Huge thank you to everyone who followed the spring break journey that we were on with the group of Penn State students. It was an amazing trip and I can say with conviction that it would not have been the same without all of the prayer support from those of you out there reading along as we went on our journey. So thank you for that. If you haven’t read any of the updates that were happening live time from Columbus, then check them out here: Spring Break [Day 1], Spring Break [Day 2], Spring Break [Day 3].
I’ll be in California this weekend with some of the best guys I know soaking in the Bethel culture so stay tuned for some awesome things coming down the line from that trip as well!
And last but not least, there’s some big changes coming to Illuminate the Nations. Namely a complete redesign of the website so if you show up soon and everything looks completely different, don’t be alarmed. You’re in the right place, just explore around a little bit and learn the ins and outs of the new site.
In the meantime, God’s really been speaking to my heart about revival. This is going to be a topic covered over several posts in the next few weeks as I explore and lean into God to gain some revelation and understanding. As I gain that revelation I’ll be writing and sharing with all of you as I learn.
One thing that I really saw happen amongst our spring break team was an amazing activation of the entire group in their spiritual giftedness. The “naturally supernatural” life that we’ve been called to live as Christians became a reality for everybody on that team. It was incredible and this activation was the spark of revival being lit in our hearts and on our mission field.
Now there’s a difference between revival and awakening, but you can’t separate the two because revival leads to awakening; at least it should. I’m going to cover awakening in one of the posts to come but for this one I just want to focus on revival.
So what does revival look like? Revival starts inside of our hearts. Often times we just focus on what revival looks like after it has started a radical movement but the reality is that it starts with the individual who is relentlessly pursuing the heart of God long before a movement springs out of it. Revival starts within a group of people who have experienced the radical goodness of God’s love and can’t rest easy without sharing that with others.
An amazing teacher and friend of mine, Sel Edor, said at one point,
Revival happens when somebody who has something to say, knows what they’re living for, and refuses to not have it be heard by those around them.
Practically, the beginnings of revival looks like what happened with a group of Penn State students in Georgia two weeks ago. A small group of students in the backwoods, laying hands on each other until they collapse under the weight of the Holy Spirit not because they want God to do something for them, but simply because they want to be close to His heart.
Then being so filled up by that encounter that they take to the streets to see addicts rocked by that same love and power of Jesus to the point of accepting Him in the middle of the drug plagued streets. Terminal diseases like cancer were healed in the midst of the filth of poverty and spiritual weightiness of domestic disputes and shootings.
That team has something to say, knows what they’re living for, and refuses to not be heard. Revival. They will not rest easy until they see people encountering the love of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit the way they have themselves.
This is what the beginnings of realistic revival looks like. It starts humble, with a personal desire for the heart of God and then it expands from there; but encountering the heart of God and His glory remains at the center of it all.
One of my favorite pictures of revival is Paul and Silas in prison. The story is in Acts 16 and it’s not usually painted in this light but it’s my favorite revelation of revival to date.
Paul and Silas, are sitting in prison, it’s the middle of the night, the jail keeper is asleep. Paul and Silas don’t want God to do anything, they just want to be close to Him, so they begin to pray and worship so that the other prisoners can heat them. Through that prayer and worship, God shows up and an earthquake shakes the prison so that all of the prisoners shackles fall off and the doors to their cells open. Now, at this point, the prisoners were essentially free. The jailer is asleep, their chains are off, and the doors are open.
When the jailer shows up and sees the doors all opened, he assumes the prisoners have escaped and prepares to kill himself because that would be his punishment for failing to do his job. But as he draws his sword, Paul calls out to him and says, “Don’t do it, we’re all here.”
What Paul and Silas were doing by singing and praising God while sitting in prison was the essence of revival. The fact that all of the prisoners chose to remain after their escape became an abundantly available reality is the essence of awakening.
The reason all of the prisoners remained in their cells after escape wasn’t just made possible, it was made easy, was that all of a sudden the freedom that was inside of those cells after the Holy Spirit invaded was better than the freedom of the escape.
Revival starts humbly, awakening is what makes it a movement.