Revival? Or not Revival?

When I was growing up as a preacher’s kid, we used to have annual revivals. It meant bringing in a big tent, putting out a bunch of metal, folding chairs, and, somehow, getting a piano rolled out and in place. The invited evangelist would come for several days of preaching to bring folks in the neighborhood to Christ and a renewed faith to those already believers. Many people from an older generation came to faith in revivals just like this.

In fact, the Christian Churches have a rich history in revivals dating back to the Second Great Awakening and the Caine Ridge Revival in 1801 in Caine Ridge, Kentucky. Thousands gathered in a clearing for several days to hear preaching and worship. Some even estimate it may have been 1 in every 10 people living in KY at the time! What came out of that and other revivals of that time was a transformed American frontier.

Many often assume that the America of our past was godly and rich in faith. However, that was not always the case. There were numerous seasons when churches were empty and bars were full. Alcoholism and depravity ran rampant. During these seasons, a number of Christians prayed for God to move. In the 1700s, what is known as the First Great Awakening took place under the preaching of Jonathan Edwards and others. Then, as mentioned above, in the 1800s another awakening took place following prayers on behalf of the church and nation. Morals began to show a significant shift and movements toward improving the plight and freedoms of women, as well as a call for the emancipation of slaves began to take hold.

So, what is happening in Wilmore, Kentucky on the small campus of a Christian university called Asbury? Maybe I should say--as of this writing-- what is happening at Cedarville, Lee, Samford, and other Christian campuses around the country? While I am clearly at a distance from these events, I believe we can say that what is happening is the Spirit of God is drawing people into intimacy with him. From accounts I have heard, people are crying out for God’s presence, repenting of sin, praying, and worshiping Him. Many have come from around the country to experience what they believe to be a move of God. I pray this is a transformational time in which God brings His church to a deeper walk with him that also translates into the church calling the rest of the world to Christ and impacting the culture and morality.

While it is too early to predict what will come of this move and whether the church and country will experience lasting and visible revival, we welcome whatever God desires to do here and now. Of course, that can be a scary proposition. If we ask God to move and do whatever he wills, there will be implications. These implications may mean not only peace and joy but conviction and brokenness. It may mean that life gets messy—in a beautiful way!—for the church as God draws broken people to himself in love. But, this is nothing new. The early church experienced this in the book of Acts, and the church throughout the ages has also experienced God’s messy grace as he refines his people for a greater mission.
Here’s the thing. Whether or not there is a “revival” of great impact nationwide or even locally, revival is ALWAYS available for each and every one of us. You need not wait for a dramatic move of the Spirit to move close to God. You need only draw close to him…in any season. And, here’s the promise the Bible tells us: “Draw near to God, and God will draw near to you.” (James 4:8) Wherever you are right now spiritually, just take a step toward God, and see what he does!

Posted in

No Comments