BLUEPRINT FOR REVIVAL

by Andrew Strom.


Lessons from recent Revivals around the world in which whole TOWNS AND CITIES have been utterly transformed for Jesus.
You know, sometimes when you receive something new or re-emphasised from 
God you can believe for awhile that it is the most important thing on
earth, until it settles into context. But this time after several months of 
pondering and testing I have become convinced that this one really is 
important. In a lot of ways it confirms the principles of Revival that God 
has been showing me for years. It's just that now I have seen them right 
before my very eyes, so to speak!

It all started with the "Transformations" video I watched a few months
back. This is the 1999 video narrated by George Otis Jr. about several of 
the stunning Revivals that are taking place mostly in third world countries
(Africa, South America, etc) - Revivals that have literally TRANSFORMED 
ENTIRE TOWNS AND CITIES for Jesus.

It showed how in one Columbian city (notorious as a drug citadel), the 
church leaders who were hopelessly divided only became unified after a 
well-known pastor was murdered. Suddenly, through this unity God was able 
to move. They decided to hold a huge all-night prayer gathering in the city 
stadium and 50,000 Christians came. Within nine months of this united prayer 
the drug lords who had dominated that city were dethroned and everything had 
changed. Since then the Christian community has experienced massive growth 
and has become a 'beacon set on a hill' in that place. They continue to hold 
massive unified prayer gatherings in the city stadium.

In another dark South American town the desperation point again came when
a pastor had a gun jammed against his head. This sparked intensive unified
PRAYER and the situation turned around until now about 90% of the people
in that town are Christians! God has even blessed the ground so that the
soil produces huge crops - carrots as thick as your arm! The whole place is 
covered with God's abundance, as His glory is able to be displayed through
His unified, praying people.  Friends, this is how the church was always
meant to be.

The thing that struck me most after watching that video was the SIMPLICITY
of the principles involved. I could see clearly that there were three things 
that led to Revival, and will lead to Revival anywhere. These principles are:
1) UNITY,  2) UNIFIED PRAYER and  3) REPENTANCE.  What's new in these, I hear 
you ask? Absolutely nothing! They are the same principles that have sparked 
countless Revivals down the centuries. It's just that now I have seen them 
with my own eyes. And the SIMPLICITY of it all has become abundantly clear. 
I guess that is what is new. It is one thing to learn about Revival from 
books - it is another to see it enacted before your very face.

The famous Revivalist Charles Finney once made an astonishing statement.
He said that "Revival is no more a miracle than a crop of wheat". In his
opinion, Revival was simply a "natural" and expected outcome when the right 
spiritual 'conditions' were met. (Please remember that Finney had been 
involved in Revival after Revival for decades when he made this statement). 
He likened it to a farmer who expects that if he sows the right seed under
the right conditions then he has every right to expect that the grain will
come to fruition. Finney believed (as I do) that Revival is the "natural" or
normal state of the church. (-We see this clearly in the Book of Acts). Why 
should we think that it is so 'extraordinary' for the church to be in a 
Revival state, when it always was for year after year in the beginning?

Interestingly, three decades after Finney's death, a missionary to China
named Jonathan Goforth came across Finney's writings. He could see that 
Finney believed in a kind of 'Science of Revivals'. -That if certain
conditions were met, then Revival could be expected. He saw that it must 
first start with himself - a leader - before he could bring it to others. 
Brokenness, repentance and deep dealings with God are essential to a Revival 
ministry, as well as intense prayer. Goforth became determined to enact 
Finney's principles in his own ministry. After these deep dealings, wherever 
he went he gathered the Christians together, preached on deep repentance and 
prayer, and mighty Revival followed him wherever he went.

Keep in mind that both Finney and Goforth concentrated their efforts on
the CHRISTIANS. They knew that if the Body of Christ could be brought to
deep cleansing and repentance, then the blocked-up channels of God's blessing
would be cleared, and God's glory would begin to flow out into the world
once more. And this is exactly what happened, in place after place. The
Christians were brought to deep repentance and prayer, and suddenly God's
glory was able to come down amongst them for all the world to see. 

It is the same today also. If somehow the Christians can just be brought
to UNITY, REPENTANCE and PRAYER then we can expect the greatest outpouring 
of the glory of God that this world has ever seen. It is the CHURCH that is 
the problem - the CHURCH that is blocking the flow of God's grace and power 
to this lost and dying world. So it is the Church that must be our prime 
focus if we want to see Revival. The channels have got to be cleaned out.


THE HINDRANCES

I had an American woman write to me recently saying that the intercessors
in her city had begun to band together, and wanted to organise unified
outdoor gatherings, etc. But the pastors of the various churches were so
into "building their own kingdoms" and 'clinging to their sheep' that they
were strongly discouraging this kind of unity. They did not want 'their' 
sheep crossing over into other folds. And multitudes of Christians around 
the world have seen similar attitudes amongst church leaders. We are now 
faced with a situation in the church where we have had centuries of this 
kind of 'territorial preservation' and competition between groups, even 
those who believe basically the same things. It has done terrible damage. 
I believe that this kind of behaviour from leaders amounts to shocking abuse 
of the Body of Christ. We are supposed to be 'one body'. When will the petty 
rivalries and jealousies end? (Many seem to preach a mealy-mouthed 'unity' 
on one hand while behaving exactly the opposite on the other).

I believe that unity and corporate prayer are essential to this coming
Revival. I am convinced that this is one of the main things that God is 
wanting to re-establish in the coming move - to truly have "ONE BODY". And 
I also believe that if He has to accomplish this over the 'dead bodies' of 
some of His leaders then He will do so. 

As I have written previously, many of the dreams and visions of the coming
Revival have shown the Christians abandoning their church buildings or 
'cathedrals' to rush out onto the streets where they all become one huge
throng - worshipping God together in spirit and in truth. This makes a lot
of sense to me. For true unity is impossible when we are locked away from
each other inside our present structures. 'Competition' is one of the worst 
problems we face in the Western church. And it will take something this huge 
to fix it. God is about to bring His Bride out of the age-old 'Cathedrals' 
that she has been locked in for all these centuries. And we are going to
have to unlearn all the little trappings and behaviours that go with them,
too.

What I believe God desires to do with the Western church is the same as 
He has done in other places. He wants to bring her to true UNITY and 
REPENTANCE and PRAYER. That is what I believe the 'Street-Revival' that 
is shown in those visions is all about. God has to bring His church out of
all her 'divisions' to get her into that state. Makes sense, doesn't it? And
whether the current pastors welcome it or oppose it is immaterial. When God 
really begins to move they had better either flow with what He is doing or
they will simply get steam-rolled by it. Believe it - it is about to
happen. God cannot live with a lukewarm church.

So what does God require of us at this time? I believe that like Finney and 
Goforth He would have us entering into 'personal Revival' so that when the
time comes we are capable of ministering Revival to others. I also believe
that God would have us seek Him as to what practical steps we should be
taking to see 'UNITY, PRAYER and REPENTANCE' actually take place in our own 
cities. Remember, it is the CHURCH that needs our attention first. If she 
can be brought into Revival, then our communities will surely follow.

The confirming Scripture God gave for this whole thing is 2 Chron 29.
There are many other examples throughout the Bible. It has become more and 
more clear to me that though it will happen in a slightly different way,
UNITY, PRAYER and REPENTANCE are to be the 'Blueprint for Revival' in 
Western cities as they have been around the world.

God bless you all.

-Andrew Strom.

This article copyright (c) Andrew Strom, 2000. Feel free to download, photocopy and distribute.

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