These days it seems that so many Christians from various backgrounds and cultures are all sensing the same thing: the beginnings of true revival are occurring. It is common for us to hear, “Revival is coming!” That noncommittal anecdote leaves plenty of latitude for us to shrug for years if true Revival never actually arrives. Sometimes it feels like the religious carrot on a stick out in front of the American church’s nose. What I am currently hearing is actually different. Many are sensing that Revival has begun, even if it has not yet manifest in America. It would be just like the Lord to humble the proud American Christian by releasing revival in China, the Middle East and Africa. The reports I am hearing from our brothers and sisters in these places are clear testimony of a purposeful move from Heaven. I would quickly add that I draw a distinction between the beginning of Revival and the explosion of Revival – we are not yet experiencing the explosion. When that reality manifests, announcing it will be completely unnecessary. Nobody will be wondering if it is here or not.
“Oh that You would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at Your presence – as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil – to make Your name known to Your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at Your presence! When You did awesome things that we did not look for, You came down, the mountains quaked at Your presence. From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides You, who acts for those who wait for Him.” – Isaiah 61:1-4
The Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, had the holy audacity to ask God to dramatically insert Himself into the midst of planet earth in ways that no human would be able to deny. Rent heavens, quaking mountains, spreading flame, boiling water – what imagery is used to describe the invasion of the Almighty! Even the enemies of God will tremble as God moves in sovereign and visible power. Here is what is exciting: rightly interpreted, these verses have not been completely fulfilled. Isaiah’s prayer was not answered at the Incarnation, during the ministry of Jesus, nor upon the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. None of those stunning historical events produced the magnitude of visible results that Isaiah calls for in his recorded prayer. It is my firm conviction that before Jesus Christ returns to earth to establish His kingdom, this planet will receive the most potent manifestation of the presence and power of God that has ever been offered. Yes, I believe that we will witness mass repentance and salvation. Physical healings that parallel what is recorded in the book of Acts will occur – and not just by the hands of a select few. Miraculous signs and wonders will manifest that serve to prepare people for the Second Coming of King Jesus. Just as the bible reveals that there will be the birth-pang-progression of judgment in the end of days, we will also see an incrementally increasing volume of outpouring of the Spirit with all the associated displays of holy power and overwhelming presence of God.
Why do I believe that it is already beginning?
I see the establishing of precursors that must be in place for the Church to steward the coming awakening. God is readying us to handle the fire. There is a purity that is being prioritized and pursued by Christians across the globe as we are hungering and thirsting for righteousness. Persecution against Christians is exponentially increasing and becoming increasingly brazen and unapologetic. The global prayer movement is snowballing across national, racial, denominational and cultural boundaries. At the core of this prayer movement is a generational cry for God to move on behalf of His own glory in a world that has voided His word (see Psalm 119:126 for a similar cry). Perhaps more conspicuous than anything is the increasing commitment to unity that is happening in the Church. Jesus’ prayer to the Father in John 17 centered on one thing: glory for God that proceeds streams forth from the committed unity of the Church.
I note specifically that our current generation, repulsed by the counterfeit representations of Jesus Christ that have plagued the Church for far too long, is moving intentionally and unapologetically in order to secure that spiritual oneness which Jesus prayed for. Whereas Christians in the West have spent the better part of a century building walls between one another, we now see those walls being torn down and replaced with Kingdom bridges of unity that prioritize the fact that we are truly a forever family in Christ. There is a generational hunger and thirst for the spiritual solidarity that is proclaimed in Scripture (Ephesians 4:3-6), which Jesus died in order to secure. I am not communicating here of some shallow, flippant Kingdom Kum-ba-yah sung around a religious campfire. What is happening right now is the swelling of a move from the Father which is resulting in authentic, selfless and organic New Testament oneness in the Church. I will make you a promise: when the Second Coming of Jesus occurs, there will be zero denominations on planet earth. Zero denominations. There will only be the Church.
And she will be alive with a fiery oneness.
Let me end by sharing just a few things that each of us can do in order to help facilitate and steward what is now beginning.
- Fast and pray for awakening and revival. Apart from ongoing, deepening hunger, what we long for will be delayed.
- Enter into a renewed commitment to holiness and obedience. We do not earn an outpouring of revival because of these two things. We do, however, experience an outpouring through these two things. These are non-negotiables for revival to occur.
- Put to death those things in your heart which do not clearly foster unity with other Christians. We will not agree on all things pertaining to living out our faith. None of those things are the source of our unity anyway. We agree that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we anchor our shared identity in Him alone. This is the unity that we humbly live out together.
- Engage in a lifestyle of proclamation of Christ, His kingdom and His glory. Talk about Him. Write songs about Him. Sing those songs wherever you go. Choose to be a radical disciple. Revival never occurs through the preservation of the status quo. The Holy spirit is striking matches everywhere. Consider yourself one of those matches.
- Elevate your expectation that you will personally witness and experience Revival in your lifetime. Tune out the naysayers and the skeptics – love them, but don’t listen to them. Gather closely and frequently with those who share your hunger and thirst. Turn off the news outlets which continuously stream the toxic waste of what is wrong in the kingdom of man. Fill your mind and heart with the promises anchored in the Kingdom of God.
- Remain faithful in the “little things”. Commitments, disciplines, servanthood and sacrifice are things which we never grow out of. Revival does not remove these things. It expands them to their fullest intent.
- Lastly: whatever the cost, however long it takes, whatever you must embrace, whatever you must release…return fervently to your first love. It is our love for Jesus which will fuel the spreading flame of what has now begun.
You know you want it.
I believe it is now time.