The Beginning of Revival?
Kenny recalled, “It was back in the seventies; I remember a new minister coming to the First Assembly in Lach Haven. His whole philosophy was different, and I wonder if anyone realised how affected by the hippy movement it was. You know: free love and all that. That’s where the breakdown of Christian standards began – people wanting freedom to do the things they had always done: drink alcohol, wear long hair, make-up, jewellery, all that kind of stuff.”
He went on to tell of the challenges, loss of face and friendships, of feeling cut off from fellowship because he held his ground and served Christ as he always had done. Why, he wondered, would he want to give up the freedom Jesus had given him?
The nature of the church changed radically, and, as it progressed into the eighties pierced ears and everything that came into vogue in the world invaded the church, and souls were lost to these strange events.
“What’s wrong with drinking?” Rory challenged Kenny, “Where in the Bible does it say you can’t drink? Come and have a beer with me.”
“No, thanks mate,” Kenny replied. “You know I don’t drink so, why ask me?”
“Do you think my hair is long?” tested young Jim. “Pastor says he likes my hair.”
“Then ask pastor,” said Kenny, “He’s your spiritual leader, why ask me?”
One Sunday morning, as the offering was being collected Peter, who was sitting next to Kenny leaned over and whispered, “I suppose you’re still tithing.”
Kenny said nothing at first, but as Peter pressed him to respond he asked, “What is that to you? Give whatever you feel to.”
You know, you think you’re better than all the rest of us,” Peter accused. “With all your good works: tithing, short hair, abstinence, and so on. What a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude! All this outward show will not save you, you legalist.”
Being neither the time nor place for discussion Kenny held his peace though he could not help feeling frustrated at this unwarranted attack.
Yet Kenny openly challenged this transformation, declaring that the outcome would lead to backsliding, and over the years that often proved true as people denounced morals they had once firmly upheld. Unfortunately Kenny found himself a marked and rejected man because he had refused to change with the church, but held firmly to his faith.
The day came when Kenny visited Alan in jail. Alan had once attended the church, but had since run foul of the law and was now paying for his crimes.
“You know, Kenny, we all shunned you for the stand you took, and often accused you of being a hypocrite.
I thought I was learning a newfound freedom in serving Christ, but it only led to disappointment and bondage. It started off with letting the hair down: you know, growing it and having it styled. Then there was the one drink, but it led to another, and another. Soon I was excusing all sorts of things and ended up addicted to drugs – all the time thinking I was inwardly holy and didn’t need the outward show you so adamantly defended.
Now here I am in jail – and you’re the only one who visits me! I’m divorced, my wife is a psychiatric mess, and my children blaming God for it all won’t believe. Man, what a mess I’ve made! How I wish I had been like you.” He broke off, sobbing uncontrollably
“You know, Al,” Kenny comforted, “The road back is not so difficult as it first appears. When you denied all the things we once believed it was like throwing away your birthright: like wanting everything God had to offer to spend on riotous living. If you will admit you have sinned God will forgive you and welcome you back again.”
“Help me, Kenny,” Alan begged, sobbing, “Help me.”
“I can’t help you Al,” Kenny responded, placing a comforting arm around his shoulder, “But Jesus can.”
Tears filled Kenny’s eyes as he prayed, “O, Lord, is this the beginning of revival?”
Kenny had always maintained that it was not a matter of going back to rules and regulations but the hidden motive for abandoning them: “which,” he openly warned, “Is rebellion.”
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