While its true that I’ve been invited to speak at a revival series later this month, I’m not yet sure if I believe in the concept of revival. At least, not in the way we have come to understand it, describe it, and daydream about it. Hear me out.
It seems to me that we talk about revival like we’re at a bus stop waiting for a bus that may or may not exist; one that has no schedule, and worse yet — no clear destination.
So, approaching the idea of revival with the body of believers I’m honored to be invited by, I’ll begin with one often overlooked question: “Why do you want revival?” I mean, it sounds like the right thing to want but if we look deeper than the surfacey nice-nice it portrays, I think we’ll see some hard truths that must be faced before forward motion can happen.
First, the desire for revival must, by definition, include an admission of the need to be “revived”. Let’s not get too complicated here; if something needs to be revived, what we’re really saying is that it’s dead or nearly so. The very desire for revival must first be okay with confessing our deadness. And we’re Christians. Ouch.
Secondly, revival by its very nature declares that we are not complacent to stay where we are any longer. Inject a Christian with truth serum and they’ll likely tell you that they feel spiritually stuck more often than they care to admit. But to all those who I’ll be joining in NC later this month, and to all those reading these words, I share a wonderful quote from the prolific, late Mike Yaconelli when he said, “Being stuck is the prerequisite to being unstuck.” So, Christian stuck in your _________, rejoice! You’re right now in the perfect position to be unstuck! If we’re going to call for revival, we’re going to have to make up our minds that we can’t possibly stay here. Here is where we’ve been. Here is where we’re comfortable. Here is what’s familiar. Here is where our routine lives. So, we must march on…and out of here.
Finally, revival calls for God to do something. (As if He hasn’t done enough.) Essentially, we prepare, we plan, we pray, we plan, we coordinate, we pray, we prepare….and then we wait. And if God doesn’t “show up” in the way we have planned and prescribed for Him to show up, then…well…dangit. We’ll have to try again next year.
Here are 3 things that I believe revival does. If you’re looking for complex and deep then get ready for disappointment:
1. Revival calls us out of the sin we’ve wallowed in. And I’m talking about “Christians” here.
2. Revival calls us into the Word of God–for nourishment, for sustenance, for comfort, for counsel, for all we need.
3. Revival sparks within us an unquenchable love for the lost and for sharing the message of the cross in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Are there more thoughts I have on revival? Sure there are. And if the Lord enables me, I’m excited to share them with the people of New Life Baptist Church later this month.