Path to Revival

by Pastor Billy Chidester
 
My family and I have been out of town for a couple of weeks, but I am so glad to be back home. One of the blessings of vacation is the rest that we are able to get. I’m not merely talking about physical rest, but mental and emotional rest. It was that time for me. Praise the Lord!
 
I have been reading through The Old Testament book of Judges and I believe The Lord has given me a Word to share with you. In Judges 10 we are told that the people of Israel had sinned. Here is what it says in verse 6: “then the Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They worshipped the Baals and the Ashtoreths, The God’s of Adam, Sidon, and Moab, and the gods of the Ammonites and the Philistines. They abandoned the Lord and did not worship Him.”
 
The last sentence says it all. They abandoned the Lord and did not worship him. They began worshipping other gods rather than the one, true God, who had brought them out of Egypt. When Israel had had enough verse 10 tells us what they did and what the Lord required of them. Verse 10 says: “so they cried out to the Lord, saying, We have sinned against you. We have abandoned our God and worshipped the Baals.” In essence what the Lord did was He removed His Spirit and Power from Israel because they had abandoned Him. And Israel had to do three things: Humble themselves, confess their sin, and repent. If they would do those three things, He would return to them.
 
Now, what does this have to do with us? I believe this is more than a story from history. I believe that history repeats itself and that we can learn from those before us and practice what they did. I believe that the Lord has removed His Spirit from many churches in the United States. And when He does this it is for the same reason as He did so in Judges 10: His people abandon Him and worship other gods (while we may not bow before statues in our culture we surely bow before the god of self, among other gods). 
 
The answer for revival remains the same today: humbly crying out to God in confession and repentance of sin. Simple enough, right? While we may say “Amen” to this, I wonder how many of us (myself included) take the time to search our own hearts for signs of abandoning the Lord. I’ve noticed in the church (many local churches) that it appears that the Lord has removed His Spirit and Power, but instead of humble confession and repentance, we point the finger at culture (which has always been ungodly) and at one another. No doubt some churches have abandoned the truth of the gospel and the foundation of God’s Word. But I’m not primarily speaking to them. Instead, I am speaking to those who, rather than looking in our own heart to see if we (individually) have abandoned the Lord for the gods of self or tradition, point the finger at the culture or other believers. 
 
The path to revival is always the same: humble confession and repentance. So, what am I proposing? I’m proposing that we begin by taking time to ask the Lord: Have I abandoned you in any way? What idols am I following, Lord? 
 
The act of even taking the time for this requires humility. My prayer is that our eyes will be opened and we will humble ourselves before the Lord. He has great things planned for you and for our church. The future is bright and the best is yet to come. Come with me to the altar of the Lord and together we will seek the Lord. 
 
May the Lord shine on you, bless you and strengthen you as you seek Him.
 


Can You Trust the Bible?

by Pastor Billy Chidester
 
Can you trust the Bible? Should you even take the Bible seriously?

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The Power of Our Tongue

by Pastor Billy Chidester
 
Romans 1:16 says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” I love that verse! O how great the power of the gospel! Thank you Lord for our salvation! We often times forget, though, that the gospel doesn’t just save us from future punishment for sin, but in it we also are set free from the present power of sin. (I would hope for an Amen at this point.)
 
One of the ways that the gospel effects us today if we are surrendering to the power of the gospel is that our words change. Jesus said in Luke 6:45, “A good person produces good out of the good stored up in his heart. An evil person produces evil out of the evil stored up in his heart, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.” The gospel of Jesus Christ–when it changes a person–changes all of him or her. As a follower of Jesus may this be a reminder and an exhortation. 

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The Next Generation of Servants

by Pastor Billy Chidester
 
I pray that all is well with you this week. As I was praying this morning, some concerns came to my mind. Earlier this week I read an article by Greg Koukl. He said, “The most important generation is always the next generation.” As I thought about this I realized that there is much truth in that statement. Judges 
2:10 says, “That whole generation was gathered to their ancestors. After them another generation rose up who did not know the Lord or the works He had done for Israel.” For the next generation to know the Lord, the current generations in the church must be all about teaching  and training them.

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Begging God

by Pastor Billy Chidester
 
 
Have you ever wandered what Jesus’ prayer life looked like? The Bible gives us a glimpse of His prayer life in numerous places in the New Testament, but I’d like to bring your attention to one in particular. Look at Hebrews 5:7:
 
“During His earthly life, He offered prayers and appeals with loud cries and tears to the One who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence.” 

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Meet Generation Z

by Pastor Billy Chidester
 
Below is a blog that I read recently that should challenge you and I in our

thinking. Check it out…

Meet Generation Z 

I know some are still trying to catch up with Busters, or Generation X, or whatever we called those who followed the Boomers. Or maybe you leapfrogged over all that straight to Generation Y (Millennials), on whom marketers have been focused for at least a decade. I could tell you there are actually six living generations in America, but I don’t want to add to your stress.


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Communicating Well

by Pastor Billy Chidester
 
Communication is one of the most important disciplines in life. I call it important because communication is what makes or breaks relationships. I have seen that faulty communication has caused great problems in my marriage, in my relationship with my kids, in relationships at church, work and school. The list goes on and on. Why? Because wherever we go we engage in relationships. The same is true in our relationship with God. Faulty communication and lack of communication will always spell disaster in our relationship with God. In our relationship with God, as well as our relationship with everyone else, communication takes practice. What I would like to do now is give you just a few practical thoughts about your personal communication with God (i.e. pray).

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An Open Letter

by Pastor Billy Chidester
 

I hope that you are doing very well. I know that you, like me, had much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! Having said that, it was a rough Thanksgiving for me. I began feeling bad on Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving and when I woke up Thursday I felt horrible! It seemed like nothing more than a sore throat and I thought it would pass in a couple of days as it often does. Well, not this time.


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How Do We Avoid Taking Scripture Out of Context?

by Pastor Billy Chidester
 
Another way of asking this question is, how do we avoid wrongly interpreting passages of scripture in the Bible? This is important because whole theologies (beliefs about God) can be based on one person’s interpretation. New denominations have been started and even false religions have been started because
of faulty interpretation.

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Fast and Faithful

by Pastor Billy Chidester
 
The Lord has called His followers to fast. That’s simple enough, right? Actually, in theory fasting is simple, but it’s not natural. And, it’s very much a counter-cultural discipline for Christians. The Lord has called His people to be counter-cultural. We are called to be holy and to be separate from the rest of the world. If we want to be different from the rest of the world, then we need to do things differently from the rest of the world. Or, we need to not do things that the rest of the world is doing. We are called to be faithful to the Lord and fasting is part of that. Let’s talk about fasting for a moment.

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