Humility – The Rich Soil for Revival

Humility-that would be the best word to describe the Souly Business retreat I recently attended. From the time my friend Henry and I pulled up in his truck to the moment we left humility permeated the atmosphere. There were the guys who picked up our bags and carried them to the bunkhouse and those who waited on our tables, which overflowed with a continuous stream of food and beverages, and the great group of burly men who cooked the most amazing meals. All these guys volunteered to come, paid the full price of the retreat and served with heartfelt joy!

This humility also was evident in the speakers who shared during the weekend. There were no rock star presenters, no famous pastors; just ordinary men who humbly shared the transforming power of the Holy Spirit at work in their needy hearts. Usually when a group of men get together there is the insecurity dance that we do making sure our resumes are properly portrayed and tight to keep us ahead of the competition, but not here, not this weekend, titles and trophies didn’t seem to matter much. The spirit of humility once again permeated as corporate executives sat next to ex-cons and homeless men interacted with business owners. The Holy Spirit plowed hardened hearts and broke them apart, pretense gave way to transparency and the deep need for the presence of God.

This weekend reminded me so much of what revival is all about. Revival is bringing the people in the church back to life and it always begins with the spirit of brokenness and humility. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is a great revival text and says it best!

If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray, seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

I know of no revival in Biblical times or church history that wasn’t birthed out of the soil of brokenness. Where people in the church see the reality of their empty heart and are in desperate need of healing from heaven. Our pride has dammed up the River of the Holy Spirit, our self made plans, programs, and religious pretense has pushed His glory cloud out of the tabernacles of our heart. But oh how willing He is to return when we shout out in humility our need for Him as I experienced that weekend.

In 1904 the great Welsh Revival broke out which spread all over the world. But what made the atmosphere fertile for revival was the prayer of a young man named Evan Roberts. It was recorded that he was often heard praying: BEND US, LORD. BEND THE CHURCH, AND SAVE THE WORLD!” May this be our humble prayer once again to bend and break our hearts with the spirit of humility so that we can be ready to Host the Holy Spirit.

Hijacked by the Holy Spirit



I can’t recall the landscape of California ever so vibrant and full of life! It was truly breathtaking! The rain soaked hills glistened green with dashes of purple and orange from the wild flowers and left me with frequent expressions of “wow, this is amazing!” Once again the desert was full of life! What I was seeing in the natural was preparing me for what I was about to experience in the supernatural.

The trip to California included the Solvang Bike ride with some friends, dialogue on an up coming book on prayer, and speaking at a prison and attending a men’s retreat. My good friend Henry invited me to join him on the retreat Souly Business. A business associate of Henry’s had told him about the event and stated it was the best retreat he had ever experienced. Neither of us had ever heard of it, but decided to attend thinking the topics would be directed to businessmen, likely giving insights about living one’s faith in the real world, and perhaps we’d pick up some ideas for publishing the book.

Upon our arrival fellow believers warmly welcomed us and offered to carry our bags to the cabin. What was unusual about this retreat was that these men acted like they really wanted to be at this retreat, they had this joy about them. As we handed over our bags I noticed a group of men praying together with arms linked. As I scanned the surroundings and discerned the participants, as an introvert I wondered if this weekend’s events would be sweep me out of my comfort zone. I thought about returning to the car or taking a hike and getting lost. I mean, over the years I’ve attended many retreats and even led a fair share of them, but the way these men were acting and at the beginning of a retreat–well it was just not the norm.

As the 140 plus men introduced themselves eyes began to water and tears freely flowed, and this was before any speaker spoke! As the retreat continued “being swept out of my comfort zone” would be too mild of a statement, caught up in a tsunami would be a more adequate summary of the next few days as the small room we gathered in as strangers was changed to room filled with brothers in Christ.

It has taken me several weeks to process that amazing weekend. As I contemplated all that I had experienced in California I was drawn to several books on my bookshelf on revival as well as this text from 2 Chronicles 7:14:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

This well-known verse on revival in many ways is so similar to what Henry and I experienced at the Souly Business retreat. One of the deep works the Holy Spirit did in my heart was to reawaken my prayer for a world wide revival that will soon splash over the nations with the Father’s glory “as the waters cover the Earth” (Hab. 2:14). I believe our Abba Father is getting His children ready to be filled a new with the Holy Spirit to shout His glory out to a thirsty world dying in the desert. Recently a group of men got drenched with the Holy Spirit and it enlivened my spirit with Hope for what’s ahead.

Fifty days after Resurrection Sunday comes Pentecost, may our Good Father prepare His church once again for the rain of His Holy Spirit to pour down! Please pray with me into the promises of 2 Chronicles 7:14 and expect the much needed rain to bring rivers of transformation.



What is the Heart of John 3:16?


“What is the heart of John 3:16?” I recently asked inmates in a California prison and Colorado jail this question about this familiar verse. As expected several men shouted out answers such as “believe in Jesus and you get eternal life.” Most of us who have memorized this text as little kids would have stated the same. But I challenged this captive audience to dig deeper and discover the heart of the text. The promise, “that who so ever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life,” flows from the heart of someone. “Who is it?” I went on to ask. Joe, one of the inmates correctly stated, “God the Father!”


Together we dialogued about the depths of God the Father’s love for us and that He would “give His one and only Son for us.” I challenged the men to think about the gift of eternal life from the Father’s heart, what it cost the Father to give up His boy, who He was wild about, whom He loved for all eternity. I shared with them about my 3 kids whom I love so much and when I see them pain it breaks my heart. Like when my son took a late hit in a college football game and ended up in pain in the end zone with a dislocated elbow. I went nuts and ran down the bleachers to the fence near the field to try to help and to yell at the referee for missing the call. I asked the men to think about how the Father must have felt as he watched His Son falsely accused, whipped ruthlessly by violent men who made sport of it, and finally to stand on the sidelines as His only Son was nailed to the cross and cried out in anguish feeling forsaken by His Father.


As we discussed this gift of love from the Father I could see the tears in Joe’s eyes. In fact he walked out of the room to gain composure and when he finally returned he said “I have never seen John 3:16 from the heart of the Father before.” I could tell the Holy Spirit was revealing a truth to him that was bringing the healing of the Father’s love. His spiritual eyes were being opened up wide to the depth of Father God’s love for him in giving him His only Son to make him a beloved son.


As we approach Good Friday I challenge you to look at the heart of John 3:16, God the Father so loved you that He allowed His only Son to suffer and die in your place. Take some time this week and think about the suffering and pain the Father went through as He watched His Son go through Hell for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you a glimpse of the broken heart of the Father who gave His most precious gift to you so that you would know His love for you, which is life eternal.





Dr. Seuss & the Kingdom of God


“Coach Nick, Coach Nick, come play tetherball with us!” were the shouts heard as Nick and I walked alongside the fence of the playground of Lugonia Elementary School. Nick In’t Hout is one of the pastors at The River, a church in Redlands California. The River has officially adopted Lugonia, a nearby public school which has an overwhelming population of students attending with difficult circumstances. In response to that need, The River decided to faithfully send volunteers to assist in the library, tutor students, and help out in the PE program.

As Nick we entered the stucco building to check in and continue on with a tour of the campus, it seemed that everyone knew who Nick was, from the office staff, to the teachers, even the maintenance workers, and of course the excited kids who surrounded him as we walked onto the playground. Nick called so many of kids by name which resulted in countless beaming faces, along with laughter and smiles as the kids pulled him on the court to play tetherball. It was clear that something special was taking place.

The kids had persuaded him and went nuts as he jumped in line to participate; they danced around as they waited to take their turn to challenge him. I thought Nick may just let a young Spanish girl who gave it her all win, but no, it was a match to the very end. As the recess bell rang the kids begrudgingly lined up to return to their classrooms, shouts were heard about a rematch next time he comes. As we left the school we passed a group of students coming out of the library yelling, “Look its Dr. Seuss!” Nick responded in a whisper, “No, I’m just his brother.” When I asked Nick what that was about he told me that for Dr. Seuss’ Birthday he had dressed up as this beloved character and spent the day reading books in several classrooms.

As we left the campus I filled with so much joy! I was so blessed by what I had just witnessed. I said to Nick, “This is the Kingdom of God! Right here in the middle of a needy part of the city.” Nick and the other volunteers from The River brought the love of the Father in a tangible way. From tetherball games to reading “Fried Eggs and Ham,” heaven’s love was coming to earth and it was contagious. It reminded me of the text from Romans 14:17-18:

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.

 God’s pleasure, peace, and joy were all over that campus as King Jesus demonstrated the Father’s Kingdom through faithful volunteers being His love through beautiful acts of service. People like you and me living our daily lives!

I left challenged and motivated by the “Holy Ground” I experienced at Lugonia School. I want to be available do whatever it takes to bring the love of the Father’s Kingdom to earth, maybe even dressing up like Dr. Seuss.