The Jesus Movement was glorious. I know, because I was there. I saw the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in many parts of California. I preached at the festivals. I saw thousands saved on campuses, including the radical University of California at Berkeley.
But, I am not looking for another Jesus Movement. I am looking for something better. I believe that those who try to recreate something God did before will always be disappointed. Here are the reasons why:
God is fiercely original. Psalm 97:1 says, “Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth.” Have you noticed how every revival has its own unique sound? One of the very first byproducts of a revival is a new song.
Our God is a creator of infinite variety, a creator who never stops creating. He wants originality. He never runs out of surprises. Did you ever notice that every miracle in the Bible is unique? That is why Satan can never fully prepare for the approach of revival. Even after the devil has checked all the doors, tried all the windows, and scanned every horizon, he is still going to be caught completely unprepared when it strikes.
We should thank God for past awakenings, but we must also understand that the next outpouring will look like nothing we have ever seen before. Isaiah 43:18, “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?”
Don’t try to organize revival into existence.God will do it in such a way that God alone can take credit for it. Today I see a dangerous trend—even among leaders that I highly respect—in which many prophetic and revival movements are trying to organize a ‘New Jesus Movement.’ They are pooling their talent, wealth and influence, thinking they can make a global miracle happen.
I am begging everyone who thinks this is a good idea: please consider history. In 1907, the news of the revival in Wales reached America. Christian businessmen and famous church leaders met to recreate the same revival. They assumed Americans deserved at least as good a revival as Wales. They raised huge sums of money. They pooled their celebrity and influence, assuming God and the church would follow suit. It died with a whimper, and failed spectacularly, because God refused to be manipulated.
Overlooked by all of these famous Christians was a one-eyed black brother praying in a rented livery stable in downtown Los Angeles. Far from the luxury and prestige of Christian power brokers, in the dust and dinginess of the Azusa Street Mission, the authentic volcano of God-born revival erupted.
Today’s famous revivalists need to reexamine their trust in their own might and power—because “it is not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord!” (Zech. 4:6)
The best and safest move for those who desire true revival today is humility, brokenness and repentance. Don’t try to tell the Body of Christ who the superheroes of revival are going to be. Don’t think for one moment that great influence or celebrity is the catalyst to revival. They never have been and they never will be.
Book sales, notoriety and fame, are of no importance in the strategy of heaven. We might think we are able to predict who will be the vessels of Fire and Glory who will usher in the next move of God—but we can also be dead wrong.
Who knows if, at this very moment, somewhere out there, an obscure preacher in a dilapidated church is sobbing tears of desperation over his tiny congregation? What if ground zero for awakening is an inconspicuous wooden chapel, and not a gleaming church campus? What if God’s plan is to work through them to bring about something so powerfully explosive on a worldwide scale, that it will make the Jesus Movement look like a polite touch by comparison?
Remember, the greatest heavenly invasion in all history began in a manger, just outside of a small town named Bethlehem. The next one began in a little upper room in Jerusalem. Wherever the next wave of God is going to begin, prepare to be stunned…