In light of the fact that we are continuing to see God's Presence moving among our college campuses and across our land, I want to take a look at Revival from a more personal perspective in people's lives and our culture. In Part 1 of this topic, I took a basic approach towards Revival from a Scriptural viewpoint in the Old and New Testaments, as well as how theologians describe it, and even the cynicism of modern Believers and non-Believers alike. As I stated in the previous post, I don't really care if people call what we are seeing a "Revival" or an "Awakening" or even a "Movement of God" -- it is my prayer that it persists and is sustained as God proceeds in doing whatever it is that He has planned for it. Let His Spirit work in the hearts of men as the message of His love and power to change lives -- and the world! -- permeates this land.
There is no question in my mind that I am witnessing a movement of God in our culture. And I use that terminology in a deliberate way. By now, I am sure most of you have heard of the movie Jesus Revolution, whose popularity is widely touted by the Christian community. I was introduced to a video by John Ruttkay [a participant in the Jesus Movement in the 70's]. He was a witness to the Jesus Movement, the Shepherding Movement, and the Vineyard Movement, all which lasted well into the 90s. None of these movements resembled the traditional, orthodox Church of that time period. And I invite you to click on the links and do your own research on what these revivals looked like. But the point I want to make is this: Mr. Ruttkay made a statement that I think is central to how we must view Asbury and all the other colleges and places where revival has broken out. He said, "If something is called a movement, it's because God is moving in that time and space". A very simple statement, but perhaps it can keep us from getting hung up on whether any of these spiritual activities "qualify" to be called a revival.
Yes, we have the Biblical concepts of Revival as 1) bringing back to life what [of God] was dead and lost, as well as 2) being awakened to whatever has been appointed by God for men to understand, and then being stirred into action through obedience to reveal it to others. And I recognize those definitions as being true. But I think we can sometimes become too rigid ... and I'll say it, "religious" ... about setting standards for what qualifies as a revival. There are multiple websites on the internet that proclaim the 8 or 10 or 12 "certifications" for genuine revival. But I think Revival looks like whatever God wants it to look like in the circumstances in order to give birth to, or arouse the spirits of men and women to testify to His Glory.
Now, that can be in a corporate model, as we see at Asbury University and Cedarville Unviersity, as well as college campuses in Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Texas. Even a Tennessee Middle School is experiencing the movement of God. But Revival can be individual and personal, too. Bottom line, it doesn't need to fit a cookie cutter mold. As a dear Sister in Christ commented on Part 1, "When I experienced revival, I knew I was changed. When I began to share my testimony, the naysayers were the first to tell me that my transformation was not real. The naysayers did not know my whole life story, so how could they make an assumption that nothing really happened to me? By my outward appearance, they were right, but if I had listened to their words, I would have been discouraged and been as dry as the naysayers have become. I am thankful for that moment in time in my life that I experienced, so that I can rejoice with those who have also experienced Jesus. Their transformation may not happen in an instant. Mine didn't either. It took time, so I am anticipating those who rise above the naysayers and thankful that Christians are truly experiencing Jesus, to repent, to be set free". I know her well and can attest to the evidence that she experienced true revival in her life.
Then there is another woman, who has become a new friend, who shared with me her experience of being part of the Jesus Movement in Texas. She has seen the movie, The Jesus Revolution, and says it is pretty accurate to what that movement was like. She said the hippies from California [which is where the movement began] showed up at their South Texas Church and showed the congregation that they could have a personal relationship with Jesus, which was a new paradigm for them. The people inside that Church were spiritually transformed, and then came to understand that they had made their building the Church, but it couldn't contain the whole picture of God. He was much bigger than that confined space, and His message needed to go out into the streets and spread across the land.
But she also testified that if the Holy Spirit was not properly stewarded, and the power and authority did not go out, it became confined in the building and Satan would begin causing disruptions. People with no discernment would "get out of hand" [her words] and stand up and witness, oftentimes out of their own soul. The power of the Holy Spirit was so great, that the building could not contain it. Church leadership struggled with thoughts of "what do we do with this movement of the Spirit"? But she testified that the revival lasted for 5-7 years, with many of the young people involved in street ministry that bore much fruit. And she affirmed that the seeds of that revival are still alive these 50 years later. Many of her good friends from that period of her life are still doing ministry and evangelizing.
Finally, I want to share the testimony of a young man who my husband and I ministered Inner Healing to. His story, and that of his family, is nothing short of miraculous. There has been a revival in his life that encompasses both of the definitions of Revival from Scripture. He came from an abusive childhood, drug addiction, sexual issues, and satanic influence into a life seeking Jesus, having visions of Jesus washing his feet, but he still experienced a constant battle with Satan to keep that relationship with His Savior. Just a few short months ago, we met with him, partnered with Jesus so that he experienced an encounter with the One who died for him, and he was changed forever. He went home to his wife and stepson, and together the family has battled to keep the freedom that would lead them all into God's miraculous favor. The love he had for Jesus was always overshadowed by the power of the Enemy to lie and convince him he could never be free. But when we ministered to him, and he saw Jesus hand him a key to walk out of that prison cell, he left that dead life behind once and for all, and there began a personal revival in his life that stirred up his spirit to lead his family into a Divine freedom. He recently was given a job that he could only have dreamed about five months ago; his wife is free of all her depression and anger from life's struggles; and his stepson has excelled in school beyond kids that are two grades ahead of him. And the most beautiful thing is that he said he felt the spirit of the revival at Asbury University [which is not far from where he lives] infusing his own spirit and igniting his own walk with the Lord.
So, as you can see, Spiritual Revival and Awakening can take many forms. The most obvious is when movements like the Azusa Street Revival, which began at the turn of the century in 1906; the Jesus Movement of the 70s; and today's Asbury Revival give witness to large numbers of people who experience the Presence of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. But personal revival bears great fruit, too; changing the destiny and purpose of families for generations to come. As I said earlier, God will do what He wants to when the people are willing and ready. Our nation has an amazing history of Revivals and Great Awakenings, and I believe we are ripe for another one. Does it mean it will last and bring in the Return of Christ? Only God, the Father knows.
But we cannot make or fabricate Revival ourselves. It is the Sovereignty and Grace that God extends to us in response to our repentance and prayers that lights the spark. And historically, revivals in America have rarely lasted longer than 10 years. But I know you join me in praying that this spirit of Revival continues and grows until God is once again welcomed back into our society and culture. Let Revival spill forth from our Church buildings and our Home Churches into our individual lives, our homes, our schools, the halls of our government, and across the entire globe. Let us learn the lessons from past revivals and not define nor limit God as to who He can use to change our nation. God, we pray that You use each one of us to bring revival in our spheres of influence and we invite You to reign over our land once again. Amen!
#revival #revivalinamerica #Godsrevival #asburyrevival #whatisrevival
Psalm 69:32 The humble have seen it and are glad; You who seek God [requiring Him as your greatest need], let your heart revive and live.