A few months ago my pastor asked me to preach on a Sunday he was away on vacation. I’m not a preacher and knew several others who would’ve been better substitutes. But I also knew the Lord had been sharing with me something I felt would help our congregation, so I said yes.
Can revival come to America?
If revival can come to a wicked city like Nineveh in response to the preaching of God’s Word by Jonah, then I believe there is hope for our nation.
The results of the recent election show a definite move toward secularism and a shift away from Christian values and biblical morality. In some states, same-sex marriage was approved and marijuana was legalized. Unbelievably, whether it was apathy or indifference, there were millions of evangelical Christians who stayed at home and did not go to the polls. Had more Christians exercised their right and privilege to vote in this election, perhaps the outcomes on the national and state levels could have been quite different.
However, I believe that followers of Jesus Christ can still make a crucial difference in our country going forward.
While in prayer over the vision God gave Steve Hill about the “spiritual avalanche that could kill millions,” an alarming question nagged my soul: Could the great falling away already be underway? Could we be witnessing the first fruits of the great falling away even now? Are we at least seeing a shadow of the Great Apostasy?
There is much talk about Christ’s soon Second Coming. But we know that Jesus will not return for a church without spot or wrinkle unless the falling away comes first … (1 Thess. 2:3). Although it’s nothing entirely new, we are indeed witnessing a fast-progressing departure from sound doctrine and a holy life.
Even a quick comparison between what Scripture tells us about the last days and the manifest sin that has penetrated our generation should serve as a wake up call to every believer: Don’t ignore the signs of the times. In His discussions on the end of the age, Jesus warned us not to let anyone deceive us (Matt. 24). If it weren’t possible to get caught up in the Great Falling Away, Jesus wouldn’t have issued such a strong warning to His followers and left a record of it for you and me.
As he took the podium at Liberty University Convocation on Monday, Franklin Graham urged students to drop their excuses and take up metaphorical nets to become “fishers of men,” just as Christ called His disciples to be.
“There are always excuses, there are lots of excuses, but (God) wants obedience,” Graham said. “When you obey, and when you follow Him, and when you serve Him, and give Him your life, if you do that you will never, never come to regret it, I promise you that.”
Graham, the fourth of five children of evangelist Billy Graham, is president and CEO of both Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He preaches all over the world and has authored several books including his autobiography “Rebel with a Cause.”
When you read the Scriptures, passion for God oozes out. Moses sought God every day. Job followed Him through the most devastating circumstances. Esther relied on Him at the risk of her own life. David chased after God, and his passion bleeds through the Psalms. The prophets craved hearing the voice of the Almighty, and the apostles joyfully followed Him to the grave.
These men and women were great leaders, yet modern influencers often overlook this trait. Too many build up their heads without minding their hearts. They read books on better business practices and attend marketing conferences, but spiritual development is often ignored. According to our research, only 11 percent of Christian leaders say “passion for God” is the leadership trait that best describes them. And yet, my experiences with Christian leaders who are most successful today tell me that spiritual ardor is integral, rather than accessory, to leading well.
First, today's church leaders have little time for the labels that often divided their forebears. The theological distinctions of yesteryear are melting away as leaders—evangelical, charismatic and Pentecostal—shed their differences and link arms to bring cultural transformation.
Second, the growing currents of secularism and pluralism combined with an increasing fascination with spirituality demands that leaders understand the times in which they live and that they possess intellectual and spiritual tools for capturing the hearts and minds of this generation.
The growth and influence of the church in some sectors—combined with the troubling statistics of dropout pastors and shrinking congregations—indicates that the stakes are high for those who navigate these waters.
In light of these dramatic shifts, founder and publisher Stephen Strang has felt the leading of the Spirit to relaunch Ministries Today under a different name, and with a redefined mission, to more effectively serve the needs of faithful subscribers and expand readership beyond the current boundaries of the magazine.
Beginning with the May/June issue, Ministries Today will be relaunched as Ministry Today. The mission of Ministry Today will be to identify and explore trends relevant to the next generation of Christian leaders, engaging the interests of church leaders from diverse theological, ethnic and generational backgrounds.
Ministry Today will provide tools for understanding the challenges and seizing the opportunities of 21st-century ministry, not merely informing readers about what is working and not working in the church, but inspiring critical thought and creative action.
Expect to find analysis of cultural and religious trends from experts such as George Barna, insight from columnists such as Andy Stanley—as well as profiles, news stories and commentary.
Each issue of Ministry Today will celebrate innovation and experimentation, connecting inquisitive readers with thoughtful experts who will help them understand the times, and proactively engage their communities and the world with the gospel. Our goal is not only to also offer information, but to be a catalyst for ongoing transformation in the church.