The Incomplete Revival

Many years ago, in an Apostolic church ...

The Holy Ghost was pouring out. Souls were being saved. You could feel the wind of The Spirit flowing in every service. REVIVAL had arrived in our church. The Pastor was excited, the people were worshiping and participating, and everyone around knew that God was at work.

An out-of-town evangelist was preaching to us. Services began that week and proceeded up through Sunday. With everything The Lord was doing in these meetings, the Pastor called for the revival meetings to continue. I speak for everyone there at the time when I say that was the right decision: we all felt it, and we loved what God was bringing to us.

The outpouring continued. More souls being added to the church. More testimonies and answered prayers were reported. Everything was going well.

But in the back of the church, a soul was quietly praying for an answer from God. That soul was me.

I had a question that I desperately needed answered by The Lord. I earnestly sought Him, and felt in prayer that the answer would come in the revival. The question involved some (mostly financial) decisions I needed to make at that time.

The Lord was working all week. The Spirit was pouring out every service. And then, Sunday rolled around. Revival had gone 2 weeks, but it only felt like a few days. We knew what was coming. Pastor felt it, and we felt it: the meetings needed to keep going another week. However, that's not what happened.

I remember this distinctly. The Pastor took the microphone at the close of service on Sunday, and spoke: "I REALLY feel this revival should continue ..." (He had already been hinting at this the previous few days as well as in the opening of service that morning.) "... BUT, our evangelist is attending a ministers' conference down south this week, and cannot stay. We understand, and wish him well. Revival is now closed out."

I was shocked, and am still shaken by that decision - no, not the Pastor's statements (the Pastor, as did the rest of us, all wished for the revival to continue). I was disturbed that the evangelist chose a conference over the Lord's will. For 2 weeks I had heard him preach sermon-after-sermon about obeying God and listening to His voice, only to watch that same preacher ignore what we all felt in the Holy Ghost: that he should stay to continue revival in this church a bit longer.

After service, the evangelist was sitting in a chair in the foyer. I walked up to him, and spoke, "so you're leaving us?"

Evangelist: "Yeah, I've got to go to Louisiana."

Me: "Do you feel you should stay and the revival should go on?"

Evangelist: "It's a BIG conference, and my pastor paid for me to go. I HAVE to go."

I remember speaking to the Pastor, "Don't you feel the revival should go on?"

Pastor: (distraught) "Yes, but our evangelist is firm in this. He won't wiggle out of the conference."

I felt for the Pastor. He knew God's will, and had done everything he could - even putting the man on a guilt trip in front of the whole congregation - but he was at the mercy of the visiting minister. The evangelist chose his calendar over the Spirit's direction, and so I called this "The Incomplete Revival".





That is not the end of it. To many others, it was a successful revival: a number of souls saved and saints strengthened. There was a lot of good that transpired in those 2 weeks, and many were blessed. I am not discounting those positive results. But to me, it was an unfinished work. There was more The Lord wished to do in the days ahead. The meetings should've kept going.

And what of the issue about which I was praying? The question I was asking God? I did, eventually, obtain an answer from The Lord - 7 years later. But why the delay? I can only speculate. Would that answer have come in that revival? I felt in prayer it was. All I know is the meeting was cut short, and I would wait years before receiving a response from God in that issue.

This situation may seem quite small to some of you, but it greatly affected my perception of preachers & preaching in the days ahead.

When I answered the call to ministry, I became that evangelist who traveled to churches to help seed revival. I became the visiting minister others were counting on to bring a desperately-sought answer from God.

Always in the back of my mind is this memory, 'The Incomplete Revival", because I KNOW that ANY given service could carry more importance than I realize. My obedience or disobedience to God in the pulpit could dramatically help or delay a soul's current predicament.

How important is it that I say what God gives me to preach that night?

How vital is it that I tell that man or woman what The Lord directs me in the altar?

How much can I change or dilute the evening's message, and it still be effectual?

And lastly, can I shorten my time in that church? Can I leave without doing all that God asks of me in that place?

If I don't perform all that He calls me, then revival in that church could be INCOMPLETE!

Comments

  1. This moment in your life has obviously had a profound effect on you. I love how you've taken it to heart and have always taken great care to listen to the voice and direction of God. When you're in ministry you're seldom, if ever, afforded opportunities to think about yourself. The moment you step into the arena of servitude, you forfeit your convenience for the Cross of Christ. The only caution I'd throw in here is if he had stayed, being motivated by guilt if he hadn't, it may have caused more harm than good. If his heart was so easily swayed to leave, be it for a conference, or any non-life-threatening situation, then I would argue his effectiveness would have considerably diminished anyway.

    The last thing I'll say in support of your thought, is follow-through is everything. From a golf swing, to swinging a baseball bat, you gain maximum flight/distance, when you follow through on what you start. I would also liken it to a surgeon as well. It's not enough to identify the source of a tumor, cut the patient open, even possibly remove it. There's a suturing and stitching, and eventual healing process that must take place to close the point of incision, otherwise infection can set in and make things worse than if they hadn't even had the surgery to begin with. Opening wounds isn't enough. We need to afford them proper time and care to heal and recover.

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