Everyone is looking for revival. There is a great need for the church to experience a true awakening and we often look to the revivals of the past as our model. Many of us long to see the miracles and manifestation of God's presence in our day. But what is the key? What is the elusive secret ingredient for revival?
Every success and failure of a revival can be traced to its foundation. Before the manifestation of revival comes, the preparation of the soil and atmosphere has already been accomplished. So, the seeds for success or failure have already been planted by the time we see the evidence. Hindsight, being 20/20, provides the answers from our past experiences. Foresight, however, presents another kind of challenge. The preparation for revival is more important than the actual manifestation of revival. Frank Bartelman, an eyewitness to the Azuza Street revival, made this following statement: "The mistake was to become occupied with the effects of the revival
and not to watch and pray in protecting the cause of the revival..."
In recent years, we have seen the implosion of several moves of the Spirit because of improper preparation and irresponsible stewardship. God continues to move in response to our need and desperation. In those special moments of outpouring, we hope it will continue. Unfortunately they often do not because the foundation to sustain its momentum and impact is faulty and proper leadership,for the purpose of accountability, is not in place to keep it on track.
Having had firsthand experience with Revival moves of God in the last 20 years, I have a few observations. It is my utmost desire to see a true restoring and reforming move of God be sustained in our generation. The following observations are by no means the full answer to the questions we have asked previously. However, they are certainly key to the preparation and sustainability of the coming and imminent revival.
1. PERSONALITY DRIVEN VS SPIRIT LED
When a move of God is perpetuated through the personality of any one individual, it will have to be sustained by that same kind of
personality. While I understand that God uses people with their unique personalities, I also understand that our personalities can
hinder what God wants to do in the long run. When the spotlight shifts to a man or woman, it has a tendency to limit its impact to a smaller circle of people. We must always be careful to look to God as the source of everything instead of making celebrities out of the
people that God uses.
2. MEASURING THE PRESENCE OF GOD BY SPECIFIC MANIFESTATIONS
When a move of God's Spirit is characterized through specific manifestations, it is human nature to reduce what God is doing to a
simple form. When Rodney Howard Browne came to Lakeland,Florida, nobody expected the outpouring of joy and laughter that was
manifested. It was truly glorious to be in the midst of 10,000 people laughing and receiving the encouragement they so desperately needed. However, it became common practice to judge those who did not laugh as being unspiritual and not yielding to the Holy Spirit. God was doing all kinds of miracles in the midst of this outpouring. But, it wasn't long before the manifestation became more important than the fullness of what God was doing. We must not limit God to our finite understanding of his working. We must allow the Holy Spirit to express God's purpose through multiplied manifestations!
3. LACK OF PREPARATION AND POOR SOIL CONDITIONS
Before Kenneth Hagin went home to be with the Lord, he made a statement something like the following: "God is coming in another great wave of revival. I do not know when and I do not know how, but I do know one thing: I must remove everything in my life that would resist the move of God's Spirit." Preparing the soil for revival means that I must allow the dealing of God to remove everything in me that would resist God. At Epic church Lakeland, we are committed to making disciples who are strong in character and
in spirit. When God begins to move in our midst, it is our stated goal to be good stewards of the flow of His spirit. We are training people to pray for the sick, minister in powerful anointing and speak the word of God in faith and boldness. We are training our inner man to submit to the will and word of God. Our desire is that God find a well prepared soil to plant his seeds of revival in the earth. The weeds of soulish dysfunction will eventually choke out the good planting.
4. NO ACCOUNTABITY, NO LONGEVITY.
WITH OUT ORDERLY ACCOUNTABILITY, THE MOVE OF GOD CAN BE HIJACKED. Relationship cannot be discounted. Godly and accountable relationships will allow the move of God to be sustained when the inevitable fleshly manifestation is evidenced. When any one becomes "too big" to be corrected, they are already in danger. We are not supposed to work independent of the church and Ephesians 4 ministry. Many ships have landed on the rocks because of improper leadership. We must be willing to submit one to another as God begins to move. A prideful and independent spirit has already sown the seeds for its own destruction.
I believe we are in the midst of the greatest move of God ever known. The church must awaken and the harvest must be brought in. May our hearts be firmly committed to the authentic move of God's Spirit with a dedication to sustaining its impact.