I have been reading A Global History of Christians and have just been through the Reformation, the Great Awakening, and The Second Great Awakening. How the preachers and their fiery brand of evangelism transformed the world in which they lived. Tent meetings and camp meetings sprang up not only in urban areas but on the edge of the western frontier. People couldn’t get enough of the Word of God! It kind of puts me in the mind of Acts chapter 2. Verse 37 ’When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" 38) Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the Holy Spirit."’ And we know what happened there, don’t we? Three thousand repented and were baptized! Brothers and Sisters, that is a revival!!!
I was thinking…what would happen if in the local park someone stood up with Bible in hand and began preaching repentance, baptism, and eternal life. Pointing out the condemnation of the soul-dead, weary masses, searching for meaning in the here and now. People trying to fill the holes in their hearts with possessions, careers, and the carnality of the world? Would people gather, share food, spend the night, stay there listening with rapt attention as long as the preacher spoke? Oh, I can see it now…who would be the first to call the police? Did they have the right permission and permits, had they paid the correct fees? If so, would they then be charged with disturbing the peace and be removed? Disturbing the conscience is more like it! Even "so called" Christians might accuse the evangelist of being a fanatic, an extremist, zealot, or worse…
Christians and society in general are comfortable with "church" taking place on Sundays in a building frequented by ’believers and seekers’ singing songs, giving an offering, listening to a sermon; getting a dose of heavenly love, righteousness and glory to soothe their minds so they can start their week off "right" then shaking hands and heading to lunch all before noon.
I must stop right here and tell you that my pastor is one of these fiery evangelists. I love it! I pray we would have visitors and regulars alike who would be ’cut to the heart.’ What would happen if this kind of evangelism burst forth from local pulpits everywhere? I guarantee it would cause quite a stir! Some would leave the "church" indignant if they actually caught a glimpse of the One True God, the Great I AM. Oh, but others…souls would be saved, lives changed, and a revival would break forth in this still sleeping giant we call America!
The song from Sister Act 2 rings in my ears. "Lord, send a revival, and let it begin in me. We now need a revival to rock this world today, have it begin on another rampage that is how we pray. Lord send a revival, Lord send a revival, Lord send a revival... and let it begin in me!"
Psalm 139: 23 -24 (KJV)
(23)Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; (24) and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Will the revival begin in you?