Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mere Revival or Awakening

Something is in the air. Something is stirring. Demonic activity is increasing and this, I'm hearing, as experienced from all of my Christian sources including myself. I know many believers who are battling spiritual attacks from all sides and quarters. Something has the demons stirred. Actually, I take this as a positive sign that Heavenly forces are gearing up. The Holy Spirit is about to move in a fresh, strong way like we in this country haven't experienced. I believe a 'pure' revival or really more of an 'awakening' is taking place. It has been brewing for some time and little by little, it is gaining momentum!

Revival can be refreshing and even life altering. It can last for a season. I've been to tent meetings and anointed services that were refreshing like a cool rain on a hot, summer day. I have witnessed 'pep rallies for Jesus' if you will. These all have their purpose. Some come to faith and experience healings during these events and seasons. However, what I'm feeling in my heart and spirit is something more powerful and on a much broader scale.

Historically, there have been many, great revivals and awakenings in this country. A few decades before the American Revolution, there was one of the greatest. There were many in the early 1800's taking place on the frontier in Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee. Several camp meetings would go on at once with crowds divided into large sections and numerous preachers all preaching at once. Witnesses to these meetings would later describe standing ranks of believers being felled by the Holy Spirit like canon balls being fired at ranks of soldiers, knocking them down in massive rows.

Of course there was the Azuza Street Revival in Los Angles in the early 1900's where many spoke in tongues and miraculous healings and wonders took place, and launching a few denominations such as the Assemblies of God. Several decades later in the late 60's and early 70's, there was a similar revival that hit up and down the California coast from San Francisco to San Diego with an epicenter in Orange County. Hippies were becoming Jesus Freaks. The handful of brave pastors and evangelists that would dare reach out to these mop top, barefoot, dirty kids were practically ostracised from their respective denominations and fellowships. These guys were underground then such as, Jack Hayford, Chuck Smith, Josh McDowell, John MacArthur along with music artists like Larry Norman, Barry McGuire, Keith Green, Petra, etc. Now these folks are all household names in Christendom! Music played a key roll along with radical ministry.

As a program director of a Christian Music station in the Round Rock?Austin TX area about five years back, I noticed something curious one day on the Christian Music charts. There was an inordinate amount of bands and artist from Texas and the heartland states on the charts. It was strange. Suddenly, it hit me that in the Old Testament, God always had the children of Israel put the musicians out in front of the army. Praise always goes before the Lord. I noticed that nearly all of these artists either lived in cities along or near Interstate 35. This Highway is referred to as 'The main street of America' as it bisects the country from north to south. It wasn't long after this, 2 new Christian stations opened up in Austin and a revival of sorts was underway in Kansas City. This was another one of those 'hmmm' moments!

Could the Lord be opening up a fountain head of revival in these cities along the I 35 corridor? Yes. I believe He is!. But, not just ye old revival, but a 'pure water' revival not tainted by the hands of man or religiosity. Rather, I'm seeing an awakening. I'm noticing tell tale signs of a deep moving among Christians who are tired of Church as usual and are fed up with dead, religious programs, religiosity, denominational territorial attitudes, outmoded dogmas and watering down of orthodoxy. I see a hunger for the truth, spiritual maturity and love expressed in deeds of giving and service to others in need and not just pumping up the 'religious system.'

I am running into more believers who are either joining or launching very radical ministries to reach out to the hard to reach. They seem to posses a drive and a resilience that reminds me of the early Apostles. I'm also running into more Christians who are acutely aware that there is something very wrong with our nation and that our religious and political freedoms are rapidly vanishing. It's as if blinders are coming off the eyes to see the corruption in both the organized church and our political institutions as well as becoming aware of their own malaise and apathy. In short, Christians are starting to slowly wake up! There seems to be a Holy Frustration with the status quo and a sense that something has got to change and soon.

I believe the money problems we are experiencing in this nation bears the touch of the hand of God. Money is the last great idol to fall in America and in the church. Far too many ministries are built and make their decisions based on money. There is nothing wrong with money. We need it like water, air, or food. But, if a man worships food, he becomes a glutton, one of the seven deadly sins. Likewise, when we grow too dependent upon money and wealth, we become greedy. This is idolatry because we grow to depend upon mammon rather than God. 'On Christ the sold rock I stand' not the green paper with the face of 'Benjiman'!

Perhaps we have been in the dream castle of religious Disneyland for too long and like spiritual Cinderellas, the Lord is kissing us awake. The serpent is now taking off his Mickey Mouse mask and we are seeing him and evil on full display around the world. Christendom is feeling the sting of persecution like a mini-tribulation. We are groping around in this foretold Age of Apostasy like lost children in this sick amusement park looking for our parent. Now, the non-believers are seeing this and asking the tough questions. about the Bible, God, hell and heaven. Even they sense something is up.

Yes, AWAKE oh, sleeper. The days are short and numbered and the harvest is ripe and nearly rotting. Our money, our governments, our institutions are failing before our eyes. But, the Lord is still on the throne. He is mustering his army of Saints for great, spiritual battle; to love the un-lovable, clean the dirty, feed the hungry, nurse the sick, comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable, and boldly proclaim His Good News of Salvation to the lost. If you are reading this, I would encourage you to repent, re-dedicate, and reload your spiritual weapons. The captain of our faith is shouting to WAKE UP and MOVE OUT!!