Greatest Question

As you read this our tent is going up. Thousands know we are coming. A rare kind of unity exists between leaders here, and an amazing anticipation is in the air. We have more volunteers and prayer warriors for this event than any previous tent crusade. There is a buzz on the streets.

Many who are involved in this outreach are starting to talk about an awakening. They seem to sense that we could see a revival—and they don’t mean just ‘a good meeting’—they mean a moral outbreak that could sweep an entire region into the kingdom of Christ. I am talking about Dinuba, California.

So tonight I am pondering a great question: What starts a revival?

Here we are, two thousand years after the church began, and Christian theologians still don’t know what starts a revival.   Authors by the dozens release new books to tell us what the “steps for revival” are.  No sooner are they out, than the Spirit falls in a manner that totally contradicts their books.   As soon as we add a “step” to revival, God steps over our step…

Often past revivals are no help because history shows that the old revival usually opposes the new revival.  It seems dangerous to be tagged an expert on revival.  As the old rock song says, “If I claim to be a wise man then it surely means that I don’t know.”

Revivals have started in more ways than you or I can imagine.  Some began among children.  Some started in prisons. Some were touched off by the very people the church despised the most.  Has God kept us clueless about revival because He knows that anything that we can analyze we will try to control? It is certainly in us to do that, and there is no getting around it.

So why isn’t the devil happy?  We are divided, disorganized and ignorant of his devices.  There is no major threat of revival in America, am I right?  But the evil one does not relax.  Does he know something we don’t know?   Like maybe revival has never been actually caused by the church?  Does he remember how many times revivals have hit him by surprise?  Does Satan respect one aspect of revival more than we do—that revival can strike at any moment, in any place, through any believer?

Okay, let’s face it, it is truly beyond us to know how to start a revival, and Satan doesn’t know how to stop one.  That, dear pilgrim, is called an impasse.  Only God can break the tie.  So what can we do?  Brace yourself:  WE NEED TO LOOK AT GOD!

Satan is watching God more than he is watching us because we, my friend, are not the threat.  Here is a love/hate triangle:  God is looking at us, we are looking at the devil, and the devil is looking at God.

WE NEED TO LOOK AT GOD.  Get this, and you have taken a giant step forward.  We need to be watching God.  But that is so simple and obvious.  So, if it is that simple and obvious, then why aren’t we doing it?  Why in fact are we doing everything else but that?  Again, is it because Satan knows how to busy us with stuff that seems holy, but is irrelevant to revival?

Even our prayers are often not directed at God.  They are merely a set of statements we have been told to make, and statements we have been told will supposedly cause God to work.  Face it! God refuses to operate within our formulas.  He operates from a secret:  “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.” (Psalm 25:14)

God is looking for a relationship with those who want revival.  Exodus 31:18 is a strange verse.  It says, “And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.”  Israel has been waiting for centuries to gain legitimacy, because with the Law comes an identity and a legacy.  So why does God instead delay it for weeks so He can commune with Moses?  Here’s the rub: You want revival, but God wants you.  

Is it possible that in all of our arduous efforts we have overlooked the most amazing simplicity in the entire universe:  “If you abide in Me and My Words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done.” (John 15:7)  Can it be that simple?

Revival is the natural result of getting so close to God that His secret takes hold and that ignites a chain reaction with others who suddenly cannot live without intimacy with God, and so and so on.

When can we know that revival has started?  In my studies, I have noticed a common denominator among the great revivalists who have led the great revivals.  They had an unshakable conviction that a revival had already started.  No matter what anyone said or did, they would not back down from the confession “revival is here!”   Much of their preaching was devoted to this conviction.

Jesus said, “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!”  (John 4:35)

Revival-starters kept an infectious declaration going, no matter what.  Though the people around them felt that revival was months or years away, the revivalist says, “NO! IT IS ALREADY HERE!”

 

Again I ask, when can we know that a revival has started?  I got my answer one day at the beach when the tide was out.  Gentle white foam tickled my toes.  And the still small voice of the Lord spoke to me, “No matter how small that wave is, it is an ocean wave.  It is a relative of the tsunami.” 

Yes, a tidal wave can travel at 500 miles per hour, yet it is still nothing but an ocean wave, just larger.

“A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.” (Matthew 12:20).   This verse is saturated with much meaning, but I will limit myself to the part about the smoking flax.  Jesus is not going to put out any fire, no matter how insignificant it looks, until justice is victorious.

The first time you cried out for America to be saved, God took you at your word and started a revival fire in you. The first syllable that was spoken in prayer for revival at any gathering where women prayed, began the revival.  The first time a pastor told his people how much we need revival, the spark was ignited.

The job now is to cooperate with God for bigger and bigger and bigger waves.  The tide rises as the revival core pays the price of obedience.   If they keep to the intention of the revival, it will intensify.  If they refuse the hand of man, and the ways of Baal, the waves will continue to come, in faithful and ever increasing power.

How else can I say it?  You are a revival-starter, simply by wanting more of Jesus!

Now a special video message from Mario Murillo about what starts this Sunday

They will soon appear

Remember I told you this…a new kind of Christian leader will soon appear. They will not fit any present mold. They will be the catalysts. They will usher in the next great awakening.

In the next few years, you will see social media virtually ban all preaching. Not only that, but there will be a concerted effort to marginalize the church in ways you never imagined. Does that mean that Bible-based Christianity is over in America? Absolutely not! You watch: God will come out of nowhere to meet this threat.

A few of them will be in pulpits. More of them will be in politics, business, science, law, entertainment, music, or a thousand other fields of endeavor.  They will not introduce subjects—they will introduce eras.  

 No one will be able to buy them off or get them to change the subject. They will operate on a disquieting plane of holiness and consecration. I believe A. W. Tozer was describing them when he said, “They serve God and mankind from motives too high to be understood by the rank and file of religious retainers who today shuttle in and out of the sanctuary.”

Today they suffer. Their agony is what happens when worlds collide. They see their destiny. It’s big and dangerous. A part of them glories in the potential to know God intimately and represent Him bravely. They see themselves rebuking kings, tyrants, and warmongers. They see themselves commanding the transfer of the wealth of the wicked into the control of the righteous. (Is. 60:5)

 God is warring to save America. You must find your assignment in that war. But how can we know our assignment?

The secret to finding your assignment is your heart. God speaks to the heart and then the heart must control the mind. Today, many spirit-filled believers are unwittingly involved in New Age practices. They relate to God as if He were some kind of ‘force’ rather than a Person.

They think that audacity and confidence will unlock gifts, authority, and direction. They speak of “activating gifts” as if there was a formula to supernatural manifestations. My friend, it comes through brokenness, not arrogance. The ‘force’ is a farce.

The gifts and anointing of the Holy Spirit always come through relationship. Sorry, but Christianity has always been, and always will be, family owned and operated. So then how can we know our assignment?

Your assignment in the Army of God is your individual expression and extension of Christ’s destruction of the works of the devil. You are a destroyer of the works of the devil. God will give you a way to do it that is unique to you.

Until that gets through to you—until you admit and agree to those terms—God will remain silent about your assignment.

Because the situation today in America is an impossible one, only one kind of person will make a difference now. They must be armed with divine certainty. They must own an unshakable, bone-deep conviction that they have been chosen for this task.

Without this, we have zero hope of removing the bloody talons of Satan from the throat of our nation. Without it, we are doomed to another embarrassing misfire, pawned off as revival.

Next, you must face the fact that very few believers are supposed to be teachers, preachers, or pastors (see James 3:1). For too long, we have listened to the voice of God through a filter. In the past, whenever God has moved someone to serve Him, we have assumed it meant ‘ministry.’

This assumption of ministry has sent many Christians to Bible College who didn’t belong there. Worse yet, it has filled pulpits with people who should have never been ordained. This reminds me of why President Woodrow Wilson once said, “One of the proofs of the divinity of the Gospel is the preaching it has survived.”

This filtered view of service is one big reason the church lost influence in our nation. God tried to send people into education, law, medicine, business, art, media, and yes, even politics−but instead, we herded them into “Christian service.”

You see it in the Bible. You see it in the stories of heroes of faith throughout history who altered the course of their generation. At the dawn of their mission, God infused them with incontestable certainty.

This certainty plays a critical role in their survival. Think of it like the escape velocity of a rocket. Escape velocity is one of the biggest challenges of space travel. In order for a rocket to break free of the Earth’s gravitational force it must reach a speed of seven miles per second. That’s 25,000 miles per hour!

Evil convulses at the approach of a new vessel of God. Hell instantly puts chosen ones on a hit list. The child of God must be blasted by divine certainty into a trajectory that will escape the pull of devils, the seduction of fame, withering criticism, and the dark night of the soul that comes to all who are called of God.

From his death bed, John Wesley wrote his last letter to William Wilberforce to encourage him as he fought in Parliament to abolish slavery in England. In this letter, Wesley confirms the urgency of divine certainty: “Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you?  Are all of them together stronger than God? O be not weary of well doing! Go on, in the name of God and in the power of his might…”

Understand this child of God! The same Spirit that is awakening a passion and direction in you is doing the same thing to millions more. Soon an army will emerge that will invade every area of our culture.

Today it is sporadic fire, here and there, but soon the prophetic core of God will obey and embrace their assignment. They will come together in a chorus of victory that will be unlike anything we have ever seen.

Never forget, Christianity will survive without America−but America will not survive without Christianity.

WHAT IF GOD CHOOSES TO GO IT ALONE?

If America is about to be destroyed will God still wait for the church?  If we continue to refuse revival will God go it alone?  Would He let America die so the church can save face?  The answer from scripture is clear:

Isaiah 63:5 “I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so, my own arm achieved salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me.”

The answer from American history is also clear.  Michael Medved said: “The history of the United States displays an uncanny pattern: At moments of crisis, when the odds against success seem overwhelming and disaster looks imminent, fate intervenes to provide deliverance and progress. Historians may categorize these incidents as happy accidents, callous crimes, or the product of brilliant leadership, but the most notable leaders of the past four hundred years have identified this good fortune as something else—a reflection of divine providence.”

Don’t think for a moment that I am trying to comfort the church.  I am not trying to comfort—I am issuing a warning.  The church today is sicker than we know.  Many preachers are literally mocking God in the pulpit.

In 1998, David Wilkerson said this about the American Church: “Likewise today, Christians by the multiple thousands are casting off the yoke of Christ, tossing aside all limits and restrictions. This attitude is prevalent in many of the books and magazines you find in Christian bookstores. It’s almost as if our leaders are saying, “Relax! God isn’t hard. He’s our Daddy, we’re all his kids, and we’re meant to have a good time. Don’t let anyone disturb your fun!”

We have begun to glorify homosexuality and lesbianism. Our media applauds the “bravery” of gays who declare their sexual orientation – but we ought to weep over it! TV’s “Ellen” was hailed as a heroine when she came out of the closet on national television. Yet at one time, Christians across the country would have been on their faces crying out to God for mercy over such immorality.”  19 years later, can you imagine what David Wilkerson would say?

 

If God goes it alone it would be and extremely painful and violent—it would be embarrassing…even humiliating.

Learn the difference between a revival and an awakening.  Revival grows from within a repentant and obedient church and spills over to the secular culture.

Awakening is far more turbulent.  In an awakening church leaders are bypassed and the Holy Spirit falls directly on secular society.  Yes, God can still save America but if it is through an awakening it would still be a devastating experience for most Christians.  Jesus said of awakening:   And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. -Matthew 11: 12

Wrath would fall on ministers.  1 Peter 4: 17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God…”  God will not spare the church public humiliation if the option is national destruction.  Pastors hooked on porn will be exposed.  All perversion will be brought out in the open.  God will allow the secular media to uncover secret sin.  Ruining the reputation of hypocritical ministers will not stop awakening—it will enhance it.

Seeker and mega churches would collapse:  Kent Carlson and Mike Lueken from Oak Hills Church in Folsom, California. admit their seeker church was a monster.  In their book, Renovation of the Church they say this: “When we structure a church around attracting people to cutting-edge, entertaining, interesting, inspirational and always-growing services and ministries, there is simply no room for letting up. Once we have communicated to the masses that if they come to our church, they’ll be surprised, then we have this never-ending burden to surprise people every week. The burden this places on the staff and laity can hardly be overstated. There were times when I felt like I simply did not have it in me to perform again at that level for yet another weekend.

Gradually, we began to get some clarity on a troubling truth: attracting people to church based on their consumer demands is in direct and irredeemable conflict with inviting people, in Jesus’ words, to lose their lives in order to find them.”

If an awakening hit today it would doom many mega church pastors.  On their watch—America fell faster and harder into immorality than ever.  Instead of reaching the lost for Christ, they weakened the already saved.   They were helpless to change our culture.

Wrath would fall on hypocrites.  1 Peter 4: 17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God…”  God will not spare the church public humiliation if the option is national destruction.  Pastors hooked on porn will be exposed.  All perversion will be brought out in the open.  God will allow the secular media to uncover secret sin.  Ruining the reputation of hypocritical ministers will not stop awakening—it will enhance it.

People could die.  Some who oppose awakening or live immorally as Ananias and Sapphira did could be killed.  (See Acts 5).

Natural disasters and global calamity:  God reserves the right to use these to spark awakening.

 

It is frightening how American Christians are not acting on the mercy God has shown us.  God is near a choice—a painful choice to stretch out His hand and pour our His Spirit—with or without us.

However, there is a remnant… Many are godly people are growing frustrated and desperate.  It is a good sign!  David Wilkerson said, “God is doing a secret work in our day. He is raising up a hungry people who are growing more and more dissatisfied with the fleshly, worldly system as it now exists—even in the church.

These God-hungry people are saying among themselves, “This is not it. There is something more. The bigness and the sensationalism of it all has left us empty and dry. We want more. More than entertainment. More than big, showy buildings. More than a shallow celebrity gospel. We want deeper values. We want to see Jesus. We want spotless robes of righteousness. We want to go back to doing things in total dependence on God.”

America can still be destroyed.  I don’t believe that will happen without one last radical move By God.  My first choice would be a true revival in the church.  However, if she refuses, God will move on to an awakening that will be brutal to lukewarm believers.  If that’s what it takes…so be it.