By Evan Burns
Evan is a message bearer and currently lives among the unreached.
SVM2’s 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting beginning February 15 will engage the theme of returning to Christ as the Fountain of Life. Highlighted in each of the 21 days will be the core elements of repentance, personal holiness, finding joy, healing, and satisfaction in Christ, and being channels of that Fountain to the nations.
Our conviction is that empowerment to proclaim the gospel to the nations comes from personal holiness. And personal holiness comes from diligently seeking the face of God, abandoned devotion to Jesus Christ.
“’Be astonished, O heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid; be very desolate,’ says the Lord. ‘For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and created for themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.’” (Jeremiah 2:12-13).
When the Spirit of Christ awakens us to all that Christ is, He comes in a flood. In seasons of awakening, the manifest presence of Christ is often described as a boundless fountain or a surging river. There is something about flowing water, whether it is a leaky pipe or a surging river, it cannot be stopped—just channeled.
It is no mistake that some of the most passionate hymns were written during seasons of awakening, and they often describe the outpouring of the Spirit of Christ with flowing water. Even today, those hymns still speak to the often-discouraged longings in our hearts for something more.
We sing songs like, “Here is Love,” which was the feature song written during the 1904 Welsh Revival. It has been considered the greatest far-reaching revival in history, literally wrapping the globe within a few years.
Here is love, vast as the ocean,
Lovingkindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout heav’n’s eternal days.
On the mount of crucifixion,
Fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
Poured incessant from above,
And heav’n’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.
Could it be that we sing old-fashioned songs like this even today because deep down inside we are longing for something more? Could it be that the prosperity gospel that is being broadcast around the world is leaving us disillusioned as with stagnant waterless wells?
Could it be that the reason the emerging generation feels so unworthy and unqualified to follow Christ to the nations is because this generation has been so saturated with information and opportunity that we have lost our thirst for the Fountain?
Of course, we have a strong spiritual thirst. This is evident in the record number of worship songs that have been sold and produced. It is evident in the books being sold. In this generation there are many players, but few prayers.
We are quick to hang out and enjoy ourselves, but slow to wrestle in prayer and spend ourselves. We love to watch movies, but we’re lazy in watching over our hearts. There is so much levity and casualness in our generation, that we don’t even have a category for sobriety and holiness.
Through discussion and reflection with message bearers and mission mobilizers, I have heard a common theme describing the emerging generation.
This generation is looking for something real. Students are overwhelmed with the flood of opportunities at their finger-tips. This generation is also in bondage to feelings of unworthiness and uselessness.
What we need is not another church or campus ministry, not another website or blog. We need holiness. Holiness that heals. Holiness that offends. Holiness that hurts the eyes. Robert Murray McCheyne said, “The holy life is a God-besotted life.”
The holy life is a life that goes hard after God. The Holy Spirit says without holiness we will not see God. (Heb 12:14) And the pure in heart shall see God. (Matt 5:8) This generation is thirsty for waters that do not fail. We have rejected many of the old leaky, polluted wells our parents have dug. But if we do not watch over our hearts which are the wellspring of life, (Prov 4:23) we will dig our own wells.
If we think we can see God in Christ with the casual, cool manner with which we seek and speak about Him, we are fools. And we are even more foolish to think we can make a difference in the nations without first being filled with power from on high, without first drinking from the Fountain.
The baton of the Great Commission is being passed on to this generation, and it is ours to finish, if we would be filled with the fullness of Christ. But many in this generation feel unworthy and unqualified to take the gospel of Christ to the nations. And so in disappointment and despair, many put off getting right with God till some later date, maybe after they graduate or get married.
Then they will really commit themselves to following Christ. So, until that “later date” comes, this information-saturated and opportunity-seduced generation builds its broken cisterns unaware, calling it hanging out or having fun.
It would be different if it was fellowship, but if Jesus is never mentioned in our hanging out and there is no encouragement from the Word spoken, is that still biblical fellowship? Does our hanging out encourage holiness? After endless nights of fun and entertainment, do we feel refreshed by the Fountain or sick from bad water?
We must come to the Fountain, and drink… and drink… and drink. Jesus Christ is the Fountain of Life. When we come to Him as our Fountain, only then will we know the cleansing power of the ocean of God’s love.
We may know how to explain the basic truths of the gospel, but have we experienced the joy and the healing power of the gospel? Do we experience it regularly? This is the holy life that sees God—the Fountain-drinking life.
This generation will make an eternal impact among the forgotten people and finish the Great Commission when it is infatuated with the Fountain, cleansed in the Fountain, refreshed by the Fountain, carried along in the current of the Fountain, and used as channels of the Fountain to the dehydrated souls of the forgotten peoples.
Please join us for the 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting as we return to the Fountain, repent of our broken cisterns, and taste and see that the Lord is good. Maybe then, together, this generation will sing a theme of redeeming love.
There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he, washed all my sins away.
Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more.
E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.
(By: William Cowper)