By Vicki Brown, Word&Way Associate Editor
Lee's Summit — Author and speaker Anne Graham Lotz challenged listeners to hear God's wake-up call to revival.
"God's blessing on America is directly related to His people waking up," Lotz told messengers and guests to the Baptist General Convention of Missouri annual meeting on March 31.
God has been setting off alarms through major historical events, including the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina and the Southeast Asia tsunami.
"God wants to wake up His people.... It's time to hear the alarms," she said.
Christians will not be able to hear God's alarms until they experience personal revival, Lotz noted, pointing to Isaiah as an example.
The first five chapters of the Book of Isaiah do not indicate any sin in the prophet's life, Lotz said. "But God saw his potential for greatness," she added. "Isaiah needed to experience personal revival.
"Isaiah didn't seem to think he needed anything," she said. "I wonder if you think you don't need anything."
The death of King Uzziah was God's alarm to Isaiah. The king's death shook the prophet emotionally, financially and spiritually, she said.
"In what way has your life been shaken?" Lotz asked.
When life is shaken, individuals tend to look at a specific event that shook it. Isaiah looked to God. "When we get a wake up call, it is appropriate for the child of God to look up," Lotz said.
Isaiah gives an Old Testament reflection of Jesus, she explained. Isaiah's eyes were opened to a fresh vision of Jesus' power. His eyes were opened to Jesus' position, person, presence and praise. And Isaiah more fully understood his position before God.
The prophet saw Jesus exalted in the temple. Lotz said she believes there is a movement today to include Jesus as "just one of the boys" — as one option among many, such as Buddha, Mohammad and founders of other religions. "Jesus is seated at the right hand of God.... All others are under His feet," Lotz told messengers.
Isaiah saw Jesus' presence fill the temple. Lotz reminded listeners that each believer is the temple of God and asked them to imagine what could happen if all Christians were filled with Jesus' presence.
"If all of us were filled, we wouldn't be talking about revival...we would be having revival," she said.
In Isaiah's vision, the temple was shaken with praise. "If Jesus never does what you ask Him to do, can you still just praise Him?" she asked.
Lotz added that when believers face difficulties "and you can still praise Jesus, that's when the world takes notice."
When Isaiah caught a fresh vision of God's holiness, he recognized his position before the Lord. The prophet had issued six woes to the Israelites. But when he saw God, he realized and acknowledged his own sinfulness.
"We are so good at blaming someone else. We blame others for our sin, but the choice for sin is our own," Lotz said.
"When was the last time you acknowledged your sin?" she challenged listeners. "Are we so focused on them [people outside the church] that we have lost sight of the sin in our own life?"
Jesus died on the cross not only to save people from sin and take them to heaven but also to cleanse His people every day, she said. "The only place where sin can be removed is at the cross."
Although repentance hurts, it is necessary, she added.
Citing the story of Ai in Joshua 7, Lotz said the church in America has not impacted people "because there is sin in the camp."
"It's time to put it to death," she said.
Lotz ended her appearance with a call to repentance and recommitment. (04-07-06)