July 7, 2019

When I consider FANNY CROSBY’s life and ministry I am always amazed!  Born in 1820 … blind just after birth … and she was able to sense God’s call in her life; she was able to feel God’s love embracing her; she didn’t reject the HOLY SPIRIT but welcomed the Spirit and allowed the SPIRIT to guide her … she wrote more than 8000 hymns and gospel songs.

More than 100 million copies of her songs have been printed … and she lived and died before modern technology ever existed.  She truly knew all about sharing faith MOUTH TO MOUTH and HEART to HEART.

And, then in her spare time she worked at a RESCUE MISSION … her blindness didn’t stop her.  Life’s realities didn’t diminish her.  Her walk and her faith energized her and to this day and on this very night as we sing her songs she has been a constant source for the revival of faith!


Today, I have a sense that many people who worshipped with us in the morning paused at noon time to SAY PEACE and LOVE …. JESUS CHRIST … the source of love and peace is alive my friends but the world is in need of a revival perhaps like it has never seen before and the Holy Spirit is calling people who hear, people who see, people who speak and people who sing to revive the true message of GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ so that the world can be transformed not for us but for God!!!

What I really find powerful and encouraging in today’s reading from the prophet Isaiah is the truth that God gives life to every heart!  God gives life to the human spirit!!  Our faith and our walk can be a source of revival for others … if not us then who will do it?

This is especially valuable to understand during times when the world’s horizons dim.  When darkness surrounds us … when we get lost in the moments … friends GOD GIVES LIFE to EVERY HEART whether it’s the heart of one week old DAX AIDEN or my old jaded heart … there’s a life to discover; a spirit to be lifted and challenged to get out of the mold; to step out from the shadows and dance or sing as Isaiah writes, WE WILL MAKE MUSIC at the LORD’s HOUSE ALL THE DAYS of our LIVES!

Mouth-to-mouth … EAR-to-EAR … revival is a mix of realities that begin with challenges people of faith face.  We all too often put the blame on the non-believer because they make fun of us or reject Christ but tonight along the river as we raise our voices in a few moments with Crosby’s words, “SING O EARTH HIS WONDERFUL LOVE PROCLAIM … PRAISE HIM … HAIL GOD … consider God’s bountiful reality and the power we deny and then volunteer to start the revival by giving mouth-to-mouth recovery to the young families who skip worship … to the friends who reject Bible study … to our neighbors who do not know what the interior of a church looks like.

Last week in my morning sermon from James I mentioned Epaphras well tonight Paul talks about the impact of EPAPHRAS’ words … his mouth-to-mouth ministry of revival with the people of Colosse. Paul writes, ‘THE MESSAGE BEARS FRUIT … and gets larger and stronger” when people of faith like that early Colossians church family hold a steady faith in Jesus Christ with … and here we go again.  If you listened to the Scripture lesson … with the “love they continuously extend to all their neighbors!” TO ALL …

The message of faith .. the revival of faith … our belief system that’s in our hearts.  I will admit it is really challenging.  Dave Fish mentioned this morning how the one hour in church is our one hour to escape from the world and he was right.  When the church doors close and we are gathered together in a building called St. Paul’s in our case it is easy to forget the world as the love within the congregation flows person-to-person without hesitation.

But this evening the challenge that I am finding as we open up Paul’s letter to the Colossians is whether you are and I are using our words; our actions; our very lives to truly represent Jesus Christ to the world.  We need to be doing it … I want to shout and sometimes scream WHERE ARE THE CHRISTIANS who LIVE LIKE JESUS because so many church goers if they get the one hour in building time then spend the remaining 167 hours of the week distancing themselves from the Son of God and living as if Jesus messages were only for the holier than thou types. The call for revival … the need for change is how we take our one hour of worship with God and apply it to the world we live in.

I believe with all of my heart that the miracle of Colosse can be repeated in the 21st century New Jersey community!  Once Epaphras had Jesus in his heart his life breathed his faith in and out … I was so pleased that so many of our church family spent noon saying PEACE and LOVE but I wonder who heard those words … if strangers heard them … then what a great opportunity to witness … share life changing stories and when we give those stories … when we talk about our faith walk and what God means to us then we are active mouth-to-mouth revivalists!

Our faith centers on Jesus Christ. You and I when we have the time to focus on what we believe … well how can we not thank God for the Word of Truth?  In verse 7 from the first chapter of Colossians the English word ‘learned’ is actually coming from a Greek word that means much more than that a better word might be disciples because it means truly changing through new knowledge into a new person or follower.  When Jesus in Matthew says “Take my yoke and learn from me” it’s the same Greek word …

So another Sunday is fading away … I am thine O Lord I have heard thy voice and it told they love to me… take your faith and be able to answer the challenge by sensing as Epaphras did by allowing love to work into the lives of others through God’s Holy Spirit as you share the message of faith …. Mouth-to-mouth proving revival is alive and well in God’s Holy Church … GREAT THINGS HE HAS TAUGHT US … GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE … share how Jesus offers the pardons every human needs in their lives.


© 2017- St. Paul's United Methodist Church, West Deptford, NJ