Hope For Revival
Last January I was invited to teach in the Indonesia Theological Seminary in Manado, Indonesia during the month of September. I arrived in Manado on Friday, September 16, preached in the Hope Baptist Church on Sunday and taught at the seminary the following week. My assignment was to teach on the parables of Jesus. Each day I taught a class of pastors and students for six hours on the parables. Some of the students were pastors working on a pastoral ministry certificate, others were working on a bachelor’s degree, and a few were working on master’s requirements. All of the teaching was translated into the Indonesian language.
Indonesia is made up of several thousand islands. The island that I was on is about 65% Christian. It is the Christian island of Indonesia. The impact of a solid Christian environment was something I was not prepared for.
I am 58 and can remember how our nation once had this kind of environment. It was amazing. When the hotel staff discovered that I was a pastor they rolled out the red carpet for me each day as I would leave and then again when I returned. They were all eager to teach me various greetings and blessings. The president of the seminary told me that pastors are held in the highest regard and are given great respect. He said it is not uncommon when a pastor is stopped by the police for something, once the police discover he is a pastor for the police to ask for a blessing and then make a contribution to the pastor. On Sunday, everything closes down for Sunday. Everyone gets dressed up and goes to church. They even have a special greeting for the day; “Happy Sunday!” Salamat Hari Minggu! The tone is upbeat, hopeful, happy, and eager for fellowship and worship. Everyone gets to church early. There is an anticipation of something special for this special day. It brought back memories of when I was a child in the 1950s of how is used to be here and I was saddened by what we have lost.
The pastors and students were eager to be taught on prayer and were hungry for the word. They knew the Bible and it was refreshing to me to be able to used biblical illustrations and not have to explain them. With a passing reference they would all nod and make the connection. They told me the thing they battle is religion and the slight move away from relationship to legalism.
Most of the time when I travel to teach pastors I am in much more primitive conditions (I stay in a tent in Africa) and without the strong Christian influence. But on this trip I was able to stay in a hotel which afforded me more time to pray. I found myself in a constant attentiveness to the Holy Spirit and realized that this is one of the wonderful blessings of a strong Christian environment.
This trip gave me hope and vision for the revival we are all praying for here in the US. But revival does not come until there is a season of repentance. We must repent.