Like a lot of you, I was pretty amazed at the videos coming out of the Asbury Revival of 2023. Who knows how many I watched. I found myself praying, “Keeping it going, Lord. Cause it to spread. Bring it here.”
Then I watched in amazement about a time—and I am old enough to remember the time—when it did keep going. It did spread. And, in a limited by significant way, it came to my town. I am speaking, of course, of the movie, The Jesus Revolution. Few movies have impacted me more.
One of the things a movie has to do is to establish some mountain to climb. It is usually not a literal mountain, but there is some objective that creates the tension of the movie. Then, the movie has to make you care. This was the easy part in this movie. I already care. I tasted a revival in the early 70s. It left me with a life-long hunger to see it again. “LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, LORD. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” Habakkuk 3:2 (NIV)
Here are a few thoughts I have had about the convergence of these two influences:
In revival, God does in a month what it might take years to accomplish without revival.
Suddenly, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, everything changes.
In a world where everyone has cell phones, revival could spread incredibly fast.
I think this is the first post-cell phone revival.
Before cell phones, word would spread. But, only to a limited degree. After a few days of the Asbury Revival, people started pouring in from all of the world. Who knows what might have happened had they not shut down the public meetings.
If you think of revival as fire and the people are the wood, there is only so much wood you can gather from the immediate surroundings. With cell phones we are not limited to the immediate surroundings. People all over the world flooded in.
Revival is inconvenient.
All my life I have longed for revival. But, as I watched the videos, I wondered how deep my longing is. I wondered if I would have been one of the ones to stay up all night and worship. I long for revival. I am also lazy.
Asbury had to shut down the public meetings simply because it was too inconvenient. They didn’t have enough hotel rooms. Or restaurants. Or restrooms. Or food. I don’t fault them for this. If we are going to see a sustained revival it is going to take some level of planning and logistics.
There is an incredible world-wide hunger for revival.
This is illustrated by how fast Asbury spread and how well the Jesus Revolution movie has done. There are a whole lot of us who hunger for God to move.
For a revival to spread to lost people, we still need evangelism.
One of the things that cooled my enthusiasm slightly over what was happening at Asbury was how seldom I heard about people getting saved. I did hear about that some, but not too much. One of things that fueled the Jesus Movement was that converted hippies went out to the beaches and preached. They preached on the streets. They hitchhiked and picked up hitchhikers just so they could witness.
The next revival may not use these methods of evangelism. It will likely use the Internet in some form. But, if it is to spread outside of the church, someone has to do evangelism.
God uses cracked pots.
Read the story of Lonnie Frisby. He was not a perfect man. Far from it. He was a sinner. So am I. Yet, God used him.
I still long for revival.
World-wide. Sustained. Unexplained. Miraculous. Amazing. God honoring. I am reading some books and plan to do so more and more. I have tasted. I want more.
I have recently written a Bible Study based on Henry Blackaby’s book Fresh Encounter: God’s Plan for Your Spiritual Awakening (Revised). If you too long for revival, you might study this with your group. One of the many wonderful things about this book is that it carefully documents the story of dozens of revivals in the past. By learning about what God did in the past, we can prepare ourselves to cooperate with Him in what He wants to do in the future—or now.
We have just released a new Bible Study based on Henry Blackaby’s book amazing book, Fresh Encounter These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.