Bible insights from your friends at La Jolla Lutheran Church

Tell the nations about God's glory

Christians have access to the peace of God. We don’t have lives free of problems, but we do have access to an inner peace that can help us negotiate any trouble.

As a result, from time to time a person will challenge a Christian with a comment like one of these:

  • How can you be so happy with all you’re going through?
  • Why aren’t you afraid like everyone else?
  • Don’t you realize what’s at stake? Why are you so calm?

Peter said we should always be ready to respond to questions like this. He wrote:

Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence. 1 Peter 3:15b-16 (NRSV)

One of the best things you could do to "always be ready" is to get some practice. Find a friend and take turns asking each other the questions and responding.

God, thank you for your peace. Help people who don’t know your mercy and love discover the joy they can have in you. Thank you. Amen!






Charles Finney has a great quote that tells how Christians can transform culture:

Sometimes Christians do not seem to mind anything about the wickedness around them. Or, if they do talk about it, it is in a cold, and callous, and unfeeling way, as if they despaired of a reformation; they are disposed to scold sinners – not to feel the compassion of the Son of God for them. But sometimes the conduct of the wicked drives Christians to prayer, breaks them down, and makes them sorrowful and tender-hearted, so that they can weep day and night, and instead of scolding the wicked they pray earnestly for them. Then you may expect a revival. Indeed, it is begun already.



The above quote is from Charles Finney's second lecture on revival.

Finney delivered 22 lectures on renewal of the church and society in 1834.  What follows are highlights from his second lecture.


When a Revival is to be Expected (excerpts from Lecture on Revival #2 by Charles Finney)

Will you not revive us again, so that your people may rejoice in you? (Ps 85:6 NRSV)

I. When a Revival of Religion is Needed

1. When there is a want of brotherly love and Christian confidence among professors of religion, then a revival is needed.

2. When there are dissensions, and jealousies, and evil speakings among professors of religion, then there is a great need of a revival.

3. When there is a worldly spirit in the Church.

4. When the Church finds its members falling into gross and scandalous sins.

5. When there is a spirit of controversy in the Church or in the land.

6. When the wicked triumph over the Churches.

7. When sinners are careless and stupid. Should the firemen sleep and let the whole city burn down, what would be thought of such firemen? And yet their guilt would not compare with the guilt of Christians who sleep while sinners around them are sinking stupidly into the fires of hell.

II. The Importance of a Revival in such Circumstances

Nothing else will restore Christian love and confidence among Church members.

Revival is indispensable to avert the judgments of God.

III. When a Revival may be Expected

1. When the providence of God indicates that a revival is at hand.

2. When the wickedness of the wicked grieves and humbles and distresses Christians.

Sometimes Christians do not seem to mind anything about the wickedness around them. Or, if they do talk about it, it is in a cold, and callous, and unfeeling way, as if they despaired of a reformation; they are disposed to scold sinners – not to feel the compassion of the Son of God for them. But sometimes the conduct of the wicked drives Christians to prayer, breaks them down, and makes them sorrowful and tender-hearted, so that they can weep day and night, and instead of scolding the wicked they pray earnestly for them. Then you may expect a revival. Indeed, it is begun already.

Sometimes the wicked will get up an opposition to religion. And when this drives Christians to their knees in prayer to God, with strong crying and tears, you may be certain there is going to be a revival.

If Christians are made to feel that they have no hope but in God, and if they have sufficient feeling left to care for the honor of God and the salvation of the souls of the impenitent, there will certainly be a revival.

3. A revival may be expected when Christians have a spirit of prayer for a revival. That is, when they pray as if their hearts were set upon it. This travail of soul is that deep agony which persons feel will not let God go till they receive it.

When this feeling exists in a Church, unless the Spirit is grieved away by sin, there will infallibly be a revival of Christians generally, and it will involve the conversions of sinners to God.

Generally, a revival is more or less extensive as there are more or less persons who have the spirit of prayer.

4. Another sign that a revival may be expected is when the attention of ministers is especially directed to this particular object, and when their preaching and other efforts are aimed particularly at the conversion of sinners.

5. A revival of religion may be expected when Christians begin to confess their sins to one another.

6. A revival may be expected whenever Christians are found willing to make the sacrifices necessary to carry it on.

7. A revival may be expected when ministers and professors are willing to have God promote it by whatever instruments God pleases.

8. Strictly I should say that when the foregoing things occur, a revival, to some extent, already exists. In truth, a revival should be expected whenever it is needed.

When those things are seen which are named under the foregoing heads, let Christians and ministers be encouraged and know that a good work is already begun. Follow it up.

Reflection questions

Who do you know that doesn’t have a close relationship with God?

What will you do on their behalf?

What caught your attention in this message?