Planned revival can still encourage growth

By Ashley Sarver

Our God is astounding. He comes to us in our pain, in our laughter, in our weeping and in our joy. He comes unexpectedly.

We pray for revival to come and fill our stagnant souls with His presence. But is this possible when we have planned revivals?

The question of planned vs. spontaneous revivals is not new, but it is still widely debated. God will come in His own time, but that does not mean we should ignore Him even when we hear that, revival starts Sunday, Feb. 5.

How do we become passionate for God’s presence and desperate for His will? Rhonda Hughey reminds us of two options in her 2004 book “Desperate for His Presence.”

“We can either intentionally pursue Jesus until spiritual hunger is restored and our internal life is changed, or our external world may change unexpectedly to such a degree that we cannot go back to normal,” she said.

We can all agree that God moves in our lives unexpectedly, but He also works through the planned and intentional.

An example of this is found in Luke 1: 8-11.

“Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense.”

The passage says “an angel of the Lord appeared to him….”

When? During “the custom of the priesthood.” God came to Zechariah even though it was planned.

Now we can sit and read the critics and hear our friends complain about our revivals, but we cannot ignore what is happening on our campus.

Some may see a group of people worshiping together because everyone is feeling the emotions of the moment, but who are we to judge the intentions of our peers? What makes us (fallible humans created by God) think that we can limit God to unexpected “God-moments?”

During this last revival, many came to God in desperation. Revival can ignite the desire deeply rooted in us to be in God’s presence. Revival can stir emotions in us that can lead to healing. Revival reminds us of our brokenness and that God loves to heal. Revival brings us together.

We cannot forget what is happening in the hearts of those around us.

Some have started their spirtual journeys, others have started the healing process and more are gaining a desperation for God to come into their hearts.

God will come in His own time, but we need to set aside intentional moments where we are seeking His presence.

His presence is real and alive.  Are we willing to seek Him and find His presence and His will for our lives?  Are we willing to spend intentional time with Him?

We can run away from God so that He may catch us and put His arms around us, but He isn’t chasing us. He knows that we have a desire to run to Him.

He may seem spontaneous to us, but He always has a plan.


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