Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Why an One Man Revival?

I've had people ask me over the past few weeks a common question. Why did you choose to name this ministry One Man Revival? I'd like to say that I thought up the idea on my own, but I had a little help.

It was 1996 and in the Christian music charts was a song floating around called Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle. Yeah, you know about that one unless you were under a rock. The next year, it hit gold on almost every chart. There were other groups and artists doing versions of the song, but Bob Carlisle was the man that started it all.

He had a CD that the song was on called Shades of Grace, later to be changed to Butterfly Kisses because of the song's popularity. Many people never told you about the rest of the CD. I'll give you a few notes. The best song to me at the time was a song called Mighty Love. It told the story of a man that felt all chippy when he was able to talk about the Gospel, but that he still made mistakes and thankfully it was God that helped him. There was also a top ten hit with Living Waters. The song talked about God was always helping the thirsty man for more of Him.

Little known and never released was One Man Revival. I put the words to the song above. I could not find a copy of this song other than a Japanese anime dedication and I just didn't feel that it was appropriate for what I am trying to say. If you're reading this on MySpace, you can listen to the song on the main page and if you have any of the big three of music downloaders (Rhapsody, I Tunes or Napster), the CD will be there and you can listen to the song.

One of the failures of my life is giving God solitude to talk to me. I miss days of reading my Bible, saying my prayers or giving praise that is due him. We all fail at it. The chorus, "I need a one man revival, a renewing of my heart to capture me before I stray too far, It's the one thing I cry for and the only way I'll know, is a one man revival in my heart (soul, for verse 2)." There are times I want God to slow me down and just say, "Hey, why don't you walk over here and sit a spell." Unfortunately, there have been too many times in my life that I keep pushing in my own strength and mess everything up. But when we mess up, God still wants us to come to Him.

That's where the revival begins. If you've been to churches going through revival, you may see many come all at the same time, because God has used a speaker or singer to bring the masses. However, in most cases, revival begins one person at a time. I remember back in 1994 when that night came for me. Truthfully, it wasn't just one night, it was many nights. The culmination came though on April 7, 1994 as I sit in a hospital waiting room hoping that my great aunt Agnes would recover from her third major stroke. I sat and I told God, "Lord, I'm almost 25 and I've made almost nothing of myself. I'm depressed, lonely and need a direction. I've messed up my life and if you can make something of this boy from Anmoore, WV, have at it." He's been working ever since.

And God has had some hard work at times. I haven't always been willing and I haven't always been nice. There were times I ran. I ran into a first marriage that should never have happened. I wanted a companion and she wanted out of the house and a baby, just like all the other 20 year old girls she knew. After two years, a divorce was on the horizon. I went back to the church it all started in to find that they didn't want me anymore. I had a friend from the old Wednesday night group that led me to the church he was going to at the time. It was just what I needed to get back in the right direction. I lost the first marriage, but began a new life and a rededication in sunny Florida. For two years plus, it was the greatest time I ever had as a single guy. I joined forces with the youth pastor there and we built (with a lot of God's help and some other great people) a thriving ministry that saw over 100 teens every Wednesday night.

I don't want to say meeting my wife changed everything, but it did. It was time for new challenges and new lessons in life. We spent the first six months of our lives in downtown Atlanta. We spent most of our time at home and thought we knew each other so well. So well, that I felt that it was time for me to step back into ministry. Foolish boy I was.

Verse two says, "In my soul I know, I've turned away it seems, you still pursued while I was busy chasing dreams, My dreams aren't worth the sacrifice of my first love, what I should be dreaming of." I pursued my dream of ministry and took a youth minister job as a volunteer. The numbers came. Unfortunately, the staff and the politics didn't. After eight months of fighting for the dream, it was taken away. I hate to say that it left me bitter. It seemed that every church we went to over the next four years, something would happen and we were gone. To say that we were gunshy might not fully get the picture. Thankfully, we have found a great church now and have been there since March 2008.

I talked honestly about my feelings to one of the pastors and for the first time in ages, I felt ready to move on no matter what. God gave me a peace at this church. My wife loved the church and the church's nursery might be the best I've ever seen. Of course, nurseries really weren't all that important until three years ago.

I've lived the bridge of the song ever since, "In my heart I'm disappointed, how my perfect world should, but if I'm gonna see a change, There's gotta be a change in me." It didn't come easy. No one wanted to tell me, "Hey Frank, you have an attitude problem." That was until I got this email from my friend Larry. Larry and I go way back to the Baptist Campus Ministry days at Fairmont State. I haven't seen Larry since 1996. I wish I could have been face to face the night I got the email. He said it bluntly that he was just stunned at some of my writing. If you don't know me well, I can be heavy on the sarcasm and my bluntness can be taken as mean. I told him that I was keeping the faith, but it began a short journey that culminated in a big hug with God. I needed them, God and Larry.

So with sitting down with a friend here in Effingham, the journey of this One Man Revival has begun. The purpose of this ministry is to encourage people who have struggled, will struggle and are dumb enough to think they'll never struggle (I've been there) that God is still with you. Good and bad. I've seen plenty of hurt in people I love and it just aches. Through my words and through some of the music that inspires me, I hope to help you through your struggles in the only way I can. I thank you if you took the time to see the humble beginning of what I hope turns out to be something for everyone. I know that I'm not perfect and won't be until The Great Physician finishes me as he takes me to Heaven, but I hope that we can dig out of the trenches of our lives together in love and encouragement.

I love you guys,

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