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September 14, 2011

Take up and read!

When Augustine overheard these words sung by children, he took up a Bible, began to read and was drawn to Christ. A time of conviction culminated in true repentance when Augustine looked intently into God's Word.

I have been studying the history of evangelicalism recently and scattered throughout are revivals. Notable is the pattern found during the First Great Awakening (1730’s and 40’s). The Bible was preached and an unusual number of people responded by casting off old sins and turning in faith to Christ. They heard God’s Word proclaimed and repented.

What caused such a harvest of souls throughout America's Eastern seaboard? According to Iain Murray, there was no formula. Pastors and church leaders simply prayed and preached. They were faithful, and God sovereignly chose to bless. The Lord rarely blesses with a flood of new believers, but when He does it is always the fruit of faithfulness to His Word.

At different points I have been asked why Capitol Commission spends so much time preparing Bible studies. A book study would free up more time for ministry. Planning events would be more exciting and draw a crowd.

Why spend so much time preparing sermons to teach in the Capitol?

Because events, meetings and programs in themselves are not what change lives. These have a right place in our ministry, but faith ultimately comes from hearing the Word (cf. Rom 10:14-17). The accounts in Murray’s Revival and Revivalism have reminded me there’s no substitution for this.

Our ministry in Illinois is evangelistic, and we would love to see a harvest of new believers in our Capitol. If the Lord should bless in this way, it will only be as His Word goes forth and His people are faithful in prayer.

Would you like to see a harvest in our Capitol? Are you praying for it?

Soli Deo Gloria,

Shaun Lewis
State Director, Illinois