If I had a dollar for all of the times I have heard someone say that a revival was happening somewhere, I would be able to pay for everyone’s transportation to get there. I’ve been there, done that; sought for miracles, signs and wonders all over the globe following the anointing of man. Maybe that was my problem, I was in hot pursuit of Holy Spirit to share with me the truths of The Kingdom, but I got tripped up through those who were delivering the message. I drove miles into the countryside to gather for a white tent revival with all of my misfit friends from the streets who were looking to me for their truth. I was just a zealous entrepreneur giving them a job while talking about Jesus during a five-day work week, but somehow they needed what I spoke of and I needed to tell them. But when it came time to enter the atmosphere that I claimed would bring them more answers than I had to give, every single one of us walked away disappointed. I didn’t want them to look toward me in the same ways I sought answers from healers or evangelists. After a while it became rather silly to drive across state lines for a so-called revival when I realized the small gathering of believers I worked with were praying and changing daily in the same ways as people of the past who grew up experiencing revival after a chrysalis.
That’s not so unusual if you look back in history. Revival was unstoppable in Brownsville, where Pensacola Florida erupted with power from God for over two years. This was not a scheduled event the first time believers gathered to pray, yet it morphed into an expected anticipation for the southern state from 1993-1995. I wasn’t a Christian yet because I got saved in 1998. The interesting thing was that I attended a scheduled service with John Kirkpatrick and his team, years after the Pensacola revival had ended. My curiosity was piqued as stories were re-told about the method and ways that God moved during that era. Somehow the focus was on re-creating revival through works and begging God to repeat an experience meant for the past.
Why was man trying to re-kindle a flame from a fire that had already burned out? If God required certain protocol to usher in a revival, than why wasn’t the fool-proof method repeating itself? I knew from the desperation of my employees that when people are led in directions that come to a dead-end, few will seek a better path. The challenge of something new lends caution to most people even if the desired outcome would prevail. But like those who followed me down rabbit trails, when we sought a direct path to Daddy, our level of frustration faded, because we had left old ways behind, and became revived.
The same personal revival must come to all of us. There will come a time in every believer’s life when he will question his belief in God. A quest for ministry or purpose is not enough and in fact, should lead one back into the graceful arms of Daddy. Without the grounding of love and acceptance found at salvation, a Christian will seek revival as proof of God’s love on earth instead of seeking it within his own heart. Salvation has been pitched as all you need, the end all-be all for making it to Heaven. Yet, it’s only the front end of life. Sanctification is the walk out; the inner healing, the deliverance, the forgiveness, the chrysalis that becomes your journey of perfection in Daddy’s love. The end of life occurs after He has established you as a son or daughter full of revival pumping through your veins because you’re family.
Many of us come from broken homes where family has led us down the road of hardship. It makes sense in a way because Jesus had to die for our reconciliation to The Father, a far greater suggestion than salvation getting us into Heaven. Our relationship with Daddy determines the health of our soul and therefore dictates our relationships. The founder of the Methodist Church, John Wesley, found this out the hard way. On a quest to bring God to Georgia, he left England and the mandates of religious law from his priestly father, to teach commoners how to live a good Christian life. Unfortunately, he lacked the love and acceptance needed to motivate believers to do “good works” and quickly found himself mentally exhausted without a following. His inflexible spirit revealed his belief that one must earn God’s love. He was a missionary to America without a relationship to the God he was serving while his need for personal revival hinged on an encounter.
When his father sent for him from London, Wesley returned for a short while to his homeland as a back-up priest. He became a teacher of logic and philosophy for two years and then escaped the fundamental Christendom for the United States once again. Believing he needed to prove himself deserving of God’s grace, he implemented “Sunday School” for deeper Biblical study of his parishioners. In the spirit of knowledge he preached on “doing good works” and “being a good Christian”. Thankfully, George Whitfield came across his path with a message of grace. He ignited a small flame in Johns heart with a friendship, the first relationship of its kind to the scholar. The grace message was met with fear and hostility from those who believed grace was a licence for sin, but something in John became desperate for the family those with freedom were apart of.
Out of desperation for love and acceptance, John Wesley embarked on a journey back to his homeland. Both he and his brother explained having a “tingling sensation come over my body and heart”, just three days apart from one another. His realization that he had been a missionary to the U.S. for a God he did not know personally, impacted Johns view on life all the more. His heart was open as Jesus entered it, resurrecting the life he always wanted. He and his brother went forward writing praise songs that became the first publication of “The Hymnal” used in the Methodist church. His short stay in Georgia, particularly Savannah where I reside, has impacted me greatly all these years later. Although Wesley died in the year 1790, I am celebrating his life in 2016 at a landmark of his impactful travels.
Sitting in the pew of The United Methodist Church on Skidaway Island this morning was a huge shot of revival in the arm for me. I have researched the history of the church for years and believe Wesley was a true mystic. I remember sitting in church with my grandma and thinking it was a waste of time, I was only seven, but I knew she didn’t know Daddy in Heaven. Twenty years later, I started bringing her to my youth group and after three remarkable visits of leaving after midnight, she told me that, “a undescribable feeling came over her body” as she asked Jesus into her heart. Within a month she had fallen, entered a hospital and died.
It may sound crazy, but the spirit of John Wesley set the precedent for my family. Tradition was not enough to save or perfect him anymore than it had been for me at age 7, or my grandma at 72. He had to give it his best shot and move forward with fervor even if it started from knowledge and law, for the sake of many generations that followed. I had first hand knowledge of many Methodist parishioners not having a personal relationship with Jesus, my grandma being one of them, until Daddy intervened. Rumors have spread for decades that it is a dead church, full of old people and tradition, void of Holy Spirit all together, yet I know friends who attend these churches with fire in their bones. The revival that John experienced in his heart came from Daddy alone, not under a tent or from his indoctrinated bylaws. After years of “doing” for God, like so many of us, Daddy extended John grace.
I attended a service honoring John Wesley today because I wanted to bless a friend for inviting me, and gain confirmation on a word I heard prophesied over a decade ago: “The Methodist Church will be the faith that ushers in revival on American soil”. The original vision of its founder was to share the acceptance and love of Our Father in Heaven and point others in the direction of Him alone. What we cannot do for ourselves, Daddy is in the business of doing. Where we cannot impact those around us or make them believe as we do, one encounter with God’s love can. Revival is upon us because it is the change our hearts are craving, and it need not be sought anywhere else but inside ourselves.