We took a break from our Renewal sermon series last week to celebrate what the Lord is doing among our children, but as many of you experienced, that was one of the best examples of faith and renewal I have seen in a long time! Many thanks to Ashley Gardner and all the hard-working volunteers, and especially to the parents who are faithfully raising our children in the way they should go. What a joy to hear the third graders recite their favorite Bible verses and to hear the fifth graders explain what their faith means and how they can share it! There is a reason Jesus called us to child-like faith. We adults are awfully good at overcomplicating things. May we be as joyful and courageous in sharing our faith as they are.
Many thanks also to those of you who sponsored a Bible. We were thrilled to hear that we raised over $1,000 to buy Bibles for children at Fired-Up Friday, VBS, Trunk or Treat, and other events. The Word of God is powerful, and we know it will have an impact on these children and their families.
This week in our Renewal series, we will be looking at exactly that: how does the Word of God impact our lives and our communities? The Old Testament passage highlighted in the study guide is one with which you are very familiar, since we just studied it. Nehemiah was a man of the Word of God. He prayed the Word and he shared the Word. That foundation helped him build both a physical wall around Jerusalem as well as a spiritual protection for the people.
Our New Testament passage focuses again on Paul and Timothy. Paul reminds Timothy in 2 Tim 3:14-15, "As for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." Paul is encouraging this young leader to dig into scripture, to remember the training of his youth, and to grow not just in knowledge but in wisdom in the Lord.
As we consider these two passages, we will also look at the revival known as the Great Awakening. This revival happened in the 1730s-40s and was the first revival to cross an ocean. The revival broke out in continental Europe, in Great Britain, and here in colonial America. Think about what you know about the Puritans - they were frequently very strict and unemotional and gave their children names like Prudence and Temperance. This revival shook up the lifeless churches of that era, and it had a direct impact on how people read scripture. It helped them move from head knowledge to heart knowledge, from heart knowledge to action as they lived out their faith with renewed passion and zeal.
May God wake us up to the power of His Word, so that we too might find renewed passion and zeal, renewed wisdom and action as we serve the Lord!