Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Revive Us, Again?
Revive us, again? This question begs to offer clarity on the concept of overall revival. And why do we need it commenced in a repeated and powerful fashion? In other words, we need done AGAIN! But when was it done in the first place? This book can give you more understanding on that matter in depth. Also, this video can give some experiential clarity on a modern day revival. However, if something/someone needs to be revived, that means it has actually died. The defibrillators need to be modulated for immediate charging and placed on the chest, to reignite the heart, garnering a pulse back into motion. Unfortunately, many churches have failed to realize something is drastically missing, something has considerably died. So how can a church, better yet a nation and world, be revived?
What Is a Revival?
The eternal human quest is to know and experience God.
Some want God to split open the heavens and descend to earth so they can see him. Others want God to write his message in the sky or on a mountain so they can see it and know for sure what to do. Still others want to hear the voice of God shouting like thunder. And still others want God to “zap ‘em” so they’ll quiver on the floor or jump like a kangaroo. Though most won’t admit it, in one way or another they want God to quit playing hide and seek, to come show himself, to visit his people. True believers want God to intervene in their humdrum experiences. But for most, God can’t be felt or touched. Many feel that God isn’t with them.
A Working Definition
One way God responds to this basic human longing is to manifest himself in a revival. But what exactly do we mean by that term? A variety of definitions have been offered by pastors, theologians, and historians, but we would describe it this way:
An evangelical revival is an extraordinary work of God in which Christians repent of their sins as they become intensely aware of his presence in their midst, and they manifest a positive response to God in renewed obedience to the known will of God, resulting in both a deepening of their individual and corporate experience with God, and an increased concern to win others to Christ.
This view of revival recognizes several distinctives, common to historic revivals, that
we should keep in mind as we study them:
• An extraordinary work of God should be distinguished from the more ordinary
work of God in the life of the believer.
• The realization of the unique presence of God during times of revival is
consistently reported in the testimonies of the revived.
• Revivals naturally lead to a significant evangelistic outreach and harvest of souls in
the community touched by the revived church.
While there may be isolated exceptions, these are the manifestations connected with the normal experience of a Holy Spirit outpouring as we read about examples of it in Scripture.
Nine “Faces” of Revival
All people have the same basic facial features, yet these features are arranged differently. In a similar way, revivals display the same essential features as they reflect God’s presence, yet they have different “faces”; that is, revival is expressed in different ways. The nine “faces” of revival have been described in an earlier book, Rivers of Revival (written by Elmer Towns with Neil Anderson, Regal Books, 1998; see pp. 116-17). That list of revival
types, each with its characteristic focus, is worth repeating here:
• The repentance revival emphasizes a moral cleansing of individual lives and of society as a whole.
• The evangelism revival focuses on winning souls to Christ.
• The worship revival centers on magnifying God.
• The deeper life revival emphasizes the experience of God’s indwelling.
• The spiritual warfare revival devotes its energies to battling Satan and the other demons.
• The Holy Spirit revival is characterized by extensive manifestations of the Spirit.
• The reconciliation revival leads to the removal of barriers to racial and ethnic harmony.
• The liberation revival focuses on gaining freedom from corporate and personal bondage to sin.
• The prayer revival displays considerable efforts at intercession and other forms of prayer.
Though any given revival may manifest several of these characteristics, most revivals tend to display one trait more prominently than the others. Just as the face of a child often reflects a blending of the faces of both parents (and grandparents), so the “face” of a particular revival often reflects a blending of two or more of the revival types listed above.