We know the times are evil. What can we do about it? That’s the number one question I get. My answer is, we need a deliberate attempt at revival. We need to seize a revival that matters.
Many of the things the church is doing today simply do not matter. I am not saying they are not good, or impressive or successful—I am saying they will not save the nation, and therefore, they do not matter.
But the real culprit today is false revival. There is untold damage when we take a good meeting and marketing it as revival. To call a good meeting revival is like filling a bath tub with salt water and calling it the Pacific Ocean.
I am not the one telling you your good meeting is not revival—history, and our culture tell you. History says revival overflows church walls and makes deep impacts on society. That is not happening. When our culture swats away our church meetings and continues to careen in deeper wickedness—it’s telling us we are not in revival.
There is one thing—above all others—that is stopping true revival: We can’t find a pure motive. We want it for all the wrong reasons. If revival is our ticket to get church growth, emotional experiences, self-promotion, formulas, and wealth, our prayers are like nuclear waste to God.
The most famous verse on revival begins with a huge IF: 2 Chronicles 7:14 “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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
IF you truly yearn for the miracle that would stop America’s slide toward oblivion—IF you wish for an act of the Holy Spirit so real and widespread that it impacts, crime, injustice, addiction, and despair—then listen to this lesson from history:
In 1904, American leaders were enthralled by the revival in Wales. Hundreds of thousands were converted, and the morals of the nation were transformed. They wanted a revival like that in America. But they tried to buy it.
These enterprising pastors and businessmen invested in massive campaigns. They were dismal failures. So much so, that the very concept of revival fell into disfavor.
Two years later, they realized their mistake. Widespread brokenness gripped leaders. Now, aided by a pure motive they cried out and heaven heard them. One of the catalysts to this awakening was James Burns.
James Burns wrote a powerful book at the time entitled “Revival, Their Laws and Leaders” In 1909 he said, “To the church, a revival means humiliation, a bitter knowledge of unworthiness and an open and humiliating confession of sin on the part of her ministers and people. It is not the easy and glorious thing many think it to be, who imagine it fills pews and reinstates the church in power and authority.
“It comes to scorch before it heals; it comes to condemn ministers and people for their unfaithful witness, for their selfish living, for their neglect of the cross, and to call them to daily renunciation, to an evangelical poverty and to a deep and daily consecration. That is why a revival has ever been unpopular with large numbers within the church. Because it says nothing to them of power such as they have learned to love, or of ease, or of success; it accuses them of sin, it tells them they are dead, it calls them to awake, to renounce the world and to follow Christ.”
America, at last, had found a pure motive for revival. New York, Chicago, Los Angeles (Azusa Street), and many other cities saw amazing things. Denver, Colorado, and Portland, Oregon (Which are bastions of marijuana, atheism and runaway liberalism today) shut down businesses at noon so everyone could go and pray. Millions went to prayer everyday across America.
Until our knees buckle beneath the horror of our nation’s sin and the blasphemy of our cheap grace fad our request for revival will be denied. On the other hand, there is a great hope.
Two things happened to me that forever killed my doubts about revival. One was Matthew 12: 20 A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench,
Till He sends forth justice to victory.” The other was when I was standing at the beach.
Jesus will not snuff out the least flicker of revival. When anyone asks for revival from a pure heart, God says yes and begins the process. He takes you at your word. As I stood on the beach the gentle foam of the ocean lapped over my toes. The voice of the Lord said, “this gentle wave is the cousin of the tsunami.”
The smallest flame in the smallest church will not be quenched by Jesus. Given the proper opportunity, the Spirit of God will fan it into a raging fire of righteousness. The gentlest wave can grow into a tidal wave before anyone who simply hosts God’s presence, obeys His step by step orders, and refuses to abuse what God is doing among them.
These two truths are exploding with me now. I want them to blow up in your spirit. exploded within me. You really want revival? Then what are you waiting for?