Great News! Are you awake?
[this is long, but well worth your time]
Here is something to get excited about…
People are reaching for God…in fact, they are desperate for him.
Are you awake? Are you watching?
I was awake that January night when 24-year-old Damar Hamlin hit the ground in the televised NFL game, suffering cardiac arrest. And then I watched as people all over the country unashamedly fell to their knees praying for him. Captured on Twitter feeds, sports casts and local Buffalo coverage, folks knew who to cry out to on his behalf – the Mighty One who came to seek and to save. God heard...God answered prayer.
And have you been watching what is happening in Kentucky? Little Asbury University has seen a move of God. Some call it an awakening, others a revival. No matter what you call it, I have watched closely as Asbury students stayed after a chapel service to be in the presence of God, wanting more of him. This ought encourage all of us!
Had my personal circumstances been a little different, I would have driven to Wilmore, Kentucky myself. Not this time. Before I discuss Asbury a little more in this briefing, however, I once had the opportunity to experience firsthand the Lakeland Outpouring, (Florida). Attending a convention in Orlando, I connected with a friend who gave me a ride out to Lakeland.
It was July, 2008. Before I flew to Orlando from my Southern California home, I had gotten emails and questions ‘What do you think about what’s going on in Lakeland?’ So it was on my radar and I was thrilled to go and experience for myself what was going on out in the country area under a huge white tent.
There was singing, praising and lots of emotion … okay, I’m good with that,
but there was a lot of histrionics too. Now let me say from the outset, lest you think I am a hands at my side, in-the-box kind of Christian worshiper-- at 12 years old, I played the organ on Sunday nights in a Pentecostal church two blocks from my home in Alameda, California. I am both familiar and comfortable with emotion in worship—and I personally believe all churches should open their altars for times of ‘doing business with God’--personal prayer, repentance and hands-on prayer for healing.
But what I witnessed in Lakeland was a lot of show—from the platform and around me. When the speaker took the stage, he quoted scripture once and when I looked up the passage, he had it wrong. (?) The sense of genuine desire to lift up the name of God, draw people to salvation in Jesus Christ seemed to be missing. Had I have driven my own vehicle, I would have left—that is how disturbing I found it to be.
Then he said, “That’s the star: God’s word, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit moving in our midst. That’s what we’re hoping…I hope you guys forget me, but [that] anything from the Holy Spirit and God’s word would find fertile ground in your hearts and produce fruit.”1
The students tarried that day – to pray, to give testimonies—(of what God has done in their lives)—and continue to sing in worship to God. The songleaders kept on playing and singing songs of worship to God, and word got out; people travelled from near and far to be a part of it. I’ve watched and listened on Youtube, read every review I could get my eyes on, listened to podcasts…. consider this ‘take’ if you will from a young Tennessee minister please: As many of you know, I am at the Asbury Revival in Kentucky. Last night, I slept in my car in 30° weather and snow, and this morning waited in line for 4 hours in the freezing weather to be in the service. I’ve noticed a few people criticizing those who make the drive to be here and I want to speak to it. I stood in line next to somebody who drove 13 hours to be here. He was a Pastor. I stood next to another man who traveled from Orlando. There were people there from Brazil and just about every other state there.
Now some people throw out, “You wouldn’t have to travel if you had personal revival”. I totally understand that not everybody is able to make the trip and that is okay. And I agree that personal revival is a necessity. We can have it. Here is the issue: Most Christians DON’T. Most Christians are content with not ever picking up their Bible, rarely go to
Church, they bash other Christians, rarely witness, and live mediocre at best Christian lives. I’ve been there. We all have.
Now let’s look at Asbury. 9 days ago, a few college kids stayed behind to pray after chapel ended. And because of their obedience, God showed up in a mighty way. Fast forward to today and THOUSANDS of people from all over the world are flooding this little town. Why? Because God is moving. You want to know the main conversations I heard today from people who went? They were hungry for God. They weren’t experiencing God in a corporate setting in their local church. They had personal prayer lives. But they LONGED to be in a room with other like minded people who were hungry for Jesus. And let me tell you this: Being in that auditorium today with 1600 people seeking Jesus was absolutely breathtaking. There was ZERO HYPE. It was raw presence. There was no “God’s man of power for the hour,” there was no outstanding musicians or eloquent preachers. BUT Jesus was the main attraction.
We live in a world today where we can go to the movies and spend money, waste time, and nobody says a word. We can watch hours of sports and nobody say a word. We can take vacations because “we want the experience” and nobody says a word.
BUT, when people from All OVER THE WORLD get excited about exalting Jesus and they rearrange their schedules and give up things to drive where Jesus ALONE is being exalted, we quickly want to criticize.
We pray for Revival, yet when God doesn’t do it where we are, we point a finger at people who go where it is.
I’m convinced one of the clearest signs that we don’t have personal revival is we haven’t learned to celebrate other people’s hunger for the things of God. Instead of celebrating what God is doing, we find fault.
In that room today, I sat next to a man in his 70s on my right and a man in his 30s on my left. I witnessed people from every background and every language, come together with ONE AGENDA: Lift Jesus high.
I witnessed prayer, repentance, the Word of God, healings, deliverance, and salvations.
Are these things I’ve witnessed myself before? Absolutely! But it still causes my Spirit to leap. There is STILL HOPE FOR AMERICA!
WHAT IF THIS MOVE CAUSES REVIVAL TO BREAK OUT IN AMERICA???
We may need to throw down our stones and pick up the Word of God. He is doing a new thing. And you best believe I’m going to support it and believe in it, whether it happens at my church or not.2
Are you awake? Do you desire a new awakening in your life? I pray so. Ask God to show you where you have grown callous, and ask him to make his presence known in your life, my friend.
Be encouraged! Thousands of people have made their way to tiny Wilm0re, Kentucky so they could get in the presence of God and with people who wanted more of him. Young people wanting more of God...how great is that?!
O, this is great news… people are searching for God. I pray that you and I will diligently reach for God too. Let's give Got a wide berth in our lives. Come, Holy Spirit.
Are you awake?
1 - Zach Meerkreebs, speaker on February 8, 2023, at Asbury University
2 -Zach Bennard, pastor at Church Without Walls, Dyersburg, Tennessee
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