Part 4 of 4, Game Changers Series
In July of 1857, a businessman named Jeremiah Lanphier began working to reach inner-city New York. The times were chaotic. The stock market had crashed and some 30,000 working-age men were jobless. By the end of summer, it was clear that his methods were not going to be successful. He then decided that prayer was the next and best step. So, he invited merchants, clerks, bankers, and mechanics to prayer each Wednesday from noon to 1:00 pm.
On September 23, 1857, Jeremiah Lanphier took his seat at the North Dutch Church completely alone. He waited and prayed as he wondered if his invitation to prayer would be accepted. For half of an hour, Jeremiah paced that church wondering if anyone would come. It was 12:30 before the first person arrived, then soon 4 more. A total of 6 people gathered that first Wednesday to seek God. But the next week, it was 40 people and they decided it should be held daily. By the spring of 1858, 10,000 businessmen were in prayer every day for God’s hand upon New York City.
One quiet but zealous businessman changed a city. The ripples from that prayer movement changed the world. It has been called the third great awakening or the “businessman’s revival”.
It may sound dramatic but this is how to change the world in 3 easy steps.
Spend Lot’s Of Time With Jesus!
Jesus is the original World Changer! He was and is the true revolutionary. He did not use violence, death or political upheaval. He changed the world through his own relationship with God. He changed the world through serving, teaching and through HOPE! That’s right, He gave HOPE. Certainly, He gave hope of a better world. But, even more, he gave hope of a real connection with God as OUR Father.
John 14:23 (NLT) Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.
Jesus wants to spend time with you. God the Father likes to be with you. God the Holy Spirit longs to live within you. This is where real change begins. Whatever we do in this life MUST come from that quiet place with God.
Take A Chance!
Our Dreams might be His Dreams. Everything about you isn’t evil. As Christ followers, our hearts have been changed. Our hearts echo with the thoughts of the divine! Instead of dismissing everything that we think or feel as stupid, or as just feelings. Why not ask God to teach us His voice? If we knew the sound of His voice (John 10:4), we could take action based upon it.
Hebrews 11:6 (NLT) And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
Hebrews 10:39 (MSG) But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way.
Never forget the church at Antioch! Why? Because we don’t actually know who started it. It was the most important church in the first century and we don’t know who did it. The Bible tells us…
Acts 11:20 (NLT) However, some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus.
Those Guys! WOW! Before this moment, outreach to the nations outside of Israel had been limited. It would seem that God WANTED the Gentiles to hear about Jesus. God’s dream was to make sure the whole world got to hear about His Son! Apparently, some unknown person got the crazy idea in their head too. They took the leap and the rest is history!
Fan the Flame!
It is important to stay close to the fire as a world changer. It sounds great, but not everyone loves a World Changer. There is a “Wet Blanket Brigade” out there! They go around putting out people’s fire. Because people on fire equal change and change is not okay with everyone. So stay close to the Flame.
Hebrews 12:28-29 (NLT) Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. 29 For our God is a devouring fire.
It is also important to fan the flame. This means we need to learn, practice and experience God’s gifts in our lives.
2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NLT) This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
Not only has God called us to do things, but He has also gifted us to do those things. It is, therefore, important to identify our spiritual gifts. Then we must learn to use them. We become something truly powerful when we pair our talents with skill.
Change takes more than hard work. It takes God-powered people who are filled with God’s Love. Those who are willing to pray until they’ve got something say! People who are willing to go and even willing to be misunderstood. These are the kind who will change the World.
Carry the Fire!
Talk About It…
- What are your first thoughts regarding today’s topic? Please share with the group.
- What do you think about Jeremiah Lanphier’s story? Does it encourage you?
- Read Galatians 1:12. What does Paul mean when he says he received his teaching from Jesus?
- Read 1 John 2:27. How can we be taught by the Spirit? Does this mean we shouldn’t let others teach us? Why? Or, Why not?
- What does it mean to spend time with Jesus? What are some practical ways we can do that?
- Have you ever had a “crazy” idea? What made it “crazy”? Could God gives us “crazy” ideas?
- Can you think of any “crazy” Bible stories? What is the difference between “crazy” and obedient?
- What did Paul mean by “fan into flames” in 2 Timothy 1:6-7? How could we fan the flames of our faith?
- Is there anything in today’s topic that you would be excited to share with a friend?