I first felt a call to be baptized about two years ago, but I quickly brushed it off for a number of logical reasons. But God doesn’t work by logic. In fact, faith, by definition, isn’t logical. For two years, the idea of baptism burned in my heart while I wrestled with the logic in my head. Every time I saw the word or happened to watch someone else be baptized, I couldn’t deny that’s what God was calling me to do.
Then, one morning this spring on the way to school, my son asked me, “Dad, what does it mean to be a Christian?”
And there in the drop-off line, Matthew confessed Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Pretty soon, Matthew was asking if he could be baptized. If I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that you can’t stop the relentless call of God.
A Vision For Revival
Leading up to my baptism, my heart was burdened by a vision for revival. Our cities, our churches, our corporations, our homes, and our hearts need a breath of fresh air and awakening. I think about the great Billy Graham and the wave of revival that swept through America in the Fifties and Sixties. We need that vibrancy of the Holy Spirit again.
The good news is, God promises that type of revival. The more I’ve stepped into my call and drawn near, the more God has revealed this to my heart. It’s my hope for this revival that has fueled my faith that it will happen.
Proverbs says, without a vision the people perish or cast of restraint. We are in need of a fresh vision, something to fuel our faith that God’s promises are being revealed. In spite of the segregation and division, I have a vision of unity—a picture of people coming together for the common purpose of the gospel.
But when you look at the news or take a quick scroll through Facebook, the evidence doesn’t seem to support the vision. A quick look through the Bible reminds us that when the evidence doesn’t match the guarantee, when the appearance seems contrary to the promise, that is an opportunity for our faith to grow. Trust happens when our capacity is exhausted. Faith grows when our own understanding fails.
These are the moments when God shows up.
Our Vision is Created by Our Remembrance
I have a jar of sand that sits on my desk in my office. But the sand is odd. It’s not like the sand on Wrightsville Beach where I grew up. It’s coarse and white, like a bunch of tiny fragments of shells and coral.
It was given to me as a gift, seventeen years ago, to commemorate a mission trip to Bimini in the Bahamas. The sand reminds me of what happened that week—the week an eighteen-year-old kid began the journey of trading in his identity for something more.
As I look back, that trip was a catalyst moment for me—the beginning of an adventure. I wasn’t radically transformed overnight, but a renewal process began in my mind that continues to this day. That week, the warm Bahamian breeze slowly eroded the sandcastle faith I had built my life upon. And this eighteen-year-old kid caught a glimpse of God—a God who, in an instant, became infinitely greater than the one I thought I knew.
I’ve often wondered why I’ve kept this tiny jar of sand. But that sand is my reminder. It reminds my heart that God is good and His kingdom is growing. Anytime I doubt what God is doing, I look back on all He has already done.
If we fail to remind ourselves of the goodness of God, we may lose sight of Him altogether.
Our Vision is Fueled by the Goodness of God
That week in Bimini, my understanding of well-produced religion was broken into pieces and scattered all over that island. I experienced the goodness of God. It was tangible and sweet. The more I experienced it, the more I wanted it.
Then I came home. I came home to a world that didn’t seem to understand—a world that didn’t seem to care. A world where proverbial carrots tasted sweeter than the goodness of God.
The world may be fond of a feel-good story, but when it comes to matters of faith, it tells us that we need to keep our beliefs to ourselves.
“That’s private,” it says. “You can go to church and live a good Christian life—maybe even write a few checks to organizations that help others—but don’t put your religion on me. You need to hang up the idea of growing your faith. Besides, living exclusively for God is radical and borderline irresponsible.”
I think the world makes cartoons of the things it doesn’t understand or the things it’s afraid of. That makes them a lot easier to deal with. That’s why God has become a bearded grandfather with a strict rulebook and the devil is the playful, horned creature in red spandex.
But at some point, we have to ask ourselves what we want more, proverbial carrots or the goodness of God? The world’s wisdom may be sweet going down, but it’s laced with fear and finishes with the bitter taste of exhaustion.
It’s time for us to be consumed by the goodness of God. And if that seems far away, seek and you will find. God never leaves us. Ever. Our feelings of abandonment are only temporary. We might shut Him out, but He’s no further away than our willingness to seek His face. And when you catch a glimpse of His goodness, you’ll never crave anything else.
Our Need for Revival
When I get quiet, all I hear is God’s call for revival. A revival that begins in our hearts, leaks out into our homes, pours over into our communities, changes our cities, and welcomes the kingdom of God. I believe that time for revival is now.
It’s simple. We have to understand who we are.
We are unique individuals born into a world that’s trying to convince us to become somebody else. And we’re sick of it. We’re hungry for authenticity, for real relationships, for real change. The constant stream of social media and busyness has become a habit that we despise. We’re fed up with politicians and institutions, religious and otherwise. We want rest and peace and those aren’t found in the latest best-seller, or in the form of entertainment.
We desperately need the gospel. And the gospel is more than we think it is. It isn’t a rulebook to follow, or a playbook for living well. It’s a declaration of who we are, why we’re here, and how to leave God’s fingerprints on the world through our own.
God’s kingdom is a one-body-many-parts machine that is fueled by your gifts, your talents, and your willingness to engage them for His greater purpose. So, are you willing?
The cardboard kingdoms we build for ourselves collapse at the first sign of adversity. But God’s kingdom cannot be shaken. The subtle walls that we’ve inadvertently constructed need to come crashing down.
It’s time for revival.