By: Linda Freeman
Let’s stop looking for the Revival and start being the Revival!
Consider one of the biggest Revivals ever to sweep America. It happened on Azusa Street in Los Angeles, in 1906. It’s stunning to read the first few sentences here about what happened:
Eight men (the number of ‘new beginnings’), sat on chairs and waited for God to show up. When He did, they were literally knocked off their chairs in a supernatural experience, which included spontaneously speaking in tongues, and which was described “as though being hit by a bolt of lightning.” The Revival that followed lasted nearly ten years.
NOTE: “Revival” is capitalized throughout this article to indicate real, nationwide Revival.
Who doesn’t want to see and experience what happened on Azusa Street? Or, do we?
Maybe that’s the first question we should ask ourselves before we ask God to send Revival: Do we truly want to see and experience something like THAT? The Azusa Street Revival started with unknown men who knew their God. They made themselves available. They prepared themselves. They fervently prayed. They came together and waited.
There was nothing “magical” they did that we cannot also do. The next genuine Revival could start with me, with you, with us together as people who know our God. But seeking true Revival is not about running to a series of meetings to “get it.” As evidenced by Azusa Street, a genuine and sustainable Revival is not a planned or scheduled event.
Even Wikipedia knows this:
Christian revivalism is increased spiritual interest or renewal in the life of a church congregation or society, with a local, national or global effect.
This should be distinguished from the use of the term “revival” to refer to an evangelistic meeting or series of meetings.
Proponents view revivals as the restoration of the church itself to a vital and fervent relationship with God after a period of moral decline.
The last part of this Wikipedia entry sounds like America in 2021. If there were ever a time in our nation’s history that a Church generation should be crying out for a real and sweeping Revival, isn’t it right now?
IN 2021, PASSOVER & GOOD FRIDAY WERE CELEBRATED ON THE SAME DAY
This doesn’t happen often and is significant! Consider Pastor Paula’s talking points about this happening in 2021:
- Passover celebrates the miraculous deliverance of God’s people from 400 years of captivity in Egypt.
- The Passover miracle started with plagues.
- America is a 400-year nation (the first permanent settlement of Europeans was established in 1620)
- In 2021, our nation is being delivered out of captivity from a global plague.
- Things could not have looked bleaker in Egypt. Things could not have looked bleaker on Good Friday. Could things look much bleaker in America today?
- 2021 would be the perfect year for a Revival in America! A new Gallup Poll found that for the first time in America’s history, church attendance has fallen below the majority of the population.
- The First Church was launched 50 days after the Resurrection of Jesus, when the Holy Spirit came and compelled the Disciples out of their hiding places, sending them to the nations in Power.
- Will the Holy Spirit come again in a mighty way, and bring the Church out of hiding in our nation?
- 50 days from Easter Sunday would be biblical!
- Easter and Passover are both about HOPE! Has there ever been a greater need in America for HOPE?
- This is the PERFECT time for the miracle of Revival!
MATTHEW 5:6 – Blessed are they who HUNGER and THIRST after RIGHTEOUSNESS, for they shall be FILLED (emphasis mine)
Are there eight Believers authentically WAITING on God, hungry and thirsty for a Revival of Righteousness in America? Not being entertained, not hanging out and “doing life” together, not waiting for things to return to “normal,” but fervently and humbly praying, yearning, longing, waiting for Revival for themselves and for others? Who is actively waiting and willing to be “knocked off their chair” by God for the sake of His Kingdom, and our nation?
Actively waiting. I have heard it taught that “waiting on the Lord” is like being intertwined with Him, as in the strands of a rope. It is not passive. It is actively wrapping myself around Jesus, and Him wrapping Himself around me. When these men on Azusa Street actively wrapped themselves around the Lord, He wrapped Himself around them and then released them into action.
These men illustrated that true Revival starts with personal devotion – a total, individual, and wholehearted surrender to God. Revival first comes to us personally when we want His Presence, when we want to hear His Voice, when we need to know Him more than we need the air we breathe. As Pastor Paula puts it, when we fight for God’s Presence like a drowning man fights for air.
When all of our hearts are that hungry for God, He responds with His Presence and people come RUNNING to the church for the POWER of God. This is not churchgoers or Charismatic and Pentecostal Christians running from event to event, hoping to “get” something. This is Believers BRINGING Revival with them and manifesting the Presence and Power of God together.
LUKE 11:49 – God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute’
Pastor Paula recently taught that when Revival is coming, God sends Word to His people. His prophets and apostles begin to see and hear the sounds of Revival and start to call people to Righteousness. When that happens, the Church can either receive it or “kill it.”
Years ago, my husband and I regularly attended a “Bible church.” That was in the name of the church. There was solid teaching but it was not a “Spirit-filled” atmosphere. Yet there were Spirit-filled and prophetically-gifted people who felt assigned to be there, to wait for the Holy Spirit to take things to the next level. However, when the pastor resigned to move on to another opportunity, the new pastor preached in his first sermon that the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, as evidenced through the gifts of the Spirit – including speaking in tongues – was for a past age and no longer available or relevant to Christians today. Every prophet in the pews was put on notice. Any chance was “killed” for God’s Presence to be brought through them in that church.
Pastor Paula also warned in her recent messages on Revival and the Church, that we must be aware that the moves of God attract both good and evil. Peoples’ true natures come out when the Holy Spirit begins to move. There is no longer a middle ground. Will we each choose to be “hot” or “cold” when true Revival comes? Now is the time to decide.
The current Church Age started with Pentecost. It has been historically fueled by powerful outpourings of the Holy Spirit in Revivals, like the one that spread from Azusa Street. Today, many churches have “taught” the Holy Spirit out of the Church and out of our lives. This is like the “killing” of the prophetic word referenced by Pastor Paula.
WE CANNOT FAKE REVIVAL
In Pastor Paula’s series, she outlined our individual and corporate responsibilities for genuine Revival:
– Passion for souls (do we remember our former condition?)
– Prayers (are we praying for an experience for ourselves, or for others?)
– Proclamation of the Living Word (when is the last time we shared it, even with our families?)
People worldwide are HUNGRY for the Truth about our God. Genuine and sustainable Revival starts with that Truth, grows and attracts Supernaturally, and reveals the Power of God.
JOHN 1:6 – There was a man sent from God named John
Pastor Paula has said, “Real revival starts with one individual who feels God’s Presence, knows Who He is, and has a real encounter with Him.” Consider John the Baptist. Isaiah 40:3 says his was the voice of one “crying in the wilderness” to prepare the way for God to show up.
What happened next was a real Revival. People came in droves to be baptized. And then Jesus Himself showed up! Yet remember how John is described. He was like a wild man who came out of nowhere. He wore rough clothing. He ate weird food. He was not “culturally acceptable.” But when he stood up and declared the Kingdom of God, the culture responded and everything changed!
Revival doesn’t depend on ‘superstars’ within the church. Hearts are not changed with clever, fancy, or witty words. No one needs a title. No one needs a position or permission. People are not brought to Righteousness and Relationship with God by popularity, trendiness, cultural relevance or correctness.
All it takes is one person who is completely given over to God, who is not ashamed to proclaim the undiluted Gospel truth, and who is longing for God to use him or her to change the nation, or even the world. And if that person looks or sounds like John the Baptist, then so be it.
Could it be you? In the current climate, what have you got to lose? Are you able to keep up with all the shifting, changing social and cultural requirements to continue to be “acceptable” and not be canceled? You won’t make it. Let’s face it, if Sharon Osborne can be canceled by The Talk, you can be canceled, too!
PSALM 45:1 – My tongue is the pen of a ready writer
Find your voice. Have the tongue of a ready writer. Step into your authority to speak up! Power is released from authority. All authority has been given to you through Christ to go everywhere and preach the Kingdom, and to baptize others in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! (Matthew 28: 18, 19)
Again, what have you got to lose? Your life? Yes. And then you will find it…and so will your neighbors, families, friends, and strangers. Be a burning bush. Be a flame. Light up your skies with thunder & lightning. Be ready for God to call you out to bring the BOOM!
Your right to speak in Jesus’ Name does not come from men or from culture. Let them come after you for it. The reality is, others are watching and will want what you have. But first, you must be filled with PRESENCE and PASSION to be filled with POWER.
The Bible says that Jesus “set His face like flint toward Jerusalem” (Isaiah 50:7). I like to think that the Passion of Christ started with His journey to Jerusalem, knowing what was ahead (technically, His Crucifixion is called His “Passion” from the Latin patior, meaning “to suffer”) . Jesus knew they would kill Him but He knew what He had to do “for the joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2). That Passion, that unwavering focus despite the knowledge of what was ahead, sustained Him in His humanity and enabled Him to complete His mission – not for Himself, but for US.
Passion is not a wild, out of control, emotional roller coaster when it is harnessed and unleashed by God’s Presence and Purpose. Submitted to the Holy Spirit, Passion is fierce. It is focused. It is intentional. It sustains us on a steady course and enables us to discipline ourselves to face anything. And there is nothing more Powerful than having nothing left to lose. It is all gain for us, for others, and for His Kingdom.
DANIEL 11:32 – In the worldwide distress…the people that know their God shall be strong (be bold!) and take action (do exploits!)
God did not start “judging” the Church to condemn it in 2020, or remove His Hand from the Church last year for it to be destroyed. Quite the contrary, He is putting His Hand back ON the Church in 2021, and bringing a judgment for correction of sin, which “starts in the House of God” (I Peter 4:17). It is the sifting and separating, within us and among us; the wheat from the tares, the sheep from the goats. The purpose is to make the Church stronger, not to destroy it. He is STRENGTHENING the Saints. He is calling for our imperfections to be exposed and examined, one Saint at a time. Will we yield to it and be perfected?
What Pastor Paula says is true: The biggest problem with the church in America, has been the hypocrisy of appearing to be perfect. Do we still weep with each other? Do we still confess sins to each other? Does anyone run to the altar anymore? When was the last time we heard a heartbreaking testimony about a Believer’s failures and sinfulness that drove them to their knees, and then brought them to a saving knowledge of, or restored relationship with, Christ?
All of the power I need to demonstrate what God can do, and to declare His Kingdom for the purpose of Revival, is in my testimony. My testimony screams imperfections and then shouts the evidence of what God can do in anyone’s life. The word “testimony” brings a desire to be duplicated. Testimonies provoke a sense of jealousy that says, “I want God to do something like that in MY life!” So, in reality, it doesn’t matter what others have to say about God. What matters is what I have to say about God. There is no superficial substitute for a true testimony of God’s willingness, availability, accessibility, presence and power to intervene in and change an imperfect life. And that is what Revival looks like!
Put another way, my testimony for the purpose of Revival is like reporting a news story. Who do people want to hear from when they want to know what someone famous is really like, or what someone famous is doing? They want to hear from people who KNOW the famous person, they want interviews with the famous person’s closest associates, family, and friends. My testimony makes God famous and “tells the story” of His love manifested through His Presence and Power in my life. Most of all, it provokes others to want the Presence and Power of God in their own lives.
CORAM DEO (Latin) – Living in the Presence of God
In my previous post here, I wrote about how God has used Pastor Paula and the City of Destiny to draw me back to the Church. The very best thing about returning to God’s House, and the personal revival this has brought to me, has been the Presence of God returning to my life. I am hearing His voice more and more. Nothing else satisfies and I want everyone to experience it!
I am realizing that real Revival requires me to bring that reality with me everywhere I go, inside and outside of the Church. This strengthens me and motivates me to pray for Revival outside of myself with a new level of passion and understanding I’ve never had before. I can see that Revival starts where I am, with what I bring to the Church and to others, and bursts forth from there. The same is true for you.
This is how, according to Pastor Paula, Revival reforms us into something new (Psalm 90: 11-17). Revival builds us all up into a NEW thing, and that’s a very good thing because our “consumer” churches no longer work. They don’t fit God’s new model and cannot even keep up with what God’s Spirit is doing right now.
Revival isn’t born in the religiosity of showing up for church. It’s born in the Relationship of knowing Him intimately, individually, and corporately. Revival goes far beyond the pulpit, the programs, the hype, and the smoke and mirrors. Lasting Revival even goes beyond experiencing the “effects” of His Presence. Only the literal, living Presence of God – Father, Son, AND Holy Spirit – can bring us daily into that Holy condition.
Revival must become our lifestyle. It must become the air we breathe IN when we are alone with God, and the air we breathe OUT to others. It must seep from our pores and pour out from our innermost parts. It must precede us and remain after us. Like John the Baptist, we must be the forerunners for the move of God.
2 CORINTHIANS 3:18 – And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit. AMP
I often ask the Lord to tell me what a word or a phrase in His Word means in a visual way that I can picture and wrap my head around. Here’s what He told me about the words Transformation and Glory:
Transformation is like what happens when water is frozen into an ice cube. The ice cube is still made from the original substance – water – but the formation of that substance has been drastically changed…literally trans-formed…to serve a new purpose. The water can now do something different.
Glory is amplification. When we glorify God, we turn up the volume on Him in our lives. Even better, going from “glory to glory” is like surround sound, with multiple “speakers” amplifying God’s Presence!
Now imagine all of us being transformed, and amplifying the volume of God’s Presence in our own lives, and then coming together to corporately create the surround sound of His presence. The quality and volume would be incredible and undeniable, something like what I imagine the amplification and sound quality is like at a Journey concert.
(Fun fact – Pastor Paula White Cain is married to Jonathan Cain, the keyboardist of Journey fame, who now leads City of Destiny’s Worship team!)
The bottom line is – we ALL need to bring the amplification of the sounds of His Presence as we are each being transformed from glory to glory, Monday to Sunday. We must be consciously and continuously PRESENT with God individually, and consistently bring His PRESENCE corporately every time we meet. We must prepare ourselves to go to Church by being in His Presence before we get there!
PROVERBS 13:12 – Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life
True Believers in the Church have hoped for and waited for a real, sustainable, mighty and powerful Revival for decades. As Pastor Paula puts it, many have died in the House of God under great teachings but have never experienced that kind of Power.
Let us be the Church generation used by God to usher in a true Revival that sweeps our nation, and even covers the earth like the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14). Let us each be revived alone with God, and then get back to the Church to be revived together and welcome “whosoever will come.”
Revival will not happen without me. Revival will not happen without you. Pastor Paula has pointed out more than once that the Church has been the problem, but the Church is also the solution.
ARE WE READY?
Scripture warns us to “count the cost” before we undertake something new. (Luke 14:28). Do we understand what real Revival looks like? Are we ready to be literally knocked out of our seats by the Holy Spirit when it breaks out?
Revival does not look like the cultural churches we’ve created in America. It’s not polite. People won’t be entertained. Those who come running, hungry and thirsty for God, probably won’t be “dressed for church” either. Instead, people in Revival are running to the altars, with all kinds of juices coming out of their eyes and noses. There is weeping. There is wailing. There is rejoicing. There is deliverance. There is shouting. There is dancing. There is freedom. Hopefully, there is all of us at those crowded altars, too!
Can we picture ourselves in that atmosphere? Are WE hungry for it? Are we willing to pay a price for it? Consider Kanye. Yes, that Kanye. I recently listened again to Kanye West’s Grammy Award-winning album, Jesus Is King. His lyrics boldly and passionately proclaim a personal and Living Jesus to the WORLD without compromise or apology. Am I willing to do that in a conversation today with even one person? Now consider the cost to Kanye for publicly proclaiming his personal faith experiences: Haters, trolls, the media, fans, and now it may have cost him much more with his family. In one of the cuts on his album, Kanye pleads, “Somebody pray for me.” I do. I hope you will, too.
So, what am I willing to risk for the sake of real Revival? My reputation, my acceptance, my livelihood? And when was the last time I personally invited someone to receive Jesus? Not to come to church, but to receive Jesus! The reality is that America’s church pews have been filled with people coming to the club without ever having met Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. And why should they have? Unless you hear Pastor Paula preach on Sundays at City of Destiny, you may not have heard an old-school “altar call” in church in years.
It’s time for us, the Saints who do know Jesus personally, to revive the foundations of our faith, to dust off and practice that Sinner’s Prayer so we are ready to use it, and to do whatever it takes to prepare ourselves and others according to God’s ways – not ours – for real Revival to come to America in 2021.
ZECHARIAH 4:6 – Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty
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Linda has a master’s degree in journalism, and is a former network television news writer, producer, and on-air talent. She has more than 20 years’ experience working for national/international broadcast news outlets (CBN/The 700 Club in Virginia Beach; NBC/MSNBC in New York City), followed by a second career in corporate communications with IBM in New York. Now retired, Linda specializes in writing screenplays based on or inspired by true stories. Two of her projects have been optioned by a Hollywood producer, who is currently collaborating with her on multiple film and television projects. Linda is also a published author and occasional guest speaker in churches and women’s groups. She is also an amateur pool player and has competed in national tournaments, where she looks for opportunities to share her many testimonies about God’s supernatural interventions in her life. As a college student, Linda lived and studied in Spain, and still speaks, reads, and writes Spanish with fluency. An “Army Brat” who was mostly raised in New Jersey, Linda now lives just outside of Austin, in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. She has been happily married for 30 years to her second husband, and they have raised four children together. They are finally enjoying an empty nest, if they don’t count their collie and two cats.