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Is This Why Some Keep Looking for Revival?


#1

On this vacation I’ve been near a few people who keep looking for a “great move of God” to touch people in the last days. They pray for it, yearn for it, and it has been a weird experience for me. I remember being in that same place when I was living church more institutionally. Knowing it was falling far short, we kept hoping for a revival that would come out of nowhere and refresh our beleaguered lives and systems.

But in the past fifteen years I haven’t thought about it once on my own and don’t pray for it. I see renewal happening all around me and I’m so excited by what God is doing in the world, rather than hoping he’ll come some day and do it in the future. Isn’t the hope of revival the admission that what we’re doing isn’t working and we seek a greater reality?

And doesn’t it say that God isn’t doing anything, but awaiting some artificial day to pour out himself on others? Wouldn’t our God be ALREADY doing that every day to invite people into a reality that is beyond them, and we keep hoping he will renew our systems.

It reminds me of the old Helen Reddy tune of the 70’s:

Delta Dawn what’s that flower you have on,
Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
And did I hear you say he was meeting you hear today
To take you to his mansion in the sky?

The song paints some pathetic person waiting for a hoped for lover, that isn’t coming. That’s how I felt in the days I prayed for revival in my early days. What’s sad is that some of my friends from 40+ years ago are still waiting. Sad.


#2

I have thought about this topic often when I hear people pray this way. Thanks for giving some clarity here!


#3

Wayne, I’m a little confused on this one. I hear you and what you are saying and I often pray for myself and others to see Jesus more clearly and to know him more fully by the work of his Spirit. It would seem like we walk in “revival” as individuals everyday by fixing our eyes on Jesus and growing in our heart understanding of how loved we are. But … when I came to know Jesus back in the early seventies, there were a lot of new believers back then who had come to know Jesus from the mid sixties into the early seventies. I have never seen anything like it since. What would you call that if not revival?


#4

I was part of a Pentecostal megachurch about 15-20 years ago… Revival was like a drug back then. Pastors, from our church and others, were going to all the revival hotspots (Toronto Airport, Pensacola,…) with the hopes of bringing back some of what they had to our congregation. They tried everything. A lot of the guest speakers were brought in to “bring on revival”… What we were doing wasn’t good enough. I remember many nights, during the services, when people were frantically crying out… “More, More…”. I look back at it now in my memory and it looked a lot like drug addicts begging for a better fix.

I think we were looking for some kind of corporate experience that mimicked what was being marketed as God’s Spirit and missed what Holy Spirit was actually doing… transforming individuals.

Ruby from Calmar, Alberta


#5

God’s great move was introducing into the world a baby boy, born to a virgin, who spent his first days in a manger because there were no suitable accomodations available.


#6

Hi Bob. Yes, many would call that revival, and who wouldn’t be thrilled if lots of people were suddenly coming to Christ and discovering his love? But I do think that kind of thing is happening every day. God is always at work and many people now are coming to know his love, it’s just not done in stadiums and gatherings of thousands that draw media attention. I think what I was addressing is that God moves in revivals in capricious ways and people have to endure long gaps in the middle where he just isn’t working. So, we have to pray harder, scream louder, be more committed to get God to move again. That’s the revival mentality I was speaking about. I love how God moves every day, whether it’s finding the one lost in the woods, or 99 ready to come to him. I don’t mind seeing revival in the crowds, I also want people to see it going on around them every day in the ones and twos coming to know him.


#7

From the people that I know that came to Jesus in the 60’s & 70’s, most of that happened in homes, through relationship, as they just “hippied together” and hung out, sharing Jesus with each other (and the occasional toke, as well - haha!). Some tried to eventually “fit” into churches, but had a very hard time with the cultural adaptation, but still had very strong, and long lasting relationships with Jesus.


#8

Revival on a daily basis all around us…I love this thought. A former student of mine is now a heroin addict. I met with her mom today after meeting her (the mom) in the grocery store over a week ago. I have been praying for this child and her mom. At today’s lunch, I told Mom that I was praying (she is not a person of faith) and she said, “It is working! Right after I saw you, my daughter came home for a week of detox. She has left the man who was enabling her. She has left home again, restlessly yearning to travel, but she is free of the guy who oppressed her.” Isn’t this a form of God’s working? When I am incapable of controlling a situation and my heart is in anguish, God knows and God loves. He asks me to trust, He asks me to reach out, He asks me to pray. God’s presence is all around, even with those who do not know Him. My former student is lost in the woods. I pray God Himself will find Her and, if He chooses, use me in the process. He has revived my faith. He wants to do this daily. We need to have our eyes open.

We tend to look for something big—revival on a big scale, faith healing on a big scale. We can forget that being revived and being healed are gifts that Jesus gives daily. Thanks for the reminder.


#9

Hi Lorrie. One of the ways I remember God working back then was through campus ministries. And believing students had some measure of real fellowship on the college campuses. I also remember the struggle that some had when they graduated, having to replace the life together on the college campus with sitting next to a bunch of strangers on a Sunday morning and listening to a lecture without any significant interaction going on between the participants. But most adapted to institutional church and something of the life they had previously experienced was lost.


#10

Upon reading the question in this thread my first impression was there may be a sense of impending doom / failure that prompts people to put their hope / faith in being rescued. I know that when dealing with situations that I have absolutely no power to direct / control, that I search the horizon to look for a knight in shining armor… or any able bodied person to bring me an answer, a cup of relief, even a postcard from beyond the horizon that hints at a resolution being en route. Even if a fresh and powerful wave of real renewal or the consummation of this present age was approaching, what do we do in the meantime…? We only have today…
Personally, I have been struggling with getting through today, and when my mind tries to wander past today, it is overwhelming. Being rescued / visited by the power of a God movement in the future is more of a distraction to me, and if the answers I seek for today are not readily seen / understood / acknowledged, my faith in ultimate rescue is devoid of hope.
With failures of the past overshadowing thoughts of hope for today, looking toward a ‘miraculous’ visitation in the future only exasperates dealing with today.
So many people I met upon my transitioning into acceptance of a personal reality of Father et al have fallen by the wayside, some after only a couple of years, some after the passing of decades (my awakening 1974), others became entrenched in the same habits and structures they were ‘delivered’ from albeit under a different sign over the doors. Very few I knew from the beginning of my journey have progressed to an understanding that there was more to it. It is sad to me.
I would be surprised if there was a ‘move of God’ that organizations would be able to grasp hold of. It seems more likely that situations of Father moving on the hearts of individuals whose paths cross in the course of their everyday life is where the power of positive and real transformation of our world will be achieved… It’s more of an even playing field… and no man can absorb it to their own glory.


#11

I agree… What most people mean when I hear this is an “outpouring” of supernatural gifts or manifestations like Toronto, Lakeland, Redding, etc… But those never grew beyond their locales, and all faded away in time. They were more amusements for Christians that outreaches to the lost. And many of the alleged manifestations are easily manipulated through crowd dynamics and emotionalism rather than a real work of the Spirit. But people seek such things and hope it will come to their “church.” It’s sad to see people put their hopes in some distant revival, when God is already at work in them and around them to do awaken people to his reality. When we set expectations to God’s working, we’ll usually miss what he is doing because his ways are so much better than ours…


#12

I recall in my early years of this journey preachers constantly running all over the place to catch the next wave. While still under the false impression and understanding of that time it kind of bothered me that those of us who weren’t positioned to travel to the latest and greatest outpourings were at a huge ‘spiritual’ disadvantage. Was God really limited to moving at a particular location, or within a specific building? It was ponderings, like that one that played into the ever increasing reconsiderations and reservations that paved the way out of the charismatic / prosperity / hoop jumping camp.
A leader of one of the last home fellowships I attended had a phrase he comically but seriously labeled the manipulation of congregations through the misuse of crowd dynamics whether in local congregations or at those ‘renewals’ and as ‘emotional friction toys.’


#13

Hello Vjpcy, I’ve just joined the discussion group and read what you posted on the subject of “revival”, praying for it, running here or there to “catch” a move and coming back to your congregation to “impart” this mantel, or that anointing…
I have been in congregations over the years and have seen the damage done by the “Toronto outpouring”, Pensacola, Todd Bentley, etc… the list is long.
In one congregation where I was at the time, the pastors went to Todd Bentley’s meetings in Florida (I think), came back and insisted to pray for every member of the congregation to impart some mantels and anointing they said they had received there. Those who did not accept to be prayed for (I was one of them), they would try to pray for them so they could be “delivered” of that “spirit” which was stopping them from accepting their prayers…
I have long since left this place, but people were being intimidated into accepting controlling and manipulative prayers.
As you said, today is what is given us, and I often say: one day at a time is on a human scale…, but, sometimes, it’s one hour or one minute at a time.
With our Father’s Goodness to you