Before you dare to ask. Tonight they are coming from all over the West Coast and other parts of the nation to see if the Santa Rosa Fire is real or not. Some are coming who are at death’s door hoping for a miracle. Then I hear of so many who want this in their city. But before you dare to ask for it read this…
Yes revival is unmatched as an act of God on a city. Yes revival is glorious and has no substitute in dealing with the evil in society. Nothing populates heaven like revival.
However, do not think about revival. Do not even fantasize about it until you realize these surprises about revival.
1. Revival is something completely different. It is not an improved version of what you had before.
If you have an emotional attachment to the way things are then do not waste God’s time seeking revival. No tradition is safe and all sacred cows are targeted. If your people have a favorite seat or comfortable routine confront it first. It is absolutely essential that you face this first…all but the good parts of the old are going away.
In revival there will be a new school and an old school. These two will collide, and if you are not prepared to go with the new, you will lose both the old, and the new. However, if what you were doing was working you would not be in a position to seek revival…would you?
2. Revival is not a Church growth model. Using revival to increase attendance is like having a baby to improve a marriage. Revival gives you an area wide vision and an appreciation for the other leaders that God has placed in the city. Yes, thousands will be added to all of the churches but it is not because of marketing or slick programs. Revival is a military tactic of God meant to create quantity and quality for the church that is being built by Jesus.
3. Keep it simple and joyous. Revival is by nature a very emotional thing. It is easy to become fearful of losing the blessing. Since you did not make it happen you cannot also keep it going. You must find new and creative ways of staying out of the way. When it is forced, legalistic or hyperemotional God is no longer driving the movement. This is the sin of the Galatians who “began in the Spirit but now are perfected by the flesh.”
4. Understand the message of the revival. Stay true to the message that Jesus is using to drive the engine of the revival. Changing messages to suit the times, or to advance your new found popularity is disaster! For example, this outpouring in Santa Rosa has to do with the upcoming election and the dizzying changes in American culture. We know that we are not the only outpouring there are several in the nation. What Mordecai said to Esther applies to us. “you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.”
5. Jesus alone must remain the thrill. Beware of false joy and false holiness. Houdini the escape artist died because the audience needed to see more exotic feats. Revivals are destroyed the same way. Audiences can corrupt the flow by demanding new and more titillating manifestations. Evangelists can kill revival by feeling pressured to perform. If Christ is not enough then there is something wrong with you not Jesus. Emotional binges and self generated holiness are not sustainable. A true revivalist grows in the knowledge of God, and gains deeper appreciation for the basics of our faith.
6. You must give it away. The four lepers in 2 Kings 7 had wisdom that we need. After they found the great supply of food that the enemy had abandoned, they realized that they would be punished if they hoarded it. The gospel and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are only ours long enough for us to be equipped to give them away. This is how rivers become swamps. Of all the things that I push in each meeting I say this most of all, “you must bring the lost and the hurting or the flow of God will stop!