The Blog of Pastor Jude St. John

In The Trenches

One of the things I love about football is its applicability to life. So much of what happens on the football field corresponds to our experience of living. And in particular, one can draw many parallels between the game of football and our life of faith in Jesus Christ. Most of my years playing football were played “in the trenches.” That is, I was an offensive lineman who plied my trade on the line of scrimmage. That no-man’s-land of much physical violence between opposing forces which derives its name from the battle situations of the World Wars. That place which seems, as often as not, to be an experience much like our lives. I hope to communicate with you a few things that will hopefully be of some help as you fight the good fight of faith. And since I am in this battle too, you might consider that I write these thoughts as I live my life for God in the trenches. 

Books I've Read in 2019

    • John Newton by Jonathan Aitken
    • Supernatural Power for Everyday People by Jared Wilson
    • The Freedom of the Will by Jonathan Edwards
    • The World-Tilting Gospel by Dan Philips
    • Biblical Theology by Nick Roark and Robert Cline
    • Understanding the Lord's Supper by Bobby Jamieson
    • The Works of John Newton: Volume 1 by John Newton
    • Understanding the Congregation's Authority by Jonathan Leeman
    • Pierced for Our Transgressions by Steve Jeffery, Mike Ovey, and Andrew Sach
    • The Common Rule by Justin Whitmel Earley
    • The Works of John Newton: Volume 2 by John Newton
    • Heart to Heart: Octavius Winslow's Experimental Preaching by Tanner G. Turley
    • The Inquirer Directed to an Experimental and Practical View of the Atonement by Octavius Winslow
    • The Works of John Newton: Volume 3 by John Newton
    • Missions by Andy Johnson
    • The Gospel-Driven Church by Jared Wilson
    • Date Your Wife by Justin Buzzard
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  • Mar14Mon

    Children of Revival

    March 14, 2016

    It was with significant excitement and admiration that I attended an album release worship concert last night. I’m not generally one to get excited about album release events. And yet, this was no ordinary album release event. This was my sister’s album release worship concert. More accurately this was the album release worship concert that my sister and her husband were hosting at the church building where they pastor a wonderful congregation. Their album, This Is My Song, has been available on iTunes for several months and last night was a celebration coming out of that endeavour. That is why I was excited. And it is also why I was in a state of admiration; I’m very proud of Bryar and Jonny and consider it a privilege to have shared their evening with them.

    One particular point in the evening sticks out in my mind. Bryar, Jonny, and their assembled musicians were playing the songs from the album when Bryar began to introduce the song Children of Revival. When I heard this song for the first time, it lead me to think about major movements of God in his church and the seemingly inevitable smoldering and quenching of ‘revival fire’ that follows these times of refreshing. And as you read the lyrics, you’ll see, I think, those aspects.

    Children of revival,
    Where did your fire go?

    Remember when you lived like I was real
    Burning with my love, consumed with zeal
    Remember you could see my heart in it all
    Remember when the lost were coming in
    Remember how I freed them of their sin
    Remember when you cried for the souls of men
    You used to call to me
    You recognized your needs
    You used to feel my pulse
    But now your heart beats to something else.

    Children of revival,
    Where did your fire go?

    I came to you and it was real
    You came to me and you were healed
    I spoke my word, please don’t forget. I’m not finished yet
    I know you’ve been confused by the faults of men
    Disappointed and disillusioned
    But I’m the same God now as I was then
    I put a fire in you
    Lavished my love on you
    I washed away your guilt
    With my grace, your empty soul I filled

    Children of revival,
    Where did your fire go?

    You closed the door and walked away.
    But I’m knocking at the door and I’m here to stay

    Let me in
    I’ll breathe on the embers
    Here I am
    Your heart remembers
    The way I saved and
    My forgiveness
    The way I came,
    The power of my presence.

    What was memorable last night, however, was the connection Bryar made–while introducing the song–between the lyrics and the experience they convey to the individual as opposed to the congregation. It seems to me that most Christians will think of corporate experiences when they hear the word revival. Bryar directed our thinking to the personal level.

    J. I. Packer describes revival as “God's quickening visitation of his people, touching their hearts and deepening his work of grace in their lives." This points to the corporate experience and a personal one. We need to understand that the corporate experience is a manifestation of what is happening to individuals; revival is the cumulative effect of each person.

    Bryar noted that for her the song was about individuals who had at one time had times of significant fellowship with Christ but who had, for many reasons, withdrawn or fallen away. Perhaps they had become entangled in sin or had been wounded in battle. Perhaps in a moment of betrayal, they had willingly walked away from their Saviour. In all these cases, the song inquires, “Children of revival,/ Where did your fire go?

    The image of fire as a picture of revival is not uncommon. Bryar and Jonny employ this figurative language as they portray God’s posture towards those who are “disappointed and disillusioned” and have hearts that beat “to something else.” These people, people who once knew “how [God] freed them of their sin” are now confronted with the same, unchanging God: “I’m the same God now as I was then/ I put a fire in you/ Lavished my love on you/ I washed away your guilt/ With my grace, your empty soul I filled.

    Among all the wonderful moments of the night, the clarity with which I saw this song’s message in my own life was the most poignant. If you are a Christian, through the work of Christ on the cross God has reconciled you to himself through the greatest demonstration of love the world will ever see. And likely, God has walked you through times of spiritual fervency and refreshing. We should regularly and intentionally call to mind all that God has done in our lives so that we don’t wander off, fall away, or reject the One who saved us. And if we find ourselves in a place where the fires have been smothered or allowed to burn out, we have a God who calls us to return and through the person and work of Jesus gives us the ability and desire to fan the flames of our love for Him.

    I’m fortunate to have been blessed with godly and gracious siblings by birth and by marriage; Bryar and Jonny are evidence of that.

    Comment

    On Tuesday, March 15, 2016, George Gibson said:

    Worshiping our God through music is a passion of mine.For you to be nlessed to have a sister and brother in law that lead worship through song is a blessing of which you must be so proud.I enjoy reading your blog Pastor Jude.I live in winnipeg mb my wife and i attend Calvary Temple we are also blessed to have a musical worship team that is so dedicated and adoring of God and Jesus and the holy spirit it lifts our hearts and lets us know how much God loves us.So keep posting pastor im fan.God bless you.george

     

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