Taking our eyes off the revival ‘ball’

Theme: Relationships in times of revival
‘In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.’ Acts 6:1-6
The other day we changed the seating in the church meeting place. Big mistake! I watched with a mixture of amusement and irritation as folk came in, saw that ‘their’ chair had been moved, muttered, complained, rolled their eyes and then stomped off to find a new ‘my place’. We laugh at the expression ‘changing deckchairs on the Titanic,’ but think of how silly it is to worry about where we sit when God is bringing powerful revival to His church.
We don’t seem to be the first to have this sort of problem. The early church was spreading like wildfire before the powerful wind of the Holy Spirit. Wondrous things were happening: healings, signs and wonders, and thousands being saved. Yet in the midst of all this the Greek-speaking windows were complaining that they were not being given enough of the communal grub. “God is at work, great, now pass the potato salad!” It is not clear to me why they felt they were entitled to a free lunch but they obviously thought that their need was pressing enough to require the attention of some powerfully anointed men. Just look who they chose to push the food trolley; men who were full of wisdom, faith, and the Holy Spirit! Stephen was an anointed preacher, evangelist, and worker of miracles (just read Acts 6:8) yet he had to spend his time on meals-on-wheels?! Phillip too was a mighty man of God but he also had to do super market duty. Talk about taking the eye off the ball!

The lesson I draw from this is that when God sends revival we should rise up in our areas of calling and anointing and blaze for Jesus. The very nature of revival will ensure that the poor and needy among us are cared for because each one will reach out in compassion to his neighbour and fellow believer. That is what happens without structure or orchestration in times of revival. God is at work and He knows how to draw all who will yield to Him into compassionate service and outreach.

So would I change the chairs around again? I have a suspicion that when revival comes there won’t be too many people wanting to sit!

Picture of Christopher Peppler

Christopher Peppler



2 thoughts on “Taking our eyes off the revival ‘ball’”

  1. Church – often assumed to be the venue in which or at which we come together and pray, hear sermons, sing, dance maybe and perhaps do our duty. I suggest that doing ‘our’ duty is where much of this non-revival behaviour originates – a self-centred approach.

    Consider this. Take away the lovely church gardens and fencing around the building. Take away the supper-clubs, the picnics, the social home cells… and what is left? Now, take away the lights, the curtains and the tea and coffee and, oh, take away the seats. What are you left with?

    I suggest that you are left with the church.

    Much of what I mentioned above to be removed are items that satisfy our creature comforts. I have no doubt in my mind that some, perhaps most congregants of many assemblies, would stop coming to ‘church’ as this suggestion of mine would lead to a type of selection process, that touches on people’s real motives and priorities. Perhaps the fewer numbers who are left in this bleak looking church would initiate a revival, lead by the Spirit of God as opposed to an attempt at revival through infrastructure, comforts and conveniences.

    So tell me, what is wrong with sitting on the floor?

  2. Well, I don’t mean to stir, much less to proselytise, but have you considered abolishing chairs entirely? Okay, perhaps not entirely (it’s always a good idea to have a few for people who really need to sit), but standing is after all the traditional Christian posture for prayer, and it is rather difficult to prostrate oneself in a church with pews! And it really is amazing the difference that worshipping largely standing (as large portions of the Christian world still do) makes, both to a worshipping community and to the individual Christian!


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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.