An Awakening

Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways. – Judges 1:18-19

This semester, as I’m sure I have already mentioned, I am studying church history. It has been amazing to see how the church has spread out from its small beginnings in Jerusalem. The church has seen many struggles over the centuries but also has had many great moments. This semester I have a task of writing about one of the great revival moments in the church: the Great Awakening in the American Colonies.

We all know the story of the Pilgrims and other groups coming to America for religious freedom. However, as time passed people grew away from the Christian faith that had been so strong earlier. There are even estimates that during this time only a fifth of those in Massachusetts professed to be Christians. Church attendance was falling and people cared less about living a transformed live for Christ.

It was during this time that people like T.J. Frelinghuysen, Gilbert Tennent, George Whitefield, and Jonathan Edwards began their public preaching ministries. These preachers had a passion for teaching God’s Word and seeing people change their lives in Christ. During the Awakening, thousands upon thousands came to an understanding of their sin and their need for Jesus. This event had a great impact on America. It is thought that America’s deep-rooted Christianity developed out of this Great Awakening.

It was interesting as I was reading about the spiritual condition of the American Colonies and I couldn’t help thinking that many would describe today’s America in the same way. We certainly can see people turning away from Biblical truth. Another aspect of that time was that even the people that went to church really didn’t care about living a life honoring to God. Church was just a show for them.

Israel faced the same ups and downs throughout the book of Judges. Israel would mess up and cry out to God for help and God would send a Judge to save them. The church and Israel, although different, often needed an awakening from God. God wants to use us for that awakening. All the preachers from the Great Awakening didn’t set out to start the awakening, instead they just did what they knew God would want them to do, and then that grew into something great. Do we need an awakening in our lives, our churches? How does God want to use us?

The Second Coming

“You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming
at an hour you do not expect.”
– Luke 12:40

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

Toward the end of November and the beginning of December the debate begins about the proper time for setting up Christmas decorations. There are some who think it is right to wait until after Thanksgiving, while others will say you have to wait until December. Then you have those on the extreme side of the debate who think once November comes then it is time to start decorating. Or there is always that one family that leaves their lights on all year long (full disclosure, we were that family one year). There is one thing all these people have: anticipation about the Christmas season. They are all looking forward to it; some just get ready sooner.

As believers we can find joy in the first coming of Jesus, when He came as a baby to live a life we couldn’t and free us from our bondage of sin. However, we are also called to be anticipating the Second Coming of Christ. When this is going to happen is unknown to us. But we are called to live our lives in a way that expects Jesus to come at any moment. As believers we can anticipate this coming similarly to how we get ready for Christmas. There can be some believers who always seem ready; they always have their lights on. The Second Coming is always on their minds. Or you have others that only think about Jesus coming again when things are terrible around the world, or when they hear a message about His coming again. Then lastly, there are believers that don’t give much thought at all to the Second Coming.

Scripture tells us to always be ready because it could happen at any moment. What does this mean? Do we walk around always looking to the sky? We are to live our lives in a way that matters for an eternal purpose. How would our priorities change if we always kept the Second Coming in the front of our minds? Would we act differently? Would we treat people differently? Would we spend our time differently? Our task is to live for God and remember what matters, making disciples and spreading the Gospel. Enjoy the life we have but remember that there is something even greater that is to come, and it is that life that we prepare for even now.