Have you ever heard the word ‘revivalist’? A revivalist is generally someone involved in a movement of Christian revival; a person helping to awaken the Church to the reality of Christ which spills into an outpouring of radical, extravagant love on the world leading to a great harvest of souls. Some revivalists you may have heard of would be: Jonathan Edwards, Jonathan Goforth, Dwight L. Moody, George Whitefield, Charles Finney, Leonard Ravenhill, Howell Harris, Jessie Penn-Lewis, Evan Roberts and even John Kilpatrick, Cindy Jacobs, Banning Leibscher, Damon Thompson and many others of the modern era. These people fought and are fighting the good fight of faith on a mass scale in terms of reviving the Church back to life and back into action. However, revivalists are not always famous, usually because it takes an actual large scale revival before more than a few hundred people know they exist. Many people desperate for awakening are quietly and peaceably living in small towns dotted across the nation, working jobs, going to church, yet through consistent and ferocious prayer and fasting they are releasing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth day by day. Many of the spiritual “heavy weights” previously listed only became “known” (not that I believe any of them were in search of fame) and moved in the power they did because they decided to get on their face and seek the Lord with everything they had, night and day.
Two years ago, my brother and I attended Jesus Culture’s first large-scale conference. 15,000 Spirit-empowered believers met in Chicago, IL in August, 2011 to worship the King and pray for revival to sweep the nation. At that event Banning Leibscher released, through the Spirit of God, the call to raise up revivalists throughout this generation who would usher in the largest Revival this nation and the world has ever seen. Those who felt called to be marked by God and used in this way made a declaration that night to further the cause of revival. I was one of those people. Since then, my heart has burned for this one thing: More of Jesus.
Here comes the harder part of this blog to write. Revival doesn’t just happen (well technically it does, but stick with me). It doesn’t just happen because we talk about it or because we think about it or because we mention it in passing during an occasional devotion. It happens because we seek Jesus with all we have, all the time, and we trust His words that “anything asked in My name shall be given unto you” – John 14:13. I really believe that God is waiting for His children to start crying out for more of His Spirit to fill the earth, to actually know what they’re saying, to mean it and not stop until they see it taking place.
Sean Feucht said it wonderfully in his book Fire and Fragrance, “Revival will never happen in the public place until it begins in the secret place”. Revival starts with YOU, it starts with ME. Getting prostrate before the Lord. Coming clean with our sin, and pouring out our need for less of ourselves and more of Him. We need to become captivated, immersed, totally in love with and on fire for Jesus before we can ever truly be the sons and daughters of God He has called us to be. Can I be honest? I am grossly tired of Christians being mean or rude to other Christians. Enough with the way we judge and criticize each other, boss one another around based one whatever leadership “status” we think we have, argue, debate, slander and abuse each other. Enough with the older generation looking down on and condescending the young, zealous ones and enough with the younger generation refusing to see the value in those that have gone before them on whose shoulders they now stand!
Jesus Himself says, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit [The Father] takes away…If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” – John 15: 2, 6. Todd White said it this way, “It’s time that the ugly part of the Body of Christ gets removed so that we can actually be true to our calling. Our calling is to be a believer and as a believer I’m called to preach the Good News to all creation. I won’t apologize for that.” He made this remark shortly after telling a story about visiting an office one day wherein he felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to lay hands on an employee of the office and allow the Lord to heal her back. Upon leaving the office, he saw a woman walking in and kindly told her that Jesus loved her and thought she was awesome. One week later the doctor from that office (who told Todd that he was a Christian) called Todd at home only to lecture him about the fact that he shouldn’t have prayed for that woman or said what he said to the lady entering the office because “it was a public building and he shouldn’t do things that will make people uncomfortable like that”. This Christian was both embarrassed and mad at Todd for bringing the joy and power of Christ into his office. WHAT?? This fearful, people-pleasing, hypocritical and contradictory type of “christianity” has to stop. Period. The Name of our Lord Jesus Christ deserves better than this.
Heidi Baker shared that the Lord gave her a vision very recently. In the vision she saw chickens with their heads cut off running about in a craze. Then she heard the voice of the Lord tell her, “this is what My Church looks like”. The Father was being serious, not funny. What a deeply saddening yet true revelation. Why have church houses become so consumed with bottom lines, keeping people happy, designing new programs, mission statements and catchy sermon series? Who brought business principles into the Church???? Why aren’t Christian leaders spending more time in the Word and on their face and less time frazzled and moody over events, budgets and drama? Why are Christians individually so stressed? Have we forgotten who we serve? Have we become too proud to be honest with God and trust Him to ease our burdens? What is going on?? Listen, I love the Church, but c’mon guys!
This is what I’m getting at: Revival is no longer an option, it is a necessity. The Body of Christ, predominately in the West, cannot change itself anymore than it can save itself once it has fallen into an apathetic world-friendly stupor like the one it’s in right now. Apart from a move of God in each of our personal lives that spills out in the marketplace we will drown. When we are personally re-ignited it becomes much more difficult to kick your fellow brethren, slander someone you barely known, skip out on a ministry opportunity, complacently allow injustice, give place to the enemy or avoid sharing the Gospel. Seeking God unrelentingly, passionately and intimately, unlike any seeking we’ve done before, will bring a great revival in our lifetime; revival that doesn’t allow “chickens with their heads cut off running in chaos” but burning ones with feet firmly planted on the solid rock of faith and eyes staring into heavenly places.
The Lord loves His Body, but He loves us enough not to let us stay where we are. For those who would say ‘yes’ to being desperate for revival and needing more of Jesus then do this: Begin to fast and pray on your own. Never diminish the power of prayer. Paul, perhaps the greatest revivalist to have lived, tells us to pray without ceasing. (Could that be the key?) Then, meet with other brothers and sisters in prayer and insistently pour out this request to The Father. Study the Word. Study up on past revivals and past revivalists. Make yourself ready because if you choose to be marked as a revivalist by God rest assured that when it pleases Him, He will answer your cries, then He will call on you to reap the harvest. Be ready for His call.
I love you.