Three weeks ago, we laid Steve Hill's earthly tent to rest. It is fitting that his burial plot is near David Wilkerson and Leonard Ravenhill. These three men ran so closely together and were used so mightily in the past century. All three finished well!
Steve was privileged to be part of two incredible moves of God in Argentina and Pensacola, but he always contended that the greatest move of God yet was before us, not behind us. Now his leg of the race is over. He has joined that crowd of witnesses and will see the next revival from heaven’s vantage point.
This next leg of the race is ours. As I run, I am more stirred for revival now more than ever. I am believing for one more great outpouring of His Spirit in these last days. I trust I’m not alone.
Some might say, "We don't need revival," or, "God will not bless America with another move of God while we continue our slide further and further away from Him.” (Trust me, I get the emails.) Friend, this is precisely why we need revival!
Revival is not God’s award for our righteousness. It's His answer for our unrighteousness!
I understand there are a lot of different thoughts on revival. Like so many words we use in Christianity, revival carries different definitions for different people. Some see it as a series of special meetings in a church. Others think it is an emotional outbreak devoid of true spirituality. Some have messaged me to inform me that the word revival is not in the Bible or that we shouldn’t seek it but rather seek God. We use the same word but mean different things.
For me, revival means something special. Before revival touched my life, I was a backslidden, lukewarm, apathetic, complacent sinner who was quite comfortable going to church for my religious experience on Sunday while I did as I pleased starting Monday. After graduating from high school in 1994, I made up my mind: I was done with church and through with God. I was on my way out of the church, just as the Spirit of the Lord was coming into the church.
In March of 1996, I stopped running from God and ran to Him. I walked down to the altar of a church and finally surrendered. It was my Damascus Road experience. God finally got my attention. He spoke, I listened, and I've never been the same since!
For the past 18 years, I've devoted my life to preaching the gospel—that's revival!
Let me define it further.
Revival Is Rebirth
The surest sign that revival is in your midst is the salvation of lost souls. It was revival when 3,000 were saved on the Day of Pentecost. It was revival when hundreds of thousands were saved during the First and Second Great Awakenings. It was revival when 150,000 walked down the aisles of Brownsville Assembly.
Any time lost sons and daughters call on the name of the Lord and are reborn, that's revival!
Revival Is a Return
When wayward saints begin to abandon their religious ways and return to true relationship with the Lord, that's revival!
Religion has always been man’s attempt to come close to God, but revival is God coming close to man.
Many have experienced the joy of salvation that comes with rebirth. Unfortunately, over time many allow that joy to fade. Often what begins in the spirit ends in the flesh. We don’t pray like we used to. We don’t share our faith like we used to. We don’t grieve over sin like we used to. We start to lean upon ourselves and no longer lean upon our Savior.
Thankfully, the Lord keeps the doors open for those trapped in the prison of religion to step out and return to Him.
Revival Is Repentance
Without repentance, there can be no revival. Today many attempt to cheapen and redefine the meaning of repentance. They contend it has no place in the life of the believer except to simply change one's mind.
Friend, Jesus began His ministry with one message: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” In His last address to the seven churches in Revelation, seven times He says, “Repent!” Let us not minor on something Jesus majored on!
After commending the church at Ephesus for all the good things they were doing, Jesus rebukes them by saying, “I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (Rev. 2:4-5, NIV).
He didn't say, "I need you to change your mind about your ways." He said, "I want you to change your ways! Come back to Me. Fall in love with Me once again."
I assure you that revival entered the church at Ephesus the moment they heard His words and repented of their ways.
If you are away from God or have sin in your life, I urge you to take heed of these grace-filled words. Repent! Turn away from your sin, and turn toward your Savior. When you do, that's revival!
Revival Is Refreshing
I'm writing this while I'm looking out the window at the fresh blossoms on the trees in my front yard. Spring is in the air. It's a welcome and refreshing sight after a long, cold winter. Everyone in my neighborhood seems to be happier now than they were a few weeks ago. Why? New life is refreshing.
Peter called out to a crowd of onlookers in Acts 3:19, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”
When we find ourselves stuck in the sickness of our sins or robbed of life from our religious ways, we can turn back to God and take a drink from the fount that never runs out. That's revival!
Like spring, refreshing comes with excitement and exuberance. Yes, people get emotional. I, for one, do not know how one can be inwardly refreshed without it being outwardly expressed. I welcome it in the church. After all, we are God’s chosen, not His frozen!
Revival Is Restoration
When families and relationships are restored, that's revival. When your identity in Christ is restored, that's revival. When things that have been lost or stolen are restored, that's revival.
Jesus said that He came to seek and save that which was lost. He wasn’t just speaking about saving you from the fires of hell, but to the restoration as sons and daughters of God. For Jesus, the focus is not on where I come from but on where I'm going. He pulled you from the fire to set you on fire!
Revival Is Reformation
True revival cannot be contained. Revival fills up the saints and spills out into the streets. It finds sinners in the highways and byways. It affects the atmosphere of communities and cultures. True revival brings reformation. That’s revival!
A series of meetings in your church will do little to transform your city. But let the fires of true revival enter into your church house, and it won’t be long before it touches every house. Revival may start within an individual or church, but like a spark to a dry field, that fire cannot be contained; otherwise, it will not be sustained.
God’s purpose for revival is the forgiveness of our sins and the healing of our land. Currently our sins are plenty, and they stand before us. Our land is sick and in need of healing. The answer is not going to be found in a person or a place but in a position.
God gave His people a pattern for finding that position in 2 Chronicles 7:14. He said, "Humble yourself, pray, seek My face, and repent of your own wicked ways."
I’ve experienced revival in my life, and I'm ready to experience it once again in our nation. I’m on my knees, and now you know what I’m praying for.