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The Spillover Effect of True Revivals

Is God on the move at Asbury University? Here’s a simple litmus test.
Picture of Greg Stier
Greg Stier

Revival is in the air!

Reports from Asbury University are so very encouraging! Since last Wednesday, there’s been 24/7 prayer, worship, testimony, confession of sin, Scripture reading, silence, and more in the chapel at this Kentucky school. People from across the United States are flocking to the campus to experience what God is doing.

One of those who attended is evangelist Jon Burdette, my good friend and co-conspirator in the advancement of the Gospel.

He told me this:

Attending the revival at Asbury was an unforgettable experience. We could literally feel the ‘weighty’ presence of God as soon as we walked into the building. Sensing God’s presence in that way, and knowing that this was an unplanned service that had continued since Wednesday morning, I got emotional within the first few minutes of being there.

There was passionate, authentic worship, brokenness, people praying at the altar, people praying at their seats, and people praying with each other in groups around the room. For this particular segment of the service, there was just one person leading worship on a piano. No microphone, no words on a screen, no service rundown. Just Spirit-led worship that ranged from calm, quiet harmonies to eruptions of loud singing, clapping, and testifying.

My daughter Shailynn was there with me, and she said she couldn’t describe it in words. She wanted to stay all day!

The best way I can describe it is that you felt a sense of tranquility all throughout your being that made it difficult to leave the room. No programs, but complete peace. There were no ‘rules,’ but it was totally in order. There was lots of emotion, but no emotionalism. I can’t wait to see how God uses this to advance the Gospel near and far.

WHAT NOW?

Social media is abuzz with stories from those who’ve experienced what’s now tagged #asburyrevival. And the reports give me hope that we could once again see a sweeping awakening across this nation.

But throughout church history, there’s always been a spillover effect of true revival. What is it? Evangelism!

We see this spillover effect in the Welsh Revival of 1904; in the spiritual movement that happened  in and through the Moravians; in the 1st Great Awakening, led by George Whitefield and John Wesley; and in the Jesus Movement, just 50 years ago in the United States. Every significant spiritual movement results in evangelism.

A BIBLICAL PRECEDENT

In Acts 4:31, we get a clear glimpse of the spillover effect in the midst of a powerful move of God:

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

1. The power of prayer shook the building.

“…the place where they were meeting was shaken…”

As exciting as being in the chapel at Asbury University is right now, imagine what it would be like to be in the room when the hand of God literally shook the building in response to the early believers’ prayers. Talk about an amen! Talk about a literal move of God. He moved the building!

2. The power of the Spirit shook the believers.

“…they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…”

The early believers in this passage prayed in unity and got filled with the Holy Spirit simultaneously. God was doing something special in that room 2,000 years ago.

From every report I’m getting about the Asbury Revival, the exact same type of thing is happening. Believers are praying and praising in unity. It’s not an out-of-control show. It’s not hype. It’s a Spirit-orchestrated meeting with Spirit-filled believers, with the focus on Jesus—and Jesus alone.

3. The power of the Gospel shook the city.

“…and spoke the word of God boldly.”

But the revival didn’t stay in the room. It spilled over into the streets. The power of the Gospel shook the city! These believers “spoke the word of God boldly,” despite the recent religious declaration that outlawed Christian evangelism.

These believers would not be stopped. They’d just experienced the power and presence of God, and now they were taking it to the streets!

A defining characteristic of true revivals is that they never stay in the room. They always eventually spill out onto the streets!

A HISTORICAL PRECEDENT

According to a Ministry Watch report by Kim Roberts, when a similar revival broke out at Asbury University in 1970, “2,000 witnessing teams were sent out from Asbury to churches and colleges across the country.”

The original revival that started at Asbury University spilled out onto the streets!

I’m very hopeful that what’s happening now at Asbury University will end up with evangelism teams, once again, being mobilized around Kentucky and across the nation.

Pray with me that this happens.

We need revival now in this country more than ever! We need what’s happening right now at Asbury University to experience the spillover effect of true revival: the Gospel being proclaimed beyond the chapel walls!

Be part of the movement by sharing the Gospel with someone today! For a practical tool to help you, download the Life in 6 Words app.

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