It is hard to believe that it has been 19 years since the Brownsville revival began, on Father’s Day, June 18, 1995. Many of us who were involved in that move of God believed then, and still do now, that the revival God started in Pensacola, FL would issue into a much bigger, national move of the Spirit. Leaders of Brownsville used the term, “Jesus revolution” to express the vision God gave us of what he wanted to do in America in the 21st century.
To understand what a revolution whose roots trace back to a Father’s Day revival might be like, we can learn from the revolution started by our founding Fathers. I do not think the leaders of Great Britain understood what kind of people they were dealing with when their passing of unfair tax laws and general disregard for the concerns of the colonists led them to the brink of revolution. These were no ordinary people who settled the untamed territory that is now the eastern seaboard of the United States.
The leaders and the general population of the colonies were primarily the product of pioneers, those who forsook the comfortable life of England and risked everything to start anew in a strange and dangerous land. Only the most adventurous, risk-taking, and desperate sort of people would cross a ocean into an unknown future¬¬ – a people whose vision for change is stronger than their fear of the unknown; a people willing to do whatever it takes, and sacrifice whatever is necessary in order to make their future, rather than sit back and take whatever comes their way, attributing it to fate.
This impetuous fortitude was bred into the proceeding generations of Americans until we reached the age of revolution, in which a small band of fearless leaders stood up to the greatest empire on earth, not because they believed they were strong enough to win, but because they knew what they stood for was worth dying for, and they were willing to die for it even though they knew they were not strong enough to win on their own. People like this do not sit by idly while a disinterested superpower levies tax after tax to fund their empire without due concern for the well being of the people. Had Britain understood the kind of people they were dealing with, they might have handled things differently.
Today, the American church is faced with a government that not only lacks concern for their cause, but sometimes displays an attitude of antagonism against it. President Obama’s health care “reform” that forces businesses to fund abortions despite it being against their religious convictions is one example of this disdain of American religious conscience. In England, a same-sex couple is trying to make it mandatory for churches to perform same sex weddings. American courts have required businesses to sell items such as cakes and floral arrangements to same-sex couples for gay weddings, without regard for their religious convictions. Will it be long before the Supreme Court orders conservative Christian pastors to perform same-sex weddings in America?
What will it take for the American church to wake up and realize the religious liberties our founding Fathers fought and died for have been taken away from us? Will it be too late when it happens? I don’t think so. The same revolutionary spirit that was in the Fathers is still in the souls of Americans today, and the Holy Spirit is already beginning to awaken the church in preparation for what I believe will be called the Fourth Great Awakening. Only I think it will also be called the “forth” awakening, because it is one in which the church will move forth into her destiny, bringing radical change to a society whose moral structure has been shaken off of a shifting foundation of situational ethics that lack any moral absolutes. Yes, the church of this awakening will be an active church, one that not only prays, but also does. One that has a lot to say, but also backs up those words with corresponding actions. This will be a church that the world cannot ignore and can no longer oppress.
We have an advantage the colonies did not have: the Bill of Rights is already in effect, and it protects our religious freedom. But the freedom God will bring is much greater than the right to practice one’s religion. It is the freedom from sin that enables people to live out their religion without hypocrisy and compromise. This new awakening will bring with it the power of God to set people free from same-sex attraction, from the pain of an abusive past, and from every addiction. This is an awakening that is needed today, not tomorrow, and we need to pray for it to come quickly, before it is too late.
How will this awakening, this Jesus revolution, come and what will it look like? I plan to walk out a few of the principles and particulars in the articles that follow. Until then, let us keep watch and see that our own lives are awakened to God and his purposes for this generation.
By life or by death – Phil 1:20