Revival That Lasts
A Personal View by Les Nixon
Seven Steps to Revival—or—Flaws That Stop It
David the Psalmist Prays for Revival: Psalm 85:6
“Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
THE WAY IT IS:
Gary C Burger said the history of mankind is the history of wars. Though impossible to accurately calculate, it is estimated since around 3600 BC, (beginning of recorded secular history), the western world has known only about 300-years without hostility - peace.
That means, based on Burger's calculations, around 8% of history, mankind has been harmoniously content with each other. Today, in the violent conflict between The Gaza Strip and Israel, and Syria and the middle East, as hundreds of rockets are blasted out of the skies; there is no end in sight.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has decided to investigate Israel. Israel. That's right, Israel. Not Hamas. Even when Prime Minister Netanyahu publicly stated that while the Gaza rockets’ Israel, Israel must protect itself, and when Gaza stops bombing Israel, Israel will stop protecting itself.
Conflicts similar to this one between Gaza and Jerusalem have been erupting for nearly 6,000 years. In fact, the only years of relative peace between the two were under the regimes of Alexander the Great (356 BC—23 BC), Roman Julius Caesar (100 BC—44 BC), and Egypt’s Saladin—(1137—March 1193).
But while they were quiet, others were at war.
Palestinians share a religion and language with Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and more. If they truly want peace, and eliminate the sacrifice of their own, they could simply repatriate to any of these welcoming countries and live a quiet and ordered life.
Instead, they have an obsession with Israel and Israelis. Hamas, the current leaders in Gaza, have professed repeatedly that they desire to commit genocide against Israel.
That sounds just like a Nazi Holocaust. And Israel is a country whose majority of citizens have had family members killed in numerous genocidal attacks.
This is because the life long trauma of the Holocaust is seared on the collective psyche of the nation; the Israelis never allow themselves to be put in a similar position of vulnerability.
As a result, when Hamas leaders run around preaching hatred of Jews and death to the Jewish nation, they set up an unsolvable political crisis … and, inevitably, the Israelis retaliate!
Indeed, Israelis, because of the endless attacks, have reached a boiling point with the constant rocket bombardment and harassment.
In the end, they could do what the Romans did to Jerusalem and simply annihilate Gaza City.
Israelis are ultimately looking to find peace and eliminate evil… in the words of the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “... when Palestine stops bombing Israel, Israel will stop defending itself. No more bombing.”
AN UNEXPLAINABLE EVIL:
How hatred could run like ice through the veins of any Palestinian human being (to the point of rejoicing in the sacrifice of their own and the deaths of others), we will never comprehend. Like when Nazis actually used the skin, teeth, bones, and body parts of Jews to make everyday items—merely labeling them as “animal products.”
The Bottom line is this: In any conflict, no side is without fault. And in moments of quiet reflection, most Israelis will candidly share regrets and sorrows about the decades-long conflict with the Palestinians. But despite the regrets, they’re committed to ending the rain of rockets on their families and children. They simply don’t want anything like another Holocaust.
HOW DID THIS BEGIN?
God called on Abraham in Genesis 17 to sacrifice his son Isaac who God calls Abraham's "only son". When Abraham dies, he is buried by both Isaac and Ishmael. He leaves everything he owns to Isaac, with a few gifts for his later children (he had remarried after Sarah died) though makes no mention of leaving anything specific to Ishmael.
In any tribal dispute since, return to this event as being the cause of it all. Jealousy.
AND IT’S NOT OVER:
After the death of Mohammed in AD 633, Arab armies swarmed out of the Arabian Peninsula, pushing westward in North Africa to the Atlantic Ocean and eastward to India. Consequently, there are now 52 Arab states. Additionally, there are Moslem nations like Turkey and Iran that have a minority of Arabs.
But, a very special portion of land in the Middle East was spared Arab domination—Canaan, the land of Israel. But historically, Israel had been a disobedient people.
In AD70 the Roman army temporarily disbursed the people from their land during an 1845 year period of punishment. The land of Israel was to remain relatively sparse of population—“desolate of man and beast.” Jeremiah 16:13-18; 33:10. After the banishment ended in 1878, Jews were miraculously permitted to return to their land.
Finally the UN partition vote granted them the opportunity to establish an independent state in 1948. This played out with the November 28, 1947 UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (11), 33 for, 13 against and 10 abstained. It took 128 meetings.
The Arabs would have none of this. Armies of six Arab nations stormed the newborn Israeli State. Outnumbered 600 to 1, God gave the victory to Israel. Three more wars followed against the smaller population. Miracles happened. Minutature Israel won each war. How could this be?
Amidst all the hoopla of politically correct nonsense is the claim of those who deny that the holocaust ever happened, and the claim that some of the violent acts of recent times were not by Islamic terrorists.
As Chuck Colson pointed out a few short years ago in BreakPoint, some are claiming that, "'We have no idea who flew those jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.' 'I thought the videotape of Osama bin Laden and his cohorts celebrating their success was evidence enough,' said Colson, 'you know, the tape where they say that the attacks on America went even better than they'd expected.'"
A PSALM COMES IN HERE:
It appears to describe an ongoing conflict between Israel and the Arabs that will climax in a final war in which Israel will win a decisive victory over the Arabs. Psalm 83 is a prayer in which Israel asked the Lord for deliverance from a group of nations that verses 3-5 show are united in a confederacy or league for one purpose—the destruction of the nation of Israel.
Yet, embedded in all these years, a Sovereign God had been at work, in both the Jewish and Gentile worlds, keeping some of His people in a revived condition, even as Christians are being persecuted and killed. His hand has been on Israel.
Regardless of the repeated broken agreements between Israel and the Arabs, and the overwhelming attacks to destroy them, they survived miraculously. As Michael W. Smith sings the song written by Paul Baloche and Lenny LeBlanc a few years ago:
Above all powers, Above all kings
Above all nature. And all created things
Above all wisdom. And all the ways of man
You were here, Before the world began.
Above all kingdoms, Above all thrones
Above all wonders, The world has ever known
Above all wealth, And treasures of the earth
There's no way to measure. What You're worth.
Crucified, Laid behind a stone
You lived to die, Rejected and alone
Like a rose, Trampled on the ground
You took the fall. And thought of me
Like the rose, Trampled on the ground
You took the fall, And thought of me
THE ROMAN EMPIRE:
The longest period of peace in western civilization was the Pax-Romana which lasted 200-years. That peace ironically, was enforced by Rome's unrivaled military might. This peace did not even cover the whole earth, just the Roman Empire.
Other nations lived in virtual slavery, another form of national peace. Yet these dictators at the time, were at war between each other, to justify their military might.
In the 1980's someone estimated that in the history of western civilization there had been more than 14,000 wars, large and small, in which more than 3-billion people died. Since 650BC there were more than 1656 arms races, in which only 16 did not end in war. The remainder ended with the economic collapse, when the cost of funding the war broke their backs.
More than 8000 treaties of peace meant to last forever, were broken. They remained in force an average of only two years.
HISTORY OF DISCONTENT:
These statistics represent a best case scenario of mankind's history of discontent. It does not include the countless tribal conflicts of the civilizations that are not a part of western history. A cynic once said, "Peace is just a time for the world to reload." It has also been said ... "the only thing history teaches us is that history teaches us nothing."
Every time a new conflict begins around us, we gasp in disbelief knowing the incredible price of human, material and environmental destruction.
It just doesn't make sense.
Whatever else explodes in the nations, keep your eyes in Israel; the way they behave holds the future of the planet in their hands. The only real sense is the presence of Omniscience.
Within these awful predicaments, some unique people discovered ways to embrace an unusual sense of Peace while surrounded by wars. What was it, and how did they do it?
NIAGARA GULL'S SECRET:
They may have been the people who knew their God. And He may have been the One to bring to them His abiding Peace. This kind of tranquility is not an escape; its illustrated by the Gull's nests within the heaving walls beneath the thunderous Niagara Falls. Chaos surrounds, - but they are safe. Isaiah 26:3 says ... "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.".
We realize that evil is in constant opposition with good and justice and right. Some people choose evil; some what is good.
Just as darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of God. As Roland Allen says, spiritual zeal does not grow out of intellectual beliefs, nor out of theological arguments, but out of love --
Whatever issues are going on in the world, always remember that an Omnipotent God has an agenda for mankind more lofty and superior than mans. When we get a good hold of God's ideas, we perceive all the rest against His backdrop. Everything falls either into God's Directive Will or His Permissive Will. There is no other. Man cannot outfox God. And Psalm 46 adds....
1 God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; 3 though its waters roar and foam though the mountains tremble with its tumult. 6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. 7 The Lord of hosts is with us; 10 Be still, and know that I am God!
Rivalry produced a fanatical Muslim religion committed to the elimination of the heretics and the conquest of the world. It’s just resentment, plain and simple! The son of the flesh in conflict with the son of promise. It’s man's failure to trust in YHWH (Yahweh)! Take a look at how things unfolded.
MANS INHUMANITY TO MAN
Since 1918 and 1945 hundreds of agreements have been broken, and will be broken again, as peace is far from them. Arab people hide behind children, hospitals and human shields to bomb others. It’s a never-ending saga of mans inhumanity against itself, and to man.
Uncertainty continues—exacerbated in the West by unscrupulous politicians and business people; unbridled crime and poor judicial responsibility, abuse of power, out of control bureaucracy, taxes topping +40% of workers' incomes. It’s an age of uncertainty.
This situation is not helped when Christian pastors are diverted from holy living with brutal survival tasks. Sadly, the church has not kept pace with population growth: we are diminishing, regardless of the rare exceptions.
SUFFERING STIFFENS MUSCLES:
The church exceptions that are experiencing advance may be put down to a spiritual vigor. Where persecution occurs, the church grows stronger. Suffering hurts, but stiffens muscles.
Pastor Thomas Rainer wrote mid 2016 that ....
1. ... Evangelism—like revival—is not vibrant in most churches. More churches have done okay with evangelism to “the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). But most churches are pretty bad at reaching “Jerusalem.” For that reason, churches will look to some one to lead in local evangelism. But home revival is not on their agenda.
2. Most community ministries are not intentionally evangelistic. I am grateful more churches are intentional about providing ministries to and in local communities. However, I am concerned many of those ministries are not intentionally evangelistic. One of the roles of the pastor of community evangelism is to make certain all of these ministries are infused with an intention to share the Gospel.
3. Churches need someone who can coordinate and lead efforts in social media and blogs. Because of the clear outreach opportunity available on social media, I can see these responsibilities falling under the responsibility of the pastor of community evangelism. This staff person or volunteer will need to understand the contextual language of social media.
4. One person is needed to lead evangelistic strategies in the church. I know of some churches that build their evangelistic strategies around three high attendance days a year. It takes someone with strategic ability and a persistent work ethic to pull off three of these efforts every year. Indeed, any coherent strategy will take a good mind and hard work.
5. Prayer ministries may be a part of these evangelistic strategies. Most prayer ministries languish in churches because they do not fit neatly in any part of the organizational structure. The pastor of community evangelism could bring prayer ministries into his or her area. It would be a natural and exciting fit.
Local church youth groups begin their academic terms with a Prayer night; meditation, forgiveness, prayer for unsaved, and praise. Deeply moving.
The church positions in highest demand today are worship pastors followed by children pastors. I anticipate the pastor of community evangelism will be a close third, perhaps even second in the near future.
WHY PRAY WHEN YOU CAN WORRY?
The prayer of the believer is the key to any blessing that comes from God, but it’s taken all these pages of history to get around to saying it. It is the basis of everything, though the troubles of mankind often get in the way. But doing prayer, does.
“Remember what Christ taught and let his words enrich your lives and make you wise; teach them to each other and sing them out in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord with thankful hearts”. Col. 3:16 has been a lifelong favorite Bible verse, and it rings and sings as loudly today. Then it leads to ...
“I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of His glories and grace. I will boast of His kindness to me. Let all who are discouraged take it to heart. Let us praise the Lord together, and exalt His Name”. That is found in Psalm 34:1-3
ACTS ACTS ACTS ACTS:
Moments and hours and days spent in Adorattion. Confession is next. Then Thanksgiving, and --- you guessed it ... S...........!
Churches sadly, seem pre-occupied with the method of religion at the expense of the message. They miss the greater value of God's indwelling presence. And this may be a reason for apathy and discontent.
They seem to miss the ideal that a life without a Godly cause is a life without real effect. Some are praying a similar prayer as King David prayed in Psalm 85 “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
So, overcoming distress, each need a Gull-safe nest; personal renewal, - assurance, and spiritual revival. This completes our sense of our reality ...
WHEN YOU HAVE A PULSE YOU HAVE A PURPOSE:
Let us rediscover some of the elements that God speaks about with genuine Holy Spirit revival in the midst of conflict. To renew the Church to its true function, and increase the value of of its worship. This may not guarantee national peace, but it is the closest thing to it. Otherwise, statistics may be right.
We may revert into other wars of religion against religion, neighbor against neighbor, or nation against nation.
HERE IS A GOD VIEW:
A crisis existed in the nation of Judah about 760-years before the era of Jesus Christ. Wickedness permeated every fibre of the social, political and spiritual fabric, a condition that God found utterly intolerable Unless repentance swept the nation, God would allow the fruit of their rebellion to reduce the nation to rubble.
Famine and pestilence will replace feasting and pleasure, wars and conflict overcome harmony and contentment, to show that the Holy One of Israel allows wickedness to engulf them, and remind them that that He is Omnipotent. The account of this is in the Book of Isaiah.
This affirms the concept that opportunities brought responsibility in Judah's day. When we only presume upon the freedoms that come with our Christian faith, we need a good dose of spiritual renewal to keep in contact with reality.
The worry is that the 21st century church in Australia is in decline. It was revealed again in the showings of the US box office hit, War Room. It is a dramatic movie that plays out the power of prayer in a family life. Australian audiences were so small, if it wasn’t for the loyalty of a few churches who bought out whole showings, it would never had succeeded. And it challenged the Christians for prayer.
Well, just take a glimpse at Australian evangelism. The 1870s produced its great Matthew Burnett and his temperance Gospel. It reaped tens of thousands into conversion and was the reason the Methodist church grew so rapidly. And the other churches too.
Read Robert Evans books of the newspaper reports. Into the 1900’s, R A Torrey and Johnson preached to hundreds of thousands during the zeal of the era, with great results. That encouraged the growth of street evangelism with scores of Open Air Campaigners evangelists as Wotherspoon and Guiiford, Duffecy and Gordon - doing the same thing.
Every campaign brought thousands of converts into the expanding churches before the two world wars. Then Edwin Orr and Gavin Hamilton and Neil Macaulay filled tents and Town Halls for twenty years convincing Billy Graham that Australia was a ripe mission field for evangelism.
Graham’s crusades were the first attempt to reach a whole nation for Christ, which he did in three months in 1959. Around ten percent of the population attended one of his meetings and the churches swelled with the new converts. So, it was front line public evangelism to the masses that grows the church in Australia.
But sadly, it has been fifty years since any similar significant movement has risen within the people. The church claims that evangelism has moved within the church, but they offer no signs of impact as in the past. Why not? There is little public evidence that evangelism exists, and that it is reaching the non churched peoples, - by the churches.
TV and radio evangelists abound, but it is still an artificial medium. It is best when it supports a live active ministry, and does not make a citadel of itself.
The droughts can be severe, and only conquered through the prayer of the Lord’s people, then diligence and purpose to do it all over again. Because every generation needs regeneration, the latter half of the 20th century has seen the church fail in it’s mission to go into all the world. We say that if you have a pulse, you should have a purpose.
Yet, not one denomination or church commissions an evangelist to reach the unchurched, as in other days. According that is, to the Biblical template of the disciples.
Only a spiritual revival within the church, burning inwards and exploding outwards will change that.
Up till the time of Isaiah, Sodom, was known as a depraved city. In the days of Abraham it was destroyed by heavenly fire and exploding sulphur—brimstone. Sodom was proudly acclaimed as the universal symbol of depravity and shameful disgrace.
In many ways, the modern western world has sunken lower than the wickedness of Sodom, - but for the evil of child sacrifice. Yet, the multiplication of millions of abortions each year comes a pretty close second.
Since Sodom, horrific slaughter in man’s wars-against-man decimated whole nations. Pompeii was swallowed 30-metres deep in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, not excavated for 1500-years. Hiroshima was destroyed by the Atom bomb; New Orleans swallowed by Katrina.
Hundreds of thousands of humans have died in earthquakes, tsunamis and natural disasters, and unknown millions in floods and droughts. Over six thousand years of humanity, billions have been swept into an eternity without Christ; some in self-inflicted judgment; and some overlooked by the careless saints, - into doom. Someone said that the church is a sleeping giant, surrounded by crisis.
PREACHING IN OTHER ERAS:
Thomas Jay Oord says .... “We live in changing times. We are a changing people. Even Postmodern theology – rightly understood and discerningly appropriated – can be a resource for Christians in the midst of change.
“We know that the times and the people change—of course. Each generation differs from the previous. We always dream up something “new-and-improved.” The teaching was not quite right, he may have been wrong: there is always something new under the sun.
“Many of us sense something uncommonly different today, however. What we sense occurring isn’t the same thing in a different color. This is a whole new animal. This change is more than simply new and improved....
LOVE IT AND HATE IT:
“This change entails a radically different way of looking at life. A whole new paradigm seems to be emerging. The most common word to describe this is “postmodernism.” It’s a word we both love and hate.
“We love postmodernism for what it opens up. The word teems with possibilities. It invites us to go beyond what presses, depresses, or oppresses.”
Postmodernism beckons us to break from a negative precedent, while simultaneously reclaiming the good from yesteryear that has lately been ignored. Postmodernism offers hope.
“We hate the word postmodernism for how it’s used, abused, and overused. There’s postmodern art, postmodern philosophy, postmodern architecture, postmodern literature, postmodern music, and postmodern culture.”
Prophets in the church promote postmodern worship, postmodern liturgy, postmodern preaching, postmodern evangelism, and postmodern theology. It seems everything new under the sun gets labeled “postmodern,” at least for a time. It becomes hard to distinguish what’s merely “new and different” for this generation from what is a genuinely new way of looking at life.”
It also seems to be a mystery just what the term means? It is often treated by some as a pun,- like, ‘f, instance— “how many Postmodern Philosophers does it take to change a light bulb?
“Hmmm ... well that’s an interesting question isn't it?" One to define 'light bulb'..." one to ask, "How can you be sure it needs changing?"
But really, it needs three: “ ... one to change it and—the other two to stand around arguing over the existential possibility if a light bulb has a reality or otherwise?””
So really, for the purposes of this matter—what does it mean to be Postmodern?
"What postmodern means depends at great deal upon the one speaking. One of the greatest obstacles to talking coherently about postmodernism is the diverse meanings the word carries.”
What one person describes as postmodern is often not what another person means by postmodern. Very few explain well what they truly mean. And people often speak of the postmodern way of looking at some issue when, in fact, an assortment of postmodern agendas exist.
Fortunately however, four dominant uses of the word have emerged. These four views share at least one thing in common: they seek to go beyond what each deems modern.
“(1) Modern” and “(2) now” are not synonymous, of course. Modernity refers to (3) various ways of living, assorted ideas and beliefs, or particular (4) paradigms of thought.
Postmodernism has something to do with getting beyond what is modern. The deep-seated intuition that change is in the air—felt by peoples of diverse visions and convictions—lies at the heart of the contemporary interest to move beyond modernism to postmodernism.
“I find something valuable in each of the dominant postmodern visions. But there are some forms of postmodern theology that I find more fruitful than others. My forlorn wish is to give a postmodern account for the hope that is within me. “For in my heart, I have set apart Christ as Lord” . (1 Pet. 3:15)
Also, Andrew Barteit said in 2104 ... “There are days when the future of the church seems quite insecure (doctrinally), at least from our human perspective. The generational change from a “churched” to a dominantly “unchurched” cultural bias is well known and documented.”
We can continue to argue about specific statistics, debate the distinctions between religion and spirituality and between the church as organization and organism, and defend or denounce the importance of worship forms as a connection to the church, both in space and in time.
But certainly in the system of this world, the context and the culture in which we are the body of Christ is not the same as that of my “grandfather’s church”—or even my father’s church, or even the church of my youth.
And then there is our distinctive internal foment: searching, staggering, and sloganeering between false alternatives, instead of keeping our balance in a proper tension between our “grandfather’s-church” and our “grandchildren’s-church.”
Of course we all want our grandfather’s church to be our grandchildren’s church, I think. It may look a bit different, as did our church from our grandfather’s. But we want our children to carry on, and the numbers say we are not doing all that well.
So we have those who would save the church by all but abandoning its history, evangelistic and proper identity. They may stray into Evangelicalism, on the one hand, or into Romanizing tendencies, on the other.
Neither of these was my grandfather’s church. This is the problem of changing too much, as though it’s only our grandchildren’s church, without a strong sense of connection to the past, whether a good sense of history or an understanding of the church world wide.
And we have those who would save the church by repristinating a day-gone-by, as though if only we could recapture whatever we were or were destined to be. In the days of Graham, Boreham, Burnett, Wesley, Luther, Walther, Knox or centuries ago, we will preserve “Confessional Protestantism.”
This is the problem of changing too little, or simply holding on to what is often a romantic view of the past, as though it’s only our grandfather’s church.
How this is both continuous with the past and adopted and, yes, adapted to the next generation is the question that continues to vex and sometimes choke the synods.
Such it is .... some of the various views of Postmodernism....
CHANGING WHETHER WE LIKE IT OR NOT!
Theology has a rich history of maintaining its identity as it addresses changes in the Incarnational inculturation that moves the church along through both space and time.
To remain the same is to change in our relationship to the world and culture around us, because that world in which we give witness to the kingdom of God is changing.
Various writers agree, to be sure, the basics of sin and grace, of Word and Sacraments are constant in every generation, which is why the Word of God must never change, et manet in aeternum.
But we have adapted to a Western context, and we are even fairly, more theologically competent, now. We have experimented with some varieties in worship sounds and styles while struggling to maintain a universal understanding of worship as that which belongs to the whole church, not to any every local congregation or culture group.
We have experimented with new models of seminary education.
We celebrate, honor, and engage the gifts of all God’s people, men and women, pastors and people. It is an exciting time to be about our Lord’s Kingdom, to all nations, and even to our children in another generation.
We do well to connect the past to the future, and the future to the past, lest we have a future without a past, or, even worse, a past without a future.
LINK WITH THE PAST:
Then along comes researcher Robert Evans who unearthed early Australian Revivals. He observed the radical moves in doctrinal theology that changed from generation to generation; from evangelist to evangelist.
They all possessed the motivation to reach people for Christ, but they did it from different belief systems.
For instance, anyone who heard Billy Graham realized his emphasis settled firmly on The Love of God. It was his driving teaching; he pleaded it from a thousand podiums around the world. “God-Loves-You” rings in his messages and lives on.
He avoided the judgmental aspect of God’s character even though he must have believed it. He referred to church history, the meanings of sacrifice, and Jesus 2nd coming often, but they was not his theme.
He slowly over the years moved from a direct confrontal attack upon sin and its consequences, to declare that all was covered in the “God Loves You” emphasis, even though everyone knows he accepted consequences in his theology platform. He found that in the late 1900’s, God’s Love was his best rallying call, because no one evangelist can cover all of God’s attributes in his sermons.
However, analysts say sectionalized evangelism carries immense problems for the next generation. It seems to be incomplete doctrine, until the convert comes into sound teaching in their own local church - not always possible.
Evans traced the Thomas Cook emphasis on salvation by the Holy Spirit, in the late 1800’s in Australia. Cook would begin his mission focussing on Christian dedication, including Sanctification and the Holy Walk, then expand to the lost by preaching that a life of sin was a barren life which leads to the judgement of God.
For women Cook would show that the home was the cornerstone of decent society, and is foundational. The lostness of an un-regenerated soul, and the hope of Heaven.
Some have accused this emphasis of being maudlin tear-jerking emotionalism, but Cook was not considered an emotional preacher by his peers. Topics like this were treated as matters of eternal life and death, which he repeated from the John and Charles Wesley missions of the 1700’s, that produced Methodism and the quest for holiness. The required weekly Classes attendances ensured that.
Coincidently, without realizing the similarities, the 1950’s evangelists placed a familiar emphasis upon their messages, which produced many thousands of conversions in rural church and tent missions, that increased the populations of local churches of the era.
Cook and others in the 1800’s ended their missions encouraging new Christians in the four keys to growth in Christ; prayer, study, fellowship and witness.
Cook mentions these in his small booklet, “Sources of Strength”. He reminded his followers to be careful of their choice of companions, to avoid questionable things, to do those things which help us grow in God’s Grace. This ideal was the key of the preaching of Presbyterian James Montgomery Boice too, in the 60’s, now heard regularly on oneplace.com on the internet.
Each of these themes were the life’s blood of a score of street evangelists with the Open Air Campaigners and rising Bible Schools, and the Graham Gordon’s Sydney Evangelistic Crusade. Evangelists were ready and able to defend their beliefs when confronted by antagonists; the Gospel was seen to be living and vibrant and life changing, and it drew people to the Christ.
A strong theme of those years was to describe the Christian’s ongoing experience as rest of the soul, absolute confidence and assurance in their faith and the joy of God. This comes from living continually in a state of being free from voluntary sin and continually cleansed from inbred sin.
Cook saw this in the term “Beulah Land”, as reasonable, as in Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress.
It described a settled mature and joyous state of the soul in life, and before death. This was described as one being free from fear about present and future events, because of their depth of trust in God, and single mindedness of obedience to Him. Some of this is lost in the pulpitering of 21st century churches. With the death of public evangelism, it is not seen as important.
Puritans would not agree that “Beulah Land” was a state of the soul free from sin in such a complete way as Cook describes, as they believed that the corrupting aspect of sin within the Christian’s earthly character went to much deeper levels than Cook was ready to admit.
Reinhold Niebuhr, an American theologian in the 1900’s did not like these various forms of perfectionist teachings; he viewed them as being simplistic in understanding of human nature, and of sin.
Critics would be inclined to say they had never met such proud, arrogant and misguided Christians who claim assurance of salvation, and therefore did not recognize their own sins, which others could see more easily.
But, these were the voices presenting the Gospel from their own grasp of Biblical teachings.
They were reasons for various forms of responses, of growth of the Faith, and the advancement of the Church.
It might be said that the lack of such positive teaching is a reason that the church has not expanded with the growth of the population in the last fifty years in Australia. We have sacrificed depth and width and growth for intellectual understanding.
Some pastors glory in simply holding the status quo; a sign that they were not losing.
And along with it, is the lack of revival teaching; that the Gull of of Assurance may spur the believer along his victorious way.
We are in decline, other than the occasional exception. And the exceptions are likely the ones who preach what we think of as the doctrines of the old- time Gospel.
Evans applied a well known analogy when he says on p35 of Thomas Cook”, - “a farmer who always plants but never reaps, and the doctor who always prescribed but never sees a patient recover might be judged to have made a mistake about their true calling.” It recalls similar Bible verses about this: II Cor. 9:10 is one: “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.”
OLD TIME PREACHERS:
Grandparents grew up in the days of a John Ridley, Walter Betts, Hendrickson, Stace, Duffecy (d1983), William Lamb, and Irishman W. P. Nicholson (d1961) who took their preaching of righteousness, judgement and damnation very seriously.
They believed in an honest approach to a complete view of a Jehovah God, and a saving Christ was essential to rightly divide the Word of Truth. It was not a frightful religion, but loving.
It said that a righteous God could only be one of love and justice. Any other view of the God of the Bible was an incomplete one.
The street evangelists seemed best to communicate it without confrontation or arrogance. They were friendly apologists.
Wesley was a Holiness preacher; Whitefield Grace; Burnett Temperance: Nicholson Damnation; Ridley Hope; Graham Love. But some pastors nowadays are indefinable.
Sherman Cox says, “The sermon is not a Biblical lecture designed to inform the hearer of some interesting facts. It is not merely a place where you can learn different stories from the Bible.
"Certainly it includes that, but it is more than that. The sermon is a vehicle for an encounter with the Most High God. This encounter does inform, but it also provides hope, healing, direction and salvation, etc.
“Because of this, preachers should embed in the sermon Doctrine of God and Salvation, and an expectation of a response from the congregation.”
"This response may be a heartfelt question like, “What must I do to be saved?” The response might be an assurance that God will be with us even through a painful circumstance.
“The response might be a resolve to live with more loyalty to God’s coming Kingdom. There may be other responses, but the point is that the encounter with God changes humanity. And that change will manifest itself some ways”.
Every sermon should ask the people for some sort of response. However, before one can ask such a thing, the preacher must connect what is taught to Bible truth, and the lived experience of the congregation."
TODAY’S PASTORS KNOW BEST:
Twenty-first century editorials lament that theologians in fifty-years transplanted God’s Love and Judgement, with just Love and Grace. They avoid consequences like a leprosy. Could this be a root cause to the loss of revival passion? Is this why God is not answering the plea or the believers?
CONNECT TO HUMAN EXPERIENCE:
Many sermons, especially doctrinal ones, neglect this connection ... that is ... to human experience. Preachers sometimes think that preaching the truth is all that is needed. So we preach sermons that follow an outline much like thIs:
1. Teach the doctrine.
2. Defend the doctrine from a few angles.
3. Tell people they need to believe the doctrine.
I heard a sermon on the Trinity like this. The preacher read a few texts that taught the doctrine. The preacher then defended the doctrine from a few attacks that are sometimes heard.
The pastor then closed by calling us all to hold on to this doctrine.
He then sat down.
Notice that the people were not informed why the doctrine is important. They were not helped to know how to apply it in daily life. And no invitation was offered for repentance, renewal or revival.
HOMILETICAL PLOT APPROACH:
In contrast, I read where Eugene Lowry stated the following on page 18 of the book, Homiletical Plot: "I am considering the possibility of a doctrinal sermon on the Trinity. When I gain a reasonable grasp of the subject, the preliminary question to be asked is: What problem or bind does the formula resolve?
"Here the preacher will be looking at how the doctrine solves some problem. Does it tell us something about community? Does it guide us in some way? Perhaps it provides a vehicle for understanding God’s total investment in humanity’s salvation.”
Whatever the case, when we go to preach a doctrine, it should be connected to human experience if we expect to be able to make an appeal to the importance of the doctrine.
"Now it is true that some people neglect doctrine as if it is unimportant. The first element a pastor searches for in the text is the doctrine.
“But when you preach doctrine, informing others it is important, but helping the people to understand the doctrine in such a way that it will change the way they live is also important. And most important is to allow the doctrine to facilitate the encounter with the God that we hope to experience in the worship service.
This may be why Jesus challenged his followers when he asked them ... Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?”. Luke 6:46
Lamentably, pulpits rarely teach a clearly defined doctrine; or the work of the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Walk, or offer a public invitation to show that your belief system is also a witness ... connected to a living experience.
EVANGELISTS KNOW HOW TO DO THIS:
Most of today’s church seem to have lost the skill. Dick Innes reminds us that Jesus himself made a personal invitation twenty-one times in his three years. His followers put it into regular practice. Some pastors occupy a pulpit for twenty years and never offer a public invitation, other than for membership or baptism.
David Kinnaman said in a blog that ... In an era of mass media, it is easy to believe that the more eyeballs the more impact. But radio television and tracts without a personal contact, one noted, accounted for less than one-half of 1% of the respondents to be born again.
The greatest benefit of Christian media is that it attracts viewers to the speaker or his church, or buy his DVD and book, and that it is a form of encouragement for the mature Christian. It can be a grand teacher, but it is a poor evangelist. The attraction is to the media method itself, not only the Jesus it preaches about.
The church cannot be replaced, but without revival, it will perish on the vine. Lewis says many only massage their own ego in the the telling of it.
SPIRIT OF PRAYER:
“Always be joyful, Always keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful. For this is God’s Will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. I say again, rejoice.” Philippians 4:4
Some people have been part of spiritual revivals on a small scale, and watched miraculous changes within it. In families, homes and fellowships. In crowded meetings many souls have been saved, lives have been transformed and there has been a deep spirit of prayer resting upon the people of God.
Often, revival has stopped God's hand from allowing man’s own punishment.
And David McGee thinks we should be more concerned with reaching the unchurched lost than only pampering the believing and saved.
REVIVAL—DO IT AGAIN:
But few have personally seen, or have been a part of any large-scale church-wide, city-wide, or national revival.
Various church Minutes reported that our 23 tent campaigns in the 50’s reaped around 9100 first time converts from the 110,000 people who attended their missions. That was before the Macaulays’ missions, and unwittingly, preceded Graham. Go to You Tube, and key in “The Tent in the Centre of Town”. It’s had thousands of views.
We know enough about mighty movements of the Spirit of God to make us long to do it again. "Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you." Around 1863 William Mackay wrote these words:--
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Revive us again.
We praise Thee, O God!
For Thy Spirit of light,
For Jesus Who died,
And is now gone above.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Revive us again.
But—the more we long for it, the greater is the ubiquitous question— What is true revival? And how is it demonstrated? We should be part of past revivals as we are part of our family. “People will not look forward to family posterity who never look backward to family ancestry....
Pastor Todd Stocker thinks that without a global Gospel vision of a global God, a church devolves into a lukewarm, aimless organization characterized by apathy, self satisfaction, selfish indulgence, budget grabbing ideals, and a cold heart for the lost.
Robert Evans pointed this out again, in his books of Thomas Cook and Matthew Burnett Evangelists in the 1890s, and about Methodism in the late 19th century Australia. He said: “... in order to grow, the Methodists generally had to rely upon making conversions to Christ from among the general population, as they had done back in England.”
This is what they managed to do to some degree through prayer, enthusiasm for evangelism, and their desire to see God working.... “... Evangelicalism was actually the dominating outlook on the nature of Christianity in all of the Protestant denominations in Australia at the end of the 19th century.”
He went on to show the work of the Holy Spirit in revivals later became “institutionalized and formalized into organized efforts which did not always have the same spiritual qualities as the earlier movements”. pp9-10 He also noted that (p12) in the UK, attendances at the weekly Methodist Class Meetings was one condition of membership in the church at that time. It was the same for some time in early Methodism in Australia.
When Revival Ran Epidemic:
Diane Severance, Ph.D. researched the revival History timeline over thousands of years. She wrote:
Sometimes, it is during the day of hopelessness and despair that revival comes to a people! So it was in the middle of the nineteenth century.
In the USA, it was a spiritual, political, and economic low point. Many people had become disillusioned with spiritual things because of preachers who had repeatedly and falsely predicted the end of the world in the 1840's.
Agitation over the slavery issue had bred much political unrest, and civil war seemed imminent. A financial panic hit in 1857. Banks failed, railroads were bankrupt, factories closed, unemployment increased. Many Christians realized the need for prayer in such dire situations, and prayer-meetings began to spread around the country.
Ferment in a Dutch Reformed Church in Fulton Street In New York had been steadily losing members; so they hired missionary Jeremiah Lanphier to reverse the trend with an active visitation program.
However, he had little success in awakening church members by his visits, so in September, 1857, he rented another hall on Fulton street and advertised its availability for prayer meetings. Six men assembled for that first prayer meeting on September 23.
Two days later the Bank of Philadelphia failed. In October the men began praying together daily; on October 10 the stock market crashed. The financial panic triggered a religious awakening, and people flocked to the prayer meetings. Within six months 10,000 people were gathering daily for prayer in New York City alone.
The movement exploded.
Other cities also were experiencing a renewed interest in prayer. In Chicago, the Metropolitan Theater was filled every day with 2000 people assembling for prayer. In Louisville, several thousand came to the Masonic Temple for prayer each morning. Two thousand assembled for daily prayer in Cleveland, and the St. Louis churches were filled for months at a time. The newly formed YMCA also played an important role in holding prayer meetings and spreading the revival throughout the country.
When media actually helped:
In February, 1858, Gordon Bennett of the New York Herald gave extensive coverage to the prayer meeting revival. Not to be outdone, the New York Tribune devoted an entire issue in April, 1858 to news of the revival. News of the revival quickly traveled westward by telegraph. This was, it is thought, to be the first revival in which the media played an important role in spreading news of the revival impact.
“And whatever you do or say, let it be as representative of the Lord Jesus, and come with him into the presence of God the Father to give Him your thanks.” Colossians 3:17
The prayer meetings were organized in the cities by lay people and were interdenominational. Unlike earlier awakenings, prayer rather than preaching was the main instrument of revival. Tents were often set up as places where people could gather for prayer, introducing a custom followed by later revivalists.
The meetings themselves were very informal -- any person might pray, exhort, lead in a song, or give a word of testimony, with a five minute limit placed on each speaker. In spite of the less structured nature of the prayer meetings, they lacked the extreme emotionalism which some had criticized in earlier revivals.
This was the revival in America with a worldwide impact. From the US the it spread to Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Europe, South Africa, India, Australia, and the Pacific islands. In geographical and proportionate numerical extent, the revival of 1857-1860 has not been equaled.
Even ships coming into British ports told of the revival in America. Ireland soon began to experience a prayer meeting revival as well, with crowds becoming so large they had to meet in the open air. When John Cairns preached in Belfast in May, 1859, he had never before seen such eagerness to hear the gospel or lives which had been so transformed by the revival. He said: "Nature does not contain any epidemic so like to Christian conversion."
It is a commonly held belief that apathy seeks a vacuum. But, as nature abhors a vacuum, apathy is not a substitute. Something nobler must come to fill it—not surprisingly.
HISTORY ROLLS ON AND ON:
Researchers abound with fresh views of the stages of the Church in and out of doctrine, beliefs and revival. A vacuum needs fresh refilling. Here’s another’s view of history....
A Church History Timeline:
The dark ages are coming to an eventual end and beginning a lively new future:
1602 - John Lightfoot Theologian and Hebrew Scholar
1602 - Who Is Elect? Arminius Differed from Calvin
1604 - The King James "Authorized Version"
1604 - Story Behind King James Bible
1605 - John Welsh Preached Last Sermon at Ayr
1605 - Beza, Last of the Great Reformers
1065 - Gunpowder Plot Discovered
1065 - Special Issue Devoted to Thanksgiving
1607 - Birth of German Hymn Writer Paul Gerhardt
1607 - Cape Henry, 1st Anglican Church in America
1607 - Robert Hunt Planted Church at Jamestown
1607 - Christianity in Jamestown
1613 - Barbe Acarie, Marie de la Incarnation
1614 - Pocahontas Entered a Marriage of Races
1614 - Priceless Wisdom From Bro. Lawrence
1616 - William Shakespeare‘s beliefs
1618 - What a Foul Way to Begin a War
1618 - Dort Pitted Calvinists vs. Arminians
1618 - Hugo Grotius
1619 - John Barneveld Executed
1619 - Ferdinand II Elected Holy Roman Emperor
1620 - Rasmus Jensen and New World Lutheranism
1620 - Mayflower Sailed, Taking Pilgrims to New England
1620 - Original Mayflower Compact
1620 - Pilgrims in a Strange Land
1620 - The Magnificent Mayflower Compact
1621 - William Bradford and Plymouth Plantation
1621 - Leading Metaphysical Poet Donne Became Dean
1621 - Layman Robert Cushman's Famous Sermon
1626 - Lancelot Andrewes Knew How to Pray
1627 - Father of Natural History
1628 - Michaelius, America's 1st Dutch Reformed Pastor
1628 - Bestselling Author, John Bunyan
1628 - Comenius: School Should Be Fun
1628 - John Bunyan
1630 - John Winthrop's Treasure Mine of Detail
1630 - John Winthrop: American Nehemiah
1630 - Anne Bradstreet; Puritan Wife & Mother
1630 - Who Were The Puritans?
1631 - Roger Williams, a Square Peg in a Round Hole
1631 - John Eliot: Apostle to Indians
1632 - Terrible Price at the Battle of Lutzen
1633 - Galileo before the Inquisition
1636 - Rutherford Exiled for Publishing
1636 - A College Named for John Harvard
1636 - Freedom's Forgotten Hero: Roger Williams
1637 - Jenny Geddes Hurled a Stool in Church
1637 - Remembrance of Nicholas Ferrar
1638 - Scotland Signed National Covenant
1638 - Final Assault on Japan's Rebel Fortress
1639 - Davenport and Fundamental Orders of Connecticut
1640 - Reorus Torkillus, a Lutheran in America
1640 - Root and Branch Petition
1640 - Robert Boyle Converted in a Thunderstorm
1640 - Robert Boyle: Father of Modern Chemistry
1642 - Megapolensis Landed in the New World
1642 - John Campanius Achieved Firsts in America
1642 - Ren Goupil Tomahawked
1642 - Isaac Newton Before the Ocean of Truth
1643 - Jogues Tortured for Doing His Duty
1643 - George Fox, founder of the Quakers
1645 - William Laud Lost His Head
1645 - Hugo Grotius
1645 - Ladislaus Convened a Thorny Conference
1646 - Cambridge Synod Sets Church-State Relationship
1646 - Illegal to Deny the Bible
1647 - Aeronautics Pioneer Francesco Lana
1647 - Westminster Shorter Catechism
1648 - Peace Finally Signed at Westphalia
1648 - Robert Barclay, Champion of Quaker Ideal
1649 - King Charles I on the Scaffold
1649 - The Iroquois Found John Brebeuf Brave
1649 - Massacre of Drogheda under Oliver Cromwell
1649 - Maryland Toleration Act
1649 - Never Enough Done to Satisfy Thomas Shepard
1651 - Obadiah Holmes Whipped for Baptist Beliefs
1651 - Francois Fenelon
1654 - Blaise Pascal's conversion
1655 - Cromwell Welcomes Jews
1656 - Fur and Feathers Flew over Jansenism
1656 - Ann Austin and Mary Fisher Arrested
1656 - Massachusetts Law Against Quakers
1660 - Mary Dyer Hanged for "Wrong" Faith
1660 - Vincent de Paul Escaped, Helped Poor
1661 - William Leddra: Executed for Quakerism
1661 - Archibald Campbell, Earl of Argyle Beheaded
1661 - James Guthrie Hanged for Christ
1661 - Witty Parson Thomas Fuller
1662 - Scientists of Faith Found Royal Society
1662 - French Scientist Blaise Pascal
1663 - Cotton Mather, Scion of a Noble Heritage
1663 - August Francke: Unto Us a Son Is Given
1663 - Godly Joseph Alleine Thrown into Prison
1663 - Charles II Granted Rhode Island New Charter
1663 - Laval's Seminary
1664 - Benjamin Keach Testified
1664 - Hugh McKail Hanged after Torture
1667 - Milton's Ten Pound Epic
1667 - Jeremy Taylor Came Down with Fever
1667 - Deposing Autocratic Patriarch Nikon
1670 - Penn's Stand for Truth Wins Civil Rights
1672 - Elizabeth Hooton, 1st Woman Preacher
1672 - Addison Remade English Morals
1672 - George Griffiths Licensed to Preach at Home
1672 - Anne Bradstreet, the 10th Muse, Silenced
1672 - Benjamin Schmolck in Catholic Silesia
1674 - Anglican Poet, Thomas Traherne
1675 - Jacques Marquette Worked Sick
1675 - 1st Stone of St. Paul's, London
1676 - Samuel Willard Forced to Boston by Indian Attack
1677 - Stoddard Opened Lord's Table to All
1678 - Every Pilgrim's Story, by John Bunyan
1678 - John Bunyan: Mender of Pilgrim Souls
1680 - Goodwin Found Death a Smiling Friend
1680 - Richard Cameron, Lion of the Covenant
1680 - Madame Guyon Claimed Union with God
1680 - Slave Songs Transcend Sorrow
1681 - Desperate Georg Neumark Let God Guide Him
1681 - Covenanter Cargill Executed
1682 - The Flame of Avvakum's Genius
1683 - Puritan John Owen Focused on Christ
1685 - Drowned at Wigton for Holding Christ Above King
1685 - Elizabeth Gaunt Burned for a Kindness
1681 - Covenanter John Nisbet Rejoiced to Be Hanged
1686 - Weary John Eliot Ready to Be Gone
1687 - Bible's 1st Textual Critic, Johann A. Bengel
1688 - Historic Germantown Protest Against Slavery
1689 - Down with King James II!
1690 - Bossuet vs. Jouarre's Women
1694 - After Battling Pope and King, Arnauld Exiled
1695 - 2nd Place for Francois Fenelon
1697 - Fasting and Repentance for Salem Witch Trials
1697 - Lutherans Bjork and Rudman Came to Delaware Finns
1698 - Isaac Watts' Birthday Sermon
1698 - Death of Charles Marshall, Quaker Mystic
1700 - Cruden of the Concordance
1788 - First Christian service on Australian soil
This reveals that mediocrity and apathy creates a spiritual vacuum. And a vacuum resists emptiness. And it seems, Revival hates a vacuum.
We gaze in wonder over the rich tapestry of a few of the millions of brave souls before, and upon whose shoulders we now stand.
ANGRY WOMEN THROW THEIR SITTNG STOOLS AT THE ARCHBISHOP:
Charles I, King of Great Britain, wished to enforce his will upon the Churches of England and Scotland. For this and other mistakes, a largely Puritan and Presbyterian parliament eventually lifted his head from his shoulders. Long before that fateful day, however, Charles made one of his most grievous mistakes. He made a tyrant Archbishop of Canterbury, the highest position in the Church of England.
This was none other than William Laud, a stickler for minute forms and details in worship. Like Charles, he wanted to worship as similarly to Catholic forms as the break with Rome would permit. In fact, many English thought that Charles I wanted to return England under the pope. Laud's various changes and tightening of rules seemed a prelude to this.Things got very ugly.
Laud persecuted Puritans fiercely. The Puritans were those who wished to purify the English church of elements carried over from Catholicism--elements which they considered superstitious or erroneous. The revolt against Charles would be largely a Puritan affair, for Puritans had suffered grievously at his hands. Some, like Alexander Leighton and William Prynne were mutilated and jailed. One of Laud's "innovations," bent on restoring the church to its former practice and power, was the introduction of a new service book. Laud was big on having people bow at the name of Christ and follow all the forms of the service exactly.
The effort to enforce the new service was met with outrage. Some congregations caused such a stir that their bishops wisely did not even try to implement Laud's orders. In Edinburgh, Scotland, however, at a church attended largely by the king's local agents, the clergy determined to follow the archbishop's order. They proceeded to make the attempt on this day, July 23, 1637.
Unfortunately for the dean who performed the revised ritual, the common folk who attended the church went into an immediate uproar, calling him a devil spawn. At that time the women had no pews but sat on stools they themselves brought to church.
One, identified as Jenny Geddes, picked up her stool and hurled it at the dean. The outraged populace also threw dozens of other objects at the clergy and, when the bishop remonstrated, a stool was hurled at him, too, but missed its mark.
The crowd had to be cleared by force. Laud's experiment in restoring the high church services had gone badly awry in Edingburgh. Laud himself was imprisoned in 1640 and brought to trial a few years later on charges of high treason. William Prynne, whom he had mutilated, was set as judge over him and gladly returned a guilty verdict. Laud was beheaded.
1859 Thirst for the Spirit in Scotland:
When Andrew Bonar heard of the results of the work of revival in Ireland, he increased his prayer for a revival in Scotland.
In his diary of July 3, 1859, he wrote, "Again this night in sorrow of heart over the terrible carelessness, indifference, deadness of this 'valley of dry bones.' O my God, come over to Scotland and help us!" Within two months Andrew Bonar found himself in the midst of revival in Scotland. On September 10th he wrote in his diary, "This has been a remarkable week: every day I have heard of some soul saved among us...."
All classes became interested in salvation, backsliders returned, conversions increased, and Christians desired a deeper instruction in spiritual truths. Families established daily devotions, and entire communities underwent a noticeable change in morals.
Ordinary people praying:
Similar changes were noted as the revival spread to Wales, England, and beyond. There was an absence of great names connected with the revival. Lay people in prayer were the prime instruments used by God in awakening the people. The preaching, which in many areas had become too intellectual and lifeless, now concentrated on the truths of the Gospel of Christ and His cross.
The results of the revival of 1859 in the areas of evangelism, missions, and social action continued for decades. Many who became Christian leaders during the second half of the nineteenth century were greatly affected by the revival-- such as D.L. Moody, William Booth, C.H. Spurgeon, and A.B. Simpson. As James Buchanan of Scotland summarized, it was a time when "new spiritual life was imparted to the dead, and new spiritual health imparted to the living."
This is the vacuum filling with revival before tragedy is about to strike.
The revival of 1859 had similar effects in the US North and South, and may have prepared many Americans spiritually to survive the horrors of the war that broke out a few years later. The awakening continued into the Civil War period, a great revival occurring in the Southern armies in 1863-64.
What about the 21st Century?
Tony Cauchi wrote in March 2009, “Across the globe there is a growing cry to God for a fresh outpouring of revival power.” There are very few live churches in the Western world that do not have this hope in their hearts and on their prayer agendas. They are saying that what they are currently experiencing is so weak and anaemic, so shallow and ineffective that they need a new season of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.”
In the very presence of frailty and carelessness, believers long for a renewal and spiritual refreshing, and say they are ready to experience it, as in the past.
They heard of times when God visited His people and restored their fortunes. They are excited by the possibility of a fresh wind of God’s Spirit in the church.
Many are developing a holy passion, even a desperation, for God to come down from heaven and establish His Kingdom amongst men. They are jealous again for His Name and His fame. Their appetites have been whetted and they are spoiled for anything less. But what can they do? What steps can they take? What is an appropriate response to the need of this hour? What does God want us to do?
Well, one thing we can do is look at revival history, which God himself encourages us to do. Psalm 145:4-6 'One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds.'
Numerous books and reports exist to encourage people to look to the men and movements of the past who have witnessed powerful visitations of God and became carriers of His fire.
You will see how our mighty God reached into the lives of ordinary people like us—despite their weaknesses, fears and failings—and equipped them to become shafts of light that dispelled the darkness in their generation. They were ordinary people who experienced an extraordinary God.
As the church needs the change, so does society around it. The increase in crime and disorder, the reverses in home tranquility—the troubling breakup in dysfunctional marriages, replaced by casual partnerships without limits—all need a fresh infusion of divine wisdom and understanding to staunch the flow of godlessness—and to purify a stained church.
THE REVIVED LIFE:
Revival is renewal and restoration—a fresh inflow of the life, love and power of God. Faithful people come to the point of spiritual exhaustion, and faint and then, when help comes, they revive.
Revival changes people, and the course of life for nations. Weapons can be converted into plough shares. The lion lies down with the lamb, as with Germany and the UK after WW2; Japan and The Philippines; Italy with Greece.
A QUEEN AND THE PREACHER:
Mary Queen of Scot said she feared the impact of a genuine Wesley type revival, and what it would bring.
"I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe," she said.
Some will react like the Queen, and say no no no, not for me. Revival is only prospective—this is not for us. Rather than singing Onward Christian Soldiers, we’re prefer to be Standing on the Premises. We are OK and we like things as they are.
Others may respond and say yes, now is the time. Others will choose to wait and see.
These are attitudes people have. Without them we may not know how they truly feel, and we may not realize that we are in a cold apathetic and unrevived condition. That’s the way we are.
Spiritual revival can overwhelm any generation regardless of the societal changes that come with them. Eric Chaline talks of the radical movements in the west after WW1 and WW2, a refreshing change from khaki domination. The world economy revived quickly when Germany and Japan lay down weapons, ushering in an affluence not seen since the early 1900's. Surviving men returned to productive work, industry redirected into creative exploits, - and new homes and families were on the increase.
People who survived the conflicts turned from aggression, were more optimistic, wealthier, had more leisure time, and wanted to let their hair down—especially some of the unrestricted youth not personally knowing the restriction in wartime.
The roaring twenties and the adventurous forties were back. People threw off the shackles of parental control and the conformity of the 1800's morality. And hard working parents were rebuilding their lives again in peacetime, and allowed it. But "... there is going to come a time when people won't listen to the truth, but will go around looking for teachers who will tell them just what they want to hear. They won't listen to what the Bible says but will blithely follow their own misguided ideas." I Timothy 4
HOW A SECULARIST SEES IT:
Few counties have such a strong balance sheet, says Nick Bryant of the BBC, in his Prologue to The Rise and Fall of Australia, “How a Great Nation lost it’s Way”. In 2008, government debt was 4.9% of the GDP. The UK was over 60% while Japan was over 180%. Australia had a minimum wage twice that of America and 1-1/2 times higher than the EU.
These are the kind of commercial conditions where the church’s wealth induces drowsiness. In 2013 he says, Australia completed the hat trick of topping the OECD’s Better Life Index, a measure of national happiness, for the third year running.
All of this is consistent with the reports in Roy Wiliams 400p, Post God Nation. The cover admits it all when it says .... “How Religion Fell Off the Radar in Australia.”
The late 1940's witnessed the beginnings of the youth counter-culture movement that flowered into the drug-fueled subculture of the 1960's. The fresh phenomena of the restless Rock-and-Roll music with its psychedelia, punk and personal rights. And rebellion against the past. And the 1980's gender bending—looked pretty tame after three generations of terrible wars and loss of manhood, separated families, bombs, blood and destruction.
The imposed war-time austerity, overhead bombings and fear of invasions were gone, leather jackets, jeans, slick black hair for boys and bobby socks, full princess skirts and pony tails for girls were all the fashion.
But there was no more mind-bending substances than tobacco, Coca Cola and frothy coffee. But at the time, these was seen as nothing short of a harmless social and moral revolution.
Nowadays, the nature of a godless society continues to impose it’s humanism upon us, and deny us some of our secular rights and freedoms, as Christians.
Peter Kentley in Melbourne wrote: The Victorian Government has introduced a new rule that bans students gathering for Bible studies or prayer groups in our public schools.
The change came into effect in July, 2014, after the Minister for Education signed a Ministerial Directive MD141—Special Religious Instruction in Public Schools.
Not only are they not allowed to meet to discuss Christianity together, they’re not allowed to advertise church or religious events or give their friends a Christian music DVD or Bible.
Lunchtime student prayer groups and fellowships were no longer permitted. Revision appeals were made. Within a month, an embarrassed Education Minister retracted it.
When Bryant says on p9 that the community should intervene in resolving problems when the government can’t look after their own people, the idea of the results of spiritual revival could be overlaid for an answer. Always has been and always will. As the politics became nastier and more adolescent, the church muscle and vitality should come to the rescue; but it won’t.
HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN IN AUSTRALIA?
Bryant’s controversial book cover tells of How a Great Nation Lost its Way. Never before has Australia enjoyed such economic, commercial, diplomatic and cultural clout, he says. Its recession proof economy is the envy of the world. It’s the planet’s lifestyle superpower.
But it’s politics have never been so brutal, narrow and facile, as well as such a global laughing stock. It’s the great paradox of modern Australian national life; of how a country had got richer at a time when its politics have become so impoverished. Four Prime Ministers in five years? Shameful.
His book outlines racism, sexism, politics, commerce, culture, sport and the nation’s place in the region and the world, but its most glowing exception is its lack of religious and Christian content. The only reference was of a Muslim politician.
No, not a Christian in sight, even though many current political leaders make private claim to Christian faith. That perhaps explains much of it’s discontent.
JUST BELOW THE SURFACE:
Outback Patrol evangelists and school chaplains struggle with these contradictions with educators,
Lawyers are the greatest threat. The appetite of the rising head of atheism will not be satisfied until the name of Jesus Christ is utterly obliterated.
As long as a dozing church allows its freedoms to be stolen, it will continue. 61% of Australians who identified themselves as Christian in the national census, lose out. Now is the time to stand up, said Kentley, and be counted....
Or better still, now is the time to revert to the basic function of the Christian people, and that is to live and pray and trust for a genuine Holy Spirit revival that changes the church, and reaches the unchurched at the same time. Millions of believers world wide, some already in the depths of suffering and persecution, anticipate the next outpouring of God’s presence.
VANDALISM iS AROUND AND ABOUT:
As early Christian power grew, the Christians were soon denied freedom of religion. and began denying it to everyone except followers of the Christian faction currently in favor. This conduct seems to be in conflict with modern day attitudes, where the Christian faith is tolerant of, and tolerated by, -- others.
In the year Emperor Constantine inaugurated his new capital at Byzantium, in AD 330, he prohibited the performance of rites of other faiths. In 333, Christian censorship, pillaging, dispossession and judicial killing started in earnest. Not only were works of Arius, but also people who owned such works, to be consigned to the flames. Gold and treasure were removed from Eastern temples.
Under Constantine's Christian sons, the trend developed further. More temples were destroyed, and sacrifices were forbidden. Marriages between Christians and Jews were declared illegal, and the crime was punishable by death. Constantius II passed laws against pagans in 341, and in the following years further laws were passed to the effect that all superstition (i.e. other religions) be completely eradicated.
PREJUDICE WAS DEEMED TO BE HOLY:
Soon, anyone performing traditional sacrifices would be liable to the death penalty. In town and country, temples were demolished or seized and turned into churches. Bands of violent monks were deployed to ensure the domination of the orthodox line. They were sometimes commanded by bishops.
MORE 21st CENTURY:
Headlines from around the world keep us staggering as we read about Christians persecuted for their faith. What can we learn from those who risk their lives every day for their faith? How do we best respond spiritually and practically to news reports of persecuted Christians? They risk everything for their faith. In the presence of Islam’s pleas of innocence, powerful videos take us into the true stories of Christians living in Muslim countries around the world. Real current footage of the persecuted church along with commentary/ . As we explore forgiveness, sacrifice, faithfulness, joy, perseverance, and courage — we are inspired to make a difference right where we are. Or downright plumb ignore it....
CHURCH DAMAGE NOWADAYS
Occasional outbursts of vandalism occurs within suburban Christian Churches, sometimes by drunken louts, some by violent Musllms destroying infidels; sometimes by governments, and some by disaffected Christians. The greater persecution continues unstopped in Cuba and China and India and North Korea and Islamic states. More than sixty countries have uncontrolled persecution of Christians, reports the US Dept. of State, simply because of their allegiance to Jesus Christ.
Attempts were made to burn down Sydney’s Bankstown Baptist Church a few years ago, and a Pastor Jon Baker had been left wondering as vandals have broken into his charismatic church two times in two weeks causing thousands of dollars of damage. And a Narwee Church was incinerated in the early hours of one Monday morning by vandals. Utterly destroyed.
These are trivial examples compared with the attacks from others in Indonesia and the Philippines, Cuba and China. Serious vandalism is happening regularly with Christian churches in the Middle East, in Iraq and Iran. Christian churches in Africa expect to face resistance, and Bishops go about their work in the belief they may be martyred in their own churches.
It is to be expected by many of them. Whole churches are destroyed repeatedly in a quest to destroy the message of the Gospel.
Large churches and Christian FM stations in Indonesian villages are obliged to pay uncommon bribe fees to local government officials every month just to remain open and untouched. What Islam can’t destroy, it taxes.
The people should discern between genuine persecution because of their faith, and arson attacks on Catholic churches in reaction to paedophile priests going to jail for their misuse of children. They deserve civil justice. Genuine persecution is to stand up for beliefs ... and that kind of reaction to the Gospel of Jesus Christ should be seen for what it is and means ...
The claim is made by Open Doors that 772 forms of violence are committed against Christians, 214 Churches and Christian properties are destroyed, and 322 Christians are killed for their faith, somewhere in the world every month. According to the Pew research Centre, over 75% of the world population lives in area with severe religious restrictions.
REVIVAL, BUT NOT NOW:
Churches admitted that the idea of a spiritual rebirth at this time is out of the question. King George V1 in 1939 called on the empire to sacrifice all, to obtain victory from the aggressors.
He then, after victory, encouraged a greater trust in God; with his walk in my sandals speech.
Even though sincere Christian people were rebuilding the lives God had spared for them. God saving them from the slavery of Germany or Japan became a blessing to be enjoyed. We have perhaps, been infected with a similar spiritual laziness.
But soon, the dry jaded flowers of the church droop, but when placed in sweet water they may revive. Gavin Hamilton and Edwin Orr in 1950 preached revival, but only the few believed it.
Drought decimate the outback, but thankfully, occasional floods revive it. Christians and churches also droop and faint and need pruning and renewing, but there seems to be few floods of refreshing.
We need a time to return to our first love. Paul in Rom. 8:9 , encouraged the church to do it. Forty-four times revival is mentioned in God's Word. "Ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit if God dwells in you".
For 400-years after Malachi, the Old Testament patriachs forgot about waiting for the coming of their Messiah King and His kingdom. When men stopped talking to God after Malachi, God stopped talking to men.
Heaven was silent for 400-years.
Then, with the forerunner of John the Baptist, the Jesus revival burst onto the scene. The voice in the wilderness declared that the Kingdom of God was at hand. At last God’s manifest, dynamic, observable and powerful kingdom had come.
This kingdom rule was now available and accessible and was suddenly invading the world of men.
But not in the way they expected.
The history of the New Testament revivals cover approximately 60-years. A portion of it is the ministry of Jesus and rest within the growth of the early church, under Roman rule. It is not too difficult to find authentic revival within these accounts because it bursts forth everywhere.
IT’S NOT TOO DIFFICULT:
What we call revival was simply the multi-facetted in-breaking of the Kingdom of God. It brought a sense of God’s presence, the conviction of sins, acts of awesome power, forgiveness and salvation that swept multitudes into the new faith. Midst a Roman dictatorship, it was a vibrant faith called Christianity.
After Jesus' ministry the early church carried this breathtaking revelation into the known world. The Gospel was preached, signs and wonders were exhibited, conversions were realized and Christian churches began to fill the landscape. This is the stuff revival is made of!
EXAMPLE OF FAITH:
In Sydney, an entire cadre of passion had grown up around the revival ministry of the aged Pastor Norm Armstrong upon whom Smith Wigglesworth is said to have laid hands upon, - when a child, and prophesied national revival through or around him.
His followers anticipated more than the impact of a powerful pastor as good as it was, but in vain. The best revival came in his own churches, but sadly, that is all. That’s normal. But, they wanted to see the abnormal....
The passion remains, and the national impact is withheld. But for how long?
The entire Biblical record is really an account of authentic spasmodic occasional revival. And because it is, today’s church would do well to re-read The Acts with new eyes. Acts starts with Peter - Apostle to the Jews—Paul is not mentioned. Peter speaks out. Then leadership transfers to Paul—Apostle to the Gentiles. Peter passes off the scene - and is not mentioned again. Paul is surprised.
The Acts is the book of revival - filled with the Holy Spirit ... It not only reveals the work of the Holy Spirit, it would fall apart with it .... It tells of a ....
A Relationship with the Father - Renewed relationship - 1:4
A Relationship with the Lord - Renewed devotion - 2:2
A Relationship with the Body - Renewed church - 2:42
A Relationship with the Word - Renewed preaching - 8:4
Relationship with the Holy Spirit - Renewed results - 11:21
A Relationship with Obedience - Renewed baptism - (no longer only baptism of John the Baptist)- 19:5
A Relationship with the future - Dual Promise - 28:28
We are the ones writing Acts #29 in our lives today. We carry on what St. Paul left off....
The drama of these revival events have been created by Hollywood’s Mark and Roma Burnett, the professional actors, and screened in cinemas world wide. They claim this gift has been placed in their hands by God, and they gave their lives in doing it.
Other low budget private movies have flooded the Christian TV channel market, and loaded bookshelves with DVD’s. One called Letters to God sold in the Walmart stores in the USA at the rate of a thousand DVD’s a week. And there’s hundreds of other retail outlets doing the same ...
ACTS CHAPTER ONE:
Discern the process, and return to the pattern revival portrays. Acts depicts a new era of the Spirit, which was prophesied in the Old Testament, and personified in Jesus. It was the Spirit that fell upon those early disciples that thrust them into the world to blaze a trail of revival wherever they trod. And that era has not been terminated.
So, when we read King David's plea for revival in his day, we relish it for our own. "Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in You."
Through prayer there is
no problem that can't be solved,
no burden that can't be lifted,
no storm that can't be weathered,
no devastation that can't be relieved,
no sorrow that can't be erased,
no poverty cycle that can't be broken,
no sinner that can't be saved,
no perishing that can't be rescued,
no fallen that can't be lifted,
no hurt that can't be removed,
no broken relationship that can't be mended,
no difference that can't be resolved,
no hindrance that can't be shaken,
no limitation that can't be overcome,
no mourning that can't be comforted,
no ashes that can't become beauty,
no heaviness that can't be covered
with the garment of praise,
no thirst that can't be quenched,
no hunger that can't be filled,
no dry ground that can't be flooded,
no desert that can't blossom,
no congregation that can't be evived,
no preacher that can't be anointed,
no church pews that can't be filled,
There’s no church leadership team that can't become 'one,'
no community that can't be Christianized and
there’s no nation that can't be transformed.
(Adapted by Mary Stewart Relfe)
A sick person may revive and get a little better, and then later be restored to full health and strength.
The same is true with Christians and churches. A genuine spiritual revival may mean a deeper and greater faith and trust in God rather than self. It may mean a complete uprooting of our present status, and turning into a fresh direction.
Every revival costs somebody something.
You cannot prepare for a spiritual revival into your community without someone paying the price. Praying for fellow workers, sacrifice a newer house or car and giving hours of recovery time to prayer. Revivals do not come cheap or cut price.
Stretching good clothing further and supporting the cause; stewardship is to see friends come to Christ. Parents on a fast for wayward children; business people slowing production mildly to counsel sincere enquirers; pastors in retreat from management to meet the prayer needs for it; early morning vigils; late night retreats to prepare the way. Spouses for the other; and children for parents!
I must ask myself then, am I ready for this? And does God need to hear us say that we are ready, and that we will pay the price to do it ...? There’s never been any other way.
A key element is putting less vital things aside to allow a flow of God's refreshing never means personal loss; a loving God always makes reparation in time, in His way. In the long run, we never lose. And clearly, He unexpectedly oversupplies more abundantly than ever before.
Yet, prayer cycles are ignored, gatherings are bypassed, meetings abandoned, laziness abounds. Less prayer means less power.
Revival is usually a costly business, and that’s a reason the churches do not see it enough. A fast mean not only for good health; it’s investing more hours taken from usual pursuits, to pray and petition God for the revival to come.
HOW HAS IT BEEN IN THE PAST:
As we read Psalm 85 again, let us pray that we may clear the way and become burdened that God will send a full-scale Holy Spirit revival in our hearts, our homes and our churches.
“Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?
So, we ask? what are the steps that lead to such a revival? It’s mentioned often in Scripture and in numerous events wherever it came. As in Acts 2:4. Here they are....
1. We should confess our NEED of Revival.
The Psalmist’s prayer was a confession of a need; it was when he felt the need that he prayed – v6. Think of the need for a revival like this:-
a) In the outside world. Multitudes are without God and without hope in the world (Ephesians 2:12); most of them are outside the churches, and revival is the only key to this tragic situation.
b) In the Church. Many church people are worldly, formal and lacking in spiritual power and vitality. We are in free fall, decline. Only revival can alter this state of affairs.
c) In our own lives. How powerless we are! How frequently we fail, our testimony seems ineffective, and how little we pray! Revival is our personal need.
There will never be any kind of a genuine revival until we are willing to admit our desperate need for it.
d). And in the state of present conditions?
Free democratic nations are in spiritual reversal; bully nations are set on conquering others, mild nations are victims. More Christians are in persecution now than any time in history. The rise of aggressive atheism is at an all time high.
Revival only comes when the people are driven by a quest for better; and a greater dissatisfaction of the present situation.
When we feel OK about things, revival will wait.
2. We should admit the POSSIBILITY of Revival.
Are we convinced that revival is possible? The Psalmist was.
Six times in verses 1-3 he reminded God of what He had done - “You showed … you restored“. And the fact that God has sent revival in the past demonstrates the possibility of revival coming in the future. Some people will not admit the possibility of revival coming in our day; for example, as like the ultra-dispensationalists, and the pessimistic unbelieving, self-satisfied, worldly Christians, - they will resist admitting the possibility. But history, plus the promises of God, bring the possibility of revival. Look to Chronicles 7:14; Jeremiah 33:3; and Malachi 3:10. “Where sin abounds, grace all the more abounds”. Romans 5:20
3. Recognize the SOURCE of Revival.
Where does revival come from? Verse 6 tells it is from God. "You …” look it up in Psa. 62:11. It comes from God; it is not worked up but sent down, and therefore our eyes must not be upon men, methods, churches or denominations - but upon Him.
“When we look to man, we get what man can do; when we look to money, we get what money can do; when we look to organization, we get what organization can do; when we look to denominations, we get what denominations can do; but when we look to God, we get what God can do.” See - Psalm 62:5.
4. We should employ the MEANS for securing Revival.
What is the secret of revival? It is prayer – “Will you not… ?” (verse 6) – passionate, believing, urgent prayer. Has there ever been a revival that was not preceded by and bathed in prayer? Pentecost, the Moravian Revival, the 1859 Revival, the Welsh Revival, Burnett’s 1880’s in Australia, movements of the Spirit that are taking place in different parts of the world today … Look at 2 Chronicles 7:14 again.
Every home, township, church and community must become the base and launching pad for revival prayer. When it becomes regular, persistent, personal and unrelenting, God will surely answer.
5. We must provide the CHANNELS for Revival.
God is wanting to send revival, but He needs channels, that is ... - “us” (verse 6) - believers, Christians; for - “Revival is the outflow of the Spirit of God through the regenerated spirit of man” (John 7:38-39). Thus, when revival is to come, you and I are to be ready to receive the full blessing of God and to be channels through whom that blessing can flow.
6. We should remove the OBSTACLES to Revival. (The classic frog in the pipe blockage.)
In verse 6 the Psalmist prays for revival - “that your people may rejoice in you.” This indicates fellowship, walking with God, agreement with God (Amos 3:3) - being right with God. The greatest barrier to revival is known sin. Are we right with God? Is there unconfessed, unforgiven, unresolved sin in our lives? Are we not only living in disobedience to the Lord, but unfulfilled as well. It breeds great personal ills. Face up to this! We most feel the need for the revived life when it is far from us.
Two hundred years ago D. L. Moody heard Henry Varley say, “The world has yet to see what God will do with one man who is fully surrendered to Him.” Moody said, “By God’s grace, I’ll be that man!”
Will you be another? Will you begin now to pray the same prayer for your church, that the world may see what God can do?
Psalm 139:23-24 offers us the right kind of prayer to pray, “Search me O God, and try my heart, I pray.”
7. We should enjoy RESULTS of Revival.
Read the rest of the Psalm, and notice several results which are mentioned: salvation (7); peace (8); glory (9); harmony (10); increase (11); and provision (12); Psalm 37:23! (13). God the Creator can do it.
All glory and praise
To the God of all grace,
Who hast brought us,
and sought us, And guided our ways.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory. Hallelujah! Amen.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory. Revive us again.
Even London’s Big Ben—which has risen from the banks of the River Thames since 1858—has engraved in the massive timber bearers that hold the huge caste bells—these words:
“O Lord through this hour, Be Thou our Guide. So by Thy Power,
No foot shall slide.”
It is a prayer.
Most nations, like early America, received spiritual revivals that changed them on the spot. The Welsh Revival of 1904-1905 is one, with Evan Roberts, resulted in over 150,000 people converted and added to churches and chapels. Lives were transformed. Lifestyles were changed! Homes and families were healed! Churches were packed and on fire with fervor and zeal! And the nation was changed for the better.
Even ritzy Sydney after the 1959 Billy Graham Crusade, the official Police reports showed a significant drop in crime, reduction in alcoholism and hospital emergency cases, reunited families, and enlarged churches.
The Gospel interfered with the social ills, - that promotors resented, as when the taverns shut down in the days of Evangelist Billy Sunday. Even the lively NSW State Parliament bear-pit debates became more civilized, ordered and reasonable and productive, for a time. Then, - it passed.
REVIVAL IS NOT ONLY AN EVENT; IT IS A DIVINE PROCESS.
True Holy Spirit Revival has a beginning, a growth, a peak and an end. It has a life of it's own. It is powerful, an all consuming movement until it comes to a natural end, when it's work is done, for the time. (Every generation needs regeneration.) It is then we remain on top and don't want to come down.
Peter in Acts 2 watched it happen, like the blowing of a violent wind, tongues of fire and the speaking in foreign languages, so the immigrants in Jerusalem would understand. There is no evidence that this was repeated just like this again, even though enthusiasts make similar claims. But it was the once-in-history example. It began the Church age.
Revival is not a driven thing, like- "evangelism-for-the-right-reasons". Jesus stated it in a parable when he said, "Into the Highways and byways and compel them to come in.". Evangelism is not always revival, but it may contain it.
Revival shares with evangelism, because ... “We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all .... He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Heb.10: 10,14 So— “Revive us again ... Lord, .... In the midst of the years make it known.”
And it results in deeper growth and humanitarian concern. Homeless, poor, orphans, widows and the hungry become our burdens to help alleviate or fix. Muller’s 1800’s revived life at Bristol, cared for thousands of orphans for 60-years, by faith. We become a better people.
Clearly, evangelism and revival and prayer groups and Bible study and worship all go hand in hand. But they are not the same. And each depends upon the other.
William Both is famous for his claim that ... “The chief danger of the twentieth century will be religion without the Holy Spirit, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration and heaven without hell.”
It's the same as others said of a faith that is ... “Devoid of Biblical Truth and Accountability to God". These are a description of the conditions that may exist, for revival not to come. It has also been said that if the people were always revived, and always right with God, revival would not be necessary. Once it comes, the people should continue to live in that revived state.
John Watsford and his three around Parramatta in the 1840's covenanted not to judge others, but to fast and pray in revival. And sure enough, the people sensed the need, yearned for revival, began to pay the price—and it came.
Even weary aged pastors at the end of their days were caught up in their weakness to watch what God was doing in their ministry. Alan Walker’s great-grandfather was one of them, and they revolutionised the colony of the day.
When teens heard of a Watsford meeting was to be at Liverpool, they walked for a whole day through the untamed bush and swam the river— such was their passion for blessing.
Watsford engaged three horse carriages to ferry them home—with rejoicing. This is thought to be Sydney's first evidence of Holy Spirit outpourings, as Sydney society was in low
moral condition, and the primitive church was very frail.
But Almighty God’s kind of Revival comes at His Will, not ours. And usually within a consecrated life living as sanctified as it can be.
Often God will simply observe our ways, and remain silent, - as in the testing of the good man Job. The heavens can sometimes seem silent - to be as granite.
Artificial manipulation of the idea of revival won’t work; it makes God out to endorse meaningless or purposeless trivialities. Like demanding it, even in the presence of the 10-year outback drought now going on.
Men or nations who think they can Revive-the-Faith in order to make a good society better might just as well think they can use the stairs of heaven as a shortcut to the nearest mall. Men may be impressed, but not God. It will not be used as a personal convenience.
But this silent God also calls Himself a loving caring God, which seems like a contradiction. And like a massive lie? That’s why some choose to deny God. But He never changes.
So, Who is the Real God of Revival?
Parents withhold from their children dangerous activities for their safety. Or delay the best 'till they are mature enough to benefit. And they glowingly watch as their adult children rise beyond standards to achieve their goals, often with some discomfort, pain and distress.
PARENTHOOD IS A SAMPLE OF IT:
We allow our standards to be high, but disallow God to have His. This is a contradiction. James spoke of this in his chapter one.
In difficult times, often we come to see things differently. Reality overwhelms fantasy.
Surely, in the drought, God is calling us to Himself, to rise up in faith higher, as we do with our children. Like in a revival, perhaps? Why not?
C S Lewis said, ‘God whispers to us in our pleasures and shouts to us in our pain!’
HOW MUCH HE HAS:
Of course, only a sanctified life is a suitable vehicle to begin a revival. The matter of personal sin must be dealt with utterly before the Holy Spirit indwells. It is not how much I have of Him; it's how much He has of me? Am I as the empty vessel that He can fill with Himself, to overflowing?
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote,
Grant to us O Lord,
The Royalty of inward happiness
And the Serenity which comes
From living close to thee.
Daily renew in us the sense of joy
And let the internal Spirit of the Father
Dwell in our souls and bodies
Filling every corner of our hearts
With light and grace.
Giving Thee thanks in all things.
Revival is not something we do, or that overwhelms and possesses us, like a symphony or a mighty message. Evangelism pours in from the outside like a grand flood or a bright shower of sunshine. It gives new life to a sick person. Revival comes from within, and flows out to influence every thing it touches.
Again, the opportunity is ours each time we sing:
Revive us again;
Fill each heart with Thy love;
May each soul be rekindled
With fire from above.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Revive us again.
THERE’S THAT DEAD BODY AGAIN:
A dead body cannot be revived—unless it is reborn—truly saved. A dead body should be buried. There’s need for a resident portion of life existing for it to be truly renewed. Only a lukewarm body can be revived as a wilting flower can be made fresh and a desert flooded to live again. And regardless of the organized activities of the Christian church, it is cold in the things of spiritual zeal till revival comes within and upon it.
Revivals then, can be generally categorized into two or more sections;
(1) the conservative type; A quiet, deep, ongoing and unsensational. Countless billions of devoted Christian people over a thousand years lived in this revived condition daily, some in suffering. Missionaries and agents for good only exist because they live ‘revived’. And that is because because Jesus never fails.
(2) the dramatic public type that throws people to the ground, sends unexpected spasms and shocks through the body, with weeping and moanings, personal claims of miraculous healings, visions and signs similar to New Testament accounts.
These are often viewed with skepticism as being an auto response function to one's highest hopes, urgent needs or outcomes of expectant passion that it may occur again. These significantly rise to a short peak, ride the wave of the spectacular for a time, and come slowly to an end. It always leaves the Christian better than before. Whatever the case, the watching world will never truly understand them.
Yet the level of personal care Christian people show between each other is evidence of the deep love that flows through the Holy Spirit. More than filial affection.
What some lack in Biblical understanding and with frail doctrine is made up in gracious love and care. To even love the unlovely. Sometimes strong doctrine may camouflage or interfere with Holy Spirit flowing. Between the better and best is often difficult to know ...
In 2014 a man named Trevor wrote these words: "God is powerful. On our mission trip, a 60-year old man, mute from the age of 4 due witchcraft, opened his mouth and his first words were ... "Jesus- loves-me". That is an example of personal Holy Spirit revival. P.T.L.
WHO CAN TELL?
It's a difficult exercise to separate the real and accurate from the apparent and the false, especially with little supporting evidence or only a first person report of the dramatic kind. Learn to discern.
Whatever God does with His people will often remain a mystery.
Revival changes people for the better, there is no doubt. That a comfortable sleeping church needs it is essential. How and when and where He manifests Himself is entirely in God's hands. But we are the only agents he uses.
That some revivals are fraudulent is also obvious.
A reason we know that God is at work is not only because we see it, but like the Sun, what we can see because of it.
KNOW THE GENUINE FIRST:
Another reason is because many frauds try to copy it, as a counterfeiter duplicates $100 notes. They only try to copy something that is already valuable. Learn to know the difference as the banker knows the counterfeit. They do it by knowing the genuine first hand.
The brand some Pastors want to place on their charismatic congregations though, is for an outward appearance of Holy Spirit Revival. It can become a required function to prove something.
But even eager pastors cannot work up revival zeal. It comes from above, else it may only be counterfeit.
Pentecostals experience it occasionally. The Salvation Army bang their drums as they joyfully sing, and show it in service to the people. Conservatives rarely experience outpourings of a dramatic nature, but may live in Holy Spirit revival anyway. Charismatics display it in different ways in each generation. Some healing; some tongues; some laughing; some prophecy; some discernment; some prosperity.
A sign that conservatives are revived is displayed in what they are and what they do.
It's just that the sensational kind gains the attention. Hidden away in a million homes, personal revival abounds year in and year out with or without outward signs.
Any group of Christian people contain various kinds of these. There's inconspicuous Arthur Stace, Mr Eternity, whose best spiritual work was achieved alone in the night shadows with a stick of crayon. But he impacted thousands of people in the light of day. Like George Jenner of George Street.
Or the invisible grandfather always solicitous for his family. Or the impulsive evangelist who never lets an acquaintance escape his testimony, because it's in his nature to do so.
Or the innocent child in whom there is no guile, witnessing. Or a Mr Mitchell the pray-er, who lingers around the edges, to engage a curious soul in conversation, measure their condition, satisfy their curiosity with truth, and lead them into faith in Christ.
Or the Gospel singer, holding an audience spellbound with beauty. And the countless Godly women, like Susannah Wesley, who raised their families bathed in prayer. Or any or all of these.
Ancient History of mankind should not be ignored:
ISAIAH 1-4 - - Judgment
Crisis existed in the nation of Judah.
Nowadays, it's like a rerun of Hiroshima. America dropped the bomb, but Japan's rebellion and quest for world conquest made it necessary.
Up to the time of Isaiah, Sodom stood alone as the universal symbol of depravity and shameful disgrace. If our national life was compared to ancient Sodom, how would we stack up? Pompeii or Sodom, or Jakarta or New York or Sydney. Unbridled abortions, and like Romans 1 plunge into forbidden passions? Remember, evils' self-judgements are all the more severe because freedoms privileges are even more significant.
Opportunity brings responsibility, and rebellion abandons responsibility for pleasure. Without a holy Spirit revival in the church to show the right, it may sound the funeral dirge over our lives the way we know it.
For a person to live the Holy life is truly simple. Just include the Lord Jesus Christ in every action you do and in every decision you make. "I have been crucified with Christ," says Paul, "and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20).
Crawl in humility up on to the Altar of Sacrifice ... It happens when you are feeling good, or not; even feeling bad. It is not of the flesh, but involves it.
It does not take a great man to live the life of revival: it just takes all there is of him.
This revival condition continues while we go about our responsibilities. Work may be changed, but not stopped. Meals maintain strength, but fasting occurs. Not only with food, but meaningless fascinations, hobbies, contacts, networks, study, exercises are all modified to redirect our time, and to keep the revived life the priority.
Outpouring of revival will occur, which renders all else secondary, but still vital. Trusting God, Bible meditation, prayer and living in the Spirit is vital.
BURY THE DEAD BODY:
It may or may not mean a life of solitude or separation or confinement or detachment in the strictest sense; it does mean to only choose what the Christ would want, and let Him control your every moment. That’s what baptism means.
If that leads us into isolation for a while, we emerge stronger. If you burst forth into zealous activity, you will eventually discover the still small voice is still there. Just so long as you live as though you are crucified with Christ, - a dead person to the world, on the Altar, and live like a resurrected person—His life in you.
DISCERN THE DIFFERENCE:
For some it may lead to a more expansive humble expression of your faith in witness and service, or study. Others broader and deeper prayer and devotion and contemplation, or a movement through or progression of them all. Others still waiting quietly upon Him.
But it does mean patience, and cannot mean indecision or apathy. It's the best of what Christ wants for you. Learn to know the difference between living in the flesh and living in the Spirit, and grasp what is right.
This is really happening today, all around us. It's the salt in the recipe. A news report in July, 2014 said: "Christians are enslaved, but some are reportedly being crucified in the Middle East." Crucified. More Christians have been murdered in our generation than the total in all of the history of Christian faith.
The zealous people for Christ are beaten and killed. The apathetic are overlooked.
During the Soviet occupations, soldiers broke up secret underground home prayer meetings. With drawn rifles, they’d order the people to leave, or be slaughtered. With only a few shuddering believers left, they locked the doors, fell to their knees and prayed out loud with them, “Thank you dear Jesus for some who will not deny You. They are the strength of the Church, and we worship You together ...”
Evans says the years between 1880s and the 1930’s, marked the high watermark of evangelicalism in Australia. It generally came from the astounding influence of the Reformation, through English Puritanism..
It was the age of Methodism in Australia so far as substance and tone was concerned, but other denominations not so affected by the revivals might have wished to describe themselves in other ways. But their churches did not grow at the amazing rate of the Methodists.
However, Methodist William Taylor from California in the 1850’s established an emphasis even though it was not done consciously on his part. The first of the locals to be noted was the 1840’s John Watsford from Parramatta, who finally settled in Melbourne.
Temperance Revivalist Matthew Burnett arrived from Yorkshire around 1863, settled in Prahran Vic., and for twenty-five years thrust out to all settled parts of the continent. These were unusual achievements in the days of poor roads and only Cobb and Co.—horseback, and coastal shipping. He is said to have won around 200,000 people to Christ, (reported in Methodist Minutes), based on his primary appeal about Temperance.
LIKE ATTRACTS LIKE:
Another was Presbyterian John MacNeil from Scotland who spent his 42 short years of evangelism in Australia. Another who became a local was David O’Donnell from London, converted during the California Taylor missions.
Alexander Somerville came from Scotland at the same time as Thomas Cook. The Brethren preacher was Henry Varley, then visits from Gipsy Rodney Smith. R. A. Torrey and the Alexander campaigns around the turn of the century, - added to the impact.
This seemed to be an amazing period of Gospel outreach. They knew that they had to allow their ministry to build people, not people to build their ministry. That was their secret ...
Grattan Guinness, a convert from the Irish whiskey family. preached widely as a conservative evangelist in Melbourne and Sydney around 1905.
Another Guinness (brother of actor Alec) became an Anglican Rector in Sydney fifty years later. It may be seen that many from around the world were fascinated with the evangelistic activity that occurred in the infant colony in that period, around the 1901 Federation.
This remarkable period of example church evangelism came to a close with the beginning of World War 1. Nothing like was to be seen again till after the 2nd World War, with the growth of outdoor evangelism, tent missions and radio.
It peaked in the 1940’s when the OAC Werry’s invited Hitler’s personal prisoner Martin Neimoller of Germany, Edwin Orr, Gavin Hamilton and Neil Macaulay. Each enjoyed grand blessings.
Neimoller is best known for his statement in the Sydney Domain, before ten thousand people; "First the Nazi’s came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist ...... then they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a communist ... then they came for the Christian, and there was no one left to speak except me."
Then, Billy Graham returned to Australia, until public evangelism’s effectiveness diminished during the 1980’s. The entrance into the 21st century was marked by the appearance of Arthur Stace’s astonishing word Eternity—in lights on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but only because the City Council saw in it a symbol of Heritage. No evangelists were around at that time as no churches were inviting them and no church was sending them quite the same way.
A few guests were invited from overseas to share the blessings. The only ones nowadays are on TV. They appear as famous stars and heroes rather than fiery evangelists and reformers.
IS NOW THE TIME?
Franklin Graham says he is praying for the next "Great Awakening". A new revival. He wrote, "While Doomsday appears to be knocking at our door, let me take you back to the early 1800’s.
"This latest atrocity—by jihadists in Syria—is part of another wave of Christian persecution that is sweeping the Middle East and North Africa, a wave of persecution worse even than in biblical times.
"From Pastor Saeed imprisoned and beaten in Iran, to Meriam Ibrahim giving birth in chains in Sudan, to the slaughter of Christians in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, and Kenya—jihadists are trying to wipe Christianity off the map."
Ron Brackin reports that another Christian mother was killed In warring Gaza mid-2014. Christians caught in the crossfire’ is becoming a sad cliche as violence increases. Mrs Jalila Ayyad was killed during an Israeli bombing raid on Gaza—the first person from the tiny Christian community to die in the most recent violence. Her son was seriously injured.
Mrs Ayyad was a member of Gaza Baptist Church, the only evangelical church among 1.6 million Sunni Muslims. ‘The situation is much worse than during any other conflict before,’ Dr Hanna Massad says. Massad is former pastor of Gaza Baptist Church and president of a Christian Mission to Gaza, a nongovernment organization that brings humanitarian relief to both Christians and Muslims.
This is not to say that Islam is the only cause of wars in the world, but it does say that while not every Muslim is a terrorist, every terrorist is a Muslim.
It’s time for Australia, the UK, NZ, Canada and America, the home to millions of Christians, to stand up for freedom and liberty. But it comes at a cost.
Some worthy agencies are fully engaged defending the persecuted Church across the globe. But it’s time for the Western governments to make religious liberty an international priority.
Tell them all to exert maximum diplomatic effort to stop the slaughter: and for us to engage in petitioning prayer.”
Franklin Graham said it: “Let me take you back to the early 1800’s. Many think of it as ‘the good old days,’ but history tells us that society, even then, was as bad as it could get at that time.
"John Marshall, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, wrote to President James Madison and said, ‘The church is too far gone ever to be redeemed.’ When we examine why, we find that preachers had stopped preaching the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the people were not hearing God's Word.”
“Christians began to diligently pray for revival—and the result was the Second Great Awakening.
“When people's prayers stormed Heaven, and when the Bible was opened in the pulpits and the Word of God proclaimed by passionate preachers, the church was awakened from slumber by the Holy Spirit, who moved in hearts, spreading revival throughout the heartland of America.
"Prayer is the key to reaching lost people for Christ, and I hope you will begin praying now for neighbors, co workers, friends, and family who do not know Jesus Christ as Savior.”
Make a point to pray for the Pastors and churches in your community, asking God to stir up an ever increasing urgency for evangelism. Australians needs it desperately.
A reason churches do not invite evangelists is that there are no evangelists; and the reason there are no evangelists is that the churches do not invite them. It is a conundrum.
"There have been several Great Awakenings in America's history. When I read about them, I always go back to the Old Testament, to a time in which Israel had once again turned its back on God. When its people came to their senses, they gathered and asked Ezra the scribe to bring the Word of the Lord to them.
The Bible tells us that Ezra stood upon a pulpit made of wood, and he opened the book in the sight of all the people” (see Nehemiah 8).
“Our hope and desire and our prayer is to stir up followers of Jesus Christ to pray and ask for a great awakening of the church. Please pray with us that the Holy Spirit will use it to transform the hearts and lives of countless people who will realize the hope of eternity in Heaven."
“This is why we do not only pray for the next great awakening to bring in a better society; we pray and devote ourselves, that we may BE the next awakening. That millions of Christian people will fast and serve and pray and so live the Holy Life in the power of the Holy Spirit, and leave the timing and arrival of the next Great Awakening to Almighty God.”
A Great Awakening has a beginning and a peak and an ending, but millions of revived Christians living in The power of the Holy Spirit hour by hour will continue indefinitely ... And change their world.
Hallelujah, Thine the glory, Hallelujah. Amen,
Hallelujah, Thine the glory, Revive us again.
WHAT ABOUT US?
Similar revivals emerged in early Australia during two hundred years. Primitive Revival continues to surface among some of the Aboriginal communities in Northern Australia today. MAF pilots see it where they fly to.
C S Lewis suggested: "Never, in peace or war, commit or anticipate your virtue or your happiness to the future, and sacrifice or squander the present moment. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans lightly, and the present vital, and works from moment to moment, ‘as-to-the-Lord.’ It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present moment is the only time in which any duty can be performed or any grace received."
"Remember, every poet and musician and artist and evangelist or teacher, but for Grace, is drawn away from the love of the thing he tells, to the love of the telling, till down in deep hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him." CSL.
That's why each needs to live moment by moment, in the Spirit. Observers mention that nations only attain a moral greatness, a true free democracy, and remain great to the degree that they are moral and upright, that they retain integrity at every level of society, and that they put and keep their trust in God and abide by his rules as in his Word.
It says, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." and, "Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people."
These are true, but this concept can also be a legalistic view of a spiritual action. The answer is always living in the Spirit; the revived life in Christ.
Nations may think they can become great through a secular greatness, but that kind of superiority brings terror to the present, and fear of tomorrow, and it eventually dies with them.
True moral greatness passes along generation by generation, as Psalm 71, with a similar purpose—but to prostitute Revival brings failure to an end.
Search for the real kind that arises between you and your God—and live it.
"Capturing A Nation’s Heart: A Third Awakening?" by Paul Strand
Some religious leaders say democracy is facing a spiritually dark time. "At the root of our problem, we really have a spiritual cancer that's been eating away at our nation," Bishop Harry Jackson, senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Maryland, told CBN News.
Retired US General Jerry Boykin used to fight America's physical enemies overseas. He's now working with the Family Research Council fighting spiritual foes at home.
Boykin said without a Third Great Awakening, forces like those that took down mighty empires of the past will also bring down the United States and the free world.
"We're going to wind up exactly like these other great empires, which only lasted on an average about 200 to 300 years," he said. "We're going to completely self-destruct. And you see the beginnings of that now."
The Fourth of July, began a two-week celebration called Celebrate America held in the nation's capital designed to bring hope back to their country.
"In the 1700s, there was a Great Awakening. In the 1800s, there was another. And there' the Billy Graham Influence in the 1900's. And we need have to have another one now. It's that critical," he told CBN News.
ABORTION AND MISUSE OF DRUGS:
Bishop Jackson noted some of the sins he sees are plaguing the land. "We've got sex-traffick-ing," he said. "We've got abortion. We've got the resurgence of racism. We've got hatred that is abounding."
Howard-Browne pointed to the epidemics of abortion and illegal drug use in the nation.
"Three thousand babies aborted every single day in this country. We have over 300 million people; we use over 70 percent of the world's drugs," he said.
"Knowing the little that I know, we should have passed off the scene a long time ago," he said. "But it's the believer in this land and the hand of God on them, that's still in an America too.
“And God is not finished with this land. So it's time for the Church to rise up." Those past awakenings led to national transformation. "Both resulted in extraordinary things happening," Boykin said.
The first in the mid-1700s was a unifying factor for the colonies as it spread throughout them. It awakened in Christians a hunger to live in a land that reflected the God of liberty portrayed in the Bible.
"Ultimately, it brought the American Revolution as the pastors and the people within the Church began to seek a new nation that would give them the kinds of freedoms that they believed were biblical," Boykin stated.
Another arising occurred in the US Capitol in 2116 with a prayer gathering of hundreds of Senators and Representatives in a historic central room. It was carried on live satellite TV around he world.
These people left the affairs of State for an evening, an prayed for forgiveness, for renewal, for cleansing, for humility. They heard Jewish Rabbi Messianic Jonathan Cahn pour our his heart for revival, and asked the government what authority they used to reject God’s Word, God’s Honor, God’s plans and God’s people. It was heart rending, but it was not Holy Spirit revival ... yet ....
The next awakening in the early 1800s was marked by mass salvations. And as Americans became free in Christ, many could no longer abide the lack of freedom for the nation's slaves. "In that Second Great Awakening, it brought about the Civil War as the conscience of America was raised to a level that would no longer tolerate slavery," Boykin continued.
THE POWER OF BELIEVING DID:
General Boykin believes the power to save the United States is not in the hands of the politicians, but in its believers. "Me plus the Holy Spirit: that's a majority," he said. Bishop Jackson agreed.
"Awakenings really begin with individuals: people who are converted and transformed," he said. Now, these spiritual leaders and their allies hope to bring revival power to many more Americans, it will spark a Third Great Awakening.”
They were holding 14-days and nights of mega-sized meetings and street evangelism as the nation's capital celebrates its 238th birthday. "We've come to light the fires right in the belly of the beast, if you can put it that way," Howard-Browne said.
"We're just really believing God to cast a Gospel net across the capital."
Transformation, unlike rot, starts at the Top. If organizers get only what they want, a country hungry for unity and leadership will not see national political, business, and spiritual leaders humbling themselves as one before God.
"We should be coming together in the very hub of the nation and crying out to God for Him to transform us first and then transform our nation," Jackson said. Jackson, Howard-Browne, and Boykin believe that revival could sweep America.
"If the fear of God would come back into the people, it would have a ripple effect throughout the land," Howard-Browne said. "The Holy Spirit is contagious," Boykin said it again, with a broad grin.
For this event to succeed, the organizers of Celebrate America say they need thousands of Christians who already have the fire of revival burning in their hearts to volunteer to pray.
Howard-Browne said they could have a major impact serving as spiritual soldiers in this war for the nation's heart.
Jackson pleaded, "I'm asking 'We the People' to come help us, if you love America, if you love the nation."
If we are driven by a Biblical passion, may we plead the same for Australia?
All glory and praise
To the God of all grace,
Who hast brought us,
and sought us, And guided our ways.
Revive us again; Fill each heart with Thy love;
May each soul be rekindled With fire from above.
Revive us again; Fill each heart with Thy love;
May each soul be rekindled
With fire from above.
EVANS UNCOVERED PAST AUSTRALIAN REVIVALS:
Evans discovered numerous forgotten and overlooked diaries and church reports of what appears to be genuine Holy Spirit revivals in the Australia of the 1870’s and later....
They are of such a vital nature, he self-published books of actual reports—for the people to know.
[Evans is a retired Methodist UCA clergyman who spends his time in patient research, and prayer. He wrote the consummate review of the Evangelization Society of Australia. Then The Cook and Burnett reports.]
EVEN IN EARLY DAYS:
His books strikes a response of astonishment with the Christians who read it in the 21st century. “We never heard the like of this before,” some said....
That tens of thousands of people responded to altar-calls; who signed the pledge—and wore the blue ribbons of abstinence in pioneering Australia is a remarkable thing to read about. Entire townships were changed for the good.
It was the era of Methodism’s greatest expansion, and it was God at work in desperate places in difficult times. (The Ned Kelly gang were around in those years, but they avoided signing the pledge—and remember how they turned out).
Evans also records the results of others into the early 1900’s, something every Australian Christian should read. Revival is possible, and it can happen again. Send your request and $100 to Box 131, Hazelbrook, NSW 2779. They will inspire you to prayer. You will not regret it for one moment.
Could you imagine the reaction of the people if an Australian pastor began an ordered plan of revival teaching in his Sunday services? Backed up with the life emphasis on prayer, separation and holiness toward revival, - and not only on administration? His tenure there would be short-lived ...
That's why revival is not in the hands of pastors, but evangelists instead.
SOME CONTINUE ANYWAY:
In the 1990’s quieter years, the Bill Cockranes, the Brian Willersdorfs and George Galiehs’ and Bill Newmans’ moved about anyway, where a few eager churches welcomed them. But they petered out, too.
They testified of precious souls won to Christ, but not in the manner of national impact as a hundred years ago. Stories of salvaged lives from broken homes, and lonely nurses in remote places encouraged continues.
Even a Christian Doctor who settled in a remote town was intimidated by the godlessness of the place, only built up when Christian friends passed through.
Unknown and unheard items are the massive Christian Camping movements, begun after WWII, and now reaching 200,000 children for Christ a year, since the church Sunday School lost interest. They experience their own revivals and conversions.
Another is the Outback Phone Church, where a hundred isolated families on the most remote homesteads, too far from a church, join every Sunday for the Breaking of Bread, teaching and Fellowship and prayer.
Outback Patrol evangelists continue to do the same things, matching technology and dedication to touch people in remote places more regularly than ever possible before. See: www.outbackpatrol.com.au
The Word of God is not bound, even in lesser days of outreach. These people, largely cut off from regular Church fellowship, difficult hard work on the land for their living, seem to be living in a constant state of perpetual revival....
This era is marked by little evidence of national evangelism and grand church growth, but rather, a greater investment in religious social and welfare expansion.
Pure evangelism is continued by zealous volunteers, who plead the cause that Godly men should be raised up to do it again.
The Christian Schools movement has grown exponentially, as a kick back against the atheistic emphasis of the State Educators. One third of all school students are now taught in Christian Schools, to the anger of the antagonists. These are signs of Godly life. From it may rise the next national spiritual Revival.
What Radio and TV Are Doing:
With the advent of Christian Radio and TV, and Christian Movies in Cinemas, the preaching emphasis has no only changed, it has taken on a kaleidoscope of varying colors.
Preachers lay down their personal doctrinal tastes for that era, but the hearer has a choice. Charles Stanley and John Macarthur and Ravi Zacharias persist in covering various conservative doctrinal positions. Even Charismatic preachers rise in their tendency toward their 16th century Armenian emphasis, and many in between, concealed within basic beliefs—as they may seem.
Fifty years ago, listeners to evangelists settled into the emphasis of the day, but nowadays, media bombards hearers with every tone and color of Calvanist, mid-Pacific, Middle-European and Asian belief systems. Even distinct catholic Gospel doctrines have been repeated by their own TV evangelists—who are difficult to detect from the protestants.
WHAT JOURNALISTS THINK:
Writers say many things about the state of the world, but the most obvious glaring item is the absence of the mention of Christian faith. Politics, business and commerce are incomplete when they lack the virtues and ethics that come with a virile living Christian faith.
It can be said that the reason a nation is in conflict with justice and education and politics—is just this.
The most eye-catching writing is Nick Bryants brilliant 2014 300-page Bantam book called, The Rise and Fall of Australia. How a great nation lost it’s way. He never mentions God. God is non-existent....
HOW TO STOP REVIVAL:
There are seven flaws at work to divert Revival in the church. And they are the same ones that are in the Seven Churches of the Revelation:
We’ve explored some of the ways mankind has succeeded in growing the church; but here are a few historic ways people used to induce failure.
When we see the seven churches described in the Book of Revelation, we discover specific strongholds. They are every where. These seven churches failed and no longer exist, but their sad reputation lives on.
These are not example to follow, but warnings to avoid. Look at the seven, but continue to pray and surge toward your own spiritual revival instead.
Spirit of Religion (Revelation 2:4–5, 7). Ephesus
Spirit of Intimidation (Revelation 2:10–11). Smyrna
Spirit of Compromise (Revelation 2:12, 14–17). Pergamos
Spirit of Control Revelation 2:18-20, 26). Thyatira
Spirit of Traditionalism (Revelation 3:1–6). Sardis
Spirit of Inferiority (Revelation 3:7–8, 12). Philadelphia
Spirit of Pride (Revelation 3:14–17, 21). Laodicea
It’s almost as though a modern day prophet were to rise up like a St. John, and call upon Anglicans, Baptist, Charismatics, Presbyterians, Brethren, Uniting, Revival, Catholics, Independents, Churches of Christ, Orthodox, Pentecostals and others to be aware of our own traditions, intimidation, compromise, inferiority and pride, and yearn to return to the God of our first love, in revival ...
Each have fallen victim to the attitudes that stop revival, but we can survive and expand beyond them—be renewed in the Spirit—to the Glory of God. These may be seen as:
DOUBT - Problem
THAT SIN IS NOT FORGIVEN.
Ephesians 2:4 "But God being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead through trespasses, quickened us together with Christ by Grace have you been saved."
DEBT - Personal
WORKING SELF OUT LIKE IT GOT IN
Titus 3:5 .. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy He saves us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit."
DELAY - Prognostication.
Heb.13:14. "For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come."
Rev. 7:13. "... behold, a great multitude, which no man can number ..."
2 Tim. 4:8. "I have kept the faith, henceforth, there is laid up for me ... a crown of rejoicing ...”
Isa. 51:1 "Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord: look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn.”
JEREMIAH ON IDOLATRY:
The NIV Student Study Bible has this to say: A drunken orgy around a golden calf ... the latest sports car ... offering sacrifices to Baal ... teenagers screaming approval of a rock ’n’ roll concert? What do these scenes have in common? They all represent forms of idol worship.
“Wait a minute”, you say. “The golden calf and Baal worship, OK; but what in the world does this have to do with fast cars and rock’ n’ roll.” Just this. An idol doesn’t have to be a religious object. An idol is anything we desire above God and His Will for our lives. Ouch!
We can see the evil Israel did, and we’re sure we’d never commit that sin. But for us, idolatry comes in more subtle forms. Instead of a golden calf, we’re enticed by a golden credit card. Instead of Baal, we worship football players, imitating them from their hairstyles to their footwear.
Instead of temple prostitutes, we’re seduced by the glossy covers of skin magazines peering from behind magazine racks and the explicit sex cable TV brings into our homes.
So credit cards, sport and sex are wrong? Of course not. All those things may have a rightful place in the lives of God’s people. The problem comes in using them the wrong way, or in loving things, or people, more than we love God.
Why is idolatry so bad? Why does God hate it so much? First, worshiping a false god (anything that comes before the real God is a false god) degrades us. It makes us less than what we are intended to be.
We are made in the image of God, with the opportunity through Christ to know Him and, in some ways, to be like Him. When we worship an idol - a less than God—we aim much lower and, all to often, hit our target. We come to be like the phony, instead of the genuine article. Psalm 115:8 says, “Those who make and worship (false gods) are just as foolish as their idols are.” In other words, you come to resemble what you worship.
Next we should think seriously before giving our undying allegiance to someone. Is the person you admire a worthy role model? Is he or she a Christian? Does his or her life style reflect Christ-like values? Too often, our ‘heroes’ are a photographic negative of Christ— blasphemous, obscene, self-centred pagans. Be careful—you become alike what you worship.
Also. idolatry often is subtle and hard to detect. Think about a boyfriend or girlfriend you have or use to have. Usually, the relationship starts out fine physically, you’re under control emotionally, to retain your reputation. You make each other feel more positive. Spiritually, you build each other up. But as time passes, it gets more and more difficult to keep sexual relationship in check. You begin to depend upon each other prematurely in an unhealthy degree. And your spiritual growth slows to zero. Why?
While there can be lots of reasons, often the problem is that you have unintentionally committed idolatry. You put each other before God, which is disastrous to your relationship with each other—and with Him.
Confession and repentance can help make it right, but often the relationship is so warped, you have to end it. Idolatry has a way of destroying parts of your life, just as cancer destroy parts of your body. We must guard against idolatry’s creeping poison.
Finally, idolatry steals God. Nobody with functional brain cells would knowingly do that. When we love someone or something else more than God, we rob Him of the worship and loyalty that rightly belongs only to Him.
Exodus 20:4-5 says “you shall not make for yourselves any idols, images of animals, birds or fish. You must never bow or worship it it in any way, for I the Lord, and very possessive. I will not share my affection with an other god!” He alone is worthy of love and trust.
History is crowded with men who would be gods, but there’s only one God who would become man. Do not commit idolatry. Give your devotion to the God who loved you enough to die for you. Worship Him only.
REVIVAL NOWADAYS AT LA’S AZUZA STREET
“True praise is a worthy sacrifice; this really honors me.” Psalm 50:38
Journalist Wendy Griffith wrote that thousands of Christians filled the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles over the weekend to pray for a spiritual revival to sweep across the nation. Sponsored by The Call, the Azusa Now rally was strategically held on the 110th anniversary of the 1906 Azusa Street Revival, which broke out in Los Angeles and had a worldwide impact. "I just knew in my heart that I was meant to be here. I was meant to experience this and that this was going to be an historical event," said Yuba City resident Cameron Clark.
San Diego’s Lisa Baker remarked, "I believe that there's such unity that is opening the heavens. I really believe that we've opened up the gates and the doors so that the King of Glory can come on in… it's so exciting."
Tanya Zodulua traveled from Raleigh, North Carolina to attend the event. "I'm just here being totally engulfed in His presence and just believing for miracles," she said. "So we've been praying for revival back in Colorado?" resident Glenn Vasaturo noted. "We just labor in the prayer room for our nation, for two years just praying in this room," he replied. "And it's like it's just happening... It's happening." Lou Engle, founder of The Call, has been rallying the nation to pray at strategic times for the last 15 years. He says the Azusa Now event was birthed from a dream that an even greater revival than the one that broke out at 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles in 1906 is about to break out again. "I believe we're at the threshold of a third Great Awakening." "And if stadiums can be filled to hear Greg Laurie, and evangelism is coming, I have to believe that no matter how dark it is, what the political climate is, Jesus is going to keep His covenant and He's going to show us a great wave of awakening. I'm excited about that," he said.
Azusa Now kicked off with a series of prayers of repentance and forgiveness, beginning with the American Indians."Make us one in your son...Awaken the Native American! Awaken in Jesus name," one Native American prayed. That was followed by prayers for Israel, the Jewish people, and for Jews and gentiles to unite. "When Ruth and Boaz unite, when Jew and gentile unite in Messiah, it's going to release the greatest sound of revival the world has ever seen," Malibu, California Rabbi Jason Sobel said. And just like the original Azusa Street Revival, there was a focus on racial reconciliation. "If we want to be reconciled with men, we have to first be reconciled to God and that means our histories must be reconciled to God," one attendee said. But most of the day felt like a huge celebration, with lots of worship, dancing and many people receiving healing miracles. "When they prayed, they said for healing, my right ear opened up… and they snapped and I could hear it," Greg Gephardt, from Oakland said. The celebration continued well into the night with worship from Bethel and an overall feeling that something big took place in the heavens that could soon be felt on earth....
SCHOOLS SPARK YOUTH REVIVAL IN THE US
Could a High School Revival Spark End-Time Awakening? 29 April, 2016 —Wendy Griffith CBN TV There's a new sound coming forth from the hills of southern West Virginia—a sound some have foretold but haven't heard until now. For the past three weeks, the large sports complex in the small coal-mining town of Williamson, West Virginia, has been filled to the rafters with people crying out for God. It all started when Tennessee evangelist Matt Hartley visited a local church for what was supposed to be a three-day revival service but it just kept going. "This is not man-made, charismatic, hyper spiritual," Hartley told CBN News. "This is the presence of God that is overwhelming us, that is being released upon hungry people that are tired of just stagnant Christianity and "safe" church." "They want Jesus more than anything else. That's why they're here," he said.Hartley also spoke at the local high school where revival seemed to break out among the students. "Four-hundred to 450 students got saved at Mingo Central from Matt Hartley coming in and speaking at a voluntary prayer club."
Katie Endicott, with the Mingo Central High Prayer Club, told CBN News."It has just gone from school to school, from youth group to youth group," she said. "Denominational barriers have just been cast down and we've just had a great spirit of unity." Many are calling it the greatest spiritual awakening in southern West Virginia history. "We couldn't have done this if we wanted to," Endicott said. "We've had so many revival services, so many special services and nothing like this. This is true awakening." Endicott says prayer plus desperation has paved the way for this spiritual breakthrough, especially among the young people. "Oh my gosh, it's amazing!" 18-year-old Belfry High School student Andrew Fletcher exclaimed. "I've never seen something like this, where the young people just get on fire." "It's really cool to come to church and it's really cool to worship God—nobody's judging you or saying anything about it because they're all with you," he continued. "We're starting to have prayer circles at school and we're reading and having Bible studies at school," he said.
Others, like Erica Priest of Lenore, are seeing God answer very specific prayers. "My husband just got saved this morning," Priest said. "I've been praying for him for seven months and he'll be baptized this Sunday.” Hartley believes the sound of revival now being heard in these West Virginia mountains has the potential to spread around the world. "I believe God has preserved this state for the end-time awakening that's coming to America," Hartley said. "I believe that this is the beginning of where it happens and it's going to spread as a wild-fire throughout the nations of this world, that Jesus is going to be exalted," he predicted. "And the more Jesus is exalted the more the river of God is going to flow—and we have not seen anything yet to what God is releasing," he said. HOW TO SHOW THROUGH? "But we Christians have no veil over our faces; we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him." 2 Corinthians 3:18
AUSTRALIA WITHIN A SPIRITUAL HARVEST:
By the end of the 20th century, a band of praying believers around Brisbane held on to the fact that God often uses unique methods to surpass and overcome restrictive bureaucratic regulations. Without misusing or manipulating any law, they could actually achieve via short-range FM radio what some laws prohibited broadcasting in the AM band. And they might even attempt to evangelize in a way the churches found impossible. And in some ways, the Gospel might be heard across a nation that was still apathetic about God. This was another case of believers matching technology and skill. What is impossible to man is God’s chance to reveal His greater plan. As Molly Napier said: “Waiting for perfect is never as smart as making progress.”
For sixty years before, others had been repeatedly denied AM licenses for Christian broadcasting. So they searched for other ways to do it. Vernon Turner extracted an FM license from them in the 60’s and that was that. No more. Around 1980, someone discovered unused and derelict low-powered licenced FM transmitters at an auction, that could be placed in townships and hooked up via satellite to a ground studio. When benefactors paid the immense rental for a satellite band, they were in business. That was the start of it, but newer and advanced digital equipment was created to deliver a better sound. In this way, repeater transmitters broadcast the Gospel from a Brisbane based studio. Then, an unheard of skill made the satellite footprint cover the nation. All they needed were sponsors to mount a dish and antennae on their roof tops, plug it into any normal 240v domestic power point, and they could be heard for miles around.
Gradually, a few zealous Christians in hundreds of places across the nation fought off the resident apathy, and gathered their stewardship together, spent a day mounting the equipment and aiming the dish, and “Praise-the- Lord”, Gospel radio was bursting through loud and clear. Miraculously, hundreds of remote stations were hooked up, and within ten years FM radio was being heard by tens of thousands of people which could not be gathered on the ground. It broke the tyranny of distance and isolation more than John Flynn could ever dream of. And it disturbed the resident apathy of a sleeping church. So when Will Graham arrived to preach the Gospel to a handful of people in remote Alice Springs, he was heard by a hundred thousand on 750 Vision FM stations, city and outback, in every nook and cranny. Praise and rejoicing sounded through the roof tops. Prayer and praise was raised for long months. The heart rending pleading of a grizzled and worn old Alice Spring’s missionary Arnold Long from the 1940’s was being answered long after he had been laid in the ground. “O Lord, let revival burst forth from the centre of the nation and cover the people from sea-to-sea.”
Lawrie Reece’s similar passion did not die with him. He and wife Daisy lived it before the indigeneous at various settlements, then Warrabri, where he completed a New Testament translation in language. He was awarded an AM for that. Revival was his passion. RADIO TO THE RESCUE: To give Vision Radio a newer width and depth, programs included the Ravi Zacharias powerful “apologetic” teaching, and evangelist Greg Lawrie every day of the week, and profound Bible readings from Bob Gass, - and a hundred more. Enthusiasm was infectious. Dick Innes tells that Corrie Ten Boom said, "If a bird is flying for pleasure, it flies with the wind. If it meets obstacles and danger it turns and faces the wind, that it may rise higher.”
Bernard Brunstang believes that "people who have setbacks and trouble often emerge with values and priorities that are higher and nobler, more sensitivity and understanding of the difficulties of others, and a new appreciation of how much people mean to them."
Others say, "Life is like a grindstone. Whether it grinds you down or polishes you up depends upon what you are made of."
Stan Buck tells about a little girl who, on their way home from church, said, "Mother, the preacher's sermon this morning confused me." The mother said, "Oh! Why is that? The girl replied, "Well, he said that God is bigger than we are. Is that true?" "Yes, that's true," the mother replied. "He also said that God lives within us. Is that true too?" Again the mother replied, "Yes."
Well," said the girl. "if God is bigger than we are and he lives in us, wouldn't He show through?" HOW:
Now, this rambling dialog covers an eclectic mix of revival, soul winning, holy living, Church life, evangelism, ancient history, and personal relationships. It is meandering, and it shows how real people are thinking, and what is possible when God chooses to work in the lives of eager and willing people. Those who belong to Christ have nailed their natural desires to his cross and crucified them there. If we are living now by the Holy Spirit’s power, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives”. Galations 5:23
A PRAYER: "Dear God, thank you for your miraculous answers to the prayer of your people, and please help me to be as Jesus today to whomever You bring into my life and grant that my life will mirror Your beauty and Your love to them. And grant that they, seeing Jesus in me, will want Him for themselves. Bring revival into my life every day. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's Name, Amen."
Hallelujah, Thine the glory,
Hallelujah, Thine the glory,
Revive us again.
Edited by Leslie Nixon—eaoa.
Researched 2014-16 during recovery from life-threatening scalp Melanoma surgeries. Oh yes—after four-months of regular 2016 Keytruda infusions, (non-chemo)—he was declared Melanoma free by the Westmead Oncologists. PTL.