Members of 117 churches urged to 'rise up, build'
Hosted by Cypress Baptist Church, Benton, the Jan. 28 gathering brought together Christians of various ages and ethnicities to pray for law enforcement, the persecuted church, missionaries serving around the world, pastors and other church leaders.
Just like the previous gatherings at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, and Summer Grove Baptist Church, Shreveport, this event was marked by prayer from the worship center stage, in small groups around the room and by individuals who pleaded with God for revival in their community, state and nation.
Urgency to seek God
During opening remarks, Lane Moore, the association's director of missions, said that without God there is no hope, and he emphasized how great movements of God have followed focused times of prayer by His people.
"When Scripture talks about crying out to God, it is indicative of desperation," Moore said. "This gathering tonight is about all of us by the hundreds calling out to God.
"We are living in a country that is desperate," he said. "They may not know what they're desperate for, but they are desperate."
John Fream, Cypress Baptist Church, said just one tragedy or crisis often draws people to their knees.
"There's an urgency to pray," he said. "But the greatest urgency is to seek God."
Repentance and renewal
Brent Shoalmire, pastor of Oak Hill Baptist Church, Plain Dealing, told the crowd for any real revival to sweep through Louisiana Baptist churches and for any great awakening to occur in the communities, the Holy Spirit must first move in the hearts of believers.
Shoalmire then challenged each person to pray the words "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me," from Psalm 51:10.
"We need to kneel," he said. "We need to pray personally.
"For real revival to happen, we need to repent," he said. "For real revival to happen, we need to seek personal lasting deep genuine renewal."
Rise up, church
Gregory Shyne, pastor of United Outreach Church, Shreveport, said the world is burdened with disturbing news, much like what Nehemiah encountered when he learned the walls around Jerusalem were in need of repair.
Citing Nehemiah 2:18, Nehemiah called on his fellow Jews to "rise up and build" the walls of the city. Likewise, the church today must do the same by rising up and building an awareness of Christ.
"The world is wallowing in abject hopelessness because of the deadly consequences of sin," Shyne said. "It behooves all Christians to rise up and build a keen awareness of Christ and His cross to those who are struggling and stumbling in the depths of sin. It's time for the church to rise up and build up souls upon the safety and sure foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
Shyne said the church must develop the same kind of singleness of heart displayed by the workers who rebuilt the walls.
"There is always good progress and value in joint cooperation in any worthy cause, especially when the whole purpose is directed to the glory of God," he said.
For too long, Shyne noted, the church has ignored the evil that has taken place in the world. He said now is the time for the church to awaken and rebuild those things that have fallen by the wayside.
"This project embodies the cause of Christ, the cross of Christ and a commitment to Christ," he said. "In every good and noble endeavor, may we be found always to say 'Let us rise up and build.'"
Calling for revival
Collin Wimberly, pastor of Trinity Heights Baptist Church, Shreveport, said the time has come for a great spiritual awakening in a country suffering from moral decay.
Wimberly said the United States is at the point of spiritual darkness, where many forms of heresy and dark spiritual forces are influencing young people. Referencing Romans 13:11-12, Wimberly said it is past time for the church to awaken and push back the darkness.
"If there is anybody in here who needs revival, it's me," Wimberly said. "It's not just the church, but me. And I hope you feel the same way.
"This is the greatest day of opportunity that we have ever seen in our nation," he said. "People have had everything, but they are still searching. They need the Gospel and we have the answer."