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Okay, we're going to talk about the "R" word: revival!

Revival is a "dirty" word to some but a word of hope to others. The word revival has the connotation of being "dirty" to some because it has been flaunted and dangled in front of the people of God as a fulfillment of their most pressing needs.

For many, the results have been disappointment and disillusionment. An entire generation has languished in the rubble of an unsubstantiated hope of learning the secrets of God's power. However, the very objection of some is what makes revival a real possibility. What is revival?

• Revival is the revitalization of the Church for a divine attack on society
• Revival is the marshalling of forces fatal to the kingdom of darkness
• Revival is the enlisting, training, and empowering of believers as a prelude to evangelization
• Revival is God's military tactic that concentrates His resources for a vital blow at a crucial moment
• Revival is that which reinvigorates God's people with His truth and power

A New Move Into The Spirit
It is the realization of the need for this revitalization that has fostered a whole new group of believers with a fervent hope and deep-seated hunger for that which is real. To this group of people, revival is a fulfillment of their hunger for the real power, real manifestation, and the real presence of God.

My reason for teaching on this topic is to help be a catalyst to propel God's people into the next move of the Spirit. It is my heart also to point out the key scriptural foundations that were at the heart of past revivals and to explain and emphasize how they offer a practical approach in our day to again ignite revival fires.

What began as my personal quest for truth became a mandate from God to share what I discovered to be the central truths that have historically promoted or postponed the moves of the Holy Spirit. By studying the revival moves of the twentieth century, I saw that there were common factors in the initiation and demise of revival.

It quickly became apparent that "history repeats itself," and that those who do not learn from past mistakes are destined to repeat them. We must learn from previous generations and not make the same mistakes they made.

No Two Revivals Are Alike
It is essential to see that no revival is identical to another in form or principle involved: God told Ezra to pray. Jonah was regurgitated by "Moby Dick." Hezekiah wrote a letter. John the Baptist dunked people in a muddy stream out in the middle of nowhere. Yet, all revivals have some common threads.

When I graduated from seminary, I served as pastor of a church in East Texas. Being very anxious to get involved with true church growth and to see a real move of God, I obtained reams of materials on that topic.

One book by a California pastor could be summed up by three principles:
1) Find a good location - be in the right place at the right time
2) Look good - have the right appearance
3) Say good things - always compliment your people

I thought that was good advice - until one day I read the story of John the Baptist in Luke 3. John did not operate according to the above criteria! In fact, he violated every one of those "principles."

He set up camp so far out in the wilderness, people had to know where it was to find it. There were no buses and no taxis. If an individual wanted to hear John speak, he had to walk miles.

Then there was the issue of the prophet's appearance. He probably wore "double-breasted camel's hair suits." His hair was likely matted from the honey he ate. He probably had a locust log or two caught in his beard. As far as saying positive things, John probably qualified for the "Mr. Crassness-of-the-Year Award"!

Imagine an associate evangelist, perhaps a product of one of our great established Christian institutions, running over to the prayer tent and saying, "Brother John, you won't believe this, but there are thousands of people out there. We can build our mailing list and really get started. Go out there and say some positive things to

Then see John the Baptist walking out to stand before the gathered crowd, with his first words being, "You brook of vipers, repent!" (Matt. 3:2,7).

John was not exactly a product of Dale Carnegie's school of "How to win Friends and Influence People"! There is little doubt that he broke all the modern rules of how to build churches. Yet revival broke out.

I am not focusing on this subject in order to put anyone in a box, especially God. Instead, I want to call every reader to an understanding of the wide spectrum of principles that are at the root of revival.

Some of these are broad in scope and common to every move of the Spirit. Some of them are minuscule and operate with fewer dynamics. All of them share something of the heartbeat of God.

As I studied the moves of the Holy Spirit in this century, I was startled to see the common threads interwoven in every revival. As you research this topic for yourself, I believe you will embark on a most exciting spiritual pilgrimage - the examination of some of the greatest events in the history of Christendom.

At least, I have found this to be so in my experience. Also, I pray that your study will motivate you to be a part of an impending cataclysmic move of God on the earth.

Let's look at one particular person God used during the past one hundred years to promote His Kingdom.

Remember Your Leaders
"Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith" (Heb. 13:7).

Just before he died, Smith Wigglesworth of Great Britain, one of the greatest spiritual leaders of this century, prophesied to a young evangelist concerning a vision about revival. That young man was Christian elder statesman Lester Sumrall of South Bend, Indiana, who only recently passed away in 1996 and is now with the Lord. Sumrall related the incident in these words:
"I see it!

"I see a revival coming to planet earth, as never before. There will be untold multitudes who will be saved. No man will say, 'So many and so many,' because no man will be able to count those who will come to Jesus Christ.

"I see it! The dead will be raised, the arthritic healed, cancer will be healed. No disease will be able to stand before God's people, and it will spread all over the world. It will be a worldwide thrust of God's power and a thrust of God's anointing. I will not see it, but you will."
I find Sumrall's response to this prophecy most fascinating. He later said:
"Most people are not capable of going from blessing to blessing. Most denominations and people die in the same revelation they first received from God. Many of the people who call themselves Lutherans are living in the same blessing Luther had four hundred years ago. Often, the people calling themselves Wesleyan or Methodists are living in the blessing of Wesley a couple of hundred years ago. It is difficult to get themselves out of a groove or a system."
Sumrall's statement is not an indictment or criticism of denominationalism, but rather a statement about human nature.

People feel more comfortable in a known routine than in the turbulent waters of change. Many of us have the tendency to find a comfortable rut and stay in it.

Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, set a precedent for all of our lives. In a sense, Andrew was the first "Baptist." He was a convert of John the Baptist.

Andrew must have been confused as he looked at the prophet, who was his mentor, then looked at Jesus. On the other hand, Andrew must have been able to accept truth when he heard it. That day, he turned from following John to following Jesus (see John 1:37).

Seeing the obvious hunger of Andrew and the other disciple, whose name we are not told, Jesus told them to follow Him. They spent the day with Jesus, and Andrew became so excited that he ran back home to tell his brother, Simon Peter, that he had found the Messiah.

His conviction was so apparent that Simon Peter had to run to see Jesus for himself, and he too found the Messiah.

Are You Willing?
Here is a key principle of revival: Are we willing to leave the blessing we are in to receive a larger blessing? Or is it easier to call the new move one of fanaticism rather than to leave our comfort zone to flow with God's new thing? (Isa. 43:18-19).

I'm talking about a new spiritual attitude. We need people who can become that "new wineskin" into which He can pour out His Spirit in a fresh revival. It's time that the Body of Christ stopped being intimidated by Satan and started being the intimidators in order to anticipate the next great revival.

Source: The Quest for Revival by Ron McIntosh
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Ron McIntosh
Web site: Ron McIntosh Ministries
Ron McIntosh has dedicated his life to helping people find the life they were born to live. His unique brand of insight and practical application inspires people to unlock the door to their potential and maximum productivity. A noted speaker, writer, teacher and life coach, Ron travels the world sharing God’s principles of leadership, productivity, revival and grace through services, seminars and conferences. His books and resources have helped countless thousands find their dreams and maximize their potential.

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