Never the Same
I’m in Quito, Ecuador.
For the past 17 years I’ve taken students (and adults to help me) on two-week international mission trips.
My friend Steve Goley, with Big World Ventures out of Tulsa, Okla., actually puts the details together for me (flights, ministries, hotel, translators, etc.) so I can simply concentrate on loving and ministering.
My main job is to speak each evening. When everyone comes back to the hotel, we have a hot meal and then an evening service we call FUAGNEM: Fired Up And Going Nuts Every Minute!
Each summer we see more than a thousand people give their lives to Christ through this ministry. We collect their information and give that to local pastors who want to disciple them and get them involved in their churches.
May I confess something?
I’m exhausted. Just finished speaking at a camp in VA
and barely had time to repack and do laundry before flying overnight to Quito. Part of me is longing to be home.
In my own bed.
With my two dogs, Obie and Amos.
But I’m here because it’s right.
For the past 17 years it’s been right.
It’s my chance to see God move in big ways.
And more than making an impact in another country . . .
the real reason I do a missions trip each year is for our students.
Most teens view their relationship with Christ as a feeling—
and it’s usually how they feel when their hands are in the air
and they’re swaying to praise and worship music.
This is Christianity, they think.
This is what it means to love God.
Sometimes I wish we’d just stop all the music and teach students there are other ways to worship.
Before you condemn me, please hear me out.
When we enter a relationship with God,
It’s something that’s so sacred
it transcends our understanding.
It can’t be contained in how I feel when my hands are in the air
And I feel the beat of drums swelling in my head.
In fact, it has nothing to do with this.
It’s beyond that!
It’s saying, “I won’t renounce” when the machete is at the throat of an Iraqi Christian.
It’s making time to read the Bible . . . daily . . .
no matter how tired we are or how much we have to do.
And it’s praying constantly.
It’s trusting God for what we can’t see.
It’s weeping before Him and yearning until our hearts feel raw from praying for genuine intimacy with Him.
It has nothing to do with my favorite chorus.
And on these trips . . . I see our students go beyond the music.
I watch them push deeper than the excitement of an overseas trip.
I see the light go on in their eyes as I speak to the group about living in radical obedience to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
And I hear their confession. I see their growth.
And we have revival.
Revival. Not a word we hear much anymore.
Most teens have never heard the word.
And when they experience it, they don’t know how to label it.
They come to me with tears running down their cheeks saying,
“I’m a Christian, but I’ve never been challenged like this.”
“I don’t hear stuff like this in my church back home.”
“I’ve never been challenged like this before.”
And I wonder what IS being preached in many of our churches.
Or if many are simply places to feel good.
And I question if most teens who think they have a relationship with Christ really do have a genuine relationship with Him.
So I do this trip every year.
Because I love revival. And I love introducing teens to revival.
And I love hearing them testify. Many don’t even know what a testimony is. They learn quickly.
And when I watch a teen lead someone to Christ . . . it’s amazing how his confidence soars! Nothing is impossible, if one can lead someone to God! Sharing our faith is a definite confidence booster.
And by the end of the trip, to see how worship has completely changed from feel-good music to truly being in awe of our Creator God . . . to being speechless before Him . . . to grasping even a bit of His power . . .
Well, that’s why I’m here.
And missing my own bed is a very small price to pay.
Share with me your thoughts on how YOU experience genuine revival. And why do you think many churches no longer have revival?
Amen! It’s rather ironic that you’re writing about everything that worship really entails, not just the narrow definition some folks have today. Ironic because at the concurrent event NYC the 7,000 teenagers attending have been asked to write down what they think worship is. It’s been interesting to read various statements from these kids and sponsors on FB, Instagram, and Twitter. Thank you for listening to God as He guides you as to what to write and speak about.
God Bless you Susie! I found the Lord as a teenager and God has blessed me so much! I didn’t come from a Christian home and I faced many trials in my life and God has gotten me thru! God Bless You for what you do!
Bless you dear friend! I remember giving a new kettle to a boy who lived at the city dump in Quito in 2002 with Never the Same Mission! What a memory and impact on lives it makes. Intimacy with God is what it’s all about, it is life-changing.
Mindy, I like that! We can each have revival personally . . . and we need to take responsibility to do that. But it sure helps when the Church provides it as an example. Not all Christians know HOW to have a personal revival.
I love what you wrote, and I also understand the word revival, and that it is the living WORD within me. It is sad to me also that revival is mostly a thing of the past but I am here to say that we can have revival within ourselves every single day if we are in a relationship with our Lord and Savior. It takes time, work, surrender the things people no longer focus on, as their lives have become too busy with work, iPads, cyber communications etc. When we are in Mexico where we live 6 months a year I feel like there is more of that time in each day for relationships. For me, it is through relationships, eating together, working together, worshipping together that Christ love can shine through and revival happen within ones self. One day I will join your team and enjoy that “group” revival that happens. Blessings to you and your ministry. Mindy
Huh? What? I can’t speak for the churches. I struggle to keep up myself, I fall, I fail and I have to start over almost daily. I post scripture online for my own encouragement. And stay in God’s word daily and pray ..for me..my family and friends and those I don’t know. But still I am never enough. I am thankful I serve a holy and righteous God who gave his Son so I might be saved. I am thankful I am able to worship freely and thankful God’s grace is at work in my life. Revival? Yes.. every day. May God grant that I continue. Thank you Jesus my Savior!
Amy, yes, your pastor definitely believes in revival . . . and God has blessed that, hasn’t He!
And Stephane, you’re right: Revival for is ALL ages.
Why we aren’t having revival in our churches/lives? It is a drifting away from God’s Word. Yes, we read it but we don’t ACT on what it says. We have allowed Satan to slip in and distort the Word. We know who Jesus is but he’s only a visitor in our lives; not LORD/ HUSBAND. We have to have an intimate relationship with him. We cannot expose ourselves to the caustic acid of the world and only hearing the Word once a week is not going to make us strong. We must feast on the Word daily, hide His Word in our hearts, pray without ceasing, and listen for our Savior’s voice. Put on the WHOLE armor of God. We are not spectators, we are the warriors in God’s Army. Churches must start preaching Salvation in Christ and without it we perish for eternity in HELL… YES there is a hell. Christianity is not a feel good event in our lives. Having “rules” in our churches isn’t to stifle growth but strengthen us spiritually… but we also must be very careful to emphasize a relationship with Christ rather than “following the rules”. Our youth need daily feedings of the Word and as well as how to live out the Word of God. The world must see Christ reflected in our lives. Then revival in our churches with happen.
Hey Suz– as usual you have challenged me to be more radical. You are an inspiration to all ages. That is a great question, why? In my humble opinion it is because the devil won’t allow harmony and like mindedness. (I just made up a word) In order for revival to happen the church, no matter where, has to want it and the people need to be in one accord. Where there is conflict, there is no revival. Where there is gripping and complaining, there is no revival. I think you see where I’m going. I hope and pray continued blessing on you and your troop. Luv Ya, Glenda
I know that our church–East side Church of the Nazarene in Des Moines, IA prays for revival constantly and we have revival meetings a few times a year. As Pastor Miller says over and over, we need a fresh outpouring of the Spirit in our churches.
We can all think about these words, young and old and somewhere in between.