Over the past several months there seems to be a renewed feeling that a mighty move of God is on the way. It would be one thing if this was just something that I felt in my own heart and mind but from conversations I've had and things I've read this is a sense that many Christians in various places share. I fear there is some belief among Christians that the idea of "revival," as we used to think about, it is a thing of the past. That is, people believe that the days of large Crusades a la Billy Graham are behind us and that the US, or even the West in general, is beyond revival and renewal. Honestly, I couldn't disagree more. I believe that the book is not closed until the glorious return of Christ and that, if we are drawing near to that time as many think we are, God has at least one more great move in store for the world. Of course, there could be hundreds or thousands of more years between now and when Christ comes again but whatever the case may be I don't think He is going to return to a weak, lukewarm, Church.
What I have found in many of my conversations is that when I share with people about N156M and how we want to see the Church renewed, revived and returned they are saying things like, "You know I've felt like God has been preparing us for revival recently too." I've talked to many pastors who get this same sense and they are actively trying to prepare their congregations for whatever God has in store. For instance, I was talking to a pastor about a conference that we are holding in April on revival and spiritual awakening and he told me that there is a group of people who meet Monday through Friday at noon to pray that God would heal our land and send revival. Here's the really amazing part. They don't meet in a church or at someones house, they meet in a Yamaha shop in downtown Albemarle. For the past two weeks I've been going regularly to this prayer meeting and it is such a special time of prayer and sharing God's Word. When the owner of the shop talks about why he does this you find out it is something that God laid on his heart at the beginning of the year and he doesn't know what God has in store but he just wanted to be obedient. It gets better still. Last week one of the regular prayer warriors brought a friend who wanted to get saved! So right there in the office of an ATV and watercraft store this man accepted Jesus Christ as his savior and Lord. Later on someone said, "Maybe this will turn from a prayer meeting to a getting saved meeting, who knows."
Just from that example I would like to offer a simple model that I believe is Biblical and can serve to help us understand at least one of the ways God operates (we can never understand completely). Simply put it is: obedience, revival, awakening. When we step out in obedience to God and His will for our lives He will renew us spiritually. When we become renewed then the natural outflow of that is evangelism and seeing people come to know Christ, which is awakening. We see this in the book of Acts and the situation at Pentecost. After initially being afraid and hiding in the upper room the disciples became obedient to God's command to go and share the Good News. This lead to their spiritual renewal and ultimately thousands were saved and people were added to their number every day.
The bottom line is this, if we want to see God move in a mighty way we must start with obedience. This goes for us as individuals and as a body of believers. There is no sense in expecting a world that rejects Christ to suddenly start following Him without a great spiritual awakening. As my pastor likes to say, "we shouldn't be surprised when lost people act lost." However, if we begin to follow God in obedience He will revive us and then we will be in a position to be used by Him to bring the lost to Him. In this day we can't expect that all of this will be done within the confines of the church building. Whether it is in a Yamaha shop or a coffee shop or someones home or the parking lot of Wal-Mart, God's movement has no bounds. Furthermore, I do not think we should expect that this will be localized as revivals have been in the past. Here is link to a short article on how God is moving in California.
We are in North Carolina, they are in California. That represents both ends of the United States and I would be willing to be that the winds of revival are blowing in places in between and beyond. I do believe that we are on the verge of a great renewal but, as I've told many people, it is going to be up to us how we respond and whether or not we take part in what God is doing.