Awake oh sleeper!

By Pastor John J. Settlage - Your pastor speaks

Although I’m not much of a sports fan I do enjoy watching the Buckeyes play ball. I probably watched about half of the football games last fall, maybe about a third of the basketball games this winter. Back in January while watching Ohio State vs. somestate the game was pretty ugly. It seems like they couldn’t score a point, lots of turnovers, too many fouls, basically not exciting or even interesting to watch. During the halftime chit chat I dozed off to sleep, nothing to see here. It seems like I stirred awake a few minutes into the second half only to see that things were even worse. I went back to sleep in less than a minute. The next time I roused it was into the final minutes of the game and to my joyous surprise we were within four points. What in the world happened while I was sleeping?

I often ponder these things because I believe Holy Spirit is always speaking to us, even in the natural course of life. What has the church slept through? Jesus sent His disciples to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, lose the captives, preach the Kingdom, and in all ways, with all authority, change the world. The disciples answered the call in their generation and now they stand as part of that cloud of witnesses to cheer us on. It seems to me that we have turned over the ball way more than we have scored any points. Our opponent seems to be leading and the gap is getting wider. And the church sleeps. Prayer was removed from school, no-fault divorce was legislated in, killing innocent children became a woman’s right, and the church sleeps. Every perversion that you could possibly imagine is normalized, and the church sleeps. Corrupt politicians get elected over and over again, one party even refuses any mention of God in their platform, and the church sleeps. People in our own neighborhoods are depressed, disillusioned, addicted to who knows what, hopeless, joyless, numb, and the church continues to present a pleasant homily that doesn’t challenge anyone to wake up, speak up, or stand up to the evil that now fully permeates our nation. According to Barna research most church members have never shared the gospel with anyone let alone healing the sick, raising the dead, or casting out demons. Most church goers don’t even know what kingdom they belong to. I know that right now this doesn’t seem the least bit encouraging but keep with me a little longer. There have been other dark times in history. There have been other ugly basketball games. The story isn’t over yet.

In our nation’s history there was a great spiritual awakening, and then later the second great awakening. There isn’t time here to go into those details but please do your homework and do some research on these events. Today we are on the cusp of the “Third Great Awakening.” There is a subtle stirring of the Spirit which is beginning to rouse the church. This is becoming a wake-up call to the church. This isn’t just a “renewal” or a ‘revival’, this is much bigger, an awakening! Awakenings become reformations, reformations change nations.Christians are repenting of their indifference and laziness regarding their relationship with Christ. Many are starting to realize that somewhere along the way they dropped the ball. Christians are becoming bored of their anemic, lackluster, powerless churchness. Many churches are shrinking,some have closed their doors. But, now an awakening is coming,the realization that the knowledge and methods of man are entirely inadequate to change one’s life. We need the supernatural almighty power and love of Christ to invade every molecule of who we are. We need a full scale surrender to the eternal King Jesus. We need a spiritual revelation of the very thing we have prayed for even during our slumber. Our Father in heaven, holy is Your name, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Do you believe that that means anything or not? I believe His kingdom is here now, and the King is waiting for your response.

You may want to pray something like this, “Lord I need a fresh revelation of who You are. I want to know You more, I want to experience Your kingdom in all of it’s majesty. I want to see the things that You are doing, I want to live in the power of Your love and grace. I trust You to direct all of the affairs of my life. I’m truly sorry that I have distanced myself from You and I am humbly asking You to intervene to restore my broken relationship with You. Please fill me again with Your Spirit.”

Jesus has not abandoned you, nor is He done with you. There is still so much that will play out in your life. Wake up, put on your running shoes, and join the race. Oh, by the way, Ohio State won that basketball game.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

By Pastor John J. Settlage

Your pastor speaks

The writer is the pastor of Christ the King Church near Jackson Center.

The writer is the pastor of Christ the King Church near Jackson Center.