I was at a church gathering the other day, and someone said, “Why don’t we have tent revivals anymore?”
That’s like saying why don’t we have wall phones anymore (if you have a wall phone no offense).
Revival is a “God-Thing,” not a man scheduled thing. I read, “Revival comes when the remnant remains faithful in darkness and decay.” Stephen Olford who Billy Graham said influenced his ministry more than anyone told us, “Revival is absolutely essential to restrain the righteous anger of God, to restore the conscious awareness of God, and to reveal the gracious activity of God.”
We see the recipe for revival if we can call it that in Psalm 85. God’s people are in a bind in this passage so the light bulb goes off and they are like, “Oh snap! God has been our go-to guy in the past so, hey, let’s cry out to Him and see what happens.” That’s the first ingredient for revival, people come to the conclusion they have messed up and that God is the answer.
In Psalm 85:4, the people say, “Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation towards us!” And then in verse 6, they say, “Will you not revive us again, that your people might rejoice in you?”
When we confess and repent, when we are serious about the Lord the Lord gets serious with us. We see this in verse 9, “Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, …”. Those who have a reverence for the Lord and worship with sincerity can have an anticipation of a proper response from Abba Father (verse 8). But what can these people expect from God? In verses 10-13 it says we will receive: His love, His righteousness, His faithfulness and His peace.
James 4 captures this idea of renewal. “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.”
Here’s the deal. A lot of the church is asleep and most people enjoy a good nap so coming out of that rest (complacency) is hard. What I’m saying we need reviving. 1st Thessalonians 5:6 tells us, “… let us not sleep as others do, but let us keep awake.” And then in Revelation 3:2 Jesus tells us to, “Wake up and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete.”
Will we be obedient to the red letters of Jesus Christ our Lord & Savior? We will recognize our failure, admit it and stop it or we will keep napping. Revival can be just around the corner, the only thing stopping the church is the church. He told me to tell you that.
Ken Ansell currently serves as a pastor and local missionary in small, rural Texas community. He plays lots of tennis and fly fishes when he can. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.