out.” Those words were spoken to me several years ago when I asked the
late Leonard Ravenhill to define revival. According to him, most
religious activity in the United States does not resemble true revival.
We know only a cheap imitation.
We schedule popular speakers and the best musicians and set aside a
week for special meetings. We call that revival. Our meetings are set
up by organizers, not agonizers.
We have reduced a move of God to a method. Yet the Bible says God is looking for a man.
John Knox, the founder of the Presbyterian Church, prayed
continually, “God, give me Scotland or I die!” He said this while he
was chained deep inside the hull of a French ship off the coast of his
country. He prayed desperately for seven years that God would send
revival to his beloved Scotland.
God works only within those who are desperate. Ravenhill also
used to say, in reference to revival, that we would either “end up with
prison camps or with Pentecost in the prison camps.” The apostle Paul
either had riots or revival, and at times both. Yet the American gospel
does not seem to produce either.
A Chinese Christian recently visited the United States and
toured churches here. At the end of the trip he was asked what he
thought about American spirituality. He answered, “I am amazed at how
much the church in America can accomplish without the Holy Spirit.”
We have large buildings and many programs but still no move of
God. We have more trained ministers and more Bible colleges than any
other nation but no revival. We have seminars on revivals and huge
campaigns to promote our meetings. But where is the revival?
We have spotless theology but no doxology. We have no song in
our hearts. We have replaced true experience with hyperactivity. Our
theologians sit in swivel chairs in ivory towers and hand out edicts to
those down below.
As a church we are power-hungry and covet top positions as if
we are climbing a corporate ladder. We place value on large churches
with even larger programs and budgets. Those who are invited into
leadership positions are the rich and the influential. We forget that
spiritual authority is not given to the savvy businessman or the sports
hero but to those who have carried the burden of the Lord.
Where are the brokenhearted believers who weep through the night over our spiritual bankruptcy?
A true move of God makes you utterly dependent upon Him. The
touch of the Father was never designed to touch you just once. It was
designed to leave you feeling helpless unless you receive the daily
infilling of the Holy Spirit.
A true revival brings us to the end of ourselves. It takes us
to the foot of the cross where we lay down our hopes, dreams and
ambitions. History is replete with those who have given their all to
see God move.