Revive us again! We need it!
Have you ever thought about why a pigeon walks so awkwardly? In a devotional reading in Our Daily Bread, Martin De Haan shared that a pigeon’s eyes cannot focus as it moves, so the bird actually has to bring its head to a complete stop between steps in order to refocus. It proceeds clumsily — head forward, stop, head back.
In our spiritual life, we have the same need the pigeon has. It’s hard to focus when we stay on the go, so we need to build “stops” into our lives that help us to refocus. That’s why many churches build a “revival” into their calendar. A revival gives us a break from the routine and an opportunity to recharge our spiritual batteries. It’s a time to refocus.
Revival is important, but if revival is to be effective, then it is more than dates on a church calendar. Having a “meeting” is one thing; having true revival is quite another.
You can’t plan genuine revival. God in His sovereignty sends revival when His people are positioned and open to receive it.
What is the technical definition of “revival?” C. E. Autry defined revival as “a reanimating of those who already possess life. Revival in the strict sense of the word has to do with God’s people. It revives spiritual life that is in a state of declension.”
Richard Owens Roberts says that revival is “an extraordinary movement of the Holy Spirit producing extraordinary results.”
Stephen Olford writes that revival is that “strange and sovereign work of God in which He visits His own people, restoring, reanimating and releasing them into the fullness of His blessing.”
McDow and Reid write, “Revival is God’s invasion into the lives of one or more of His people in order to awaken them spiritually for Kingdom ministry.”
Revival time can be a time of personal renewal. How can we tell if revival has come? There is an awakening; a stronger desire for God’s Word, prayer, praise and obedience; a reconciling of broken relationships; a removal of bitterness, fear and anxiety; and a reordering of priorities. Life is no longer business as usual.
When revival comes to an individual, it usually spills over to others and makes a difference in the life of the church family. Revival creates an atmosphere of unity and cooperation and people focus on a common direction.
As the church family becomes renewed, that excitement spills over to the entire community. As God touches lives, people can tell that individuals have been changed by the power of God. The power of God touching lives makes the difference.
A lot of good can come out of revival. In 1932, a group of Charlotte businessmen became concerned about the moral and spiritual decay in their city. They felt that an all-out evangelistic effort would help, but the local ministerial association would not support it at that time.
They were disappointed, but still felt that God wanted them to do something, so they decided to have a day of prayer. Twenty-nine persons gathered on the outskirts of Charlotte and spent the day in prayer. Other prayer meetings followed in the months ahead. Out of this effort came a desire to sponsor an evangelistic meeting in their city.
The men purchased a tent and set it up for preaching services. This effort was so encouraging that the men decided to undertake a much larger crusade the following year. An evangelist named Mordecai Ham was invited to preach. The businessmen had a lot of difficulties to overcome, but they persisted, and finally the Charlotte Crusade came together in the fall of 1934.
In that meeting, a young boy named Billy Graham, along with many others, was converted. God touched a life that has been used to touch a myriad of lives for over 60 years. You never know what can come out of revival.
Our church begins Spring revival Sunday, March 3. We continue through Wednesday, March 6. Sunday morning’s service begins at 10:55 a.m. Evening services begin at 6:45 p.m. We invite you to join us. And we ask that you pray for us.
[Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, 352 McDonough Road, just past the department of drivers’ services building. Join them this Sunday for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit them on the web at www.mcdonoughroad.org.]