Revival God’s Way

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MW Editor’s note: By the time this article posts, the revival at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky that has caught the nation may or may not be continuing. Regardless, this spiritual phenomenon has not been seen in America in over fifty years. Read on for some thoughts on what to make of this apparent move of God.

Many Christian universities have mandatory attendance for weekly chapel services. I recall visiting our college-aged son and daughter at their Christian college. We enjoyed worshipping in a room filled with college students. There was always a vibrancy with young 20-year-olds. Even during my university days, the Christian group I hung with was filled with a fervency for God; but never revival.

On February 8, 2023, Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky held a regularly scheduled Wednesday chapel service at 10:00 am. Follow the video link at the bottom of this article on that service. It was completely ordinary. No fanfare, no hype, no emotional manipulation. Simply an opening of the Bible in Romans and an invitation to bring yourself before the living God and experience his unconditional love. One college student confessed his sins in an act of repentance. From there, the Holy Spirit filled the place and hundreds turned to repentance and worship. As of this post, it’s been going on for ten days. 240 hours.  

History has its litany of man-made revivals. Setting the stage, hyping emotions, all in the name of God. Honestly, such events draw out the skeptic in me.  Don’t get me wrong. I want authentic, true, God-initiated revival. I want to see and experience a supernatural move of the Holy Spirit; something that is obviously not man-made but God stirring in the hearts of men and women as only he can.

In the past nearly 300 years we’ve seen numerous revivals that have significantly restored the church and changed a nation. In 1734, Jonathan Edwards was used by God in what is now called the Great Awakening which spurred a revival in the American church in New England. In 1739, God used George Whitfield in much the same way. There are other revivals including 1875-1885 where God used D.L. Moody to spur revival in the church out of Chicago.  1905 saw the Welsh Revival in Wales, which spread to Welsh-speaking communities in the USA. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was the Jesus Movement; thousands of young people came to faith in Christ and created a revolution of sorts in what we now know as the modern-day church. In fact. 1970 was when Asbury experienced a week-long revival of God, moving in the college students.

In Psalm 85 we find some essentials for true revival.  It isn’t a scientific formula, but signs that if it is God at work in revival, these will be evident.

Revivals follow a season of sin and decadence in the people of God. The church loses sight of God’s priorities. Whether it’s societal pressures orworldly values, the fear of God and his Word become devalued. Rituals may remain to show a form of godliness but there is no real relationship with Jesus.  One church denomination recently announced God is gender-neutral. Another questions the authority of scripture, which reminds us of what the serpent said to Adam and Eve, “Did God really say?”

In Psalm 85 we read about sin, iniquity, and folly. God’s hot anger rises against such. His anger is holy. Fully justified. Then, something unique happens with God’s people. They recognize they’ve gotten off track with God. The Holy Spirit brings conviction, and the people confess and repent.

As you follow what happens in Psalm 85, the people both collectively and individually respond to God’s forgiveness with humility and worship. When the weight of one’s sin is graciously forgiven, worship arises and arises and arises more. They cling to every Word that comes from the mouth of God. I recall a season where I was literally on the edge of my seat, hanging on every Word God speaks. I can’t get enough of Him. 

God responds to faith. He willingly showers people with true faith in Him, with His presence. People are revived because repentant people are filled with Him. He is their life. 

Look. I want revival. I want nothing more than to experience the presence of God. To see Christ live his life through me. I cannot make that happen other than to be wholly surrendered to Him. To, by faith repent of all things me. To come to Him broken and exposed. To receive His forgiveness and be restored.

Seek not revival. Seek God who is our revival.

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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