[b]A Sense of Expectation
Series: When God Comes Down: An Eyewitness Account of Revival[/b]
[i]Friday, March 30 2007[/i]
Leslie Basham: Sometimes a heart needs to be broken before God will fill it. Heres Colin Peckham.
Colin Peckham: The Lord breaks our hearts when He comes, and we can easily sob and easily come to Christ. Then consecration is so easy. Then giving over to God is easy, because youre right in the presence of God. Who is more wonderful than He when He comes and reveals Himself in such a wonderful way?
Leslie: Its Friday, March 30th, and youre listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
Is it good to be content? Of course it is, in almost every case except one. Nancy will tell us when its right to be discontented in just a few minutes. Yesterday, she talked with Colin and Mary Peckham, experts on revival. Were going to join that conversation as Mary explains what the services were like during a revival in the 1950s on the Isle of Lewis off the coast of Scotland. Heres Mary.
Mary Peckham: There was such a deep reverence. We walked two-and-a-half miles to church every night and two-and-a-half miles back again. The closer we came to the sanctuary, the more our expectation increasedand anticipation and solemnity at the very thought that we were going to the house of God.
Our conversation would die as we came near to the church, and then as we entered the church, there never was a greeting or a sound of any kind. Nobody spoke. That was all left outside. You were now in the house of God, and the whole focus of the congregation was on the pulpit and what was coming from the pulpit.
Maybe weve drifted from our moorings, if I may put it that way. When I was a young child, I recall one stormy Sundaywe call it Sabbath day. Our house was called Cliff House, and we could look down onto the harbor. The waves were high, and the storm was fierce.
A boat that my uncle had at the back of our house in a boat builders sheda beautiful boathad been launched, and it was in the harbor. But suddenly it was released from its moorings by the storm, and we watched helplessly as it drifted out of the harbor, knocking itself, walls breaking up, until it was eventually sucked right out of the harbor and right out into the open bay. Eventually, as we watched helplessly, the boat turned over and disappeared.
Maybe theres a picture in that of the church as it is in Scotland today. Weve drifted from our moorings. Were not seeing revivaland to a large extent, not expecting revivalbecause we have never known revival.
But those of us who have been through that revival and have sensed the presence of God, the solemnity of the presence of God coming like the sword of the Spiritthose of us who have experienced that can never be satisfied with anything less. That is our focus. Were seeking God for what God can do, and we know that only God can do it.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Colin, have you ever witnessed anything like what Mary did on the Isle of Lewis, something that you would call a visitation of Gods Spirit, that youve seen as an eyewitness?
Colin: Yes. In ministry, again and again God has broken through. Sometimes a silence descends upon the congregation, silence that would last for half an hour without anybody moving, and just the deep sense of the presence of God. People would go out whispering, getting into their cars, disappearing without saying a word. The presence of God descended for that moment upon that meeting.
And then on other occasions, sometimes theres a great breaking through and a great weeping and a great sobbing. God comes as He will, and thank God for the droppings here and there. Yet were yearning for much more than that.
That will happen in revival, where God comes sometimes as the dew, sometimes as a thunderclap, as a lightening bolt, sometimes a mighty power of God revealed. But then on other occasions, its drifting in sweetly and quietly into a meeting and settling, and you know God is here. God is here.
That presence of God is everything, and that is the thing I was speaking of to a group of students the other day. I said, Youre going out to hold campaigns. Youre going to a whole lot of campuses this summer. I said, Look. Your objective is to have God break through into that campus, smash the hearts of those young people, and break themGod can break them.
Its not you breaking them, but God breaks our hearts when He comes, and we can easily sob and easily come to Christ. We can be easily consecrated. Then consecration is so easy. Then giving over to God is so easy, because youre right in the presence of God. Who is more wonderful than He when He comes and reveals Himself in such a wonderful way?
So that has been my objective. I have seen that again and again in ministry, and I just thank God for the privilege of seeing it. But we need more and more intense continuing of the revelation of God. That word in Chronicles, If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves (2 Chronicles 7:14). You know the Word.
If my peopleand it was suddenly a shock of light that came to me one day. Its my people. There are a few people there, and they say, Were praying. Were praying night and day as a group. Theyre praying every night into the night. Every night! Theyve been doing it for ten years, a whole group of them.
And they say, Well, why hasnt revival come, because we are doing what God says: If my people . . . But there are a whole lot of people outside that group that are not crying to God for revival, that are just lackadaisical and disinterested in this whole subject of revival, whilst they are children of God. Its the people of God as they gather togetherand if theres a united cry from the people of God, then God hears, My people are crying to Me.
But there are so many of the people of God who are wishy-washy, who are lukewarm, who havent got the burden for revival, who havent got the burden for God and for souls, and therefore, My people arent crying to Me for revival. If we can be cleansed from our half-heartedness, cleansed from our hardness of heart, cleansed from our sin, and cleansed from our selfishness, then God can come to us and quicken our hearts so that we can pray effectively and God can answer effectively.
Nancy: I think what I hear in both of you that is stirring to me is this sense of expectation. You used that word, Mary. So often we dont expect to see God move. You have holy dissatisfaction with anything less, and as you challenged those young people going into camp work, so many of us would be content to go about our ministry, camp, church, or whatever it is were doing, and just do our program, do our thing.
We would call that successful. But youre saying, We long for something more, and were crying out to God, Lord, dont just do what we could make happen, but do something that is unexplainable. I think that sense of holy dissatisfaction is perhaps what is missing from so many of our efforts, our church services, and our programs. Were just content with business as usual.
Colin: I think of one camp that we had for twelve-, thirteen-, and fourteen-year-old children that had come to the camp. Theyd had a good time, good fun, a good program, good teaching, a good Bible challenge, and so on. At the end of it, they were going to have a great party, and they had put out all the ice cream and orange drink, and everything else was laid out on the tables. The young people were going to have a party at the end of the camp and then go to bed eventually.
God broke in on that last meeting, and whilst all the goodies were there, the chocolates and everything else, they didnt look at them. Those things had to be put away, and some of them thrown out, because those young people sought God with tears into the night. Suddenly, God had come.
Thats the expectation, thats the glory of the ministry. If we dont have that, if I dont have that, then I want to seek God until God breaks my heart, if Ive lost out in any wayor until God breaks through because of circumstances where there are currents, perhaps, going against the Word of God. We want to get through to God so that He can work wherever He has placed us to work.
Nancy: Some people would say, Well, you would expect that thing at a youth camp. You know, have a last service, kids get emotional, and God breaks through. But were not just talking about camps and young people. This is something we could believe God to do in our church servicesin our Bible-preaching, evangelical churches. This is something I long to see, and I know you long to see: God pouring out His Spirit in a way that cannot be explained.
God has a remnant in many churches, in many places. We have listeners to Revive Our Hearts who are individuals who are longing to see an outpouring of Gods Spirit.
They may have heard a story like yours, Mary. They may have heard us tell stories on Revive Our Hearts. They may have experienced a touch of this at some point in the past themselves, but they feel like theyre the only one in their church or their family or their community who has this burden to see the glory of God displayed.
What can they do? We say, pray. How do you pray? How do you keep persevering in prayer? Now, youve been in ministry for decades. In Scotland you have not seen for many years, in a widespread sense, what God did at one point in the history of this land. What can these people do? How do they pray? How do they persevere? How do they keep hoping when they dont see the rain of the Spirit coming? How would you encourage those listeners who say, This is what I long for. What can I do?
Mary: We all say that we will pray in regard to revival. But I think we also have to consider what praying really is. So many pray, bring their shopping list to God, and list off all the things that they feel that God has to do. But to draw near to Godnow, I recall the prayers that were prayed in the revival, and I dont recall ever hearing a prayer that did not have a note of repentance in it. I think that this is very, very necessary honesty, absolute honesty.
Its very easy to pass ourselves off in praying prayersto know the right things and say the right wordsbut its a different thing to draw near to God and to express that hunger and that thirst, which He has put in our hearts. Its not something weve concocted ourselves. God has put it there, As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God (Psalm 42:1-2).
Now, thats more than just reciting in Gods presence all my little needs and my little wants. Thats getting right to the heart of God. I think also that another thing that is very important in praying is praying along the line of Scriptureusing Scripture. Were not very good at expressing things in the presence of God, but we have the Book. We have the Bible, and we have the prayers of others.
We can enter into the prayers of others, express ourselves in the words of Scripture, and recall that if we hunger and thirst after righteousness, we shall be filled (Matthew 5:6). God said so, and so we can plead Scripture and plead what God Himself has said.
I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground (Isaiah 44:3). Are we thirsty enough? Are we really thirsty, or are we just doing our bit?
Colin: There are promises of God upon which we can plead. The darker the hour, said Andrew Murray, the lighter the promise. So God doesnt mock us. He gives us promises. He shows us pictures in the Old Testament and in the New of the outpouring of the Spirit. As we give ourselves to the Scripture, we find that He speaks to us and He encourages us again and again along the way.
We can but wait His time. We dont know what that is, but He has told us to wait upon Him. He has told us to pray. Jesus said, Pray, so we must obey His command, do what He said, and pray that He would send forth the Spirit.
The Bible says, God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him (John 3:34). We have Him in our hearts; God gives His Spirit not by measure unto Jesus. Lord, give Thy Spirit then unto Him, the one who is in our hearts, without measure. He giveth His Spirit without measure unto Him.
So we can look up to God and trust Him and seek His face and continue on with an expectancy, waiting in His presence.
Nancy: Were offering to our listeners this week a book that youve written on the Lewis Revival. Tell us a little bit about that book.
Mary: There are so many reports about the revivaland some written reports, toothat are not really authentic, and we were very burdened about that. Knowing the island and having experienced the revival, I was aware of these stories that were not always true about the revival, the exaggerated tales of revival.
So we decided to go up to the island and take a tape recorder with us and listen to the people themselves. They were very shy because theyre country people, but we put the recorder on the coffee table, and we just began to speak and share with them. They would come out with a lot of things that were authentic, their own testimonies, and so on.
I recall one man, and we were talking. He was a bit shy to begin with, but he got carried away in giving his testimony. He rose to his feet with tears streaming down his cheeks, and he said, When God saved my soul, He gave me tears, and He has never taken them away.
So we listened to the testimonies from the people themselves. Later on, when we submitted our writings to the widow of the minister from Barvaswho was deeply in the revival; it was in his church it beganshe said, This is authentic.
We entitled it Sounds from Heaven. There are numbers of testimonies in the book, and the original reports of Duncan Campbell from the scene of the revival, as he recalled them from the night before. It was authentic. Years afterward, it may be that his memory failed him, and he used to mix up his facts and so on from different places. But these are authentic, straight from the field. Hes writing what happened the night before, and that is very valuable indeed.
The book is now in its fourth printing, and that within a year. It has been a great lesson to many who are hungering and thirsting and longing for an outpouring of the Spirit of God.
Nancy: Let me ask you to lead us in praying for an outpouring of Gods Spirit in our day, both here in ScotlandI know that is a desire of your heartsbut also in the United States. Thats the purpose for which this ministry exists: to believe God for a visitation of His Spirit in our day, in our land and around the world.
I know that youve prayed for this for many years. I dont know how many years the Lord will give youI hope many more fruitful years herebut perhaps long after youre in glory. I want us to be able to have the benefit of those prayers you have prayed. I know that they will touch Gods heart, but also perhaps challenge many of our listeners to join with you in carrying that torch and in praying for God to do it again.
So if you would just lead us and join our heartsand I ask our listeners to join their hearts with usin crying out to the Lord, to revive His church and awaken and bring that great harvest of righteousness in our day that were longing to see Him do.
Colin: Father, we do thank Thee for the privilege of praying with one another across the airwaves. Soften our hearts. Soften our hearts, dear Lord. May we be in touch with Thy heart. Thou dost gaze upon a lost humanity. Lord, there are those in the church who belong to Thee, who do not carry the burden, who do not know the desires of Gods heart. We cry to Thee that Thou would touch Thine own people and make us all to draw from Thy heart of love for the world.
Lord, come to us. Break us in Thy presence. Bring us close to Thyself. Draw us closer to Thyself. Come to us, Lord. As a whole church body, we pray for this land. We pray for America. We pray for Canada. We pray for various countries where the Word of God has been known to be proclaimed, and yet where we do not experience the glory of God in the midst.
We cry to Thee for glory. We cry to Thee that this kind of glory might rest again upon the people of God and that Thou wouldst come to us all, revealing Thyself as the one mighty to save, revealing Thyself as the one who is exalted in the midst. Come to us, we pray Thee, our Heavenly Father, and bless us all as we continue to seek Thee. In Jesus name, amen.
Leslie: Thats Colin Peckham. Hes been talking with his wife, Mary, along with Nancy Leigh DeMoss, about expecting God to do great things in our day. Heres one way you can feed your expectation for revival: Listen to a message on CD from Mary Peckham about the revival on the Isle of Lewis. Find out what its like to see your whole community become transformed by the gospel.
You can have a CD of this message at no cost to you. Well send it to you, along with a booklet from Nancy called Preparing for Revival. Spend some time learning to have the kind of heart thats dissatisfied with the status quo, so dissatisfied that youre willing to pray for revival. Ask for your free CD and booklet when you call 1-800-569-5959, or look for this offer at ReviveOurHearts.com.