** This is the introduction to the booklet, "Four Steps to Revival", which is due to be released by July 1st.
I am writing out this message of the Four Steps to Revival because I believe that it is the best hope for a solution to the deep spiritual problems that face our world. I believe that we are living in the last days, as do many other Christians who have been watching Biblical prophesies unfold in the news. While many believe that we have little cause to worry because they expect to be raptured out of the troubles that are coming upon the face of the Earth, I believe that the Church will not only face them but will go through them all the way to the end when Jesus Christ splits the skies to end Armageddon.
Shakespeare once wrote that "all the world's a stage". That is truer than what he might have suspected. All the politics, the business, careers, and hobbies and pastimes of our lives are merely tests in Life that determine our eternal destiny. The Church is supposed to be the landmark and lighthouse that points the way to Heaven in a landscape that is often forgetful of the dual realities that we live in. But when the Church loses its vibrancy and its light grows dim, we find ourselves easily enamored with the other things that make up our lives and our focus shifts from where we are going to where we are now. The urgency of eternal judgment takes a back seat to the more immediate sensory inputs of the world around us. We soon lose our way, forget that this stage we are on is only a test, and lose our edge on what is really important. Life becomes complicated with thorns and snares, which pull with an ever-increasing compulsion further and further away from true salvation.
Revival is the only solution. Without a bright shining light to point us in the true direction of Life, we can only stumble about in darkness. Only a Holy Ghost Revival can light those fires again.
The word Revival is in most cases a misnomer because it suggests bringing a dead body back to life again. But throughout history, the great moves of God have been more of a rebellion against an established religious system that has grown cold and secular. Once a body is dead, resuscitation will not bring it back to life. There is a need for a new life springing up in a new body, not the resurrection of the old apostate system which had failed.
Apostasy and Revival are cyclical going all the way back to the times of Joshua. Whenever there is a great move of God, the Church is energized and becomes a vibrant and embracive part of the lives of its people. Joy and gladness are signs of the times. Prosperity and life uplifts not only the Church itself, but the entire society surrounding it. These are wonderful times.
Within a short while, however, the brightness begins to fade and the wonderful blessings of an intimate walk in the Spirit begins to be taken for granted and traded in for a fascination for what the world has to offer instead. Our focus slowly shifts off the eternal to the temporal, from the longings of our souls to the lusts of our flesh, from the promises of the invisible to the immediate gratification of the present. Salvation and religion yields to a cheap and easy grace - one that is less intrusive of our personal lives and less demanding of an admonition for holiness. When there is no price to pay, the value does not seem so precious, and as with all things cheap, we find it much easier to discard it.
As the fires of revival simmer down to glowing coals, the Church still retains its shape and structure - it just loses its heart. The heart of revival is not the wonderful feel of the Spirit of God as it flows through us or the excitement of miracles and supernatural manifestations of the Spirit, but rather the winning of lost souls. This is the whole purpose and heart of revival. If revival is the heart of God, then winning the lost is the heart of revival.
When we become more enamored with how good a moving of the Holy Spirit feels more than the winning of lost souls, we turn off the faucet and are left with nothing but church. We rarely notice the decrease until it is nothing but a dribble, and slowly we become used to the institution rather than the inspiration. Our candlestick is slowly removed and we gradually get used to the darkness until we no longer see the darkness.
At such times, God always sends His prophets to call us back to repentance. The job of a prophet is not to be a Gypsy tea leaf reader to tell our futures. We can look up our horoscope in the daily newspaper to do that. The job of a prophet is to call God's people to repentance. It is a job that no one likes -- neither the one called as the prophet, nor the ones that he is called to prophesy to. As a result, prophets are most often either ignored and dismissed or persecuted and killed. Their message never goes along with the current hypnotic sway of the status quo, but is designed to cause trouble as it upsets the foundation of dead works.
Although prophets are rarely accepted in their time, the seeds that they plant find fertile ground in the next generation. The human soul is engineered to desire something more than this carnal life, and when it is starved of Truth, it will begin to search for something to fill up the empty hole inside. That new generation, like Gideon, will sense that the exiting religious structure is no longer answering their needs, and will begin to search for something more than what their fathers have offered them, and they will find the words of those prophets.
Gideon threshed his wheat by the winepress in secret, and so do these truth-seekers. They thresh the wheat of the Word of God alongside the winepress of prayer to seek the truth of God outside of the established liturgies of church. The words of the prophets ring true in their soul and begin to grow in their hearts to encourage their generation to reach up in hope to a fresh new outpouring of God.
And so it goes, over and over again. Is this by design of God, or is it a symptom of the failure of human flesh? I do not have the answer to that, but I do know that, just as Jesus was a root out of dry ground, so do great harvests come out of times of spiritual famine.
We are in just such a time as that right now. We are ready for the rain and a subsequent time of harvest, but this time the outpouring of God's Holy Spirit will eclipse all other revivals. As we come out of the spiritual famine that Amos foretold just before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, the greatest revival of all time is scheduled to arrive.
But no revival is without its price. It is that price that the Four Steps to Revival is about- Recognition, Desire, Repentance, and Prayer.
Brother Dalen Garris
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