Revival Is Coming | Harrison Conley
Today, on Answers with Bayless Conley: There is no greater form of enlightenment. There is no greater or higher form of doctrine that you can subscribe yourself to. It’s Jesus. He is the fulfillment of every longing heart. Hi, I’m Bayless Conley. I’ve been a pastor going on four decades. But if you had seen some of the
earlier chapters of my life, you probably never would have guessed that I would have ended up serving in gospel ministry. Growing up, I was raised a normal Southern California kid. But as a teenager, my life quickly spiraled into drug and alcohol addiction, and a search for answers. After a number of near-death experiences, I came to know Jesus and experienced His life-changing power. I found out that He was what I had been searching for and that there were answers in His Word. In life, we all face uncertainty. Whether it’s financial troubles, relationship valleys,
a health crisis, or just trying to discover your purpose, one thing is for certain; God sees you. He loves you. And no matter what you are facing, He has the answers. Hi there, you know the world has been experiencing some of the craziest, most difficult times certainly that I can remember in my lifetime. And I am convinced that the precious fruit of the earth is ripening and getting ready for harvest. Harrison Conley, our eldest son,
who is the lead pastor here at Cottonwood Church, is going to be bringing a message to you in just a moment entitled, “Revival Is Coming.” So, all I can tell you is get ready. Get ready. Get ready. This morning, I want to stir your heart toward revival. And I want to share something with you that I feel like God has been speaking to my heart, something that I feel is prophetic. Now, I realize that maybe that term prophetic scares you a little bit. Maybe it’s been abused in the Church over the last 50 years or so, but I don’t take what I’m about to say lightly. I don’t treat this flippantly, and I don’t want you to receive it as hyperbole.
I would not say this if I didn’t genuinely feel this is what God is speaking to me. And I actually pray that what I’m about to share will be confirming for some of you, that you’ll look at it and you’ll hear it, and you’ll go, “Yeah, that’s what God has been speaking to me as well.” In the Old Testament, particularly in the creation account, the Holy Spirit is said to be hovering or brooding over the water, over the face of the deep. And maybe in the best way that you can in your mind’s eye, I want you to capture that picture.
See the Holy Spirit hovering over the face of the water. Because this is what I feel like God is saying to me, He’s saying that His Holy Spirit is beginning to hover over the water again and He’s creating a groundswell. That’s the term that comes up in my heart. The Holy Spirit is creating a groundswell. And just like an ocean swell becomes a wave and eventually crashes on the shore, I believe that God is saying that there’s a groundswell of His power and His conviction that’s getting ready to break out along the coast. So what does this mean for us? I believe it means it’s time for us to be sober and vigilant of mind because revival is coming.
But, hear me, hear me, and this is the heart of what I want to get at today, corporate revival is always preceded by personal revival. I want you to catch this. Yes, we long for corporate revival for God to move in our midst, but that will never happen if we don’t first inwardly, individually experience revival. Personal revival always precedes corporate revival. And with that in mind, and for the last few minutes that I have this morning, I want to talk about a few areas that, if we’re going to see revival happen, we need to first revive in our own hearts, so here’s the first thought: If we want to see revival, we have to first revive our love for the person of Jesus on an individual level. We have to first revive our love for the person of Jesus, and this is something that I’m passionate about. This thing goes first on the list. If we don’t get this one right, nothing else will work. It always comes back to Jesus. It’s Jesus in the beginning. It’s Jesus in the middle. It’s Jesus in the end. The Bible says that
He’s first and He’s foremost, and in all things, He has preeminence. Everything is held together in the person of Jesus. More than our family, more than our friends, more than our career, more than the business, more than the school, Jesus has to be our number one pursuit. He has to be our number one passion in life. And if we get that thing wrong, nothing else will work. I wonder, do you love Jesus as much as you did when He first saved you? May it never be said of any one of us that we left our first love. We have to revive our love for the person of Jesus. He’s everything.
There is no greater form of enlightenment. There is no greater or higher form of doctrine that you can subscribe yourself to. It’s Jesus. He is the fulfillment of every longing heart. I wonder, when was the last time you were alone with Him? When was the last time you heard His voice? When was the last time you were quiet enough and still enough for long enough? Have time with Him, and not to get something from Him. Man, I’m so guilty of that. God, I need You. Anoint me to do this. God, I need provision. When was the last time we sat just to be with Him, realizing that He’s the prize, not wanting anything from Him except to be at His feet? If we want to see revival, we have to revive our love for the person of Jesus. How do we do that? A couple of ways, number one, we do it through His Word. Do you want to fall
in love with Jesus? Fall in love with His Word. Jesus is the Word. Spend some time in the Gospels, in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Read about how Jesus interacted with people. Read about how Jesus loved the unlovely. Look how Jesus touched the untouchable. Try and emulate that in your life. Read through the Pauline epistles. Man, Paul had this desire. He said in the book of Philippians 3, “That I may know Him and experience the power of His resurrection.”
Paul has such a revelation of the person of Jesus in the plan of salvation in the earth. Spend some time in the Old Testament. Read about the types and shadows. You’re like, “Jesus? He wasn’t even in the Old Testament.” Yes, He was. This whole Book,
the Bible is about Him. And if you read it without looking for Him, you’re missing it. It’s about Jesus. He is the essence and the totality for what we’re looking for. Jesus is the Word. This thing is about Him. It’s not just ink on a page. It’s supernatural, and it has the ability to change and transform your life. You want
to fall in love with the person of Jesus? Fall in love with His Word. Here’s the second way you can fall in love and revive your love for the person of Jesus. Get around His people. Get around His people. Now, I realize that people are not perfect. And we’re not always the greatest reflection of Jesus that we should be. But, nonetheless, we see more of Jesus together than we do alone. You’re limited if your only vantage point of Jesus is what you can see. We get around other people, and they begin to talk about who Jesus is to them, who the Holy Spirit has revealed Jesus to be. Suddenly, we see a new dimension, a new facet of the grace of Jesus.
I shared this a few months ago, but when my grandfather passed away, at his memorial service, each of the family members had the opportunity to get up and to share stories and our perspective on our grandfather. And I got up, and I shared my story, and then I sat down, and then I heard story after story after story about how my cousins and my brother and my sister, my parents, my aunt and uncle saw my grandfather, and it was almost like getting an education. Suddenly, I began to see different dimensions of this man that I thought I knew so well. Suddenly, I began to see a completely different side to him, and he became amazing to me all over again. Can I say the same thing happens when you get around people of like precious faith, and you begin to talk about Jesus? Here’s what happens. Jesus begins to be like that diamond that, no matter what angle you view Him from, you get to see a new dimension and a new facet of His grace and His brilliance. Jesus continues to be beautiful.
Listen, you’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to your perspective of Jesus. You can never plumb the depths of the person of Jesus. We will spend this lifetime and all of eternity discovering the more of who Jesus is. Whoever you think Jesus is, whatever you think Jesus is, I know this for sure, He is more. And if we want to see revival, we have to first revive our personal love for the Savior, the person of Jesus. Here’s the second area. If we want to see revival, we have to revive our love
for the lost, for the lost. And, again, if we don’t get step one right, reviving our love for the person of Jesus, this one won’t work, because Jesus’ heart breaks for the lost. He came to seek and to save that which is lost. The will of God is this, that none should perish, but that all find salvation. The heart of God is for lost people. And if we are not actively
pursuing the lost, if we are not actively praying for the lost, what are we doing? That’s why we read in Luke 15 that, when the shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one goes missing, he leaves the 99 to go after the one. God’s heart breaks for the lost. I wonder, does your heart, does my heart break for the lost? Are we consumed by seeing people in eternity? Because eternity is real. Eternity is forever. And people will spend eternity somewhere. And if we are not actively seeking and trying to save the lost, what are we doing? Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I’ll make you become a fisher of men.” That’s kingdom language. Jesus is talking about taking one person from one kingdom into another
kingdom just like you would take a fish from the kingdom of the ocean to the kingdom of land. You see, in the first century, water was typed as a kingdom that represented chaos and darkness and death. And Jesus is saying, “If you follow Me, I’m going to teach you to be a fisher, to be a fisher of men, where you’re going to take people from one kingdom, a kingdom of darkness, a kingdom of chaos, a kingdom of death, and help bring them into a new kingdom, the kingdom of light.” Make no mistake. We live in a world where there are two kingdoms happening side by side simultaneously. We live in a spiritual world, and there is a kingdom of darkness, and there is a kingdom of light. And you and I have been tasked as ambassadors of Christ to
bring people from death into life. That’s why I said we were taken out of darkness and transposed into the kingdom of light, the kingdom of His Son. And I have to regularly assess in my own life if I’m not fishing, am I really following. And if I get really honest with myself, sometimes I feel like I’ve done my job and I can check the box when I fish from the platform. But the truth is, just like you, I’ve been called to go into my neighborhood.
I’ve been called to go into the sports fields where my kids play, the school system where my kids go to school and be salt and be light. The earth is perishing, but we’re salt, we’re a preserving agent. The world is dark, but we are light. We bring truth. We bring hope. We bring leadership to the world around us. I wonder if our hearts break for the lost because if we’re going to see revival, we have to revive our love for the lost.
How do we do this? We do it by realizing we’ve got a personal responsibility. Listen, God has no plan B for the world. It’s you, and it’s me. He’s called us and He’s tasked us to be co-laborers with Him. And I know sometimes the idea of sharing our faith can be intimidating, but, as Pastor B shared so beautifully last week, look, the power is not in the messenger, the power is in the message, and we need to just be available.
When was the last time we prayed and said, “God, here I am, send me. Put me in a place where I have to share my faith.” Boy, that’s a dangerous prayer to pray. You pray that I promise you God will answer that prayer. And you know what you’ll find if you pray it? Ministry is everywhere. There is no shortage of opportunity for ministry. This is a prayer I’ve been praying regularly, and God has answered that prayer.
Now, I’m not a huge, big, outgoing personality outside of the pulpit. I tend to be a little bit more reserved. And now I’ve got people starting conversations with me, going like, “Hey, do you want to go play golf?” I’m like, “I don’t even know your name.”
But, yeah, inwardly, I’m going, “God, Lord, here I am, send me. If I can be a blessing, if I can play a part.” I may not lead him to Christ. But Paul planted, Apollos watered, God brought increase. I’ve got a part to play. The other day, I was at a coffee shop, sitting there, reading a book, drinking my coffee, minding my own business. Somebody walked up to my table and set their laptop down and said, “Hey, could you watch this while I use the restroom for a minute?” I said, “Sure. I can’t promise it’ll be here when you get back, though.” And they went and used the restroom and came back. And instead of taking their laptop
and then going back to where they were, he sat down at my table and he starts talking to me. He goes, “What are you reading?” I’m like, “Oh, the Bible.” He goes, “Oh, cool, what do you do?” and I was placed in a position where now I could share my faith.
Listen, these things didn’t happen before, but as soon as I started praying, “God, here I am, send me.” Do our hearts break for the lost? Because if we’re going to see revival, we have to first revive our love for the lost. And if we’re going to see revival, the Church needs to be one; unity. Where brethren dwell together in unity, God commands a blessing. He pours out His Spirit in the place of unity. Are you facing a problem that you need an answer to in your health, in your relationships, in your finances? Or maybe you feel suck in a situation, lacking a clear direction or purpose? You can find answers for your life.
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It’s absolutely free. Go online right now, BaylessConley.com, to sign-up. That’s BaylessConley.com. Let me give you two more quickly. My time is gone. Number three, if we’re going to see revival, we have to revive our love for the Church, capital C, the Church, the Church. Did you know that the Church is called the Bride of Christ? Did you know Jesus loves His Church? Jesus died for His Church. Could you imagine walking up to me and going, “Harrison, man, good to meet you.
I really like you, but you know what, your wife, your bride, man, I can’t stand her?” I’d look at you sideways and be like, “This relationship is not going to work.” But yet so many Christians go, “Jesus, I love You, but, man, I can’t stand Your Church.” And Jesus goes, “That’s My Bride. That’s the only thing I’m still building in the earth. I died for My Bride.” And, yes, the Church is imperfect. You know why? Because the Church is full of people,
but we serve a perfect Savior. And I’ve just decided that I’m going to live and I’m going to breathe from a place of unity. Jesus prayed over His Church. I pray that you would be one. If the world would see that, it would be a witness. Yes, there are churches where, doctrinally, I have some differences. Yes, there are some churches
with different methods and expressions that maybe don’t work for me. But you know what I’ve found? I found that if someone is going to promote Jesus and preach Jesus and elevate Jesus and bring people to Jesus, instead of saying I’m against them, I’m going to build a bridge and find commonality and say, “We’re the Church. We’re on mission together, the great commission to be the hands and the feet of Jesus in the earth.” And if we’re going to see revival, the Church needs to be one; unity. Where brethren dwell together in unity, God commands a blessing. He pours out His Spirit in the place of unity. How do we revive our love for the Church? We do it by getting off the sidelines and making church a priority in our life. With my family, I’ve just decided, me and my family; we’re going to serve
the Lord. Just like he said in the book of Psalms, I was glad when they said unto me we were going to go into the house of God. I’m not just going to attend service. I’m not just going to come when it’s convenient for me. No, I’m going to be here every time the doors are open, and I’m going to give my life, and I’m going to sacrifice because I’m a living sacrifice, and I’ve been called to serve. I’ve been called to make a difference in the earth. What we’re up to is eternal.
Listen, the local church that reflects the light of Jesus is the hope of the world. This matters and I’m going to make it a priority of my family, and we’re going to serve. If you’re looking for an opportunity, a practical way to fall in love with the church, get plugged in serving. Fall in love with His Church. And here’s the last one, if we’re going to see revival, we have to revive our love for prayer. Oh, this is so important. We have to revive our love for prayer. No man or woman is greater than their prayer life. Prayer is the place where vision gets
re-calibrated. Prayer is the place where we receive strength for the fight. Prayer is the place where we experience the peace of God regardless of what’s going on around us. But, perhaps most importantly, prayer is the place where God bestows His anointing. The anointing is found, and it’s fortified in the place of prayer. And, friends, you need the anointing. If you’re going to be effective in your walk with God; if you’re going to be effective in the world, you have to have the anointing. If you’re going to be an effective parent,
you need the anointing. If you’re going to be an effective business owner, you need the anointing. If you’re going to be an effective student, manager, teacher, or truck driver, you need the anointing because it’s the anointing that breaks the yoke. Every time, before I get up to preach, I spend time praying in the spirit because it’s the anointing. It’s only found in that place of prayer. John Wesley, the famous preacher, he said,
“Before I preach, I pray, and I set myself on fire, and people come and watch me burn.” It’s the anointing that breaks the yoke. It’s the anointing that sets you apart in a dark world. We need His anointing. And if you trace back through history
and you look at every move of God, it’s always preceded by people on their face seeking God, people praying not just a one-off prayer, but prayer as a lifestyle. You look through the book of Acts; you read the Acts of the Apostles, you see God move supernaturally through His Church and through individuals. Chapter after chapter, line by line, event by event. And you know what always precedes those supernatural moments? Somebody was praying. And if we’re going to see revival break out in the Church, we as individuals have to revive our love for prayer. It has to start here. It has to start with us. How do we revive this love for prayer? It only happens one way. It only comes one way, by praying, by praying. And so I wonder if each of us practically could commit
to praying just a little bit more. I know a lot of you pray, but I wonder if we could do just a little bit more. As Pastor B said a few weeks ago, maybe we could just go a little bit further. Maybe after you drop your kids off at school, you’ll just commit that, as you drive home or as you drive to work, you’re going to pray in tongues. Maybe, students, you can just commit to going a little bit further. As you walk between first period and second period, you would pray in tongues or pray that God would give you, your school, that God would give you the heart of the professor, that God would bring His kingdom to your campus.
Could you go just a little bit further? Why? Because prayer always precedes revival, and if we’re going to see a move of God, we’ve got to revive our love for prayer. God said, “My people that are called by My name, if they’ll humble themselves, if they’ll pray, if they’ll seek My face and they’ll ask for repentance,” God said, “I’ll hear their prayer, and I’ll forgive their sins, and I’ll heal their land.” We have to revive a love for prayer. What a message. What an exhortation. I do believe revival is coming. But it does begin with us. And you know that last point about renewing our love and our passion for prayer, it’s not out of reach. I know some people they hear that and think, “Yeah, well,
I know myself too well.” Listen, you’ve just got to start somewhere. You know, if you wake up in the middle of the night every night to go to the bathroom, well when you finish doing your business, get on your knees for 5 minutes or 10 minutes and seek the Lord before you go climb back in that warm bed and go to sleep. You can do that. Set your alarm five minutes earlier in the morning. Slide out of bed. Get on your knees and pray. Take a little prayer walk in the afternoon during lunch. Do something. God will meet us as we come toward Him. And the Bible says that we can come boldly to the throne of grace. We can obtain
mercy to help us in our time of need. And my friend, this is a time of need. Father, I pray for my friends that are watching right now that they would be encouraged in their hearts to begin to seek Your face. Lord, I pray that revival does begin in their own hearts. And they draw close to You in Jesus’ name.
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