04 March 2011

A Vision So Big it Must Fail if God Is Not in It

I'm plodding through Lloyd-Jones on revival at the moment while rereading Edwards' revival writings and I continue to ask myself, and others:

How could you not want this to happen again?

There was nothing weird about the events of which Lloyd-Jones preached and for which he longed, and which Edwards saw with his own eyes. It is not something to be averse to. It was not goofy. It was real. God-sent (not humanly manufactured) revival is, I believe, the only thing that will prompt something from the world other than their usual yawn. Let the world say what they will, let them ridicule, one thing I cannot bear is being viewed as boring by my unbelieving friends. I hate that.

So I rejoiced to finally get my hands on this book this week. Many important books have been published in recent months, several of which deserve their own posts. But if the Lord granted that I could pick one book for every Christian to read in 2011 it would be Hansen and Woodbridge on revival. Friends, we must be aware of what God can do, and has done, with screwy nobodies like you and me.

The other night I read in Edwards' Faithful Narrative that one of the greatest means of spreading the 1734-35 revival was the testimony of fellow believers whom God had revived. People simply needed to hear what God had been doing. They needed the testimony of others to create a category of what God can do in a human life, a category they simply did not have. That category-creation is what Hansen and Woodbridge have done for us.

You cannot read this book without longing for God to pour out his Spirit in 2011.

In the preface our brothers write:
We who live in an era of small things must remember eras when the big things seen and heard in the Bible returned once more.

This book is not for those who have grown comfortable with the Christian life. Others, however, will feel the Spirit nudging them toward something more. They will begin to see ways they have been satiated by small things and lost the taste for big things. They may realize that if Jesus is truly Lord, then everything changes. The timeworn routines that promise peace no longer satisfy. They will embrace a God-sized vision for his work in this world. We cannot pretend that we see things perfectly from God's perspective. But we can plead with him to give us a glimpse of the world from the loftier vantage point. Few of us are tempted today to dream too big. Rather, our vision shrinks to the size of our limited experience. Yet all things are possible for those who believe in the God who created the heavens and the earth. In our disbelief, we can ask God for inspiration to believe. Then he may give us a vision of divine size.
--Collin Hansen and John Woodbridge, A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories that Stretch and Stir (Zondervan, 2010), 12

'Wake up . . .' --Revelation 3:2

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