Mary and I have been blessed to have experienced several revivals in our married life. We were involved in the revival in Melbourne Florida, the Rodney Howard Brown services in Lakeland Florida and caught the tail end of the Brownsville Revival in Pensacola, FL. We also were able to minister in many revivals throughout Florida and other areas.
What a blessing these times were and how I long to experience them again; I firmly believe a huge revival is coming, greater than any the world has experienced, and I want to be a part of it. However, having been through years of working at churches that have experienced revival, I understand what it takes to get ready and what it takes to endure during times of refreshing—it takes work and lots of it.
When we speak of revival and how much we look forward to it we must try to understand what we are actually asking. Have you considered what it takes in the way of effort, wear and tear on facilities, wear and tear on volunteers and staff… If we really think about what it will take to get ready for it, I wonder whether the idea of revival would still be something we would pursue. Think about this for a minute – revival takes work, and work takes people and you are a person, so would you get involved if we moved towards revival?
Here are a few examples of what is required of a church during revival:
Ushers and Greeters up to 7 days a week
Increased utility costs
Additional full-time volunteer and paid staff
Bathroom paper products
7 days of maintenance and cleaning the church
These are only a few of the costly sides of revival; however, any church who is called to revival by almighty God will be provided the resources necessary to sustain it. We must, however, understand what it will take up front.
NOW, I hope I have not caused you any doubt about revival. It is something we should desire and seek; we just must understand the cost. So now let’s look at some spiritual aspects of revival.
Revival must take place in individuals before it can take place in communities; after all, it does not begin in a church, it begins in the hearts of God’s people. As it begins, it will spread like a wildfire. Once a fire has consumed its fuel, it will die, therefore, the fire of revival must be continuously fueled by the people.
Here are three key processes necessary for revival:
Pressing In; people must be engaged with the entire concept and in a one accord just as it was in Acts chapter two. This requires humility, prayer, repentance, unity and perseverance.
We hear it often but what does “pressing in” mean and how do I do it?
In Mark 5:24-34 we see a woman with an issue of blood, an incurable disease – but also a woman with incredible faith who is willing to potentially die in an effort to receive her healing.
She knows Jesus and trusts Him and is willing to make every effort to overcome any obstacles, set aside any fears or concerns such as embarrassment, just to be near Him and receive His blessing. Then, she steps out on faith, presses in throwing all caution to the wind because she trusts Him and is then rewarded for her faith and effort.
Waiting on God – listening to Him and His still small voice and then receiving what He offers. This requires passionate prayer, listening prayer, fervent prayer, and continuous seeking of Him and His plan.
God promises strength while we wait; Psalm 27:14 – “Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!”
Isaiah 40:31 – “But those who wait on the LORD; Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.”
Promise to Inherit the land
Psalm 37: 9 – “For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth.”
Psalm 37:34 – “Wait on the LORD, And keep His way, And He shall exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.”
God’s promises will come about- be patient
Habakkuk 2:3 – “But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.” (New Living)
When we fail to wait
Exodus 24 – Moses waited on God 40 days – then he received the plans for the temple, the priests, etc. The people grew restless and committed sins
There are many other scriptures concerning waiting: Psalm 62:5, Psalm 33:20, Hebrews 10:23, Hebrews 3:14, Isaiah 25:9, Psalm 37:7-9, Lamentations 3:35-26, Micah 7:7 (God will hear me so I will wait), Hosea 12:6
Waiting means, we wait to see what God is doing and jump in the same way we would jump into a pool. Forget sticking your toe in to test the waters, jump in with all the faith you have.
Understanding the Anointing
What is the anointing? In both the old and new Testaments, they anointed with oil. The anointing associated with revival is the power of the Holy Ghost flowing around, in, and through His people. It is the power of God and the anointing oil is a reflection of this. In b. below, we see Jesus explaining this:
Jesus said in Luke 4:18 – “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;”
I John 2:20 – “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.” (KJV says unction=chrisma which normally refers to special anointing oil). It was specifically selected for this place to demonstrate a work of God (also 1 John 2:27)
Anointing is sometimes used to explain a Holy Spirit orchestrated happening during a specific time or event (such as what happened in Acts 2); frequently it refers to a move of God or the manifest presence of God where God actively demonstrates His power. This understanding stems from 1 John 2:20
A person operating under the anointing (manifest presence of God) is an oasis to others – just as Jesus felt the healing leave Him when He was touched by the woman, we should release God’s power to others--otherwise what good are we doing and why have revival? The fire of revival is for us but also for us to share. Go back and read Exodus and what happened to the manna that people hoarded – well we are no better and if we are keeping this fire for ourselves.
A desire for revival is one thing but how we pursue it is another – please make sure you do not try to define what the revival you will look like. Trust me when I say, God knows much more about what a revival should accomplish, where it should occur, and how it will work than we do. Therefore, express your desire for it and let the Holy Spirit do the rest. If you look at the history of revivals, they were not all the same in appearance or results. Moves of the Holy Spirit have a way of changing people permanently for the better. For those who have experienced revival in the past, you are probably still sharing stories of these changes in you and others. This is because the chronicles of life changing experiences that happen during revival continue to positively affect others.
The next thing you may want to do is clear your mind and heart of any personal agendas - not just concerning revival, but how you feel about particular people, groups or organizations should act and perform and what you think should be done to get them there. When you have an agenda, you will block the Holy Spirit; when operating this way, anything you experience that you believe to be move of the Holy Spirit will almost certainly be founded on your emotions and not on God. This is actually how many cult leaders get started – never forget, you cannot control God and you cannot control His willingness to bring a revival—especially according to your plan.
If you walk into church, the office, the store, etc. and start criticizing others for their appearance, their taste in music, or anything else, you are not ready for revival. The agapé love and acceptance of Christ must flow from us – don’t fake it, learn to believe it and live it. This is one of the areas that may take some work and as the Holy Spirit does His work in us, we may feel uncomfortable, but we must let Him clean the muck from inside us. Primarily because it is this very muck that prevents us from pressing into the things that will lead to revival. Also, never forget what Matthew 7:5 says, “Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
The next thing is to learn to worship and praise God by singing, not just in church. You don’t have to be good at it but do it. Sing praises to the King. Your spirit should always be singing but when to sing out loud may require some common sense. Learn some great songs from revivals of the past and present or write some new ones – sometimes, I like to sing random thoughts of worship and make up a tune as I go along.
If you want to sing old songs, do it, if you want to sing new songs, do it – but carefully select the words that express the emotions in your heart and how you feel about God, your desire to see revival, and what sacrifices you are willing to make to see it.
Sing these by yourself or with others who also are seeking a powerful move. One of my favorite revival songs is the Days of Elijah; it is a powerful song (Donnie McClurkin and Francis Robert Mark) that strives, to stoke the fires of revival. Here are a few verses
These are the days of Elijah
Declaring the word of the Lord, yeah
And these are the days of Your servant Moses
Righteousness being restored
These are the days of great trials
Of famine and darkness and sword
Still we are the voice in the desert crying
Prepare ye the way of the Lord!
Say, behold He comes, riding on the clouds
Shining like the sun at the trumpet's call
Lift your voice, year of Jubilee
Out of Zion's hill, salvation comes
And these are the days of Ezekiel
The dry bones becoming flesh
And these are the days of Your servant, David
Rebuilding a temple of praise
And these are the days of the harvest
The fields are all white in Your world
And we are the laborers that are in Your vineyard
Declaring the Word of the Lord
Behold He comes, riding on the clouds
Shining like the sun at the trumpet's call
Lift your voice, year of Jubilee
Out of Zion's hill, salvation comes
So, sing praises to Him, worship Him all the time – not so it distracts us (or others) from His call, but in such a way that our spirits are ignited every time we hear the name Jesus.
Another preparation step is to continuously fuel the fire, keep adding fuel so it grows and does not go out – help the fire to spread. Never look to your left of right to see what God is doing in or through others, just keep feeding it with your prayers, your worship, your pressing in, and your desire, all that you have and are; also, avoid distractions that would prevent you from advancing your desire to STOKE His fire.
Leviticus 6:13 teaches that the fire on the Jewish altar must never go out. This fire was necessary for sacrifices which might be needed at any time without warning. Just as God instructed the Levites, who were responsible for the tabernacle, to keep the fire going, we must keep the fire burning in us and in each other, it must continue and never go out. Our hearts have become the altar on which the fire burns, so keep it red-hot and ready; you never know when God will call on you to make a sacrifice.
Too often, we allow influences to get between God and us and this may cause the flames to start to die down. If not stoked regularly, the fire may even die. Just as the Levites were commanded, we must keep feeding the fire and never let it die. When there are no flames and the embers are barely orange, we have failed to feed the fire the way we should, and it is during these times that difficulties are more likely to appear as insurmountable; it is at this time we allow the world to attack and possibly defeat us.
NONETHELESS, THERE IS GOOD NEWS and that is, as long as there is still heat in the embers, the fire has not gone out and as we start to refuel it, we will feel the heat, then we will see the flames once again and know that we are back on track and the world can do as it wishes because God is back in control. It is at these times we can and should thank God for staying with us and allowing us to rekindle the flames which represent our relationship with Him.
If our heart is the altar, the flames are the Holy Spirit working for, in and through us.
Psalm 19:7: The law of the Lord is perfect, converting [reviving in the ESV] the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
Psalm 80:19: Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; Cause Your face to shine, And we shall be saved!
Psalm 85:6: Will You not revive us again, That Your people may rejoice in You?
Andrew Murray said, “A true revival means nothing less than a revolution, casting out the spirit of worldliness and selfishness, and making God and His love triumph in the heart and life.”
Charles Finney said, “Revival comes from heaven when heroic souls enter the conflict determined to win or die-or if need be, to win and die! The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. A revival is nothing else than a new beginning of obedience to God.”
Henry Blackaby says, “All revival begins, and continues, in the prayer meeting. Some have also called prayer the “great fruit of revival.” In times of revival, thousands may be found on their knees for hours, lifting up their heartfelt cries, with thanksgiving, to heaven.”
Pastor Jeff Good said, “surround yourself with those on the same mission as you.” His church enjoyed revival for over ten years and ministered to other churches the entire time.
During the 1980’s, pastors of many churches in the Melbourne Florida area met once a week for years in an effort to bring some form of revival to their area. These pastors were from most of the major denominations and several independent churches. They met for this sole purpose and agreed to set aside their differences in beliefs in order to build unity. They did this for five years and God did not disappoint; He showed up and the revival began and continued – at first, they rotated between the different churches; however, as the crowds continued to grow, they had to meet at only the larger churches and eventually the largest which seated thousands. Services were going seven nights a week.
Incredible testimonies came out of this revival and people’s lives were permanently changed. Think about how much time and effort was invested by the pastors and others in preparation for this revival and what came out of it. My questions is, are we willing to put the time and effort into seeking God towards the possibility of revival? We don’t have to do it alone of course, we can call on others in and outside our church; however, the first step is setting aside anything that would prevent unity. Just as the pastors who had some significant differences in their beliefs, set them aside in order to build unity, we must do the same.
I encourage you to keep seeking a major move of God and to unite with others of the same mind to ensure something happens. Make sure you do not put God in a box, because you have no idea how or when He will show up and what He will do.
One last thought; what it takes to press in to a move of God is how we should live all the time. It may be tough at first, however, in time, it will become easy because it is how God desires us to live.
Pun-ishment – April Fuels
While you may not appreciate fuel puns, diesel certainly make you laugh. For example, though they were void of engines, ancient boats certainly got more miles to the galleon. Ok, here is this month’s pun story.
Petro was a fuelish sort, kind of a self-serving guy who operated a gas station on Fillmore Street. His crude behavior ignited some conflicts with customers especially when they did not fill well. Sometimes they were really pumped up. One even hit him in the solar plexus.
Petro’s wife, Gassy, kept telling him, “you cannot fuel all the people all the time.” By the way he asked her, isn’t another name for that Geritol you drink, fossil fuel? This left her fuming but she reminded him if he didn’t shape up he would end up in hell and that place is soul-ar-powered.
Petro tried to tell Vin what type of gas he needed but it wasn’t right for Vin’s diesel. Vin also had a car that ran on shale but Petro said it was just a frack-simile. The idea of solar eclipsed him.
Petro asked his wife about the bills. “the electric is current,” she said. He was shocked when he tried to tune up a Prius-as I said, he was not well grounded though he was energized.