8-12-2018 Storm on the Horizon


August 12, 2018


The alarm went off Thursday morning bright and early as normal. After performing my normal “wake-up” ritual of consuming 20 oz. of high-octane coffee I turned my phone on and checked the storm radar. I knew there was supposed to be a severe storm at some point with possible isolated thunderstorms throughout the day. There are a couple of reasons I checked radar 1) I wanted to choose a lake that would be out of the “known” storm danger area, if possible, 2) even though I won’t melt if rained on, the electronics on my boat is not compatible with lengthy, torrential rain and 3) I didn’t want to get caught on the lake with lightning. So, I did what I could to be prepared.


To make a long story shorter, I found one of my ‘go-to’ lakes near Three Rivers that I thought was just outside the danger zone and made my way there. To my joy I was the only boat on the water that morning. No other fisherman to work around, no speed boats with skiers, no jet skis riling the water… and the water was calm as glass. And, as if the cherry was added to the top of a sundae, the fish were hitting anything I threw their way. At least for a couple of hours.


It began with a faint sound not much different than the sound of a grumbling stomach that begs for food. You know what I mean… you can hear it, but it’s so faint you really don’t pay much attention to it. I kept fishing. Time went by fast (it always does when you’re catching fish). My focus was on the water not on the sky where it should have been. All that changed in a flash… literally.


This time it wasn’t a grumble but a distant crack… it got my attention… immediately. Without coincidence, it was only a few seconds later that my phone began to alert me that I had an urgent message coming in. It was a message from ‘Storm Team 8’ that lightning had struck within 3 miles of my location. It was time to move off the lake. NOW! Every sign pointed to an imminent storm on the horizon.


Because you’re reading this you can tell that I made it off the lake without incident. I did head south instead of north though since I knew I waited too long to respond and couldn’t get home before the storm came. Listen, the outcome could have been tragic because I was ignoring the warning signs of a coming storm all around me. Life is often like that too.


It’s just so blasted easy to get caught up in life’s ‘happenings’… we call them the ‘here and now’s’. And because of our lack of focus or our focusing on something we shouldn’t, we easily ignore the alerts that God displays. This becomes especially evident when everything is going our way. For me it was catching fish… for you it may be long awaited good news… or a long-sought accomplishment, or… you name it. We’ve all been there. But God has told us spiritual storms are coming… our spiritual radar (Holy Spirit) confirms it.


The Pharisees confronted Jesus, once again trying to trap Him into a corner. Remember, they always had two purposes for doing this, 1) to make Him speak something the Romans could arrest Him for or 2) to cause Him to be rejected by the people. Here are the results of their attempt…


Matthew 16:1-3 (NASB)
1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven.
2 But He replied to them, "When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.'
3 "And in the morning, 'There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?


(This is where the old adage “Red sky at night sailor’s delight… red sky at morning, sailor’s take warning” originated.)


Today, there are signs that God is providing significant alerts that a modern spiritual storm is on the horizon. At no point, since the civil war, (1861-65) has this country been so divided. The signs of a storm were there then… they were ignored for the most part… except by a few devout, alert, and obedient Christians. They saw that, even as God’s storm alert was on full display, God was already at work.


In 1858, 3 years prior to the beginning of civil conflict, a movement crossed this country referred to as ‘The Third Great Revival”. History records the results of that movement this way…


The effects of such an awakening are immeasurable. It resulted in the addition of approximately one million converts to the church­es of the United States. It added spiritual strength and material pros­perity to a decadent Christian cause everywhere. Baptists added almost 200,000 to their numbers by baptism. The revival gave new importance to the work of laymen in churches. It encouraged good interdenominational relationships in ways that had never been encouraged before. It added a large number of young men to the ranks of gospel preachers and filled theological seminaries with those who had committed themselves to preach Christ. It also result­ed in the formation of some new seminaries. The awakening gave the nation a badly needed moral lift. It tied the gospel with social work in a manner that had not been seen in this country before. It gave a boost to missionary giving and resulted in unusual mission­ary efforts during the War between the States. It prepared the nation for the blood bath it would soon experience in the war years of 1861-1865. It gave birth to the great revivals which swept the armies of the South during the days of the war. It softened the hardship of the period of reconstruction for the South. It continued in the work of later evangelists who labored until the end of the nineteenth centu­ry. [From When Heaven Touched Earth by Roy Fish, page 205]

The Revival of 1858 was easily the most unique awakening this country has ever experienced. Its beginning, its approval from almost every source, its spirit of cooperation, and its lack of emotional excess easily set it apart from other awakenings. It contained all the wholesome features of other awakenings and sifted out the questionable ones. Never before or since has evangelical Christianity received such widespread publicity or promotion from the public press. Ultimately, this awakening gave birth to a new era in evangelism and did not actually terminate until its force had been felt on three continents. [From When Heaven Touched Earth by Roy Fish, pages 206-207]

I believe that God is just as prepared to move over the face of the America today as He was in 1858. I believe His church needs, like our predecessors, to heed the warning signs. I also believe that all churches, including Lakeside, can and will be used to reveal God’s honor and glory… as He exhibits His mercy and grace. If we are willing, obedient, and ready to be used.


Do you hear it? Do you see it? Are you prepared for it? A storm called ‘revival’ is in the sky. Let it begin here… let it begin today!!

Thank you for your faithfulness. Pastor Larry