Revive Our Hearts Radio

When Does a Nation Need Revival?

Leslie Basham: Dan Jarvis shares one effect of revival.

Dan Jarvis: What revival does is it really calls us to live the opposite of the way naturally other people around us are going to want to live. It’s submitting to God and then saying, “All right, Lord. You’re my Lord. It’s not just a word anymore. It’s actually the position You play in my life. You are the Lord. You are my King.”

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, May 18.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: When you hear the word revival, what comes to mind? Be honest. Different people have different ideas, and even in different parts of the country, about what revival means. But I believe that revival in its historical and biblical sense represents hope for a nation in decline.

So here at Revive Our Hearts, we want to help people grow in their understanding of what revival is all about and encourage them to be asking the Lord to send true revival in our day.

As you may have heard me share before, Life Action Ministries is the parent organization ofRevive Our Hearts. Life Action has three teams that travel from church to church throughout the year spreading a message of revival.

The leaders of these teams have unique insight into what happens when God revives hearts. We’re about to hear from three Life Action revivalists: Laine Johnson, Ryan Loveing, and Steve Canfield. We’ll also be hearing from Dan Jarvis who used to travel as a team member with Life Action before the Lord called him to serve as the pastor in a local church in Ohio.

The Revive Our Hearts’ staff talked with these revivalists. As you listen, I think you’ll get a better understanding of what happens when God affects lives in revival.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy.

To begin, Steve Canfield addresses a question he sometimes gets asked: Are there examples of revival in Scripture?

Steve Canfield: People ask if revival is a biblical truth. There are twelve revivals recorded in the Old Testament. Some would include Nineveh, which is probably more of a spiritual awakening. And the thing that was true in all of those scenarios, and you can read those through from Moses to Nehemiah, was that there was a time in the nation’s history where there was spiritual declination, and God raised up some burdened people to be concerned.

We see in the book of Judges that cycle goes over and over again. God responded to those prayers, and there was a period then of, again, honoring God, devotion to God, and following Him. That pattern is repeated over and over again in the Old Testament just page after page.

Laine Johnson: In the New Testament, again, all you have to do is just look and read the first few chapters of Acts as far as the undergirding from my understanding of revival this side of the cross. There are those Old Testament texts we can go to like Steve just talked about, but when you look at the book of Acts, and, again, the Jews are the people of God, and yet they were not embracing, were not walking in a right relationship with the Lord.

So as He came to reveal Himself and to reveal the Son of God, what we see happen in the book of Acts, the outpouring of Pentecost is what I would call the first of many great revivals and awakenings over the last 2,000 years.

Just look at the things that happened as a result of that. Not only the mass evangelism and conversions that took place. But look at what happened with the people of God as they met together daily, as they broke bread together, as they had fellowship together, as they gave generously to one another, they were just in constant awe of God and His work and the work of the Holy Spirit among them.

That again gives me great hope for what God might yet do even in our midst because as we look at the history of our own nation that we’re in, we see those periods of time where God has come in very similarly and just worked in extraordinary ways where the church was revived and people were just in love with Christ deeply and passionately.

Dan: Some of the things that Jesus said to the churches in the book of Revelation, to me, are an incredible call to revival. And there it is in red, the words of Jesus Himself, saying, “Repent,” or “You’ve left your first love. You’ve walked away from your passion.” He said that, “You’re neither hot nor cold. You’ve grown lukewarm.” He says that, “You have to wake up and strengthen what remains. It is about to die.” These are revival words. These are passionate calls for churches to turn back to God.

So when I would think, “Is revival biblical?” Absolutely. It’s biblical. The word itself, that’s not necessarily as important as the concept that we need to turn to God. We need to call out to Him.

And, in my mind, those churches in Revelation, the ones that really needed revival, they were a lot like us. They were self-sufficient. They thought they had it together. They might even looked better than churches in other parts of the world. In their minds, they were great. But when Jesus evaluated them, He said, “Hey, you’re missing the whole heart of this.”

Leslie: So the Bible gives us many examples of people and nations that were in desperate need. They needed to cry out to God for revival. Is the United States in that place today?

On Revive Our Hearts you’ll often hear us talk about the great need for revival because of where we are as a nation today. This panel of revivalists were asked: Are the needs in our country really that much worse than they’ve been in past history? Here’s Dan Jarvis.

Dan: In God’s Word, when His people had turned away from Him, and I’m thinking of a specific instance during the times of Samuel when the nation had grown so dark, Ichabod was the key word. There was no glory left, and it was almost as if darkness was there to stay.

People could have given up hope, and yet, in that moment, God raised up Samuel. There were people who cried out to Him, and ultimately the whole nation decided to turn from their idols to wholeheartedly serve and obey God. And from that point forward, He gave them the victory, and there was hope again, and there was a future again.

I guess when I look at America, and when I look at the state of—and I won’t even just say “churches”—I’ll say, “In my own church, and in my own life,” I feel that Ichabod feeling. It's that no-glory feeling. Even if we’re saying the right things, we’re maintaining the right theology, we’re well studied and we’re saying it all in a really slick way, at the end of the day, is there power from God in our midst? Can we say in our hearts that we’re experiencing the power of God? I don’t know that we can—and I’m just speaking for myself—but I feel like the power is missing.

So, for me, that gives me an incredible sense of urgency because without that power, whether or not our culture rises or falls, nothing else matters without that power. Without God with us, what are we even living for?

Steve: I can’t say that these are the darkest days in American history. I can say these are the darkest days in the last fifty-nine years that I’ve been alive. But I can’t say these are worse than the days that preceded Jeremiah Lanphier and his prayer, and then a week after they started that prayer meeting, the stock market crashed. I didn’t live in those days. I can read the stories about those days.

But the thing that is encouraging to me is that even as dark as everything appears to be with our economic issues and moral issues, and you could give the list of all the issues and ills that we face. In spite of all that, there have been dark days like this in the past, and that is when God broke through.

So the encouraging thing to me is that these days may or may not be worse than it’s ever been. That’s not the point. The point is God’s power is not limited by the darkness of the hour. God’s power is limitless. And if there ever was a time in our lifetime where we need to see God burst on the scene, certainly it’s now. That’s happened before in history, and I have great hope that’s going to happen again.

Laine: I think all of us would be careful not to too quickly say that this is worse than it ever has been before because none of us were alive way back then. There are some things in place that we’ve never seen in our nation that are leading most of us to be extremely concerned about the days in which we live.

I know, for example, the divorce rate 100 years ago was 3% around the turn of the last century, 1900. And then, what, thirty, forty, fifty years ago, it got up to 50%, and it’s kind of gone back and forth ever since then. So the falling apart of the family unit, the voting on what makes up a marriage—does it have to be a man and a woman?—the clear rise publically of homosexuality—those things have never been true in the history of this nation and have become true in nations that have fallen apart and blown up and been destroyed in past centuries.

And not only to mention the things that I did, but what about abortions, which would have been, again, almost nonexistent in past decades. But in the last, forty, fifty, sixty years, we’ve killed, fifty-something million babies.

All of that has to be going up as a stench before a holy God, and it just seems to me that we are living on borrowed time at this point unless there is a deep brokenness and repentance, beginning with the church and the people of God, before it will affect our nation.

Leslie: That’s Laine Johnson on the need of a nation for revival. So what would true change look like in the areas of deep need he mentioned?

Laine: When revival comes, which is merely the return of the presence and the pre-eminence of Christ in life, then all the grid of our life goes through what honors Him. And so if the Bible becomes the standard by which we live life, then certainly that deeply affects how we view marriage, how we view our families, how we view children, how we view ourselves as parents, how we view morality, how we view our finances, and how we do business with one another.

So all the evils of our day that are growing exponentially to, I believe, destroy us, would immediately begin to be reversed because the Bible and the Word of God and the truth of God becomes the new standard, or the old standard, I should say, by which we begin to live our lives again.

So there is great hope in the midst of the darkness if we will turn back to Him.

Steve: The things that would change in this generation would parallel, we believe, things that have happened during past days. Like in the 1857 revival where it’s said in some cities the police had nothing to do because the jails were empty. Can you imagine if the penitentiaries and the jails were emptied? What a difference it would be in relationship just to the issue of crime.

In the issue of factories, in the Welsh Revival, they couldn’t even do business as usual because the language had so changed that they couldn’t get the mules to operate because they stopped swearing at them.

So there would certainly be economic changes and reform that would take place—somewhat instantly. There would be millions of people ushered into the kingdom of God in relationship to churches and ministering to those. Certainly there would be some instant changes.

Some of those things we’re going to have to live with the fruit of what we have sown, and those things aren’t going to change overnight. But what God can do in people’s lives, it would be noticeable, and it would be recordable, and it would be greatly encouraging to the world if God would do that.

Laine: Let’s just take the one major building block of the family and the home. If we became committed to the covenant relationship of marriage, and therefore, we didn’t have divorces at anywhere the rate that we do; therefore you would have children that were being brought up in stable homes and environments with a father and a mother to follow. And they would be brought up in a healthy environment. Then they would begin to then propagate that same standard. In one generation, the whole nation would be dramatically changed, if it were that large a scale.

And, again, it begins somewhere. But just in that one aspect of marriage and home life, it would deeply affect the nation even though it would take a generation to see the fruit of that.

Leslie: We’ve been hearing from Ryan Loveing, Laine Johnson, and Steve Canfield. They visit churches with teams from Life Action Ministries encouraging people to seek the Lord for personal and national revival.

Now, when you hear about revival, there’s usually a big emphasis on brokenness and humility. Why? Here’s Dan Jarvis.

Dan: In the Beatitudes, Jesus teaches us that real kingdom living is pretty much the opposition of what naturally we want to do. When I think about brokenness, I actually think about horses—that’s the illustration that just comes to mind.

Typically, we want to be like a Mustang on the open plains and just completely do our own thing and run free and wild and make all our own decisions.

But when you come to a place as a Christian where you realize you have to submit to God, your will is broken before Him, and from there He can steer you. He can direct your life. He can work through you.

I wonder if the first step of brokenness is recognizing our need, but the lifestyle of brokenness is a submitted heart where you say, “I’m no longer going to call my own shots. I recognize I need God every day. I need Him for direction. I’m not going to make my own decisions anymore or live by my own standards. Instead, from this day forward, I want God to be the one who leads me.”

That person, in my mind, is ready for revival. That’s the kind of person that God loves to use. He can’t use, He resists using the people who are full of pride and the people who say, “No, God, You have to do it my way.” Or like Cain they say, “God, I’m going to worship You my way.” That’s not what God’s interested in.

What revival does is it really calls us to live the opposite of the way naturally other people around us are going to want to live. It’s submitting to God and then saying, “All right, Lord. You are my Lord. It’s not just a word anymore. It’s actually the position You play in my life. You are the Lord. You are My King.”

Steve: Yes. Brokenness is not a one-time act. It’s a lifestyle. And we associate brokenness with an emotion. And certainly, as we talked about earlier, there are emotions involved, but brokenness is not an emotion. It’s a choice of my will. It’s living in humble obedience to the Word of God empowered by the Holy Spirit. God wants us to live that way.

There does come a time where we realize we’ve not been living that way, and so initially, there is a point of brokenness where our will is shattered and self is acknowledged as being in control, and we deal with that; we acknowledge our pride. But then it becomes a lifestyle.

Leslie: When we embrace the kind of brokenness Steve Canfield’s been describing, the results can be powerful.

Steve: I was just in a meeting this last year where a lady had been in a meeting the year prior. And during that time, she had submitted herself, surrendered herself to the Lord in relationship to a broken relationship between her and her sister. She said,

My sister and I got into it as teenagers. We’re now in our sixties, and we have had a broken relationship for all those years. And I just said last year, "God, I surrender. I will do whatever it takes to love my sister and to die to myself."

Over this past year, my sister got sick. I had to come be her caregiver, and God has re-established a relationship. We are now friends. We’re having Bible studies together.

What an encouragement, again, to realize that brokenness is an ongoing process; that obedience is an ongoing process. It’s not about a point in time. There are points where God emphasizes issues in our hearts and then expects us to live those out in the days ahead.

Ryan Loveing: We had the privilege of being in a church approximately nine months ago and then six months later we were invited back for a follow-up at that church. We were able to re-connect with a couple there that God salvaged their marriage. It was so bad that I can’t even put it in words.

We had the privilege of meeting with the wife. As she was sharing with my wife, she made the statement: “I almost feel as though I’m living with another man.”

The reason being was that there was such a transformation that took place, not only in his life but in her life. She had forgiven him for an affair that he had been party to. Not only had she forgiven him, but then she met with the woman and extended forgiveness to her. The woman said, “There is something about you that I have never seen before in anyone that I have met—an authentic, genuine love for God and for their husband.”

So her life is impacting this woman’s life who was part of the problem. Her life is impacting her children in the greater community. It’s just incredible to see the two of them, with their children, in love with one another and in love with their Lord.

This now is nine plus months later. It’s not just on the heels of an emotional response, but it's an obedience response. It’s a beautiful fruit that lingers.

Leslie: That’s Ryan Loveing. We’ve also heard from Dan Jarvis, Steve Canfield, and Laine Johnson. They’ve all watched God do powerful things when individuals and churches humble themselves and seek the Lord for revival.

Would you humble yourself, ask the Lord to revive you, and begin seeking Him for a nation-wide spiritual awakening? Here’s our host, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, to tell you more.

Nancy: Ever since I was a young girl, probably twelve or thirteen years of age, I’ve been burdened to see the Lord revive His people once again in our day, and that’s why I’m so excited about a new initiative spearheaded by Life Action Ministries called OneCry for Spiritual Awakening.

For over thirty years, teams from Life Action, led by the kind of men that you’ve been hearing from today, have been traveling from church to church spreading the message of revival. Life Action also gave birth to Revive Our Hearts over ten years ago.

Now God is using Life Action to give birth to an exciting new initiative that addresses the needs of a hurting nation. When a nation is in decline, as you certainly know that ours is today, revival, people’s hearts being turned back to Christ, represents our only true hope.

Byron Paulus is the executive director of Life Action Ministries. We’ve had the privilege of serving together in revival ministry for over thirty years. He’s with us today to explain how you can add your voice to those who are crying out to God to visit His people once again in revival.

Byron Paulus: I believe the church and our nation are in a state of spiritual emergency. I believe that the hope for this crisis is for God to visit His people in revival, to transform a whole nation. OneCry is a movement of people praying for that kind of transformation to take place.

When you visit our website and sign up to join this movement, you can connect with a group of people who are praying along with you. You’ll get encouragement from your group through email. You’ll be seeking the Lord together.

Your prayer for revival matters. Will you join with others in OneCry for Spiritual Awakening?

Nancy: Thanks so much, Byron. And I have to say, in all the years I’ve been a part of this ministry, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything generate as much warm enthusiasm and excitement as when he has been sharing about this whole OneCry effort.

I’ve just watched it in people's eyes and have heard them express, “This is what we need. We have no hope in this nation apart from a divine intervention.”

That’s why we as God’s people need to humble ourselves and pray and cry out to Him with one cry to visit His people.

So I hope you’ll add your voice to those who are calling out to God for revival. When you visit our website, ReviveOurHearts.com, you can follow the easy instructions. You’ll find the link there, and add your voice to OneCry for Spiritual Awakening.

And there’s another step you can take in growing in your understanding of revival. I hope you’ll get a copy of a book by the late Del Fehsenfeld, Jr., called Ablaze with His Glory. So many people have shared with me over the years how God has used this little book to give them a deep longing and thirst, a vision, for what God could do if He were to move in our nation once again today as He has in the past.

We’ll send you a copy of that powerful little book, Ablaze with His Glory, when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size. Your gift will help Revive Our Hearts continue on the radio in your area as well as its online ministries.

And we especially need to hear from you this month. As we’ve been sharing with you over the last few weeks, this is the end of our fiscal year. We’re asking the Lord to provide this month $350,000 in listener support. These funds will help us continue our current level of outreach and also will help us move forward in some exciting new ministry outreaches in the months ahead.

When you make a donation by phone, be sure to ask for a copy of Ablaze with His Glory. The number to call is 1-800-569-5959, or visit us online at ReviveOurHearts.com. You can make your donation there, and you can also find out more about how to be a part of OneCry for Spiritual Awakening.

Leslie: After today’s program, you may have some questions about revival, or maybe you’re excited to begin praying and want to share that enthusiasm. Would you participate in the Revive Our Hearts listener blog? Visit ReviveOurHearts.com, click on today’s program, and scroll to the end of the transcript. There you can post your comment or question.

Dan Jarvis, one of our guests today, will be reading comments and responding.

I hope you’ll actively participate in all God’s doing in your church this weekend and then be back with us on Monday. You’ll hear how valuable Scripture memorization is, and you’ll discover that you can memorize better than you might think. Please be with us for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

 

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.

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