CEDAR HILL—Shaken by the suicide of the pastor’s son, something special is now happening here at First Baptist Church. Pastor Wayne Kuenzle has baptized 21 people in the past two Sundays.
These responses were the result of the Lord’s blessing after many years of prayer and seeking, said Kuenzle. The answer to prayer broke out after an Oct. 23 revival message brought by Kenny Evans, a recording artist and evangelist from Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
“Bro. Kenny Evans blessed us with his talents and gifts in music and testimony on Sunday morning,” Kuenzle said. “He brought a genuine spirit of revival, faithfulness, and joy to the family of God. He also brought a challenging and convicting message of salvation and hope to all.
“Our Lord Jesus Christ laid on my heart in the summer of 2010 that First Baptist Church was at a turning point in its history,” Kuenzle said. There was uncertainty as to whether the church would go, “through the motions or it would begin to repent of the past and present sins and seek revival and awakening.”
Kuenzle’s initial uncertainty was greatly influenced by the loss of his son to suicide.
“This crisis crushed my heart but in a strange way strengthen my resolve to see the battle through no matter what the end results,” Kuenzle said.
Changes started happening within the hearts of the congregation. People started catching the vision of what a church could be if it severed its ties to legalism and bitterness. More people began praying for revival.
Kuenzle described the process in more detail.
“The politics of church can cripple and kill the Spirit from working its glorious power in the lives of people,” he said. “He (God) was always moving but His Spirit was quenched by the anger and bitterness of unrepentant sin that victories were short lived and the spirit of volunteerism was hard pressed to survive.”
Kuenzle said he has tried to be a faithful student of what caused the spirit of revival and growth to stop.
“The answers are complex, but they almost always revolve around power, selfishness, church politics, ego, and a universal lack of repentance,” he said. “These must be replaced with prayer, evangelism, humility, submission, repentance and servant-hood.”
In recent months the expectation of revival was given to Kuenzle.
“For the last 17 months God has laid on my heart the urgency of revival,” he said. “It has consumed my prayer and preaching life.
“I felt a freedom that I had not felt at Cedar Hill since I served here in the early days of ministry. God was moving.”
Kuenzle would be the first to say this was not the product of a single person, or a few people. It was the product of the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of obedient people. Six families opened their homes to “Cottage Prayer Services,” and many others were involved in other ways. The desire for revival set the expectation for revival and prepared the hearts of the people to respond to God’s call.
Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”
“If we can all keep this attitude foremost in our lives,” Kuenzle said, “we have a good chance of seeing the spirit of revival live in our midst a long time.”
Bruce Tegg/contributing writer