Tristate Missions Gathering
First Assembly of God Church, Port Jervis, New York
I am speaking tonight on the theme, “You are the salt of the earth…,” from Matthew 5:13. The Lord rescued and saved me when I was fourteen years old. He saved me from giving up on life, so I knew ever thereafter that I owed the rest of my life to Him. I wanted to serve God but, at the same time, I decided two things. I grew up in small town New England where it seemed that there were more strawberries and cows than people, and I said to the Lord, “I never want to live in New York City, and I never want to be a preacher because I can’t speak.”
Well, it remains true that I cannot speak, but God enables us to do what we cannot do ourselves. You do not begin to know who you are until you surrender your life to the Lord. I just knew that, as I sought Him during my senior year of high school, He made it clear that He wanted me to study at Yale University. Many of you may not know this, but Yale has the longest Christian history of any college in our country. There were revivals off and on there from 1701 to 1909, but now they need another revival as it is an ungodly place today.
As someone who did not want to preach, God put me in a Bible study at Yale where the students were out preaching publicly twice a week. They called us the “God Squad,” and we were crazy enough that we got written up in the New York Times. People did get saved! Some people hated us, some people loved us, but people heard the Gospel. There were many things that God did during that time which taught me lessons. It is not about who we are. It is not about what we can do. It is about what God can do with a life that is surrendered to Him. As someone once said to Dwight Moody, the famous nineteenth-century evangelist, “The world has not yet seen what God can do with a man who is entirely surrendered to Him.” And Moody responded, “I want to be that man.”
I do not know if I totally agree with that statement. I believe that Joseph, Paul, and others were totally surrendered to God, but there are not many who are. God has had to work hard to bring me to that place of surrender. Our minds are full of all kinds of thoughts of what we can do, what we cannot do, and God has to say to us, “Stop!” Remember what Isaiah 55:8-9 declares,
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
My wife and I had already planned out, so we thought, the year 2020. We were going to be in the Czech Republic for the first time, we were going to be in Cuba preaching for the third time, and in Colombia preaching for the thirty-someteenth time. But none of that happened, and what did God do? He moved a Pakistani evangelist to call me back in June and say, “I know that you cannot come to Pakistan right now, but if we set up the events, would you be willing to preach by Skype?”
I had received many invitations to Pakistan, but this time I knew that this was God. I had actually said to the Lord about a week earlier, “Lord, when am I going to get to preach to Muslims?” My major in university was History, focusing on the Middle East and studying Islamic and Jewish history. I have had times of witnessing to Muslims, but not many. Now the door has opened, and we have already completed our first two Muslim village outreaches in July and August with nearly 600 receiving the Lord. Our next and larger outreach will take place in September.
Again, I look at the greatest openings in my life and, guess what? I had nothing to do with them—except to surrender! We want to see revival, but revival begins with our surrender to God: “Not my thoughts, not my ways, but your ways, Lord.” We cannot change people, we cannot even change ourselves, but God can.
There is No Other Answer to the Problems of This World Than Jesus
I want to begin this evening with three basic facts. First, there is no other answer to the problems of this nation or the world than Jesus Christ. There isn’t! I am glad to live in a democracy and a free country, but I always remind myself of what British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said, “Democracy is a terrible form of government, except that all the others are worse.” It is a good way to put it! When Jesus comes, it will not be a democracy, it is not going to be socialist. It is going to be a monarchy. The One who made the universe will reign and it is going to be wonderful because He is a good King, and a gracious King, and a kind King. Acts 4׃12 says, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Even as believers, we must remind ourselves of that fact. The people around us are not going to be saved by any other Name.
I am a historian by training and have studied many reform movements. Reform movements come, and they go, and people stay the same. That is why my hope is not in the Republican party, and it is not in the Democratic party. I care about the elections, it makes a difference, but do you know what the battle cry of the American Revolution was? It is something you will never hear in your high school classes today. “We have no King but Jesus,” was the cry in the congresses and in the fields of battle of the thirteen colonies. “We have no King but Jesus!” He is our hope, He is our King, He is the only hope for this nation or for any other.
Preaching to these Muslims has been a wakeup call to me because I have done a lot of work in the universities. You preach the Gospel there and young people fight with you about it, especially when it comes to people being healed: “Well, I am not sure that God heals anymore.” Preaching to the Muslims, we had dozens of them testify that Jesus healed them right on the spot. They never heard the Gospel before, they have never read the Bible. But when they heard about Jesus, they believed it, and that is what God is saying to us tonight. “Will you take Me at My Word? Will you believe for yourself, for your family, for your town, for your office, for your city, for your nation. Will you believe Me? Because it is not about what you can do, but it is about what I can do.”
We face a lot of evil in this world. There is no question about it. I would like to read two of the verses that have helped me immensely because I will tell you the truth, people can be exhausting! I feel like I exhaust God at times and I have said to Him, “Why do you put up with me? I am so slow to get it, I am so slow to believe, I am so slow to understand.” I grew up on the North Shore of Massachusetts and my high school friends had a joke when one of our friends was slow to get something in class. Have you ever heard of Marblehead, Massachusetts where Gorton’s fishery is? It is a long spit of land sticking out into the Atlantic, and there are gorgeous sunrises there in the morning. It is a beautiful place to sit in the early morning. I had an uncle who had a house right on that bay. Well, our saying was, “Light shines over marble head,” meaning someone in the class finally understood something. There are many times in my life of which I have had to say, “I finally got it, Lord.” Light finally shined into this hard head.
Ecclesiastes 9:3-4 says, “Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.” This is the reality of our world, there is madness in our world, in our hearts. Why do people take drugs? Why do people kill one another? Why is there violence in New York City? Why is there war after war in our world? Why are children abused? Why are women abandoned? Because there is madness, the madness of sin in men’s lives. That is what messes up reform movements. If you do not change human beings, nothing else will ever change. But as Oswald Chambers pointed out, never despair of men and never get cynical, because our hope is not in people, it is in the power of God to change people. God can take the blindest and hardest and deadest of souls and can change them.
I used to live in Yonkers, New York. Has anybody here heard of Yonkers? Do you know who one of my neighbors was there and I did not know it? Son of Sam. Who remembers Son of Sam, the serial killer in New York City? He lived down the street from me, and we did not know it! (We shared the same view of the Hudson River as he did.) We prayed because you never knew where someone was going to be killed next. But what is Son of Sam doing today? He is preaching the Gospel in the prisons of New York State. He is a man of God! God can take a mass murderer and make him a godly man. I know that Pastor Tom [Zahradnik] knows him personally, though I do not.
There is madness in our world! There is madness in reform movements. There is madness in putting our hope in people. Do not put your hope in people, but neither become cynical about them. Pray and believe for what God can do. Because the other half of all of this is in Ecclesiastes 3:11: “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men;…” (NIV) Because of sin there is madness, but because of God there is the desire for the eternal! My family and I were part of Manhattan Grace Tabernacle, and one of the attendees there was Mariano Rivera, a wonderful man, a very godly man. I remember seeing a broadcast for the Yankees and someone had hit a home run or Mariano had struck someone out, and the announcer stated, “We will remember this day forever!” My immediate reaction was, “No, we won’t.”
But there is that desire in the human heart for eternity. We were made for the eternal. We were not just made for things that pass away. People try to fill themselves up with the stuff of this world, and it never satisfies. We were made for eternal things. “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have begun to understand the eternal, and you can pray that those around you will also understand. Sorry, but I am a mathematician! If you divide one by two, you get a half. If you divide one by a thousand, you get a thousandth. But if you divide one by infinity, you get zero! What is the seventy years of our life here on earth divided by infinity, eternity? Nothing. This life is only for a little while, but nothing of this life compares to the eternal.
I remember when I was still fighting with God about being an evangelist, and I was stubborn. God had to use a baseball bat with me. I was walking down the driveway of the house where I lived in Yonkers and I still did not want to be an evangelist. The Lord allowed me to go through in all nine knee surgeries, six years on crutches, two and a half years of physical therapy with most of the doctors telling me that I would not walk again. I had done too much sports, worked in construction, and then got hurt in an accident. But I remember as I walked down that driveway effectively saying to the Lord, “I don’t want to be an evangelist. I don’t want to preach, I can’t preach!” And the Lord spoke to me there in that driveway, “You can have your own way, but if you don’t do My will, some people will die whom I want to live.” And that broke my heart.
Every one of you have people you are called to pray for, to be a witness to, and if you are faithful, you will bring people with you into the Kingdom of Heaven. But if we are unfaithful, we will turn people out of the way. We will not lead them to life, we will lead them to death. I believe that God has a calling on the life of every member of the Body. Is everyone called to be an evangelist? No. But is everyone called to share the Gospel with their neighbor? Yes. Is everyone called to pray? Yes. Are you members of the Body of Christ? Are you a finger, are you a toe, are you an elbow? Yes. We may all be different, but we all have a place. And the more we surrender to God and say, “Lord, have your way in me,” the more we will see revival in our generation.
So that is the first part. There is no other answer than Jesus. Get over it! The help is not going to come from anywhere else. We are the ones who have the answer, and it is not us! It is Jesus. When I preach the Gospel, I remind myself that the Cubans do not need me, the Pakistanis do not need me. They need Jesus, and He is the one whom we preach.
Only Jesus Can Change the Human Heart
The second part of my message is that only Jesus can change the human heart. Only Jesus can take the Son of Sam, a serial killer, and make him a Jewish preacher of the Gospel. Isaiah 64׃:6 says, and I know that you all know this verse, but it is good to remind ourselves
But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Part of my responsibility before God is to take up my cross every day and die to myself, because in one moment, I can go from God’s agenda to my own. He has called us to die to ourselves so that He can do things in our lives that are far beyond what we can do. That is why I am grateful for every time that God has shut a door, because every time that He closes a door, He opens a better one.
I do not know how many of you have heard of Damaris Carbaugh. She sings with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir as well as with the Manhattan Grace Tabernacle Choir. She is a wonderful person and a great singer, but she always reminds people when she speaks, “It is not about you, it is about Jesus!” I say that to myself when I am preaching, “It is not about me, it is about Him.” And to all of you in this room tonight, I say, “It is not about you, it is about Jesus!” He loves you, He cares about you, He has plans for your life. But it is not about you, it is about Him. And the marvelous thing is that He calls us, nobodies and nothings, and makes us part of His eternal plan. He has called you to be sons and daughters of the Living God. That is better than being a movie star or a billionaire or whatever else it may be.
As some of you may know, I taught Lady Gaga for two years when I was teaching high school mathematics. I pray for her to this day. I actually tried to warn her at one point that she might get the fame and success she was longing for, but it was not going to last and it was not going to make her happy. She is still dealing with depression and other difficulties to this day. You can gain the world and yet lose everything as Jesus warned. My prayer for her to this day is that she may yet be saved and come to know Jesus. It is not about us or fame or success. It is about Him and about our letting Him have His way in us.
Revival is not about me. It is about when heaven comes down and the power of God is seen among people and lives are changed—and it can happen! So that is the second point, only Jesus can change the human heart. I am a parent and we have four wonderful boys but, as we tell people, why do you think we have grey hair? From raising four sons. They have made us pull our hair out at times. It happens, and it is part of being a parent and reminds me of what my dad went through with me. Was he patient through all my stuff? Yes, he was. God is very patient too and He wants to change us.
God Changes Us, and Then Uses Us to Change the World
My third point is this, God changes us, and then He uses us to change the world. I am going to say that again. God changes us, and then He uses us to change the world. I told God that I can’t speak, and He rebuked me because He is the One who enables us to speak. I have a very dear friend who wanted to be a minister, a preacher, but he is not good at writing. So God called him to be a journalist, and he is now an editor at one of the most famous newspapers in the United States. He has won the Pulitzer prize among other things. That is why I am saying that it is not about what you can do, it is about what you let God do in your life. Why did God call my friend to be a writer? Because he knows to this day that unless he prays daily for God’s help, he cannot write. He was the only reporter who actually got inside the Pentagon right after the plane crashed there on September 11th, so he reported the story from the inside for several days. God gave him that story. And every door for evangelism that I have had in my life has not been about me, it has been about what God can do.
What I want to say to you today is that life is exciting with Jesus, because there are no limits! We put limits on God because we do not believe. We are limited, but He is not. He delights to show His glory in broken vessels. I do not know about you, but it if were up to me, I would not have chosen Peter, stubborn, slow, too eager in many ways. But God chose Peter, and I thank God for Peter. Then again, I would not have chosen me! I was totally unqualified—but that is not the point. God is the One who qualifies us to do the work He has called us to do.
That leads to another important matter. If you are a believer in Jesus, you are either standing in the way with the Lord, or you are standing in the way of the Lord. Are you believing today for the people around you? Are you believing for your family, or are you complaining about them? It is easy to complain, but it is harder to pray. God has not called yo u to complain about your wife, your kids, your friends, your boss. He has called you to pray for them, to believe for them. I really believe that one of the greatest gifts that we can give to another human being is to believe for them when they cannot believe for themselves. There were people who believed for me when I was a suicidal 12-year-old, and that is the reason I am here today. Somebody needs you to believe for them. I will not meet them, but you will because God has put them in your life, and that is not accidental. That friend, that classmate, that boss, that officemate, they are not accidental. You were meant to be a light to them, and God is calling you to stand in the way with Him. Unbelief limits God, but belief and surrender honor God and make a way for Him to work.
Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth.” I didn’t like that phrase when I was a teenager: “What do you mean that I am the salt of the earth? Jesus, You are the salt of the earth.” No, we are the salt! Who is the salt for Montague and Milford and Port Jervis and Deerfield? We are! We are called to be the salt where God has put us, and He will do the rest:
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” (Matthew 5:13-16)
How many of you here tonight want to be salt? Amen. That is what revival is about, it is when we truly become salt.
The evangelist Dwight Moody said, “God doesn't seek for golden vessels, and does not ask for silver ones, but He must have clean ones.” He doesn’t look for Olympic athletes! When Christians live like Christians, the world is changed! Moody was one of the greatest speakers of his time but, before God got hold of him, he was a shoe salesman who could not put two sentences together. He couldn’t speak, he was uneducated. He was a kid out of Chicago, so who would call him to be one of the greatest preachers of his generation? Who would call him to preach at Yale, and Cambridge, and Oxford and many other places? God did! People would listen to Moody for hours and they were not bored. Why? Because it wasn’t about Moody, it was about the power of God expressed through a man who knew he was a nobody. Are you a nobody tonight? I am! I am a nobody. Hallelujah! God delights to show His power in nobodies! I am old enough to remember as a boy how many ministers were offended at Billy Graham. “A farmer’s kid, what is he doing preaching to millions? Why is he there and not me?” Because Billy Graham was a nobody, but he was a nobody who surrendered to God and said, “Your will be done.”
“You are the light of the world.” That is a scary thought, because I know times in my life when I was faithful and people got saved. And I know of times when I was not so faithful and others were hurt by that. That is what makes me pray, “Lord, let me be faithful every day.” You do not know who you will meet in a day, you don’t know what life you may touch.
When I was still fighting God about being a preacher as a student at Yale, we were preaching outside and it became my turn to preach. We were on the Old Campus, the main plaza of the university, and the moment I opened my mouth, everybody left. It was me, the trees, and the stone walls of the buildings. But the Spirit of the Lord was saying, “Keep on speaking,” and this head peaked around the corner of a building about one hundred feet away. I looked at the head, and the head disappeared, so I decided to speak and not look. I preached a full twenty-minute Gospel message, and every now and then that head would peak around the corner. When I was done, the head disappeared and I thought, “Well, that is the end of the matter.”
One year later, at that same place on the campus, a young man came up to me and put out his hand to shake mine. He said, “Do you remember me?” and I said no. Then he said, “Do you remember the head peaking around the corner of Wright Hall one year ago?” And I said, “Yes, I do.” Then he said, “That was me.” He said, “I came to this university to sleep with every girl, to take every drug, to go to every party, to get drunk, have fun, to do everything my parents told me not to do. And when you preached that day near the end of my freshman year, I was on my way to kill myself when I heard you speaking. I had decided that if this was all there was to life, it was not worth living.” Then he said, “Because you were out there speaking that day, I stopped, and I just want you to know that since then I have become a Christian.”
You do not know whom you may save from death just by being faithful in the little things. You are called to be a member of Christ’s body. You are a knee or a hand or a toe and it makes a difference how you live. You are the light of the world, you are the salt of the earth, and it is time for us to be praying for our nation, for our world that God will move.
I would like to read a quote from Charles Finney, a quote on how to experience revival. I know that some people do not like Finney, but I have been blessed by him. He brought nearly all of the judges in New York to faith in Christ. Can you imagine the judges of New York State being believers in Jesus today? That is just part of what God did through Finney. This is what Finney said,
…it is time for Christians to get to work. It is as much their duty to wake up as it is for firemen to wake up when a fire breaks out. The Church must put out the fires of hell which are consuming the wicked. Sleep? Should the firemen sleep and let the whole city burn down? What would people think of such firemen? And yet their guilt would not compare with the guilt of Christians who sleep while sinners around them are sinking into the fires of hell.
I really believe that when we stand before God, He is not going to say that it was the fault of those politicians that the United States failed. It was the fault of believers because we did not pray, we did not cry out. We live in a nation that has such a history of revival and repentance, but will we in our generation let God break our hearts? Will we cry out for this generation, “Lord, we need to see your power!” There is no other answer. There is nothing else that is going to change our nation but the Gospel.
If you don’t like what Finney said, listen to Proverbs 24:11-12—another verse I was afraid of as a young man, but God would not let me escape it:
Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Surely we did not know this,” Does not He who weighs the heart consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?
We are going to give account for what we did with the people around us. It is not just pastors and evangelists who are responsible for souls. Every member of the Body has a part. We are an army and, as soldiers of the Gospel, we have a responsibility to God. And I will tell you that it is a wonderful responsibility. When you see someone saved, there is nothing like it!
My dad had a brother he had prayed for sixty years, and on his deathbed in 2008 he said to me, “Chris, keep praying for my brother to get saved before he dies.” I told him that I would do so and, four years later, my uncle was celebrating his 100th birthday. He was a Boston Irishman, talk about stubborn! One of his two daughters had been murdered violently on a street in Boston by her husband, and it was all over the news in the United States. And then his granddaughter was murdered on the streets of Los Angeles by her husband, and that was all over the news. My uncle, married for 75 years, was a gentle man who could not imagine a man touching a woman to harm her. Yet he lost his daughter and his granddaughter and it broke him. It made him bitter toward God. My Dad and I would try to speak to him to him about Jesus, but he would respond that he could not believe that God was love.
My uncle had walked two miles a day up until he was ninety-nine, but then he fell and had to be in a wheelchair for his hundredth birthday. At the birthday celebration, I went to talk with him because my cousin had asked me to spend some time alone with him. So I said to him, “Uncle Peter, can I pray for you?” He said, “Yes.” And I prayed the Gospel over him, forgiveness, repentance, healing of hurts, and he just completely broke down. My dad had prayed for him for sixty years and I had prayed for several decades for that uncle, but Jesus found him there in that wheelchair. My cousin wrote to me when my uncle died four months later that her dad had found peace for the first time that day when I prayed with him. He remained at peace until the day he passed into eternity.
There are people around you who are hard, who are bitter because of what they have been through, and you have the only answer for them. Your prayers may be what stands between heaven and hell for them. God wants you to be His expression of love to them. That is what revival is about. Revival begins in the house of God, it does not start in the world, and it begins with prayer and repentance.
How many here have heard of the First Great Awakening? You may have heard of John Wesley and George Whitfield, the great evangelists of that time, but that is not where the First Great Awakening started. It began with a pastor who was also a Sunday School teacher named Jonathan Edwards. Just imagine Edwards teaching a bunch of teenagers in the 1730’s, and they were tough! He could not get anywhere with them, so what did he do? He began to pray every day for that handful of teenagers, and he wept over those young people. He was not afraid to cry so that those kids would be saved, and one by one every one of those young people in his Sunday School class repented. Then the young people started praying for their parents to repent, and they did. Edwards wrote up the story of a little revival in a little church in Northampton, Massachusetts in a pamphlet called, A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God in the Conversion of Many Hundreds Souls in Northampton. That pamphlet crossed the Atlantic Ocean to England and that is where Wesley and Whitfield read it and were moved by it. They preached in England and then in the American colonies, and revival spread wherever they spoke.
Prayer is always where revival begins. When you weep in the night for your nation, for your family, for your town, for your husband, for your wife, that is the beginning of revival. God has to break our hard hearts until we really care. Jesus weeps over our nation, Jesus weeps over Port Jervis and for the broken lives here. But I have to ask myself, “Do I weep for them? Do I care, really, whether they live or die?” Revival begins when the people of God do care because God breaks your heart. He gives you His heart, His desire for a move of His Spirit.
Judgment Begins with the House of God
Judgment also begins with the house of God, not with the world. 1 Peter 4׃17–18 says, “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God….” That is a scary reality! “…and if it begin with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now, if the righteous one is scarcely saved…,” Wait a minute, what do you mean “scarcely saved”? I’m born again, I’m on my way to heaven! I know that as Jesus said, if we do everything He commands, He still tells us that we should call ourselves unworthy servants because we are unworthy of such a great gift of salvation. “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” Will you say to the Lord, “Lord, let me weep for my classmates? Will you let me weep for my family? Will you give me Your tears for those who are around me?”
Charles Finney wrote some other powerful words:
A revival is near when Christians begin to confess their sins to one another. Usually they confess in a general half-hearted manner. They may do it in eloquent language, but it means nothing. But when there is honest breaking down and a pouring out of the heart in confession of sin, the floodgates will soon burst open, and salvation will flow everywhere.
I worked with Bible studies at Yale University for almost twenty-five years, and one of the greatest sorrows we experienced was the division among the Christians. The evangelicals were fighting among themselves, and I and others prayed for decades, “Lord, break down these walls,” because what kind of a testimony is that? There is no power in it when there is division, and the world sees it. Yet the Lord did something in 1995 in a move that began in Texas, a movement that the New York Times called “A Revival of Repentance” on the campuses. That revival moved from campus to campus and, when it got to Yale, there was a night in Dwight Hall Chapel that I could never have imagined. Two hundred believers from all the groups on campus came together, and for hours we had a microphone up front. Not just students, but leaders went up to the microphone confessing their attitudes, their sinfulness, their hidden sins, their resentments. It was powerful! There was such brokenness that night that the situation on campus has been different ever since because believers now cooperate and pray with one another.
“Confess your sins one to another that you may be healed.” Revival comes when we get honest before God and before our brothers and sisters, when we stop dressing up as if we were perfect and face ourselves exactly as we are. My being broken gives someone else the chance to break. My public confession gives someone else the chance to confess their sins and get free. Acts 3:19 says:
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”
That is what a revival is, when God sends His wind from heaven down upon the earth into an area because people prayed, people repented, and people broke—and because they said, “Lord, we have to have a new deal.” Isaiah 62:10 says, “Go through, go through the gates!” Don’t stop, press into the Kingdom! “Prepare the way for the people….” Your repentance makes a way for others to repent. “Build up, Build up the highway! Take out the stones,” the things that make people stumble. Disunity among believers makes even unbelievers stumble. Get the stones out of the highway! What is a highway for? So people can march down it like an army. And when God sends revival, people come like an army.
“Lift up a banner for the peoples!” For whom? For everybody! With all the stuff going on in our nation right now, black, white, it does not matter. There is only one human race in God’s sight. There is no difference between male or female, Jew or Gentile, black or white, or whatever else. If we believe in Jesus, then we are all children of the Most High. And it is time to prepare the highway, not to get caught up in all the battles and agendas of our generation. God has an agenda of His own, and it is an agenda of salvation and repentance where people come together.
What is it going to be like in the Kingdom of Heaven? Every nation is going to be there, every race is going to be there, every tongue is going to be there. Do you think people are going to fight and say, “Oh, I don’t like you because you are from Colombia”? My wife is from Colombia, and such fighting is going to be all gone, all in the past. God delights in variety! Colombia has more than 6,000 varieties of orchids. Why? Isn’t that a little extravagant? No, that is God. Why is every snowflake different? Because God made them. Why is every human being different? Because God made them. He wants to show His glory in who you are and in whom He can make you to become. It does not matter who your parents were or where you came from or who you think you are. Will you believe Him and let Him have His way in your life? “Lord, I want revival, and I want it to begin right here, in me. Break me, take away the hardness of my heart, take away my unfeeling nature, take out the stones in me that make people stumble. I want to honor you in this generation.”
I would like to close with passage from Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest. How many here have heard of My Utmost for His Highest? Everybody needs to read that book. We read it every morning in our student prayer meetings at Yale:
“In the history of God's work, you will nearly always find that it has started from the obscure, the unknown, the ignored, but steadfastly true to Jesus Christ.” (September 7th reading)
I am a nobody, you are a nobody, but you are loved by Jesus. God delights to take nobodies and make somebodies out of them. I have nothing to boast of before God, but I will boast of Him and what He can do to change lives, starting with my own. If this summer God can be saving hundreds of Muslims the very first time they hear the Gospel in their little villages in Pakistan, can He save Port Jervis, can He save Milford? He can! But will we believe? Will we offer ourselves to Him as nobodies and say to Him, “Lord take my life and show your power in me.” Amen.
Copyright © 2020 Christopher N. White.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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