Sunday, August 21, 2011

Third Great Awakening

There is a drought taking place here in central Texas that is on the verge of topping all records for heat and no rain. Some long range forecasters are saying we may have 10 to 14 more months of little to no rain (as of this writing). If that is true, the devastation to farms and ranches will be felt for years to come. Already, most of this year's cotton crop is a loss. That is one of the reasons you may be paying moire for clothes. Beef is right behind as most of the ranchers have sold off their cattle at a loss because they can't afford the additional costs of maintaining their herds. There goes beef prices too. Clearly, our drought here in central Texas is having an effect on the rest of the nation, and to some extent, the world as cotton prices soar over shortages.

I believe this drought is symbolic of a spiritual drought that has gripped the West and America for sometime. It too has had far reaching effects spiritually. A few years ago, while working at a terrestrial Christian Radio station, I met a gentleman who was from Africa. He felt that God had called him a year or so earlier, to go to the US as a missionary. He was used to missionaries going to his homeland from America, not the other way around. He shared with me that he felt the Lord impress upon him that The US was now in need of teachers of the Gospel to come here and reach our lost! He noted that after he was here a while he began to realize that there were a lot of churches filled with very religious people but, not many who had a deep, mature relationship with Christ. He also told me that he felt specifically drawn to Austin. He claimed that he sensed the Lord was trying to do something very special here. I agreed and shared that I had felt that for several years and that I have seen signs of a great awakening washing over America and especially an outpouring of God's spirit in the Central Texas vicinity.

This "drought" of God's word and Spirit across our land is evident. The assault on Christian Liberties has been ramped up in recent years and the rhetoric against Christians, even from politicians and the main stream media, is alarming. You have reports from the Department of Home Land Security practically calling conservative Christians terrorists. When Christians refuse to accept homosexuality as "OK" and call it a sin, you are immediately labeled a homophobe. Or , if a Christian dares speak up on behalf of unborn babies, you are accused of thwarting women's rights. I believe that even the Tea Party has come under so much fire because many of these same folks have come to realize that its ranks are filled with many Christians. With prayer almost illegal in public schools and the errant arguments and erroneous interpretations of the separation clause of the 1st Amendment, which is preventing Christians from gathering and worshiping on public grounds, is it any wonder that it is open season on followers of Christ? Granted, the persecution of Christians in this country as compared to what happens in many other parts of the world, is light; for now. But, could a day be on the horizon where open persecution of true Christians in this country will become more rampant and dangerous? If we're not careful, I think so.

If there were ever a time to hit our knees and humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, it is certainly now. It is also time, not just for the "professional" ministers of the Gospel to boldly proclaim God's love and truth, it is also time for ALL true followers of the Jesus of the Bible to speak up loud and clear. It's not necessary to be obnoxious about it. Simply telling the truth in love ,yet firmly and without hesitation, is the key. Christians have got to trust the Lord and let the Chips fall where they may and let not just our words speak, but also our lives. Scripture makes clear that we are "living epistles" 2 Cor. 3:3. Our lives have to be a consistent witness to the truth of God's love and salvation through Christ.

I feel deep down in my bones, the Lord is giving our nation a wake-up call via our horrible economy and the natural disasters that it is now or never. Our nation has reached the crossroads of its soul. What happens over the next year or to will determine our fate, for better or for worse. We will never be the same America we once were just a generation ago. However, if we can get back to the principles that once made this nation great, we may stand a chance. If we renounce the idolatry of money, greed and self, before God, we have a chance at experiencing an outpouring of His grace and His Spirit in a "clear water" flow.

Our political heroes won't fix us, professional preachers won't fix us, nor will science and technology. No, we must collectively do it ourselves by turning to the fiery face of the living God and repenting. Then, bearing the fruits of repentance, readjusting our priorities as the Church of America and loving and taking care of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in such a way that it puts all others to shame. When the non-believing world witnesses this, they too will confess that these people really do know the Lord. We will collectively Awaken to the breadth, the height, the depth and length of God's love. He may yet again shed His grace and shine His favor on us. He has allowed us to wound ourselves. All the foundations are shaking. It is the Lord himself doing this in our nation. If we will "Awaken" to His clarion call to return and to deepen our intimacy with Him, His wave of love and forgiveness will sweep over our nation. He will pour down his Spirit like a cool spring rain and soothe our souls and heal our parched and disaster stricken land. Arise, oh sleeper and awaken to the truth about the living God, His word and His salvation. Pray that He will not abandon us. Rather, that He will turn to us once again.