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We Have Gone Astray - Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

“Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like the sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”
Isaiah 53: 4-6

Yesterday was probably one of the worst days I have had in quite some time. Each minute was an inner battle and an inner struggle. Everything I was doing I was questioning. How on earth could I keep going with this 40-day tent revival? Where is the physical strength going to come from? Where is the mental state going to come from? I was sick to my stomach. And to think that we have 33 more days…yet for some reason, when 7:00 p.m. rolled around for the evening worship service last night, God granted me peace. God allowed me to be calm. God let me be relaxed. Even when I saw the small attendance, I was encouraged. I was thankful. I was excited for how the Lord was going to work INSIDE THE TENT.

And praise the Lord for He was faithful on the 8th night! He revealed Himself last night as we hit a major turning point in the revival. You see, until last night, our messages have been about revival. The speakers have wonderfully made us aware of what revival is. They have pointed out the necessities for revival. They have pointed to us why this time for the city is important. The groundwork has been laid. The first week we were made AWARE of what revival could entail. But as I wrote yesterday, the second week must reveal a time of IMPLEMENTATION. And the time is now for us to begin pursuing the first condition of revival, which is confession of our sins. Repentance must come to His people if we desire to have an impact on our community.

Therefore after I spoke about my own life and the sin of pride that I struggle with, I had two microphones placed at the front of the stage. The TENT became an open forum for individuals to come forward and confess their sins before the Lord and others. Originally it started out as a time of testimonies, but thankfully the Lord redirected people to get real and repent of their sins. I believe the Spirit was working in the lives of many people last night. People from all walks of life came forward to repent, such as a man who was released four months ago from prison. A woman who struggles with complacency. A man who struggles with control-issues. A man who deals with homosexuality. A woman who struggles with self-centeredness. A man who struggles with pornography. A woman who wants to fall in love with Jesus all over again. A man who struggles with arrogance. God was working in the lives of people last night.

And the most encouraging part was of the night was when I announced that people were free to go at any time. They didn’t have to feel obligated about staying. I had to say this aloud because I didn’t want this time of confession forced. It was getting a bit later than normal, and I didn’t want people getting “antsy.” And as some people left, others stayed. In fact, I saw a small group of new people come in. There was a steady stream of confession for quite some time. No one was coercing anybody to do anything, except the Spirit convicting individuals to come and confess. What a beautiful image of the body of Christ getting right with the Lord! It was a solemn assembly where people recognized in their own lives what the prophet Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 53:6, “All of us like the sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way…” Isn’t this the truth? We have all turned our back on the Lord at one time or another. Maybe we are going astray right now. Do we realize whether or not we have “turned to (our) own way?” The only way to know is do a gut-check. We must be honest with ourselves. Only we know where each of us stands with the Lord. Only we know what sins we are holding onto. But we must remember that “the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” Because of Jesus Christ, we don’t have to carry the weight that our sins burden us down with anymore. Jesus Christ is our answer to our sinful lifestyle.

Therefore, please hear my cry for repentance within our church of Dallas. Let us recognize that we must return to the Lord through the confession of sins. Because when we recognize the sins in our lives, the Spirit has the freedom to work in our lives. And we will then be in agreement with the apostle Peter, when he wrote, “For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” Praise God!

" We cannot organize revival, but we can set our sails to catch the wind from Heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again."

- G. Campbell Morgan