Let the Fire Fall

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I have never witnessed a great movement of God. Oh, I’ve heard about such awakenings but they have always seemed the stuff of a long ago time.

I grew up in church attending the yearly revival meetings that were religiously scheduled in the fall and spring. When I was a kid these revivals started on Sunday and lasted the week. By the time I was a teenager the, now once a year, revival was a four-day affair running from Sunday through Wednesday. I was actually saved at one such revival meeting in the spring of 1984. By the time I was in college many churches had moved to the “one day revival” format, which was usually a very special Sunday. Today, you don’t hear much about revivals anymore and my kids have never attended one.

I also grew up in a time when every couple of years a “crusade” would roll through town.

These larger revival type meetings were designed to cross church and denominational lines and were held on neutral ground. A well-known preacher of the day would come to town and it was a BIG deal. I can still remember when Bailey Smith would draw a packed arena at Harper Stadium in my hometown of Fort Smith. When I was 16, God moved in my life in a powerful way one evening of that crusade. I had a deep and significant moment of rededication to God’s call on my life.

But all of these kinds of meetings have gone the way of history. The reason is fairly simple

People quit coming.

Period.

***

Revivals and crusades became a part of the church calendar and were held as a matter of rote. Sure, they served to build the body and people usually were saved, but I can say, looking back, that I never witnessed a move of God such that it spread like wildfire. Without exception, when the last scheduled meeting was held, the revival/crusade was packed up and things went back to business as usual around the church or around town.

As I sit in the middle-years of my life, I find myself more and more longing to see, just once, a move of God so significant, so profound, that it literally shapes the landscape and culture of our world.

***

Today, a book is being released by Malcolm McDow and Alvin Reid. I was privileged to receive an advance copy of Firefall 2.0 about a month ago. It has blessed me mightily. As I have been a part of two major prayer gatherings of pastors this year led by Dr. Ronnie Floyd, my heart has been attuned to spiritual awakening in a new way.

Firefall 2.0 has come at the perfect time.

I truly sense that God is doing something in the hearts of pastors and laypeople. There is a growing longing to see God move. A growing sense that only in a move of God will our nation and culture find healing. No politician or political party can deliver this to us.

And so what McDow and Reid have done are a few things:

  • They have reminded us. We forget so easily. God constantly was telling the Israelites that He was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This was His way of reminding His people of who He was in their past, and is in their present, and what He will be about doing in the future
  • They tie the distant past to the immediate past. In part one of Firefall 2.0, McDow traces the great moving hand of God through the text of the Scripture itself. Reid reveals the touch of God through the course of modernity in part two. Together, the reader sees the continuity of God’s involvement in the course of human affairs throughout all of history. The reader is left with the distinct impression that God is not far and in fact, poised to do something new and fresh, perhaps, very soon.
  • They deliver to us a sense of expectancy. McDow and Reid write from a strong desire to see God move yet again. As Reid says, “During revival, we recapture the wonder of God.” I love that line. Spiritual awakening is not about me or my church or even my city. Spiritual awakening is about God. Plain and simple. It is about a recovery of the preeminence of God Himself over all of His creation and the worship of His creation back to Him.

***

Much has been said and written about the demise of the church in western culture, about the reorientation of mores and values.

It is so easy to come away thinking that we have slipped too far. That we have moved beyond even the hand of God. But this is not so! Reid’s exposition of the modern moves of God from the First Great Awakening though the Jesus Movement informs and inspires.

We are not too far-gone.

In fact, we may be just in the right place for the next great awakening.

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