THE NATURE OF REVIVAL
Right now, a truly amazing revival is taking place in Manipur and is overflowing into the bordering nation of Myanmar. My dream is to capture the heart of what has happened and duplicate it worldwide. Revival is God centred and at its’ heart is His desire for His children to experience His kingdom life. I am absolutely convinced that the words of Jesus are as true today as when He entered Jerusalem before His crucifixion. The people were shouting out Hosanna to the king and the Pharisees were upset telling Jesus to make them stop. Jesus told them that the very stones would cry out if they didn’t shout it out. You can’t stop the purposes of God when revival breaks out. One significant thing I have learned is that it needs to be more God and less man. When the focus of our man made programs is taken away and replaced by giving God the freedom to move, a greater revival will always take place.
Before we make our plans, we need to see what our heavenly Father is doing and make His plan our plan. God fought for Israel on numerous occasions and often all His people had to do was to turn up and walk in His victory. Revival is never about the brilliance of our programs, it’s about the kingdom. Such is the nature of revival. God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. I think Minthang and I fit into that category very well. We are both truly cracked vessels. God the Father has broken us and will continue to open the cracks in us allowing the light of His Son Jesus to shine out into a lost and dying world. The wild mustang is of no use to the rider until he is broken and so it is with the servants of God. Smith Wigglesworth said: “…we can only do well in the name of Jesus…I know I cannot be anything for God except when I am nothing.” Moses grew up in the courts of Pharaoh for forty years supposing that the greatness of his influence would provide deliverance for Israel. God used another forty years in the wilderness to break him before that could happen. Moses found there is a natural way to try to bring about the purposes of God and there is a supernatural way. Using the natural way brings struggle, but the supernatural the power of God. If we are passionate about seeing revival in our time, it’s always good to study what has taken place before.
This isn’t a detailed analysis on the history of revival but I believe it is at its’ core. The Wesley revival of the 1700’s appears to have been influenced by their determination to seek after the holiness of God. They pursued living a holy a life as far as is humanly possible. “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16) The following quote by Wesley links revival with holiness; mission; community and empowerment of the Spirit. “I continue to dream and pray about a revival of holiness in our day that moves forth in mission and creates authentic community in which each person can be unleashed through the empowerment of the Spirit to fulfil God’s creational intentions.” ― John Wesley, How To Pray: The Best of John Wesley on Prayer. I believe John absolutely grasped the key elements of revival in this statement. Two elements to holiness flow from brokenness: knowing what our sinful nature is like and the pursuit of holiness because we know that we are broken. Other elements include: mission accomplished through community (the unity of the Holy Spirit); the empowerment of the Holy Spirit (the promise of the Father) and the release of the entire body to minister. When the body of Christ is in this position revival flows as a natural consequence.
John Wesley was absolutely committed to the management of his time. He was at it and always at it. People marvelled that he had time to write because of he was so frequently preaching and marvelled that he had time to preach because he was so frequently writing. He even composed sermons as he rode on horseback travelling an estimated 250,000 miles. I often wonder what John Wesley would say about the revival in Manipur. When looking at what has taken place, his dream is now finding fulfilment. Its’ appearance seems considerably different than in his time, although I believe the principles of success are essentially the same. One of the characteristics of the Wesley revival seems to have been the presence of God in their meetings convicting the hearts of sinners, resulting in the salvation of many people. It has been said the Wesley revival possibly averted a bloody revolution like that which occurred in France. John Wesley was once walking through a factory and two young girls mocked his diminutive size as he was only 5’ 2”. When he turned to look at them they were broken by the Holy Spirit and convicted of their own sin sobbing uncontrollably for mercy. For this to happen I believe Wesley needed to be a very pure vessel and must have regularly tested and allowed the Holy Spirit to correct him with respect to sin.
Once I was in London visiting the British Museum. As I walked along an isle I felt a warm presence come over me. I turned from the direction it came from and there was a very large picture on the wall of John Wesley. He had has hand raised as if praying over a crowd. I believe God gave me a sign and a wonder and an anointing.
Wouldn’t it be really good if we could package revival in such a way that it was guaranteed? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could set out a seven point plan to follow with the assurance of revival? No doubt someone would try to sell it. But I believe you can’t package revival because you simply can’t contain it. On the 1/7/2015 revival broke out on the Manipur/Myanmar border in a Baptist Church in the village of Tonzang. The people immediately formed a team to take the gospel across the border into Myanmar. They don’t have bible school training, but they do have the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the words of Jesus which said that they would receive power to witness. They have taken what they have and presented it to Jesus like the boy that gave Him five loaves and two fishes. Jesus is going to bless what they have and multiply it. That is the true nature of revival!