I got touched in the Toronto Blessing. I got saved at the Brownsville Revival. I was in dozens of meetings at the Smithton Outpouring. I preached revival meeting all over the world. I believe in revival culture.
I believe we have to get to the point that we will say “Come Holy Spirit” no matter what it cost us and how unpopular it might be…even with other Pentecostals. The reality is most people in Spirit filled churches are more worried about being Pentecostal people than being people of Pentecost. It is like being a Republican or a member of the local PTA to them. It is a membership of a group. Little change is how they actually do life.
The Holy Spirit is a river; not a lake. (Bill Johnson)
The problem with most Pentecostal churches is that they gather to hear the preacher give a sermon and that is the highlight of the week for them spiritually. It how we go into this pastor-centered, clergy vs layman, religiosity that revival has had to addressed every few years. Biblically, we should be drawn to the presence of God, not a great speaker. If that is all you want, just listen to Barack Obama or David Cameron.
What is a revival culture?
I say it like this: it is coming as a people with complete expectation for the presence of God to transform you, the power of God to change your life, and the Holy Spirit to fill you with more love for humanity. If any of these are missing, you might have goosebumps but you don’t have revival.
Any “move of God” that does make you crave the presence of the Holy Spirit, fill you with more anointed and you do not carry the burden of eternity for the lost; it is not a move of God. Period. Don’t worry, I have been in many of these “revival meetings.”
I love the written Word. I went to Bible College with a hunger for the theological understanding. With that said, I do not come to revival meetings to learn. I come to encounter the presence of God. The focus of revival must always transformed life; not what the greek word of healing is. People do not need a sermon on healing; they need an experience of healing!
Many of the most powerful revival meetings I have been part of never had a sermon. Some of them I was just there going for the presence of God; other was I “suppose to preach.” I have a feeling the Holy Spirit is a better preacher than I ever will be. If I tell them, they are argue if it is from God. If the Holy Spirit tells them, they are convicted on the spot. Sermons are for people who do not know the voice of God anyways.
I can not think of any revival in my lifetime that lasted any amount of time without a core value of the baptism of the Holy Spirit on it. The third man in the trinity is not just a theological subject. He is the Baptizer of every believer so that we can do the work of the evangelist to the world around us. Upper Room experiences are just part of revival; they are the point of revival!
Revival is not for you, it is through you.
If you live in a revival culture, you understand the burning desire of the Holy Spirit is to turn the hearts of humanity to Jesus Christ as their Savior. Any revival that does not have a very strong missional focus must be questioned. It goes against the very nature of God. The Father wishes that none would perish but ALL would come into eternal life. Jesus came to seek and to save that which is lost. The Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin. All of the trinity is evangelistic in nature.
I hear pastors like Steve Gray mocking “Where are the people of the revival from the 1990’s?” It is cute and all and gets a bunch of naive believers to yell amen. However, the truth of the matter is that it would not even be biblical for you to see them in your suburban Kansas City experience.
Where are the people who was changed in Brownsville and Toronto. They are in Germany, Netherlands, Philippines, Mexico, Haiti, Tanzania and even Iraq. You could also talk about people like Daniel Kolenda who wins thousands of people to Christ monthly.
Keeping the main thing the main thing
I was touched by revival in 1996 and I have not “changed the subject” since. I preach it, I pray it, I sing it, I prophesy it. I release. I repeat the process again. One reason I was a bad pastor was all I wanted was revival. Who cares you have marriage problems? We have to prepare for the marriage supper of the Lamb! (I know that is not cool now.) I am not sure why anyone would want to be part of a ministry that is not a revival culture.
When a ministry loses this, they turn to inferior issues to talk about. One ministry think it is better to talk about things like amillennialism and questioned the Blessed Hope than going for revival. Jesus made it very clear that a revivalist view of eschatology is just to keep setting the world on fire until he comes. Don’t believe me? Read Acts 1:7-8 and check out the greek on it!
One thing that is concerning to me is that in the last four years, we have not had any place in North America to really point at on a map and that’s a revival culture. We have had places that play around with revival but none that said this is who we are and we will not stop until the Kingdom of God is the reality in our midst. When a church says “this is who we are,” pays the price for revival; we will see a move of God on the scope of the Brownsville Revival again!