The Essence of ReFRESH
We are now in our tenth year of ReFRESH® conferences. We’ve held them in the Ozarks, Smokies, Richmond (IMB staff), and Albany at Sherwood. Each conference is unique. God seems to always bring the people who need to be there. No conference is like another one. The settings, those attending, the wind of the Spirit, and the flow of the sessions differs from conference to conference. In leading over 20 of these, each one stands alone.
In looking at the decline of morals, values, decency, and ethics in our culture, it became quite obvious that we need revival. I don’t think revival will come from the White House or Congress. I don’t think it can be legislated or even orchestrated. We can, however, pray and seek God as His people. Revival is a church matter. When revival comes, the climate and the culture will change. It could change locally, regionally, or even nationally. It has to begin with leaders, with God’s remnant.
A revival is a work of God’s spirit among God’s people. The lost are never told to seek God for revival; the saints are. Revival is God rending the heavens and coming down on His people. It is an awareness that adjustments need to be made. Priorities need to be changed. Choices are called for. Repentance is expected. Restoration is necessary.
Do we need revival? Why? What’s the big deal? It’s just a meeting right? Don’t you know how busy we are? Our calendar is already full of stuff. Revival is a new beginning. Let me ask you a few questions:
● Is there something missing in your Christian life?
● Are you serving God more and enjoying it less?
● Have you grown weary in well doing?
● Are you discouraged because some prayer is not being answered?
● Do you feel a distance between you and God?
● Was there ever a time when you were closer to God than you are today?
● Are you concerned that your children grow up to love Jesus and serve Him with all their hearts?
● Do you care about the condition of our community? Our state? Our nation?
● Do you live in fear of the future?
● Are you ready for Christ to return? Would you be embarrassed if He came today?
● Would you describe your life as a pursuit of holiness, or are you just getting by?
● Are you comparing yourself to others, or is your standard Christlikeness?
● Is your prayer life where it needs to be?
How you answer those questions will let you know if revival is important or not. ReFRESH® is a time to deliberately think on these matters. Some of you are in danger of being devoured by the wolves. Some of you are wandering dangerously close to a cliff and are about to fall. Some are about to quit the ministry.
The cloud of blessing is moving off America. Christianity is exploding in third world countries. It is prospering on other continents. Here in the land of freedom of religion, we take our religion for granted. “In God We Trust” is stamped on our money, but He’s the last resort, not the first option. Whatever we do in these next few years will determine the kind of country, church, and future we leave to our children.
If you think it’s bad now, wait another ten or twenty years. Paganism will rule the day. Just look at how quickly we’ve fallen in the last fifty years. The pace of paganism is cancerous. It devours and destroys. We can’t afford to sit and sing “In the sweet by and by” when we are headed down the slippery slope.
We’ve witnessed the moving of the Spirit in our previous conferences. You can’t get it by osmosis. You can’t get it by buying the tapes. Revival is in many ways atmospheric. It can’t be explained, it has to be experienced.
James Buchanan writes, “A revival of religion…consists in new spiritual life imparted to the dead and in new spiritual health imparted to the living.” Stephen Olford said, “Revival is not some emotion or worked up excitement; it is an invasion from heaven that brings a conscious awareness of God.”
Iain H. Murray wrote, “The characteristic of revival is that a profound consciousness of sin is produced in many persons at the same time by an awareness of God.” J. I. Packer writes, “Revival means the work of God restoring to a…church, in a manner out of the ordinary, those standards which the New Testament sets forth as being entirely ordinary.”
Take some time off. Invest in your spiritual life. Revival is not an option, it’s a necessity. If it’s optional, you may be in a more serious spiritual condition than you realize.
Join us this year! There’s still to sign up for the Ozarks or the Smokies. Cost to attend is $150. Register online at www.ReFRESHconference.org or contact Debbie Toole (firstname.lastname@example.org, 229-883-1910, ext 1200).