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The terms revival and move of God are often used interchangeably. Many people have referred to the recent outbreaks of remarkable Holy Ghost manifestations in various places as revivals.

I don't intend to split hairs or quibble over semantics, but in truth there is a difference between a move of God and a genuine revival. Both are wonderful, and both should be desired. But they are different.

A Move of God Isn't a Revival
Personally, I believe that what we and many other churches have experienced in recent years should be called a move of God rather than a revival because a move of God is an outpouring of God's Spirit in the context of churches and meetings. Throughout the history of the church, there have been times and seasons in which God has visited His people in unusual ways as they came together to worship and pray.

These glorious times of refreshing are often marked by miracles, gifts and remarkable manifestations. However, in a move of God these phenomenon tend to remain confined within the walls of the sanctuary, and they don't have a significant impact on the surrounding community.

Revival, on the other hand, is a word that Christians have historically used to describe an awakening or move of God's Spirit that goes beyond the church walls and impacts communities and even nations.

The Reformation, the Welsh revivals and the preaching ministry of Charles Finney and others can all legitimately be called revivals because they changed cities and nations with their Holy Ghost power.

When all the bars and houses of prostitution close down in a city for lack of business, you know you have a revival going on. That is precisely what happened in many cases with the revivals I mentioned above.

Most revivals in history began with a move of God. That is why this move we have been experiencing is so encouraging and exciting. If we continue to flow with it, we may see it transformed into a community-changing, nation-changing, maybe even world-changing revival.

It all begins, however, with a genuine Holy Ghost move of God.

Birthing a Move of God
As I've studied moves of God throughout history and thought about the one the church has experienced over the past several years, I've observed some common characteristics. In fact, these characteristics are almost always in place when a move of God begins and is sustained.

The first is simply a spiritual hunger. Throughout history, moves of God have always been preceded by a company of people beginning to hunger for God, for more of His presence, for more of His will to be done in their midst. And when God's people begin to cry out in corporate prayer for more of Him, wonderful things invariably happen.

Another important element is expectation. The kind of spiritual hunger that brings in a move of God is always accompanied by expectation. In moves of God, people begin to come together expecting God to manifest Himself among them.

Rarely does God ever show up in power and glory among a people who are totally shocked and surprised to see Him. In other words, spiritual hunger and expectancy are almost always present when God begins to move.

A third common precursor and sustainer of a move of God is prayer. Prayer is vital to paving the way for an outpouring of God's Spirit. As a matter of fact, all the great revivals in history, from the Welsh revival to the Azusa Street revival, began with a small group of dedicated people who prayed.

The last common element found in a move of God is responsive obedience. This is the element that will transform a move of God into a nation-changing revival. Suppose you are in a grocery store and the Spirit shows you an image of yourself sharing your faith with the person in line in front of you. You don't have time to go home and pray about it. You have to respond in that instant.

Now the only question is: will you be bold enough to step out and do it? If you haven't been bold enough to do the little "silly" things He has shown you to do in the relative security of the church, then you most probably won't be bold enough to step out when you are in the community.

The church is where we learn to flow with the Holy Ghost. It is what qualifies us for greater use in the hands of God out in the world. So we should never forget that out in the world is where God's heart is. Taking the burden-removing, yoke-destroying power of God to a hurting, dying, hell-bound world is the ultimate reason for everything we are seeing and doing in the church.

But if we don't train ourselves to instantly respond to the things He shows us in church when those who love us surround us, then what hope do we have of yielding to the Spirit's promptings when we are out in the marketplace?

Cautions and Corrections
Since increase and blessing can only come as local "companies" of believers come together in one accord, it is important that you understand in fullness what I have been trying to communicate to you. Everything that I've shared up to this point about yielding to the Holy Spirit in a service is based upon the assumption that the freedom to do so has been explicitly given by the pastor.

In other words, you can't jump out of your seat and run around the sanctuary if the pastor or pulpit minister in charge of the service hasn't clearly given a green light to that kind of liberty and expression. Otherwise, it could cause division in your church and problems for you personally.

First Corinthians 14:40 commands us to make sure that the gifts and manifestations of the Spirit expressed in worship services are done decently and in order. If your pastor isn't comfortable with the kinds of demonstrations of the Spirit I've been using as examples, you are out of order if you try to inject them into the services.

Besides that, the Spirit of God isn't going to prompt you to do something that creates schism, division or undermines the authority of the office of the pastor.

God is doing different things in different congregations. His Spirit isn't moving in the same way in every place, and we need to be very careful about comparing what one church is experiencing to another where the Spirit may be doing a very different, but equally important work.

As a pastor, one of the things that grieves my heart the most is when members of a church run off to some other church where God is moving in a powerful or remarkable way then come back to their home church dissatisfied and negative because God isn't doing the exact same thing in their church. Immediately, they start comparing the two and asking, "How come we aren't experiencing here what we saw over there?"

These kinds of comparisons are dangerous. Avoid them. Often such people end up leaving the church, but not before the poisonous seeds of discontent have spread to others. Such people almost invariably end up either drifting from church to church in search of a more powerful experience or in no church at all.

What needs to be understood is that God has appointed and anointed leadership over a church and that the office in which the pastor stands needs to be respected. If you sincerely believe He needs to see some things in a different way, keep your mouth closed and pray for him.

And even if your pastor isn't comfortable with allowing unusual manifestations of the Spirit openly in your services, you can still use your worship times, both corporate and private, to train yourself to respond to seeing-and-knowing promptings.

Regardless of the type of church God has placed you in, you can keep the eyes of your spirit open to images from the Holy Ghost. If they are truly from Him, they won't be things that would be considered out of order or inappropriate in your church. As you yield to these little promptings, you are training your will to respond to the Spirit when He shows you things at home, at work and in the world.

He may not prompt you to roll down one of the aisles, but He may indicate that He wants you to raise your hands in a certain way or kneel down. Or He may just want you to take the hand of someone near you and give them a word of encouragement. The important thing is to learn to respond when you see yourself doing something.

Source: Seeing And Knowing by Mac Hammond
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
 
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Minute, which is seen locally in the Minneapolis area and can also be viewed at winnersminute.com. He is also the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
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