Signs of True Revival

The subject of revival is something that has stirred my heart ever since the Lord Jesus Christ made His saving grace real to me in 1966.  My life was greatly enriched by an Assembly of God evangelist, who visited the area where I lived shortly after my conversion.  I was also blessed when watching Billy Graham’s crusades on TV.  Every time he gave an altar call, I wept for joy at seeing so many people go forward to accept the Lord Jesus as their Savior.  After Bible school training, it was also a blessing to work as a counselor for crusades led by Billy Graham, Bill Glass, and David Wilkerson.  Just as the angels of heaven rejoice when a sinner repents and turns to God, I do too.

However, as much as the memories of those experiences bless my life, I’ve heard of other revivals, which greatly surpassed these in magnitude.  I long for the day when I can be a part of a revival that would be more like the one, which began in New York City in 1857.  The manifest presence of God was so powerful throughout the New York region that when ships entered the harbor, passengers and crew got on their knees and cried out to God for salvation.  They did not need a preacher when faced with God in such a personal fashion.  They instinctively knew what to do.  At the peak of that revival, 50,000 people entered the kingdom of God each week.  Crime was reduced to such low levels that prisons were closed, judges and policemen unemployed, and society lived without fear of criminals.

A similar revival began in Wales in 1904 under the ministries of Evan Roberts and Evan Jones.  Within the first few months, someone observed that God personally did more to deliver drunkards than the previous 30 years of temperance work.  Thus, revival is superior to political activism.  It is easy to argue against a political activist, but who can argue with God?  The Welsh Revival not only helped many drunkards to get sober by bringing them to repentance and deliverance, but also turned thousands of others from their sinful lifestyles.  So many people attended the meetings that rugby games were sometimes cancelled due to poor attendance.  Even Parliament adjourned occasionally so its members could attend the meetings.  So many converts got on fire for God that they spread the message of revival throughout the whole world in less than a decade. The most prominent revivals, which were inspired by God’s grace in Wales, occurred in India, Korea, Norway, New Zealand, and S. Africa.  What God did in S. Africa eventually spread up the whole east coast of Africa. When it reached Uganda in 1930, it continued to grow until Idi Amin suppressed it with violence and genocide.

Revivals of equal magnitude broke out again in Argentina (1948&’54), Hebrides Islands (1949), Nagaland (1962), Indonesia (1964), Canada (1970), Asbury College (1970), Cambodia (mid-70’s), and China (1980).  A book about the revival in China, The Heavenly Man, reports that nearly 80 million people were saved between 1980-2000.  In spite of intense persecution by their tyrannical government, revival is still progressing throughout China today.

In comparing these revivals to those in Toronto, Pensacola, and Lakeland, I find things which convince me the latter “revivals” were actually counterfeits.  In a true revival, people are motivated by a desire to get right with God on His terms.  They aren’t seeking supernatural power to suit their own ego, but desire cleansing from sin so they can live righteously.  Those in a genuine revival have no desire to get rich off the gospel, but only to advance the kingdom of God.  They are not interested in promoting their own agenda or seeing their names in the limelight, but to see the Lord Jesus exalted.  They do not brag about their titles or spiritual gifts, but make Jesus Christ preeminent in their preaching and teaching.  They seek God more for Himself than what He can do for them.  They rejoice more in the Healer than in healing.  They focus more upon the Giver than His gifts.  Their faith is a means whereby God can use them instead of using it to manipulate God.  They are more concerned about what they can do to serve God than what He can do to serve them.  The Lord is their shield and buckler instead of their Santa Claus and butler.  They desire more to be a blessing than to receive a blessing.
If the above paragraph has not opened your eyes to see the difference between true revival and counterfeit revival, let’s look at these things more closely.  One of the signs of true revival is a form of repentance that brings righteousness and holiness into a convert’s life.  It is not legalistic, however.  In my own life, for example, I lost all interest in rock music, wild parties, worldly dancing, woman chasing, occultism, beer drinking, and hating certain people.  Holy interests developed in their place, such as Bible study, church attendance, evangelism, worshipping God, and friendships with godly people.  I preferred to tell others about the wonderful grace of Jesus Christ than attending sports events, even though athletics is not sinful unless it becomes an idol.

In a counterfeit revival, however, people experience something that makes them feel good without turning them away from sin.  Those with a counterfeit conversion think Jesus saved them in their sin instead of from their sin.  They justify their sinfulness and worldliness instead of hungering for righteousness.  They prefer to attend church to seek a blessing than to reach out to the lost in evangelism.  Their churches become a bless-me club instead of a soul-saving lighthouse.

To be more specific, I am an eyewitness to bad fruit from the “revival” in Pensacola.  My daughter belonged to a youth group that was invited to attend the meetings there.  About half of her group went.  The other half were unable to attend for various reasons.  Before they went, everyone in her group was on fire for God and lived uprightly.  Afterwards, the half who went to Pensacola all backslid.  The half, who didn’t go, stayed on fire for God.  Those, who backslid, all developed the same sinful lifestyles.  The boys all became homosexuals or whoremongers, and the girls became lesbians or whores.  Thus, they did not receive an impartation of the Holy Spirit, but spirits of sex perversion.  I thank God my daughter was among those who did not go.  In addition to the group, who were corrupted from our home town, I also know a teenager from New Zealand, who came back from Pensacola with an extremely rebellious attitude toward his parents, which he didn’t have before he went.

What I saw happen to my daughter’s youth group is not an isolated example.  When I recently mentioned it to a pastor in New Zealand, he said the same thing happened here.  He also saw the bad fruits of it when he worked as a missionary in Malaysia, Borneo, and Singapore.  Thus, the Pensacola manifestations not only included Kundalini behavior (sardonic laughter and animal sounds) with muscle spasms resembling Parkinson’s disease, but also led participants into unholy lifestyles.  True revival never leads anyone into sin.  Although all converts struggle with temptations during and after revival, they continue reaching out to God for the grace needed to overcome sin.  Thus, true revival creates a spiritual hunger and thirst, which leads to holiness and righteousness.

At a church meeting more recently, I mentioned how the Bible does not promote what certain religious groups call being “slain in the Spirit.”  I went on to tell how Kurt Koch and Mark Bubeck document many case histories of people, who came to them for deliverance after they picked up demons while being “slain in the Spirit.”  Immediately after making that statement, a lady exclaimed, “That explains what happened to our oldest son!”  She said that after someone came promoting the Toronto Blessing and laid hands on him, which caused him to fall backwards to the floor, he began developing an attitude that turned him away from his parents.  The true Holy Spirit never leads anyone to dishonor their father and mother.  The Holy Spirit always works to turn children’s hearts toward their parents and vice versa.  God seeks to build family relationships, not destroy them.  For example, I developed a hatred toward my father during my late teens.  The very moment I was born again, all that hate left me and God’s love replaced it.  I then prayed fervently for Dad and Mom to be saved.  They were the first ones I told what the Lord Jesus did for me.  Thus, true revival does not violate the commandment to honor one’s parents.  God prophesied through Jeremiah that in the new covenant, He would write His laws upon the hearts of His people.  One of those laws commands us to honor our parents.

The gist of everything explained above is that true revival is evident by the way it promotes righteousness and holiness, restores family relationships, and purifies attitudes and motives.  It also changes one’s focus from self to making Jesus the Lord of their life.  From the moment of conversion, they seek to live for God instead of self.  They obey Jesus’ priority of seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.  Their main desires are upon things of eternal value instead of temporal value.

Another sign of true revival is reverence.  God said that anyone, who attempts to approach Him, should regard Him with reverence (Psa. 89:7).  Being reverent toward the Lord is mainly expressed by regarding Him as holy (Lev. 10:3).  Thus, we won’t laugh in His presence, but humbly bow to His majesty. We will approach His throne with praise and singing, not with frivolity.  We will address Him with great respect instead of over-familiarity.  The lyrics to our music will be scriptural, and not superficial.  There is no place for sloppy agape or greasy grace.

True reverence should not be confused with religiosity or sanctimonious piety.  It cannot be expressed by overt rituals, but by sincerity and brokenness of heart.  God isn’t interested in what we do outwardly, which religiously appears holy, but in what comes from our hearts.  Many, who are outwardly religious, are hypocrites in their hearts.  That is why Jesus told a parable about a priest, who was self-righteous, in comparison to a sinner, who humbly repented and begged for mercy.  It is also why the main instigators of Jesus’ crucifixion were religious leaders, not common sinners.

No one can walk with God without being reverent toward Him.  A good way to understand what it means to be reverent is to study the lives of people, who walked with God in the Bible.  All of them gave us a good example to follow.  The greatest example was Jesus Christ Himself.  Every time He prayed to the Father, He addressed Him reverently and submitted to His will.  Jesus was so whole-hearted in His prayers to the Father that He often expressed Himself with strong crying and tears (Heb. 5:7).

Another sign of true revival is joy.  Unfortunately, I’ve seen where this has been counterfeited too.  Holy joy is not expressed with foolishness.  “The thought of foolishness is sin” (Pro. 24:9).  Foolishness is also linked to wickedness in Ecc. 7:25.  When people begin barking, howling, clucking, and making other animal sounds, for example, they are revealing the truth expressed in Pro. 15:2 – “The mouth of fools pours out foolishness.”  And in verse 14, Solomon tells how foolishness is the food of fools.  In a true revival, therefore, people hunger and thirst for righteousness, but in a counterfeit revival, they feed on foolishness.  If Solomon’s wisdom is insufficient to prove that true joy is not expressed by foolishness, please consider the wisdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who listed foolishness along with pride, theft, and other evil things that come from men’s hearts (Mark 7:22).

The main reason I’m so concerned about the way undiscerning Christians fail to see the difference between foolishness and joy is because I made the same mistake myself twice.  About a year after I was born again, my best friend and I got into a jovial mood that was frequently expressed by clowning around.  We not only amused each other with our jokes, but also had others laughing at our antics.  When asked why we were so funny, we said it was the joy of the Lord.  After using that to break the ice with unbelievers, we turned it into an opportunity to share our faith in Jesus Christ with them.  We sincerely thought our humorous behavior was a legitimate expression of joy.

Emmet and I conducted ourselves like this for at least six months before the Lord brought correction to my understanding.  While having a pleasant conversation with an evangelist one day, he told me how one of his friends did not properly understand the true meaning of sanctification.  His friend sincerely thought he finally attained complete sanctification.  Unfortunately, he clowned around in ways that were foolish.  Because of that, the evangelist asked me, “How can my friend say he is totally sanctified when the Bible says, ‘The thought of foolishness is sin.’?”  The moment he said that to me, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart about my own foolishness.  I suddenly realized how wrong it was to clown around so much.  It should also be noted here that the evangelist did not know how much I goofed around because I never felt inclined to behave that way in his presence.  He knew nothing about the sin of foolishness in my life.  God used him to correct me in such a way that he didn’t know it.  He only thought he was expressing concern for a friend.

Emmet and I stopped clowning around after that.  God then began showing us legitimate ways to express His joy.  We often sang gospel songs at church and spent much time witnessing to others about Christ.  It is difficult to explain the joy I feel when I tell someone about God’s grace.  Whenever I talk to someone, God’s presence draws near to bear witness to the truth.  When I feel God’s presence like that, I understand why the Bible says, “In His presence is fullness of joy.”  I also understand why it is written elsewhere, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”  Two of the best ways I know to experience true joy is to sing God’s praises and to tell others about Jesus Christ.

The second time I had a problem with foolishness occurred a few years later.  God led me to Bible school in 1968.  During my third year at Bible school, a minister came to visit, who promoted the idea of expressing God’s joy through an experience she called “the wine of the Holy Spirit” (aka "holy laughter"). Her prophetic ministry was so accurate that it gave great credibility to the way the “wine of the Spirit” made certain people laugh uncontrollably.  Even the president of the school was highly impressed by her supernatural gifts.  Because of my respect for him, I opened myself up to believe such behavior was really from God.  Once I felt convinced that such foolish laughing might be scriptural, I desired to experience it too.  In an evening meeting, I went forward for prayer to receive “holy laughter.”  The moment someone laid his hand on the small of my back, I fell laughing uncontrollably onto the floor.

After the emotion of the experience waned, I got up wondering why I had a blah feeling compared to previous occasions when I really was filled with the Holy Spirit.  Why was I laughing without feeling the joy I experienced the other times?  I did not get the answer to that question for many years.  When I discovered it was a counterfeit, I sought the Lord in prayer until He delivered me.  Thus, it is possible to laugh without feeling true joy.  The people in more recent revivals, who laugh so foolishly, are just as undiscerning as I was.  The Holy Spirit does not inspire foolishness.  Nor does He inspire animalistic behavior.  Only the devil will make a monkey out of you.  Such laughter, animal sounds, and animal behavior are all manifestations of Kundalini spirits, which attach themselves to the base of a victim’s spine.
Most people I warn about this respond by asking, “How can a demon get into a believer since Jesus’ promised that the Father won’t give anyone a serpent, who asks for a fish?  How can you get a stone if you ask the Father for bread?  How can anyone get a scorpion if they asked for an egg?”  The problem here is that they really didn’t ask for a fish, bread, or an egg.  They were deceived into asking for a serpent, which they only thought was a fish.  In fact, Kundalini gurus refer to this as serpentine power.  Thus, you won’t get a serpent if you ask for what really is a fish, but you will get a serpent if you ask for a serpent.  That is why the apostle Paul could say without contradicting Jesus that many will fall away in the end times by heeding seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.  We need genuine revival, not impersonating counterfeits.
This is why Paul warned about the way Satan can appear as an angel of light.  In the Middle East, there is a snake that looks like a fish and a scorpion that looks like an egg when it is curled up.  Baked bread at the time of Christ also looked like a stone from a distance.  Thus, the Lord Jesus only promised protection from counterfeits if we desire what is genuine.  However, He did not promise protection if we desire a counterfeit in place of the genuine.  People, who want their ears tickled are prime targets for such deception.  Paul said that ear-tickling ministries would be another sign of the end times.
If you carefully study past revivals, you'll see their joy was not expressed by foolishness.  The Welsh Revival was especially known for its music.  The people often sang for hours before the ministers preached God’s word.  Thus, praise and worship are other signs of genuine revival.  Think of the great hymns, which were written as a result of the Reformation (Handel’s Messiah, Martin Luther’s A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, etc.).  During the Methodist revivals, Charles Wesley wrote over 1,000 hymns.  The lyrics to those hymns were filled with sound doctrine.  They were not superficial like counterfeit revivals.
Many good songs of praise and worship have also been written by Pentecostal and Charismatic groups.  Just because some of them entertain unscriptural practices such as “holy laughter” and being “slain in the Spirit” does not mean everything they do is wrong.  I’ve been impressed by the quality of the early songs written by Hillsong (except those with a worldly rock beat).  Jack Hayford’s Majesty is also outstanding.  The repetitious nature of much of their music is not necessarily wrong either.  Look at all the places in the Bible where cherubs and angels were so awed by God’s greatness that all they could say was, “Holy, holy, holy,” over and over again.  There have been many times in my own life when I’ve been unable to express what I felt inside.  It helps to have the gift of tongues at a time like that because the Holy Spirit will always enable you to give utterance according to the will of God (compare Acts 2:4 with Rom. 8:27 and 1 Cor. 14:15-17).  Although the interpretation of Rom. 8:27 refers to the way the Holy Spirit helps us with intercession, it should be realized from this verse that a principle is involved, which indicates that the Holy Spirit also helps us with praise and worship.  This is because the context of 1 Cor. 14:15-17 shows a link between prayer with singing and thanksgiving.
The incense that was presented to God in the Old Testament was required to be prepared in a specific way, which was symbolic of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Incense presented to God contrary to divine protocol was regarded as profane.  God killed two priests, who presumed to offer strange fire to Him in Lev. 10:1-2.  God has the same standards for us today regarding the type of music we offer to Him.  Any music, which is influenced by the spirit of the world, is unacceptable to Him.  This is why I lost all interest in rock-and-roll the moment I was born again.  I instinctively knew it was not acceptable in church.  Why so many Christians lack the same discernment today is a perplexing question.  Some of it can be explained by so many false conversions.  If you want to know more about false conversions, I recommend Ray Comfort’s book, Revival’s Golden Key.
This question can also be explained by what I call shallow conversions.  Some shallow Christians really have been born again, but they are still carnal for various reasons.  Paul discussed the meaning of carnality in his first epistle to Corinth because so many people there were carnal.  A good friend in Bible school is the best example I can give of this.  Wayne initially responded to the gospel because of how God’s love was presented to him.  He appreciated God’s love by the way Jesus demonstrated it on the cross, so he asked Jesus to be his Savior.  However, he did not repent when he called on the Lord for salvation.  As a result, he continued indulging in sinful habits, particularly drugs and rock music.  When he caught hepatitis from a dirty needle, he spent his time in the hospital reading the Bible.  God used the scriptures to show Wayne his need for repentance in addition to his faith.  After Wayne experienced genuine repentance for his sins, he got free from drugs.  By the time I met him, he was so free from his past that I never suspected he was once an addict.  Yet his walk with God began with a shallow conversion and resulted in much mixture in his life for awhile.  Wayne’s testimony should be a warning to us all.  However, it should also encourage us to see God’s faithfulness to bring us out of carnality if we will properly respond to Him.
Another sign of true revival is the way it begins and propagates itself.  In my studies of historical revivals, I've found they all began when God put it upon the hearts of hungry believers to seek Him for Himself in prayer.  As their prayers increased in diligence and fervency, the presence of God began to manifest not only within the churches where they prayed, but also throughout their communities.  Some people refer to this as having an open heaven because God's presence is felt everywhere, not just in a church building.  Such was the case in New York City in 1857 and the Hebrides Islands in 1949.  It also happened in Uganda in spite of the intense persecution under Idi Amin.  This most likely accounts for the fact that the largest church in the world today is located in Uganda.  Because people have such a personal encounter with the Lord Himself under an open heaven, the main focus of everything they do is not upon the leaders God raises up, but upon God Himself.  The focus is not upon the spiritual gifts of the leaders, but upon the Giver.  Such revivals grow as the sphere of the open heaven increases over the area affected.  This growth is always in response to the prayers of intercessors, who continue seeking the Lord for Himself.  Thus, true revival begins in response to prayer and propagates itself through prayer.
However, in a counterfeit revival, prayer rarely receives priority.  Prayer is given only enough attention to make it look good, but the focus is all wrong to prevent it from accomplishing what it ought to. Counterfeit revivals require a leader with a captivating personality.  Without the leader’s personal attention, they cannot begin nor propagate themselves.  They often start when a "gifted" person arrives to impart it with the laying on of hands.  It also spreads through the laying on of hands.  Because the laying on of hands is scriptural (when done properly), it gives some credence to the manifestations of such "revivals."  However, the manifestations themselves (falling backwards, holy laughter, animal behavior) are no where to be found in the Bible unless you wrest certain verses to make them seem so.  Some leaders of such manifestations are so supernaturally endowed that they operate some times without using the laying on of hands.  There is a spirit of mesmerism, which accompanies them and invades the lives of those who open up to them.  I personally saw this the first time during the early 1970's.  Many adepts of the occult also operate this way.  Some of the more prominent examples are Jean Houston (whose crowds fall to the floor acting like fish), Sai Baba and Mucktananda ("holy" laughter), Ann Lee ("holy" laughter), and Tony Angelo (whose audiences to fall backwards to the floor).  Thus, while such manifestations are not promoted in the Bible, they are prominent among occultists and hypnotists.
The above problems with counterfeits, which focus upon a leader, should not be confused with genuine healings and miracles, which also come from God through leaders He really called to ministry.  However, there is a difference between the blessings that come to the church through true ministers of the gospel and revival that comes from an open heaven and the manifest presence of God.  It is more accurate to refer to such moves of God through His gifted servants as an evangelistic campaign.  In an evangelistic campaign, dozens of people have their lives transformed, but it rarely has an impact upon the community where they live.  In a revival, the whole community is transformed because so many more people have their lives changed.  As a result, jails close, policemen are laid off, liquor stores close or change into legitimate businesses, drug sales dry up, bars and brothels close, etc.
The leaders of the Toronto Blessing claim that the revival there began as a sovereign move of God because they were not seeking Him for revival.  This was contrary to every revival I’ve studied.  Every legitimate revival I know about began in response to saints who prayed fervently for it.  God promised to fill the hungry, not those who take Him for granted.  He also said He would allow those, who don’t have a love for the truth, to be deceived because they preferred the pleasures of sin.  I know of two sins the Toronto Vineyard was guilty of before they were infiltrated with Kundalini spirits – rejecting the ministry of Bernice Cunningham and enticing the leaders of a church in Woodstock, Ontario to walk out on their pastor behind his back.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth.  He will never perform a miracle to confirm a lie.  If you ever meet someone who performs miracles in the name of Jesus, but he also claims to be a god, his miracles are being done by the spirit of antichrist.  This is what Jesus was talking about when He warned that lying signs and wonders would be a sign of the last days.  It is also what He meant when He spoke of some He never knew, who would claim they did it for Him.  The Lord Jesus never knocked anyone down by the power of the Holy Spirit when He healed them.  Neither did the apostles.  Demons often fell in His presence, but the person got right back up after Jesus cast them out.  The Lord has healed me several times since 1966, but He never knocked me down to do it.  The same has been true for people He healed when I prayed for them.  The same was true of the missionary I worked with in Canada, who saw hundreds of people healed during his lifetime.  The only people, who fell down around us, needed deliverance from demons.  Thus, true revival will follow the biblical pattern, not the occult.
Other signs of genuine revival include healing, deliverance, and miracles.  These I deliberately listed last for a couple reasons.  One is because God is especially pleased with people who follow Him for Who He is more than what He does for them.  Another is the fact that Jesus said these signs should follow us instead of us following them.  When we get our priorities in order, God is pleased to confirm the truth we preach with signs and wonders.  However, Jesus warned us that in the last days there would be many false Messiahs, false apostles, false prophets, and false miracle workers.  That means we need to carefully examine such ministries to discern if they are really sent by God.  Among the few people I regard as genuine apostles, only one of them ever says so publicly, but he doesn’t flaunt his title the way the false apostles do.  The others simply let their works speak for themselves.
The same is true of the people I believe are real prophets.  They don’t try to impress others with their gifts, but only seek to help them.  Neither do they seek to monopolize the limelight, but are glad to train others to work along side of them.  They don’t use gimmicks to raise money, pressure the people with intimidation tactics, or manipulate them with guilt.  Because they know they aren’t infallible, they are humble enough to publicly apologize if they make a mistake.  They are also humble enough to encourage those, who listen to them, to check out their teaching and preaching in the Bible.  Neither do they make a spectacle of their powers as though church was a three-ring circus.  They don’t use hype to make others think they are anointed.  They know we don’t need thunder and lightning, but only the rain.  They aren’t flamboyant, pompous, or arrogant, but loving, kind, and gentle.  When they need to exercise authority over sickness or demons, they aren’t haughty, but firm and courageous.
If people make the mistake of getting their eyes more upon them instead of the Lord, true leaders are willing to walk away to prevent the people from idolizing them.  I once knew an apostle, who walked away from revivals three times while doing missionary work in Canada.  He did it twice after the people looked more to him than to God.  The third time, God told him that he was needed to minister to someone in the USA, whose need was more important than the revival meetings.  Not many people can walk away from the crowds to help a single individual.  On two occasions, we went to Canada when the temperature was 20 degrees F. below zero.  The people remarked how they were sure God sent us because most preachers get a calling to Florida during the winter.  Thus, God’s true servants aren’t influenced by the crowds or the weather.  They only want to do the will of the Father, not their own.
A good example of this in the Bible occurred when Philip, the evangelist, left a miracle revival in Samaria to minister to an individual from Ethiopia, who was traveling in a desert.  There was no crowd to entertain there.  The hot, dry climate did not appeal to the flesh.  But God, Who knows our hearts, saw someone who was ready to believe the gospel.  It is wonderful what God will do to reach those who are ready for salvation.  The Father also led Jesus to minister to individuals as well as crowds.  Jesus made a special effort to reach Nathaniel, a Samaritan woman, a cripple at Bethesda, a madman with a legion of demons, Lazarus, and others.  This illustrates what it means to know Jesus as our personal Savior.  He is not only Lord of the church collectively, but also relates to us as individuals in a personal way.
It is a tragedy the way so many revivals degenerate into a side-show, which appeals to the flesh.  God does not want to entertain people, but to save them from their sins.  If we come to Him according to His terms, He will respond with true revival.  If we approach Him reverently, He will bless us.  If we regard Him as holy, we will experience His approbation.  If we hunger and thirst for righteousness, God will satisfy us.  If we adopt His priorities, He will meet our needs, but not our greeds.
We must also exercise vigilance to prevent anything, which begins with a genuine visitation of the Lord, from being infiltrated and/or hijacked by evil spirits.  The Azusa Street Revival degenerated into all sorts of occult practices like table-tapping for guidance.  Some churches have been hijacked by the spirit of the world.  That is why they play rock-and-roll to attract people, who expect God to meet them on their own terms.  When seeker-friendly churches attempt to be friendly with the world, they lose God’s presence.  We can’t be a friend of the world and also be a friend of God.  It is also why some churches have bingo, dances, Halloween parties, Easter egg hunts, etc.  Other churches get taken over by spirits of legalism, which pervert the true meaning of holiness.  We were personally involved in one that turned into a cult after the pastor got involved with the Word of Faith Movement.  Because of the way it slid away from God over a period of 8 years, the trend toward cultism was not obvious to anyone.  We knew something was wrong when we left, but it wasn’t until after we were out from under its influence for several years before we understood just how bad it really was.
During the past year we’ve been in New Zealand, we’ve heard that God has been moving in genuine revival in many third world countries.  His grace toward those people has transformed whole societies.  Some of those revivals were documented in videos entitled Transformations by The Sentinel Group.  These modern revivals have one thing in common with historical revivals – they all came in response to intercessory prayer by people, who had a hunger for genuine revival.  Those people did not want anything superficial.  They wanted to get right with God.  They wanted Jesus Christ to be both Lord and Savior of their lives.
The thing that concerns me most about seeing and hearing what God is doing among third world countries is the question, “Why isn’t God doing the same thing in modern countries?”  I believe it is because churches in modern countries have been corrupted by worldliness, materialism, counterfeits, false doctrine, and other negative influences.  We need to get back to the simplicity and purity of the gospel.  We need to be more humble like those living in third world nations
There were many miracles during the Indonesian revival, which not only brought salvation to the people, but also physical healing and deliverance.  These are things commonly promoted by Pentecostals and Charismatics.  Yet the revival in Indonesia did not begin among these churches.  God bypassed them to start it in a Dutch Reformed Church on one island and a Reformed Presbyterian Church on another island, which had not been infiltrated by religious spirits that impersonated the Holy Spirit.  They also had a great reverence for God.  If modern churches would heed the counsel of John Bevere[1] in his books – Heart Ablaze, Thus Saith the Lord, The Fear of the Lord, and Drawing Near – we can become prepared to experience genuine revival ourselves.  We need to pray according to the words of a famous gospel song, “While on others Thou art calling, do not pass me by.”
“Oh that You would rend the heavens and come down!”

[1] Although we think very highly of most of what John Bevere says in these books, we do not endorse his approval of the counterfeits at Toronto, Pensacola, etc.  We appreciate and respect him as a brother in Christ, but also recognize that he needs more discernment about counterfeits.  Since no one is infallible, we offer this criticism humbly, not with arrogance.  We never pray against him, but only for him.  There are too many good things in these books for us to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

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