I am a history buff.
And I may even be willing to admit that I am a romantic.
By romantic I mean it is not hard for me to close my eyes in significant historical sites and imagine the things that happened there.
It has been my privilege to stand in Holy Trinity church, in St. Andrews, Scotland, where John Knox preached his first sermon and the good news of the Reformation swept through the land in the 1500’s. The current pastor of Holy Trinity even took me down to the vault and allowed me to hold the communion ware that Knox would have handled.
When no one was looking, I snuck up the stairs to stand in John Wesley’s 1700’s pulpit, in the Chapel on City Road, in London. It was a pulpit from which the awakening of “heart religion” swept Great Britain into a white hot nation-changing revival.
A few years ago I had the privilege of visiting with one of England’s leading scholars on George Whitefield, a fiery field preacher, also of the great 1700’s revival in England. Had my picture taken sitting in Whitefield’s pulpit chair.
I have visited the church that was packed out every day at noon in the 1800’s with over 3,000 to hear Charles Spurgeon preach the Word of God.
I have stood in the aisle of the Barvas Church of Scotland, on the Isle of Lewis, in the Hebrides, where Duncan Campbell, in the early 1950’s, had to step over teenagers to get to the pulpit, while they were crying out in anguish of spirit, “Is there mercy for me?”
All of these experiences, and many more, are burned into my memory as markers.
They do not just mark a time, place and manner in which God moved powerfully back then. They are memorial stones that fuel my faith that we serve a God who longs to move in powerful ways today to make Himself known and be glorified again in His Church.
I believe I have heard His promise that He will make Himself known in glory again in our day.
It’s a promise that frankly keeps me going in a world hurtling towards judgment.
I am not looking for the next move of God to look exactly like the revival in John Knox’s day, or Wesley’s day or Duncan Campbell’s day.
But I absolutely believe there will be common threads visible in the next move of God… like an overwhelming sense of His presence, like a humble and contrite spirit in His people, like deep repentance, obedience, and aggressive evangelism in our personal lives.
I am confident that God’s promise to frequently revive His people is alive in every generation and is waiting for a holy dissatisfaction and desperate hunger in us… in you and me.
My faith still stands.
And it was renewed this week by God’s Word in Micah 7:20.
The verse promises God’s faithfulness and steadfast love to His people. But then it adds…”as You have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.”
The ESV footnote for this verse says, “God’s character moves Him to keep His word and thus the old promises to our fathers still stand.”
The promise still stands!
My father died in 1992, having seen a great measure of revival in his life, his family and the church he pastored in Durban, South Africa… but he died praying and believing for an even greater revival in the church.
Weeks before he died, while listening to an old cassette of the Brooklyn Tabernacle choir song, “…we need a Holy Ghost revival,” he dropped onto his knees in a spirit of intercession and starting praying for that coming revival in Africa, in the USA, and specifically in our church in Seattle.
That was 1992.
We have had a measure of God’s amazing presence and power since 1992.
But we have not seen a city-changing revival yet.
God’s promise still stands.
Therefore I have no choice but to remain standing in faith with prayer also… after all these years.
Will you join me?