The Notion of an Spiritual Awakening

Bible Book: Deuteronomy  30 : 15-18
Subject: Spiritual Awakening; Revival; Spiritual Slumber

Deuteronomy 30:15-18; Romans 13:11

On Monday I was praying about the upcoming Spiritual Awakening weekend with its logistics, promotion, buildup, expectations, and more. I worked on the announcement (screen), prayer emphasis, message schedule, and weekend particulars – consumed with connecting to God.

It was then that God gave me a gentle reminder that this weekend is not an „end‟ in itself, but a pathway to a new direction and focus for each of us, this church, and hopefully – the entire community. These next 30 days are like the training days.

Next Monday is the “Bowl Championship Series (BCS) National Championship.” The young men and coaches who are involved in this game have been planning, preparing, and training for YEARS to get ready for this one event which will be a part of them for the rest of their lives.

Think about the USA Space program. The men and women in this program were selected as the „elite of the elite‟ and trained for YEARS to go into space and have that experience which, literally, changed their lives.

My heart is that during the next 30 days, as we plan, prepare, and pray, that God will visit us in such ways that we will be renewed and revived because we are awakened to the manifest presence of God in our daily lives. Every message I will speak to you for the next 4 weeks will focus on “Spiritual Awakening.”

I. Why the Focus on Spiritual Awakening?

The question for some is this: “Pastor, why are you so focused on Spiritual Awakening?” For me, it is a heart issue. Recently I read that Billy Graham said the #1 need for the American Church is “REVIVAL.” Candidly, “revival” is a good word, but it is misunderstood & misused.

II. What is Real Revival – Spiritual Awakening?

A revival is not a series of meetings. A revival does not center on gospel preaching & singing. A revival is not a week, two-week, four-day, or one-day day event. A true “revival” is a restoration of God being in charge.‟ The reading material which I have points me to this.

I have a book (from ReFresh) entitled “Revive Us, O Lord” and is a collection of sermons by the great men of God. Today, I read a message by John Avant. Dr. Avant was formerly Vice President for Evangelization at NAMB and today he is pastor of the great First Baptist Church, West Monroe, Louisiana. His message is sobering, let me read a couple of parts to you:

“The time I spent at NAMB was a valuable time for me. There was something wonderful about being able to travel the continent and see what was actually happening in the body of Christ. I’d love to be able to tell you that I would come back from trips overwhelmed by what God was doing among our people called Southern Baptists. I can’t tell you that.

What I found was that I’m not sure we really believe in God. That thought hit me over and over again - didn’t really see much that looked like what we read about in the book of Acts.”

He goes on to say we live like we don’t believe there is a God! We live in a nation which was given, blessed, and protected by the hand of God. As an aside, let us never forget those sobering words spoken by God to Israel in Deuteronomy.

Take a look around and ask, “Is God being honored?” Is God pleased? Is He among us?

III. Is Awakening Happening in America?

Today I read an article by a “Pentecostal” brother who, since 1995, has been traveling the globe to wherever it is said that “Spiritual Awakenings or Revivals” are taking place. He and his teams are doing this to investigate and see whether or not these occurrences are authentic movements of almighty God. Know what he discovered? Of the nearly 800 cases of authentic, transforming revival/awakening in the last 17 years – only 2 were in North America. Know what this tells me? We are in deep need. Romans 13:11 says it clearly.

IV. How Can Awakening Take Place?

In order to be awakened, you must be asleep. Remember all the nuances which sleep brings. The most notable one is that, when you are asleep, you are unaware of your surroundings. The Bible refers to „awakenings‟ in several ways.

I remember Jesus being asleep in a storm and even the Son of God had to be awakened to calm the storm. The disciples were asleep in the storm Jesus faced in the Garden.

We all know about being awakened out of a deep sleep and coming to consciousness to discover that something bad was going on. In 1978, Deb and I went to sleep in a house owned by the church – I awoke and saw flickering – and went to discover that the front bedroom had ignited in a fire. Had we remained asleep we would have been dead.

At this point, it would be easy to make this swirling statement: If we don’t awaken out of our spiritual slumber (which Paul wrote about), then this country will not be here for our children. By the way, while this statement might well be prophetic, it is not the correct spiritual motive for awakening to God. As much as I love this great country, restoring America to days past is not really God’s prime directive. The only country, which as far as I know, God has ever chosen is Israel – God is not looking for a country or a nation. Guess what else, “God is not even looking for a church.”

God is looking for a man. God is looking for a woman. God is looking for an individual who will surrender their whole heart to Him. He seeks those who will totally and completely give their lives to Him. In Ezekiel He said, “I sought for a man among them that would make up the hedge and stand in the gap before me for the land.” Pause there and think about that. God didn’t seek the land (nation); He sought the man. It always begins with one person. That is how this spiritual awakening will have to begin – one person at a time.


Let’s finish the verse, “I sought for a man among them that would make up the hedge and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it.” Reading this text today has a different impact than it did before, say – Last Sunday evening when Ray Woods made the application from the time of Abraham asking God to spare Sodom.

Now we get to the crux of the matter which was, in the time of Ezekiel, the saddest part of the matter. It is found in the last part of this verse. Let me explain it like this – it’s the Epilog.

To think that God looks, and on occasion finds no one, is a little sobering to me. You have heard your pastor say it many times-- our country, culture, community, and church are in spiritual trouble. Mankind, as we know it, has turned its back on God. One of the truths which we, in the church, have failed to get is this: “If this country and culture have turned their backs on God – it is because the church first turned away.” God’s call is return to me and I will return to you and you will find ME when you search for me with all of your heart.

I use the term “Spiritual Awakening” because I don’t believe any authentic believer in this body has purposely turned their back on God, but I have no difficulty believing that without realizing it, we have nodded off to sleep in the service of our Lord. Blame? Matters not. The real deal is – what will we do with this opportunity?

 I end with a story from John Avant. The topic is football. The game is the game which has been touted as the biggest wipeout in football history (at any level). The teams? Georgia Tech and Cumberland. The score, 222-0. In that game was a player who would later become a prominent attorney. His name was Bert Patty. Best I can tell, Bert played at Cumberland and was on the kick-off receiving team. During one of the kick-offs, Bert fumbled the ball and it bounced toward another guy, so Bert said, “Pick it up!” And the other guy said, “You dropped it, you pick it up.”

When it comes to having hot hearts for God, we have all dropped the ball in one way or another. We can stand around and blame each other but in these last days, it doesn’t matter who dropped the ball. Someone must pick it up.

My prayer is that it will begin here with me and with you.