There is a connection between genuine revival and repentance.
In recent weeks, as we’ve been exploring what the Bible teaches us about those times when God, by His Spirit, does a deep work of awakening grace in an individual or in a church or in a community, we’ve seen how it begins as people humble themselves before God and get honest about their sin.
But getting honest about our sin is not where the process ends. The next step in the journey of awakening requires a change of direction. A turning away from our sins and a turning to Jesus.
That’s what it means to repent.
Here’s the way I like to illustrate the difference between confession and repentance.
Let’s say that it’s two days before Thanksgiving and you’re in charge of the meal. You’ve done your meal planning and put the menu together. But you haven’t been to the store yet.
So you get in your car and you start driving. But instead of driving toward the store, you head off in the direction of Cold Stone Creamery.
That’s when a friend says to you “I thought you said you needed to go to the grocery store.” And you say “I do.”
And your friend says “Well, if you’re serious about getting groceries, you need to turn the car around and head in a different direction.”
Confession is agreeing with God that you have a sin problem. It’s a great first step.
Repentance is turning your heart and your life in a new direction. Turning away from sin and self, and turning to Jesus.
And because each one of us is “prone to wander,” repenting something we have to do over and over and over again.
In fact, the early Puritans were known by that word. People called them “the Repenters.”
Someone reminded me tonight that I didn’t send out the revival series homework on Sunday this week. Here it is. Hopefully, it will help you get your heart turned in the right direction this week.
You know the upcoming Town Hall meeting we’ve been telling you about? The one that’s scheduled for Sunday, March 18?
You can put away the Crock Pot for now. Because many of you are headed out of town for spring break, we’re changing the date to April 15.
We are still planning to have some special friends leading the music portion of our worship service that morning. We’ll be welcoming the Spencer Family from Kansas to Redeemer. You can learn more about them here.
Have you ever wished you could take seminary courses? Or wished there was a program of some sort that would help you understand the Bible at a whole new level?
Let me encourage you to investigate the Downline Institute. It’s right here in Little Rock.
Downline Ministries has a nine month program that helps anyone who wants to dig deep into God’s word. We’ve met recently with Danny Hinton who gives leadership to the Institute, and we’re very impressed with what he’s put together.
The institute starts in September, but enrollment is happening now. Check it out here or talk to Matt Gurney if you have any questions.
And in the meantime, ask God if Downline might be a great next step for you to take on your spiritual journey.
Next Wednesday night is our monthly men’s get together at David’s Burgers. If you’ve never come out for Burgers and Bros, why not make this the month you join the guys and eat some fries!
Burgers and Bros starts at 6:30 on Wednesday, March 14. All burger-eating men are welcome to join in. Vegetarians, bring your own tofu!
And next Thursday night, March 15 is Kids Small Group. Parents of kids 12 and under, you know the drill. Drop off the kids at 5:45. Pick them up at 8:15. We’ll take care of the rest!
Questions? Contact Matt Gurney at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s something to start praying about.
We’re having some conversations with Lance and Cheryl Talkington and the folks in their local church in Puerto Rico about how we might be involved this summer in bringing a team of folks from our church down to Puerto Rico for a week to help with the ongoing work involved in rebuilding the country following the devastation last fall from Hurricane Maria.
We don’t have dates yet (probably in July). And the plan would be for anyone to be part of the team. Teenagers are welcome, as long as a mom or dad is along for the trip.
More details as we have them. For now, just start praying and asking God if you should take a work to serve those in need in Puerto Rico.
This is spring forward week. Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead one hour before bed on Saturday.
And join us as we talk about the connection between prayer and revival in our lives or in our world.
See you in church!
Soli Deo Gloria!