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.
- CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO THE 'DREAMS & VISIONS' SUPERSITE.
- CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO THE 'NZ REVIVAL BULLETIN' HOME-PAGE.