We hear a lot today about this movement or that movement. This terminology is being repeated in the body of Christ as we refer to revival and awakening. There is the ‘prophetic movement’, the ‘apostolic movement’, ‘prayer movement’, and the list goes on. Society has many movements such as ‘civil rights’, ‘the gay and transgender movement’, black lives matter movement, and so on.
Within each of these movements, especially those that have been around a while, there exists a history whereby we can look back at the past and see what has been accomplished. Often there are significant moments where that movement took a leap forward. However, many movements take a turn backward and slow down or stop altogether and they become a part of history.
When it comes to revival we can study history and see that there were many revivals that changed cities, regions, and nations. Consider the First Great Awakening and the many lives that were changed, the fruit that came out of it such as educational institutions designed to train and raise up pastors and other church leaders. Schools such as Harvard and Princeton were founded for just such a purpose.
In our own lives, we can see movements like the Brownsville Revival or the Toronto Blessing in which hundreds of thousands of lives were changed. The impact of those movements is still felt today. However, they are all monuments of what God did and how He operated and changed lives and regions.
The Second Great Awakening came and one again many souls came to the Lord and the church was changed forever. Charles Finney preached so much in Up-State New York it became known as the ‘burned-over district’. Many revivals have occurred, some with fruit seen today. But, we speak of every one of them in the past tense. The Great Awakenings are monuments to the power of the cross.
After World War I governments began erecting markers and monuments dedicated to the brave men and women who fought to ‘keep democracy safe.’ The Liberty Memorial was built and dedicated in Kansas City as a monument or memorial to the events that led up to the war and the war itself. We build these monuments to commemorate an event and to learn from it. Washington D.C is littered with monuments and memorials that seek to remind us of past events and the change that they brought.
I am afraid that we have made revivals of the past monuments. We study them and try to mimic or duplicate the methods hoping for similar results. The schools of the First Great Awakening are not even monuments of the great revival. They are so far from what they were organized to do that they look like broken, crumbled, dilapidated markers in a cemetery.
It is not enough to just study and follow past revivals. If we want a revival movement we must keep it fresh or else it will quickly biome a monument. The church is more than a movement because it is a kingdom with a king. Prayer, prophetic, or any other movement in the church must be part of the greater kingdom plan. The church is alive so we are constantly on the move. Praying, worship, prophesying, serving, helping, preaching, loving, and everything else that the followers of Christ are supposed to do.
If we stop doing anything that Christ has called us to do then we begin to lose momentum and soon we stop praying, studying the Word, worshipping, and serving with joy. In essence, we become a monument. Can people point to your life and say that you are a movement or part of the kingdom of God movement? Or do they look at past events in your life and say that is where you peaked. Do they just remember what Christ has done through you or what He is still doing through you?
Monuments are ok if we use them for the right reason. Keep building monuments in your life but always be a movement. Today you are a movement, but will you be a monument or movement tomorrow? If we want revival in the Church in America or any other nation we can’t focus on the monuments of the past. I do not want to go back to my three years in Pensacola, Fla. at the Brownsville Revival, but I want something fresh and something new from heaven.
That is what it will take to see Revival in the Church and Awakening in society. Henry Blackaby taught in “Experiencing God” to ‘watch and see where God is working and join Him.’ That is revival every day. It may be just smiling at the cashier at Walmart or cooking for your neighbor. As someone once told me, we preach by serving.
Whatever it is you are to do each day, remember that day you are a movement.