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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

What is revival?

Although as of January 21st, 2015, it hasn't made the news yet, revival has broken out in Elkhart County, Indiana. Over the next few days I will be writing on what is happening and just what makes up a revival. So yes, this blog is actually going to look like a blog for a few days or weeks.  This header post will be revised daily as I write about revival in general; later revisions (this clause being one) will be so identified.

1. It is a move of God.
Revival is not something people do--it's something they experience, because it's a God thing.

2. It comes to people who expect it.
Whenever revival breaks out, it comes out that people have been praying for it for years--earnest, focused prayer. It spreads to a lot of people who weren't praying for it, but it never comes where it wasn't wanted.

3. It is characterized by prayer (this was actually the 9th item I added, but it belongs here).
Hours-long prayer meetings are the distinguishing mark of a revival, especially on college campuses, where it is usually the first mark to emerge. The revival of 1857 began with prayer, and was so characterized by prayer that is is known as the Prayer Revival. I would go so far as to say it is an essential mark of true revival that normal business is put on hold for extended sessions of prayer. And we haven't seen this break out on any scale during REVIVE Indiana. Small groups here and there were often seen in prayer--sometimes extended--but it never spilled over into a revision of the tightly-followed meeting schedule.

4. It brings repentance.
This is twofold: first, repentance by saints of that which has been hindering their effectiveness, and then repentance by sinners unto salvation. The two go hand in hand, because once saints become unhindered they start winning souls to salvation.

5. It restores broken relationships.
There are many categories of relationships that are restored through revival. One example in this instance is a church that split a couple of years ago because its members couldn't agree. Now the two congregations are working together in the revival. Another category is  family relationships. Husbands and wives who used to fight like cats and dogs are now treating each other with honor and respect. Fathers who used to criticize their children are now building them up. Former theological opponents are meeting, hugging, and praying together.

6. It becomes the talk of the town.
The Indiana Revival is still in its early stages, and already it is an item of intense interest. Just to take this blog for example: My posts on albinism have garnered more page hits then the next 25 most popular posts put together--until this week. I haven't even been reporting for a week yet, and daily the hits to my revival updates outpace the usual continued rush to my albinism posts. Several are already in the top 10 for the month, after only seven days! Newspaper websites are being deluged with searches for 'revival' and their phones are ringing with people asking "What's up with Revive INDIANA?" There comes a point when no one can deny that it's the top story in the news.

7. Its draw becomes irresistible.
People are even drawn into the revival who want nothing to do with it, disagree with it, and have been doing their utmost to avoid it.  Either they come to the revival, or the revival ends up coming to them, despite their best attempts to flee it.
Case in point: a carload from the corner of the state, four hours away, that showed up for, of all things, Training Night. Naturally they claimed that they hadn't driven all that way for the revival, and had perfectly logical reasons for just happening to be in town, and felt perfectly free to come 'check out' the phenomenon which they had heard so much of, 200 miles away. Not an extreme case, but nonetheless an example of the phenomena at work.

8. It fills the churches.
Church attendance always goes up during a revival, as does membership, with an increase in baptisms; this at least in the case of churches that aren't opposing the revival.

9. It lowers the crime rate.
As criminals join the ranks of the converted, they stop committing crimes. It may be a bit soon to judge Revive Indiana's effect on the local crime rate, but it is interesting to note the Elkhart, which averages about one murder every other month, has had none since Dec. 19th. And interestingly enough, that last murder remained unsolved until witnesses finally came forward toward the end of January, and a suspect has now been arrested. Many of the arrests in January and February were for crimes committed earlier, with suspects just now being taken in--and, in many cases, pleading guilty. The majority of arrests, however, have been for drunk driving; if this revival is to succeed, historically speaking the drunks are going to have to sober up.

2 comments:

  1. I'll be watching for your posts.

    ReplyDelete
  2. May it be the beginning.

    Grace and peace

    ReplyDelete

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