6/15/11

America, Seriously Broken

Respected evangelical voices recently urged a return in America to God and biblical values. Franklin Graham wrote, "Our nation today is in trouble. We see moral decay spreading throughout the land. Our country is deteriorating rapidly, an ever-tightening spiral downward-financially, socially, and spiritually. America is decaying from within.

"The real problem," Graham said, "is that as a nation we have turned our backs on God, removing Him from schools, businesses, and government, and unfortunately, many a family has taken God out of their home as well. If this country hopes to make it through the enormous crises we now face, if we want America to be a nation worth leaving to our grandchildren, we have to turn back to God."

Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, described the self-fulfilling behavior of Americans over the biblically moral responsibility to family as "narcissistic," "selfish," "destructive," and "self-idolatry." Land told The Christian Post that those who believe that there is no problem with America's value system are part of this country's moral decline, which is reaching a critical point.

"We're seriously broken and it's getting worse, and we're reaching a crisis point where we're either going to have to restore traditional American values ... or we're going to see our society denigrate," Land said.

According to that same article in The Christian Post, a national poll shows that "while Americans are still holding on to some traditional moral values, they have validated immoral behaviors that are self-satisfying." These "validated immoral behaviors" include those that focus on Americans "supposed rights and privileges," Land said.

For example, according to the poll, American's supposed "right to be loved" has led 69 percent of Americans to value divorce (69 percent), homosexual relations (56 percent), sex outside of marriage (60 percent) and having children outside of marriage (54 percent) as "morally acceptable behaviors."

The saddest part of the poll is the increase in the number of Americans who falsely believe the country's morality is excellent or good. Does it not grieve your heart that Americans are so deluded concerning sin?

I know in my heart that it only takes one person with a heart stirred by God to see the seeds of revival blossom in churches and communities.

I was moved recently, by a blog post by a pastor in Little Rock who was so burdened for the need for revival in America that he wrote a pointed blog post that ultimately lead to a powerful moving of God in his church.

The March 9 post, "Before I Die," spoke of Pastor Bill Elliff's desire for and dream of a national revival in God's church that would change the culture. He said he believed God is powerful enough to repeat history and bring much-needed revival "in spite of our sin and weakness and our fears and traditions." It's a dream, he said, that he's "not giving up on" until he dies.

I know this man. His words in a "Revival Week" message at Life Action Ministries a few years ago ~ "Everything flows from the presence of God" ~ changed my perspective on abiding in Christ versus "performance." So I know that his words concerning revival were not the words of a pastor who was not prepared to back up his message with prayer and passion for souls. It is not surprising to read on the Summit Church blog, that things started happening.

By April 10th, he wrote about the experience of not quenching the Spirit of God in just one worship service on a Sunday morning. That was followed by a series of posts ~ reports of God's Mercies ~ that detailed the power of God in the lives of his church members and others in his community who God touched with the desire to become broken, surrendered, holy people. The last time I read the reports (May 15th, 2011), the stirrings continued. Pastors in Little Rock were working together, sensing God's movement and planning special times of joint and individual church prayer for revival.

Again, stirrings of national revival begin small, often with one man.

I had the privilege of serving with a man who cared deeply about America's need for revival. Del Fehsenfeld, Jr., founder of Life Action Ministries (now deceased), once said, "Revival, no matter how great or small in its ultimate scope, always begins with individual believers whose hearts are desperate for God, and who are willing to pay the price to meet Him."

He believed that "Nothing short of an outpouring of God's Spirit will revitalize and empower an impotent and anemic church to display once again His glory to a lost world."

We are so lost in America. In spite of our many churches, our people are disintegrating from within, and the enemy rejoices. We flirt with spiritual ideas while enjoying and toying with our sins.

This week, as I looked through some statistics about pornography, adultery, divorce and other "big" sins ~ and then read about America's obsession with so-called "little" sins like overeating and hoarding ~ the ugliness hit me hard. We are seriously broken people, and bound for judgment, because God cannot tolerate our sin.

Fehsenfeld said, "The only thing that is going to stop the onslaught of God's judgment in America is a genuine revival in the Church."

"God wants to avert judgment," he said "and He's simply looking for one person who will pay the price in prayer and in faith and in commitment, whatever it takes, to get a hold of God and not let loose."

Pastor Elliff is one such man. Del Fehsenfeld, Jr., was one such man, and I believe his successor, Byron Paulus, Executive Director of Life Action, has their same heart. Paulus wrote, "Authentic moves of God originate in hearts that are desperate for God and His glory."

God is looking for other men and women with the same heartbeat for revival. The nation's healing begins with God's people (2 Chronicles 7:14) before it can flow to others.

I'm asking myself this question: Do you have a desperate heart for God? And I ask you the same question, if you are reading this today. Are you desperate for God? Are you willing to pay the price for holiness in your own life and the life of your church? Are you willing to pray for revival and not let go until it comes?

Fehsenfeld often closed his messages with heart-searching questions, and I believe he would invite us to ask ourselves this telling question today:

"If revival depended on me (my prayers, my faith, my obedience), would America ever experience revival?"

America is seriously broken, friends, and only God can heal her.

1 comment:

Kathryn Hansen said...

Amazing post, Dawn. I firmly believe we are on the road to disaster. Just looking in the next generation in my family--my nieces and nephews I see the decay. Of the 5 that are over 20 3 lived or are living with their (now) spouse or boyfriend. They have all given their life to Jesus, bbut don't follow Him in their relationship life.