Why are we still waiting for revival?
Let’s face it! The thought of a nationwide penetration of righteousness, of a true revival, seems so unreal. We can’t even remember the last time the roar of God was heard in the land. Certainly we have had extended meetings that have gotten a lot of attention but the impact never extended beyond the excited Christians who were in the meetings. We can’t remember the times in American history when mayors of major cities such as Denver and Portland proclaimed revival and closed city offices and businesses to go to churches and pray. We cannot recall the day when laws were written to facilitate the reformation taking place in the hearts of Americans.
Maybe you are like I am. You walk around with an unearthly frustration. You know something is about to happen! You hear the cry of some wonderful, invisible event that wants to be born.
This letter is about that yearning that many have to see a new act of God. I count as my dearest friends, those precious few who have not given up on our generation. I love those who are not deafened by the present evil. They can still hear the resurrection voice of Jesus. They know that the Holy Spirit has not abandoned us. They know that a strategy is available. They believe there is a plan to take back what Satan has stolen.
I came to a point where I was sure my mind had failed. Within me were convulsions of truth. God had removed contentment from me. I was feeling deep birth pangs. With paralyzing clarity I saw the church and my own efforts as being of little effect. My generation was largely unchanged by all the church had said and done.
Mine was the dealing of Israel by God when He said in Haggai, “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink but never have you fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” (Haggai 1:5, 6)
The resulting journey is what made this letter possible. Along the way God faithfully reduced me to a child. I waited for answers. Not only did I pray, I studied, I talked to elderly saints who were in awakenings in the past.
Time passed quickly and there never seemed enough hours in a day to continue my quest.
I was disappointed to find so little written today about revival. These kinds of books must be hated by Satan. When you walk into a religious book store, you have to dig past all the books on Christian diets, dating, and mood control to find those abandoned texts that tell us of our real purpose for existing… to release the glory of God on a dying world.
Even when I did find books on revival, some seemed to be wrapped up in giving only two or three answers. First, most of them told of what happened in past revivals and then some told of why they thought these revivals happened. I wondered why somebody doesn’t simply tell us what to do! I was so frustrated at the scarcity of effective revival training.
I believe church historians do us a disservice if they honor past revival without trying to inspire new ones. I wanted to scream, “That’s great… but we need another one. Now what do we do?!” How I thank God for the nuggets of truth that faithful saints have left us. Thank God for the historians who didn’t embalm past revivals in honey, but reported them accurately and pointed the way for others to happen.
So it was, after all my searching and all my crying that God caused my slow heart to hear His Voice. What you are reading is born out of my own breaking and seeking.
Before a great awakening, there must come a rude awakening. It is essential that you face specific misconceptions and attitudes that would prevent you from receiving the revelation of what is holding back the kind of revival we need to restore America.
Keep in mind that this is a word to sincere Pastors, leaders and believers. It is obvious why some do not have revival. Where there is false doctrine, secret sin, or malice toward the moving of the Holy Spirit the subject of revival should not even be mentioned; true repentance should be their only concern. Those who refuse to repent do not even figure into this conversation!
Why are sincere, faithful preachers and congregations still waiting for revival? That is what I am talking about. So here is my list of the current conditions that are holding back revival in the real church.
(1) Wanting “Teaching” but not training. At first this sounds like nit-picking but look more closely. Do we love to hear deep truth without implementing it? Many have become DVD and CD tapeworms who wallow in what they know.
Ezekiel was told by God, “They love to hear your words but they will not do them.” (Ezekiel 33:31) Training is what we need. Training is different from teaching because to train someone is to require them to perform. What we need is revival training. The content of this letter is not something for you to know, it is something for you to do.
(2) Feeling inferior to previous generations of Christians.
Again, when revival “experts” portray a past group of saints as being a better grade of believer, they violate history and they play into a tactic of Satan.
Often I’ve heard preachers say that the first-century Christians “shook their world without newspapers, jets, or television.” But does technology give us an advantage or make people more receptive to the Gospel? Absolutely not! It is today as it was then. Only a clear work of the Spirit can open men’s hearts.
Paul the Apostle would be amazed by our feelings of inferiority. He would zealously encourage us and recount how very human those books of Acts saints were. If God did for them, He can do it for us! We, like they, can seize God’s grace to overcome faults.
(3) Seeing revival as an unachievable state of bliss and perfection.
None of the past revivals was perfect. When they are pictured so idealistically, one will make the mistake of thinking they are nearly impossible to get.
Grace and mercy permeate every past awakening. Revivals are a dramatic mingling of God’s mercy and the occasional bungling of His servants.
(4) Abusing end-time prophecy.
Don’t get me wrong; I believe in the rapture. What I reject is a defeatist’s attitude that uses prophecy as a cloak of decency.
End-time corruption is a very easy excuse for a fearful church. But we must not violate scripture and fashion a doctrine in order to justify our failures. Certainly things are going to “wax worse and worse” but Jesus forever sealed the issue in Matthew 24:14 when He declared a worldwide impact of His Gospel before the world would be allowed to end.
That remains our task: to shake the earth with Good News. If we use scriptures out of context to tell us it can’t be done, we’ve lost the war before the first battle.
If we are too bent on escaping the idea of attacking, Satan will bewilder us. What a strange army: A sword in one hand and a suitcase in the other! Before we ask for revival, we must be sure that we believe it can happen.
(5) Spiritual smugness.
Whether it is professionalism in a pastor or apathy in a saint, the result is the same; if God is turned a deaf ear, He will look to someone else to finish His work. To be smug is to be falsely content with results that are skimpy. It is not an outright rejection of God’s work it is more a mixture of a sense of exaggerated self-importance and a numbing lack of urgency.
In the church today we have made it fashionable to want revival. It is “in” to talk revival talk. Satan has not wished to bury revival talk but, rather, he wants to congratulate us for only saying we want it. He is amused by our pompous symbolic effort to bring revival. The devil delights in the fact of our pride. We are so pleased with our awareness of the needs for revival that it seems enough to just want it.
There is a young crop of Christians that is entirely different from swooning saints. I told you in a recent letter that the youth will bring a Lion Revival! These young Christians ask disturbing questions about why we always seem to want something that we never deliberately try to get. If the church is not careful, we may be passed over in favor of this new breed of believers who don’t have our religious childhood diseases.
II Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” That is a promise that we have all heard and believed, but probably never realized its true significance. A promise and instructions are embedded in that verse that will remove Satan’s vile talons from the throat of our nation.
The eyes of the Lord see everything but they focus on what is going on with His people. Let us come before Him now, aware of our total helplessness. Let us announce that we are His people and that we do not fear our time, but we fear the Lord, and we have come to stand before His presence on behalf of a new demonstration of His glory on earth. Then we will see the barriers removed and the long-awaited revival explode!