Updated: Apr 2, 2021
Ever since my early church days, I have been hearing about the next big move of God that was just around the corner. I’ve heard tons of prophesies and bloated proclamations about this elusive “move” that never seems to show up.
Personally, in my 50 plus years of being a Christian the only authentic, sovereign move of God I have ever experienced was with the “Jesus Movement” that swept over a wayward generation. I have been in my share of churches and fad movements which declared that the coming revival was almost here. In fact, this seemed to be their never-ending mantra. And like a lot of these there was a lot of huffing and puffing, spiritual hyperventilating, and chest thumping “in the name of Jesus”. Of course, they all presumed that they were on the cutting edge of what God was doing in the earth.
To be sure, most are painfully sincere, emotionally psyched and giddy as newlyweds but in the end most of these devotees end up either worshipping past moves of God that have long since become dust in the wind or migrating from one sensational fad to the next like sensation junkies in their eternal quest for the next fix. There’s the “Toronto Blessing”, Ft. Lauderdale, Brownsville, the Bethel church hype, the “New Apostolic Reformation”, "Kansas City Prophets", IHOP, prophetic movements, signs and wonders’ movements, “The Jesus Culture” and many wannabee churches, pastors and groupies.
What they have in common is the fact that they are huffin & puffin and doing their darndest to make it happen. There are a lot of swelling words, zeal without knowledge and high praises but it all ends up being clouds without rain and wells without water. The hype keeps building and building but the coming “wave” never breaks. They are little more than rouge waves that eventually collapse and recede leaving a tragic legacy of shipwrecked and disillusioned lives in their wake.
A church I once taught in has been beating the “coming revival drum” for 30 years. And guess what? It has never come. Bless their hearts, they keep trying and trying but they can’t get no satisfaction. They remind me of the high school chant we would shout from the bleachers during football games; “We are the Titans and we couldn’t be prouder and if you don’t believe it we'll yell a little louder.” Over and over and louder and louder we would psych ourselves out as we repeated the chant. And so, they keep beating that same old drum.
There is a very good reason why. Because revivals don’t come by “might or by power but by My Spirit says the Lord.” You can’t manufacture it, fabricate it or will it into being through good intentions, enthusiasm or “want to”. You can't hype it into being, psych it into being or "word of faith" it into being. It won’t happen because some hotshot preacher says it will happen or because you followed the latest church growth strategies. All the claims of fire on the altar, fire tunnels, banners, church theatrics, gold dust & chicken feathers and rockin’ worship with laser lights and smoke machines won’t make it happen either.
First and foremost, God brings revival ‑ not us. It happens through our sincere, heartfelt brokenness and repentance ‑ not because of our understanding, spiritual posturing or emotional fervency. In fact, one of the clearest signs of a false or frivolous movement in the church is the absence of heartfelt repentance at its grassroots. Authentic revival is absolutely dependent upon a broken and contrite spirit crying out for God. It is also dependent upon honesty, transparency and integrity. The church and each one of us must also clean up their act and face up to the sin and man-made garbage we have accumulated over the years. This was the message to the last day church of Laodicea. (Rev. 3:17-19) You can shout and sing praises all you want but until these happen true revival will never come.