"When God starts to move, all man-made plans become futile and worthless, and are swept away like an umbrella in a mighty hurricane."
The American church, in her recent history, has not experienced the Lord move in a ground shaking, millions of people coming to Christ, supernatural awakening kind of way. The purpose of this brief article is not to delve into the reasons why God does what He does. He is absolutely sovereign and He does what He wants. A quick glance may reveal that instead of depending on the Spirit, most ministers in the states turn to the latest method gained from the hottest book or the most thrilling conference. We often put far too much stock in our theological education. We easily forget Jesus called the disciples who were untrained and ordinary. They became incredible scholars but they never forgot these powerful words from the lips of Jesus, "Apart from me you can do nothing." Pride has been slowly killing our churches which are full of experts but not full of the Holy Ghost. You cannot be full of pride and the Holy Spirit at the same time.
Be encouraged! A revival wave could be near. Many have been brought to a place of desperation. Normally, the church does well under excruciating circumstances. The persecuted church, in closed countries, with very few M.Divs and few dollars must be totally dependent upon the Lord. We continue to see great movements of the Lord in churches in places like Iran, Chi*a, and not-so-far-away Cuba. Adversity is where true power lies for all believers according to 2 Cor 12:10. Paul learned he was at his best when his strength was spent, and he tapped into the Lord's strength. He wrote, "I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (ESV)
So far in 2021, pastors are rallying believers in the states to cry out to the Lord for genuine revival. The word "revive" means to return to life, to flourish again.(Merriam Webster) In January, over 1 million young people prayed together from across denomination lines in a fast called Roaring Twenties Fast. In addition to a revival among the saved, there are millions of Christians in the states begging the Lord for a spiritual awakening because eternity hangs in the balance for so many who have yet to turn from their sins and believe in the only one who can save them.
"Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?" Psalm 85:6
Throughout church history, when God's people humble themselves, and cry to heaven, heaven listens. Many times the Lord has moved in miraculous ways through his church during the darkest of days. I believe God is about to move mightily in the American church. He has been purifying his bride through the Covid Pandemic. Families have become closer. Covid has increased our focus on the mission. Saddleback Church in California saw 16,000 people come to faith in Christ during 2020 and 12,000 of those were through face to face evangelism. Saddleback saw an average of 80 people a day come to Christ-80 per day!
On the flip side, swarms of "cultural christians" assume they now have an decent excuse to not worship the Lord on Sundays and to not bear the burden of the great commission. God has been removing the chaff among the wheat. True Christians understand the great commission is not optional and has never been put on hold due to the pandemic. It's the nations or bust. God has rebuked modern pharisees who depend upon Christian showmanship by taking their show away. He has humbled pastors by teaching us to preach to empty rooms and forcing us out of our comfort zones by doing ministry in ways we never have before.
The church is begging God for it. The widow is on her knees. Children are praying their classmates discover the freedom they found in Christ. Students are continuing to learn how to share the gospel and to make disciples. Men's groups are getting real about sin. Women's groups are begging God to move. Some ladies are doing the "ugly pray" thing. You know the thing when the mascara bleeds down both sides of their faces. Senior adults have befriended neighbors they previously didn't even know existed. Pastors are meeting together in unity, desperately asking for wisdom from above. Many idols in America have fallen. Many more need to. The stage is set. More Christians have fasted and prayed in the states since perhaps the Jesus movement of the 1970s. Why not now?
Jesus shared with his disciples, "Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5 ESV This may be our greatest lesson from the past 10 months. We can do nothing apart from Him. Nor should we want to.
Precursory Revival Warefare
The wind of revival is blowing. Longhollow Baptist Church in TN has baptized over 500 people in the last 9 weeks. When revival signs are visible, the enemy also sees them. Many times before the Lord moves, the devil will send his minions to attack. In Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus was about to begin the most incredible ministry the world had ever seen. He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness and tempted by the devil. Can you imagine the warfare on those last few nights? He fasted. He prayed. He used the hidden Word in his heart to defeat satan. He threw up the shield of the faith. After the devil fled, the angels came and ministered to Jesus. We should anticipate precursory revival warfare. We shouldn't be surprised when wild unexplainable things happen. In fact, let it encourage you! Something is about to happen.
Are you ready?
"Father, we know we can do nothing apart from you but sometimes we forget it. We need your help in daily dying to ourselves so you can shine bright through us. We want to see your name lifted higher than ever before in America. We know this will not come through politics or trendy organizations. You already know millions of your saints have been preparing for rain. So we ask for a mighty downpour. Let it start in me. In the name of Jesus, amen."
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