Our nation needs healing. I cannot remember a time when we have been more divided as a nation. With the riots and the racial division we’re seeing, the only parallel that I can think of would be the late 1960s and ‘70s.
In that time, however, we experienced the last great revival in America—the Jesus Movement—when the Holy Spirit was poured out on a generation of hippies. Time magazine dubbed this time period the Jesus Revolution.
How did it happen? It wasn’t planned by any man or woman. It’s not like someone said, “Let’s start a revival,” because you can’t really start a revival. It’s something that God does.
A revival is an awakening. It’s coming back to life. It’s a restoration. While we can’t bring about a revival in our own strength, we can prepare the ground—or maybe I should say we can pre-prayer the ground for another Jesus Revolution.
The word revolution doesn’t just speak of upheaval; it also speaks of turning around, or rotating. A revolution is returning to something, and in our case, we need to get back to being the church that changed the world.
Let me share with you five things that the church did in the days of the Jesus Movement that we could really learn from today.
1. When we came to church, there was a sense of expectancy.
In other words, nobody ever came late to church, because we knew we were going to meet with the Lord and worship Him. The Bible says of the first-century church, “They continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). In the original language, the phrase continued steadfastly speaks of a passion, an urgency.
It is true that we need anointed preaching today. I think one of the worst sins a preacher can commit is boring people. Yes, we need anointed preaching, but listen: we also need anointed listening. Come to church with expectation.
2. The worship was passionate and heartfelt.
We didn’t have today’s awesome worship bands back then. Effectively, contemporary Christian worship was coming alive before our very eyes. Back in those days, we might have had a couple of acoustic guitars and we just sang some super-simple choruses.
The songs may have been simple, but people would engage. People would worship from their hearts. It’s so important when we come to church that we worship.
3. We had a hunger for the Bible.
The Bible was taught, not just referenced, in church services. We devoured it. We studied it. We consumed it. Hungry people are healthy people, and when you’re doing well spiritually, you’ll be hungry for the Bible—not just on Sundays, but every day. You need to start every day with the Word of God.
If you tell me your spiritual life is lacking and you’ve lost the passion, my question to you is, “Do you read your Bible every day?” You need to have the discipline of opening up God’s Word and starting the day off with Scripture—and reading it throughout the day. We did that a lot back in those days.
4. We believed Jesus was coming back.
“Well, Greg, you obviously were off in your timing. Wasn’t that, like, over 40 years ago?” Yes it was. But I still believe Jesus is coming back. In fact, I think we’re 40 years closer than we were then. He could come back at any moment. We’ve never been closer to the return of Christ than we are right here, right now, at this moment.
And if you really believe Jesus is coming back, it will impact you in the way that you live. Do you believe Jesus could come back in your lifetime? If you really believe that, it should affect you in the decisions you make.
5. We invited people to come to Christ.
There was an invitation at every service, and people responded by the hundreds and thousands. Some people ask, “Greg, why do you always give invitations?” Are you serious? Because lost people come into church all the time and I’m glad they do.
We should be bringing people to church who don’t know the Lord. Every week we should bring people to Christ and look for opportunities in our own life to share our faith.
It’s been said that the fame of revival spreads the flame of revival. And that’s the reason I’ve written my book, Jesus Revolution, which chronicles this period of revival. It wasn’t to live in the past or take a walk down memory lane. I wrote it for the benefit of today’s generation—to let them know, “Hey, maybe you can have revival in your time as well.”
If you want to see revival, do revival-like things. Don’t wait for the emotion. Don’t worry about feelings. Just get in there and start doing it. The emotions will catch up.
Let’s apply these five principles to our personal lives and to our church and see what the Lord will do. I pray that God would bring a new Jesus Revolution for today’s generation, and I hope you are praying too.
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