He says this:

 

Do not repay anyone evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (NIV)

 

Let’s be honest.  We are pretty prideful people, and because we are pretty prideful people, reconciliation is something that doesn’t come naturally to us.  We usually think that the person who offended us should seek to make things right with us instead of the other way around.  After all, we didn’t do anything wrong.  Did we?  Here’s the thing.  There comes a point where who did what to whom is no longer relevant.  We have been called to live in peace with others.  I learned a long time ago that I can’t control what others do.  I can only control what I do.  I also learned that without seeking reconciliation, there will always be a barrier in my relationship with God, because He can never fully do what He wants to do in my life while I am harboring pain, bitterness, or resentment.

 

Have you ever eaten shredded wheat?  It is a decent enough cereal, I suppose.  But the problem with shredded wheat is that it always seems to get caught in my teeth.  As in every time I eat it.  Now when that happens, I generally have two choices.  Choice #1 is that I can let it sit there and fester, where it will eventually make my gums swollen and sore.  Choice #2 is that I can poke and prod at it until I get it out.  It might be uncomfortable for a while, but I know my gums will eventually heal.  The same is true of our relationships with other people.  We can let situations and circumstances fester, leading to great pain and bitterness that only grows over time, or we can deal with it and seek to make peace.  It might be difficult in the short term, but in the long term, God will reward our faithfulness.  The choice is ours and ours alone.

 

So, do you want revival?  I don’t mean just an exciting worship service.  I mean real, Biblical revival with the Spirit of the Living God.  If so, then do you need to seek reconciliation first?  If we want to experience the fullness of God, then we need to prepare ourselves now.  Let me encourage you to be a peacemaker.  Seek reconciliation.  Seek the Spirit.  If you are in the Thibodaux area, let me also encourage you to come out and be a part of our revival services.  Sunday, October 9 at 10:45 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. and Monday, October 10-Wednesday, October 12 at 7:00 p.m. at the corner of Percy Brown Road and Ardoyne Road in Thibodaux.  Look for the big tent.  Come experience the fullness of Almighty God and a revival of your spirit!  I can’t wait to see what God does!

 

I Love You,

 

JP