By PASTOR JOHN ANDERSON
"And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep…” (Rom 13:11).
Awake to righteousness, and do not sin…” (1Cor 15:34).
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16).
Urgency is something that tends to be resisted by us in the Church. Sometimes we do so with good reason, as we have a history of some among us pushing agendas with "urgency." Yet sometimes, maybe much of the time, we simply do not want to be bothered. Apathy rules.
Such resistance can blind us to times when a bit of urgency is required, when urgency is the needed and appropriate response. Certainly Scripture is urgent about various concerns: the care of our souls; repentance; seeking the Lord; looming judgment t anytime God's mercy is being ignored.
Being asleep in a time of urgency is dangerous c and we could well be in one of those times now.
Back in September, with the presidential campaign in full swing, many Christians began a 40-day prayer and fasting focusing ahead on the National Election. Esther and I did; and many others we know.
In the run-up to that 40-day focus, one Christian leader rejoiced that so many believers were motivated to participate. He was grateful that such a sizeable group was awakened to the issues in the election and the absolute urgency to earnestly seek the Lord about our nation's vote.
However, this Christian leader also felt that once the election was over the Church would go back to sleep.
Time will tell if he was right. If he is right, and we do go back to sleep, it will be tragic and perilous. The urgency of the election, which people of all political viewpoints saw as the most important in our lifetime,” caused the Church to rise and intercede for our nation.
Yet now, post-election, it is doubly urgent.
It is doubly urgent because our gracious Lord has given us a "window of mercy." We must use it well, not presume on it, by calling our nation back to the Lord.
We might learn from the time after 9/11. Sadly, that tragic day, certainly one of the most seminal moments in our nation's history, could go down as one of the most egregiously missed opportunities the Church in America and the West has ever had.
About eight months after 9/11, Esther and I attended a conference at The Cove at the Billy Graham Training Center in Asheville, North Carolina. One of the speakers was the esteemed Henry Blackaby who commented on whether anything had changed in the Church since 9/11. He said he had been in many, many, many churches: "I go and look at the bulletin, and I look at the topics of the sermons c you'd never know in most of the churches that 9/11 ever happened… I am convinced that a number one priority ought to have been a huge movement of prayer in the life of the churches."
At another juncture he sobered everyone: "On 9/11 God was saying to the Church, ‘You have sinned. And I am removing my hedge of protection from your country.”
Certainly the case may be made that 9/11 changed everyone except the Church, as after that watershed day it didn't seem to take long for us in the Church to lose the sense of urgency; to ignore what God might be saying to us; and to slip back to our programs, church calendars, and entertainment; and back to the same success, prosperity, and user-friendly message as before, with us preachers again sounding like motivational speakers instead of prophets.
However, right now we have another window of mercy. It is a powerful, signal opportunity.
So let us know the moment and speak. Once more the Church becoming a defining voice. Our pulpits prophetic.
Let us intercede. Like we did before the election.
A top priority: put repentance back into our message.
Yet let us first repent, and then humbly take our society by its hand and lead it back to our Lord.
Let's love enough to do it. True compassion will impel us.
The Apostle Paul, on trial before Felix, the Roman governor, spoke to him of "righteousness, self-control, and judgment to come." (Acts 24:25) And Felix was shaken.
Our society urgently needs to be shaken. It's morally arrogant. It's sinning boldly. It has the blood of millions of destroyed unborn on its hands. It rationalizes immorality both heterosexual and homosexual. It is teaching its children to sin. And it WILL face the consequences of its sin. It needs to understand this.
We suspect that as we in the pulpit now get urgent about where we are, and compassionately focus on repentance, prayer, national and personal sin, plus judgment, our Lord may use this to shake us t shake us as ministers, as congregations, as a nation.
He may in turn use this as a catalyst for revival and spiritual awakening. And certainly, there doesn't seem to be anything more urgent than that.
Let Us Pray: Our gracious heavenly Father, You have wonderfully given us a window of mercy. By definition of course we do not deserve it. We pray we in the Church will understand our moment, and put repentance back into our message and seek Your Face on behalf of our nation. May Your Church become a prophetic voice in our land, and we see revival and spiritual awakening. In the Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.