Day 222: So I Prayed…

CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Plan

Nehemiah 1:1-3:14

1 Corinthians 7:1-24

Psalm 31:19-24

Proverbs 21:4

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Commentary by Pastor Michael White:

“Then the king said to me, ‘What do you request?’ So I prayed to the God of heaven” (Neh 2:4). Nehemiah was knee-deep in the most important conversation of his life. The king asked him what he desired; but before verbalizing his request, he stopped and sought God. God will speak to you if you listen for Him – even in the middle of a conversation. Nehemiah waited to answer the king until he had the chance to pray, and I believe that is a template for how we should organize our lives. When a big opportunity comes your way: pray to the God of heaven! When you need to make a decision, no matter how big or how small: pray to the God of heaven! Pray to God without ceasing, and He will make His will known.


Father, help me to remember to drop whatever I’m doing and make time for you. I need to pray to You before making every major decision. I need to pray to You before making any minor decision! Remind me to pray to You at all times!

Day 221: Washed Clean

CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Plan

Ezra 10:1-44

1 Corinthians 6:1-20

Psalm 31:9-18

Proverbs 21:3

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Commentary by Pastor Michael White:

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? … And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor 6:9,11). None of us is righteous on our own. God demands perfection, but none of us is perfect on our own. So how do we inherit the kingdom of God? By accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. When we accept Jesus, our sins are washed away. Death passes over us because we are marked with the blood of Jesus Christ and we are granted eternal life! Without Jesus, we’re grouped with fornicators, idolaters, adulterers and murderers – because he who falls short in one letter of the Law falls short in all (James 2:10). But with and in Jesus Christ, we are saved! God will see us as He sees His Only Son: holy and righteous!


Father, thank You for Your Son! Thank You that I don’t have to be judges with the unrighteousness. Thank You that by the blood of Jesus Christ, I am redeemed!

Day 220: Benefits of Fasting

CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan

Ezra 8:21-9:15

1 Corinthians 5:1-13

Psalm 31:1-8

Proverbs 21:1-2

For full text click here:

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:

“Then I proclaimed a fast there…that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions” (Ezra 8:21). The remnant of Israel returning from exile needed major direction, so they humbled themselves before God and proclaimed a fast. Are you facing a major decision? Are you scared of something coming your way? Do you need protection from someone or something? Fast. In today’s reading, Ezra outlines three benefits of fasting: 1) direction for you personally, 2) direction for your family, and 3) financial wisdom. If you need help in one (or all) of those areas, what do you have to lose?


Father, thank You that Your Word outlines practical ways to receive guidance, direction and instruction from You. Help us to accept Your counsel. Help us to fast in our hour of need!

What is Revival?

The following is an adaptation of the sermon ‘What is Revival?’ preached by Pastor Mike White on Sunday, 8/3/2014, at CityLight Church. To listen to the full podcast please click here:

What is Revival?

The body of Christ has been crying out for revival. Charismatic churches in particular have been chasing after it for years. But what exactly is revival? When we talk about pursuing revival, what exactly do we mean?

Different people – and churches – define revival differently. The Collins dictionary defines revival as “an instance of returning to life or consciousness.”[1] Timothy Keller, the founding Pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, defines revival as the “ intensification of the ordinary operation of the work of the Holy Spirit.”[2] He stresses that revival occurs mainly through the ordinary ‘instituted means of grace’ – by preaching, pastoring, worship, prayer. He recalls times of revival in his church as defined by an unusually large number of people coming to Christ.

Bill Johnson, the Lead Pastor at Bethel Church in Redding, California, would probably define revival differently. Bethel Church’s mission is “the personal, regional and global expansion of God’s Kingdom through His manifest presence.”[3] Bethel is a church that pursues signs, miracles and wonders by maintaining an atmosphere full of God’s presence. Revival can look completely different in one church as compared to another.

My definition of revival is this: the Holy Spirit working through believers consistently to accomplish something we cannot accomplish on our own. The end goal of revival is aggressive Kingdom expansion. Revival can be concentrated in one region for a specific period of time. Revival is marked by signs, miracles and wonders: the Holy Spirit working through us to bring the things of heaven to this earth. Revival is also marked by massive harvest: believers giving their lives to Christ in record numbers. After all, a soul coming to Christ is just as miraculous as any other sign, miracle or wonder!

Our job as a church is first to define revival. If we don’t identify our destination, we’ll never know when we get there!

What’s So Special About Revival?

So why should we want and need revival? What’s so special about it?

Remember that revival is defined as “returning to life or consciousness.” The implication is that, before revival, we’re dead! As the church universal, we have become spiritually dead. We’ve settled into a residence called nominal Christianity, and have stopped pursuing the things God wants us to pursue. We have become content without seeking to see amazing, supernatural things happen in our lives. We have become dead. And revival can only start when we recognize we need to be brought back to life!

Andrew Murray was the Lead Pastor in the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa. He was diagnosed with an incurable condition called preacher’s throat which would leave him unable to preach (an obvious problem for a pastor). The most promising doctors in London couldn’t help him. But God did! On a trip to the Bethshan Healing Rooms, Murray was completely cured of his condition! Prayer had restored everything he thought he had lost.

After returning to South Africa, Murray published a book on divine healing. It circulated throughout the entire country, and people in Murray’s denomination started asking their pastors to pray for them. But the local pastors didn’t have the faith to pray for their people as they ought. Instead of asking for a greater measure of faith to pray for healing, they asked Murray to take the book out of circulation. And guess what? He did. The whole country accepted spiritual deadness because the local pastors couldn’t face their responsibility to pursue a greater anointing from God.

But this story is not unique to South Africa. All over the world, especially in the United States, Christians have settled for a muzzled brand of Christianity that has a form of godliness but denies His power (2 Tim 3:5). We have drifted into a state of spiritual deadness that the writers of the New Testament could have never imagined.

If you scour the entire New Testament for the word “revival,” you won’t find it.[4] Why? Because the New Testament authors could have never imagined we – the church – could ever become so dead that we would need to be brought back to life. For them, the concept of revival was completely off the grid, because they could never have imagined we would lose our life. They were seeing signs, miracles and wonders every day! How could the church ever lose that reality?

The only time the NKJV translation uses the word “revival” is in the Book of Ezra:

Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been very guilty, and for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plunder, and to humiliation, as it is this day.  And now for a little while grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage. For we were slaves. Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; but He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us, to repair the house of our God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem. – Ezra 9:7-9

Israel was in captivity, and Ezra was asking God to give them revival. They had been bound and exiled because of the hardness of their hearts and their unwillingness to submit to God and embrace His will for their lives. Are we really that different as a church today?

God’s guarantee is that even if we are bound, He will extend mercy to us. He will revive us. We were never meant to lose the ability to live a life guided by His Holy Spirit! We were supposed to uphold the lifestyle and tradition of supernatural life on a daily basis as founded by Jesus and continued by His disciples!

Revival is more than a future hope: something we will experience in heaven that we can and should look forward to. Revival is something we should experience here, on this earth, in the present. The Holy Spirit wants to work in and through you now. So why wait? The life you want to lead can only be lived through the power of the Holy Spirit. But He requires partnership with you.

Revival Starts With You

In the modern church, we think of revival as someone else – a guest speaker or minister – coming in to our church and filling us up. We think of revival as having extended meetings every night for several weeks. But revival is simpler than that.

Revival starts with you. It’s not someone else’s responsibility to get you charged up – to make sure you’re allowing God to move in your life. It’s yours! I love having guest speakers at our church. But the truth is this: God can do what He wants through whomever He deems to be a worthy vessel.

Take responsibility – here and now – for revival. Accepting responsibility is the mark of a true leader. God is looking for leaders in the church who are fed up with spiritual deadness. He’s looking for partners who will pursue revival – new life – in His body! It all starts with you!

If you’re overcome with doubt as to whether or not God could ever actually use you to help accomplish His goals, consider this:

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. – Romans 8:11

There is only One Holy Spirit. God has not changed. The same Spirit who worked through Jesus Christ to accomplish everything miraculous in the New Testament is the Holy Spirit who still works through us today!

The Bible says that we passed through death with Jesus Christ so that we could experience the same resurrection life He enjoys (1 Jn 3:14). God wants to give us new life. He wants to revive us. All we have to do is ask.

– by Pastor Mike White

© Michael D. White and CityLight Church, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael White and CityLight Church with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.




[4] Searched for in the New King James Version.

Day 219: Infinite Love

CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan

Ezra 7:1-8:20

1 Corinthians 4:1-21

Psalm 30:1-12

Proverbs 20:28-30

For full text click here:


Commentary from Pastor Michael White:

“For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life” (Ps 30:5). God’s anger is finite. With one death on the Cross, all of God’s wrath was poured out. His Only Son hung and died in our place, and there is no more wrath to pour out. Yet God’s love is infinite. He loves us more than we can ever imagine: so much that He sent His Only Son to die so that we might enjoy eternity in Heaven with Him! God’s favor is for life. God’s love is forever.


Father, thank You that Your provision is so abundant! I know You will give me all the resources I need to accomplish what You have called me to do. I trust You for protection and provision in Jesus’ name!

Day 218: Heaven’s Resources

CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan

Ezra 4:24-6:22

1 Corinthians 3:5-23

Psalm 29:1-11

Proverbs 20:26-27

For full text click here:

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:

“Let the cost be paid at the king’s expense…” (Ezra 6:8). King Darius not only issued a decree that the temple of God should be rebuilt; he also offered to pay for it. What has God called you to do in your life? Are financial fears holding you back from pursuing that which God has clearly called you to do? The people of Israel were able to return home fully confident that God would give them all the resources they needed to rebuild the temple. And God will give you everything you need to fulfill your unique assignment.


Father, thank You that Your provision is so abundant! I know You will give me all the resources I need to accomplish what You have called me to do. I trust You for protection and provision in Jesus’ name!

Day 217: Your Workplace

CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan

Ezra 3:1-4:23

1 Corinthians 2:6-3:4

Psalm 28:1-9

Proverbs 20:24-25

For full text click here:

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:

“Though fear had come upon them because of the people of those countries, they set the altar on its bases; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord…” (Ezra 3:3). A remnant had finally returned to Jerusalem. They were surrounded by enemies in a now-foreign land, but they had a choice: either hide their faith, or boldly proclaim it and trust that God would protect them. They chose boldness. Though they were afraid, they set up their altars and offered sacrifices to God. New York City can be a daunting place, especially if you spend your week (and most likely occasional weekends) in a non-Christian workplace. You have a choice: hide your faith, or boldly proclaim it. What will you choose?


Father, help me to be a light in the darkness. Help me to share the gospel intelligently and boldly in my place of business. I am a city on a hill, showing the goodness of Your gospel to the world!

Day 216: Not the Sharpest Tool…

CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Reading Plan

Ezra 1:1-2:70

1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5

Psalm 27:7-14

Proverbs 20:22-23

For full text click here:

Commentary from Pastor Michael White:

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1:18). God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. He also uses foolish people to confound the smartest minds. He exalts and works through those who are willing to serve Him, regardless of whether or not they deserve promotion. Paul is cautioning us not to be surprised by the perceptions of the people around us; it is up to God to tell us what we are qualified to do, and no one else. Quite often, God will use someone who seems least likely to succeed to accomplish great things. The Cross may seem ludicrous to the most able mind who fails to understand his need for forgiveness and rely on Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. And that’s ok. Let God offend the smartest minds to expose their hearts.


Father, thank You that You bless those You see fit to carry Your anointing. I know You can use me no matter what my qualifications are; and I know You will give me the words and actions to succeed in my time of need.

Day 215: Picking Fights

CityLight Church’s One Year Bible Plan

2 Chronicles 35:1-36:23

1 Corinthians 1:1-17

Psalm 27:1-6

Proverbs 20:20-21

For full text click here:


Commentary by Pastor Michael White:

“Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself so that he might fight with him, and did not heed the words of Necho from the mouth of God. So he came to fight in the Valley of Megiddo” (2 Chron 35:22). Necho king of Egypt came up to battle a foreign king. He had no bad blood with Judah, and no desire to fight them. Yet Josiah, their king, insisted on going to war against Pharaoh Necho in an unnecessary battle. The end result? Josiah lost his life because he fought out of pride. But the ramifications of his decision did not stop there. His son, Jehoahaz, was deposed from the throne, and brought into captivity. What’s more, Judah was forced to pay tribute to Egypt because of Josiah’s rash decision. All of this could have been avoided if Josiah put away his pride and recognized this was not his fight. Are you picking unnecessary battles with anyone in your life? Avoid derision and division. Only fight when God instructs you and assures He will be with you!


Father, help me to avoid unnecessary battles. I only want to fight & take stands when you tell me to. Help me to be wise and use caution.

Day 214: Rationalization

2 Chronicles 33:14-34:33

Romans 16:10-27

Psalm 26:1-12

Proverbs 20:19

For full text click here:


Commentary by Pastor Michael White:

“…but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil” (Rom 16:19b). Wisdom requires knowledge. God instructs us to become incredibly wise – as practically informed as possible – when it comes to “what is good.” But when it comes to evil, we’re supposed to keep it simple. When it comes to right and wrong, we tend to make our choices too complicated. We often suffer from a perverted process called rationalization: even though we know something is contrary to God and shouldn’t be done, we convince ourselves that it will only happen once and then God will forgive us. We talk ourselves into doing what is evil and out of doing what is good. I invite you today to examine the areas of your life that have fallen subject to rationalization: are you embracing God’s best for you in every area of your life? If not, I have good news. You are not expected to “do good” alone. Jesus Christ died so that you could be made perfect – so that God’s Holy Spirit could live in you to 1) tell you what is “good” and 2) empower you to do it. Without God’s Holy Spirit working in us and through us, we don’t stand a chance. With Him, however, no enemy can stand against us.


Father, thank You for the indwelling presence and power of Your Holy Spirit! I need you to live well. I need you to do good! Your Holy Spirit will empower me to do everything You have called me to do in Jesus’ name!

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