A Revival Moment

There has been a lot of posting and vlogging about the Asbury revival as of late and I felt to throw in a few thoughts myself on the matter.  First of all, revivals are as they do, and anyone and everyone who has ever been part of a revival or experienced a genuine move of God in their life at a revival can attest to this.  To say a revival is not genuine puts the revival assessor in a place of judgment that was never intended for them. Sure we are to ‘test the spirits’ to see if they are of God; but we can’t test the spirits based on how an individual responds so much as we can, by how the thing being tested is presented. God is the One who is working in the revival, and He is working individually in each and every life.  If it’s a genuine move and work of God, then it will be manifest in both how it’s presented and how the majority respond to it. You will always have those few wild cards in any group who will skew your perspective; however, they are just a few in the mix of the multitude.

There are a lot of people out there who may have participated in a revival and even an altar call where they said a few words or had an ‘encounter’ with Jesus in a revival moment and such; but in the long run, many of them may have since fallen away into a lifestyle of sin and worldly living.  Was their revival moment any less genuine at the time they were experiencing it?  I think not.  The soil of a person’s heart that received the Word and its impact on their life will determine the ultimate outcome.  Sometimes it takes, other times it doesn’t take, for whatever reason.  Even if a person’s life is not changed, it doesn’t make their revival or moments therein any less real when they experienced it.  The soil of their life may have been a little dry or not able to receive what was being given due to the hardness of their heart, a critical spirit, or their unwillingness to repent of their sin.  Their heart may have not been where it should have been spiritually when the Word was sown.

Jesus said it this way in the Parable of the Soils, “Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

  – Matthew 13:3b-9

  • This parable speaks for itself and needs no interpretation other than what Jesus gave. 

The Parable of the Sower Explained: “Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”                                        – Matthew 13:18-23

  • The relevant takeaway for this blog has more to do with the condition of the soil of one’s heart and how it will determine the receptivity and response to the gospel message that is being proclaimed in any revival or worship service. There are varying degrees of soils that are being ministered to, some primed for the Word, others are still steeped in their own tradition or sin.  The seed is the Word and as long as the Word is being preached in an uncompromised way, if it presents the gospel message of salvation through Jesus, then that revival is real, at least for the person who receives the Word.

We all experience ‘revival moments’ at times; sometimes they even happen at revivals.  To determine whether a revival is genuine or not depends on the individual and their response to the gospel message. 

The person standing next to you in a revival may have a different experience than you; mainly because the soil of their heart may be in a different condition.  One thing is for sure; however one responds to a revival, it must be based on God’s Word, NOT the methodology of a given revival or the style of those who are leading it.

The Asbury revival is primarily being led by students who have been exposed and influenced by their culture, which is very inclusive and non-judgmental.  For instance, when members of the LGBTQ+ community are allowed to express their experience in this revival without renouncing their liberal lifestyle in favor of a genuine work of God in their life; for them, their experience is disingenuous.  They may feel something that’s very real, but they still need to respond in accordance with God’s Word, not their version of it.  For any revival moment to stick, one must repent of their sin and embrace the Christ, who has given us the Holy Spirit Who empowers us to live by God’s Word.  For a person to embrace their sinful lifestyle and claim a genuine experience with Christ at a revival is not consistent with the gospel message.  Even if a false experience is happening in pockets in this revival on the Asbury campus, it doesn’t make the revival itself any less real.  While God commands all of us to repent of our sin and call upon Him for salvation, He also expects us to change from our wicked ways and follow after Him and His Word. 

Our spiritual life formation, (SLF) are those disciplines that believers embrace as part of our expression and practice of our faith.  It shows up in how we read our Bible, pray, witness, fast and so forth. In all of this, a person’s SLF is not what saves us, only Jesus can do that; however, it does reflect our love for the Lord and our hatred for the sin that would otherwise ensnare us.

The Apostle Paul said it this way, “But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.”                        – Ephesians 5:3-7

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”                                                      – 1 Corinthians 6:9,10

  • In both of these passages, the Apostle Paul addresses an array of sinful activity that was obviously occurring in the communities where these churches were planted.  It becomes very clear that said activity is NOT fitting for any believer in Jesus, including those who have experienced a revival moment, or what I like to call, ‘a come to Jesus moment.’

A positive, biblical, and permanent change in a person’s life is the key litmus test for any genuine revival.  All of us at one time were somebody else who were on our way to Hell before Jesus came into our lives.  It’s no different for individuals who are experiencing a revival moment. They walked into the revival one way, the wrong way; and they walked out a changed person, because of what Jesus did in their life in that revival.

Perhaps many of the participants in a revival service are already saved; they just want to experience the collective energy of fellow believers in Jesus who are worshipping Him corporately in Spirit and truth; which by the way means the Holy Spirit and the Word.  Others may be currently in sin and their revival moment may bring them into a right standing with God through their genuine repentance and surrender to Jesus.  Either way, God is moving in and through revivals, be it at Ashbury College or the Jesus Movement of the 70’s, or the many revivals that have occurred (and still are occurring) throughout the globe that we just don’t hear about. 

Simply put, a revival is defined, in this context, ‘as an awakening of religious fervor, by evangelism or at an evangelistic meeting or series of meetings.’  For any revival to be genuine, the gospel message must be present and preached via God’s Word.  The spoken (Greek: rhema) Word of God never trumps the written Word (Greek: logos).  If something is being spoken at a revival or service that is NOT consistent with God’s written Word, then that revival is not genuine. 

Christians who embrace a solid faith in God that is based on His Word are often accused of being haters of those who have their own version of the gospel that contradicts God’s Word.  Again, the litmus test for a genuine work of God will be manifest in the repentance of sin, the embracing of God’s Word, and the lifestyle that it promotes.  This doesn’t mean that believers will not struggle with sin issues in their life, for we all have to ride that train; however, it does mean that they will not be going it alone. 

If I can encourage you to be mindful of the individual experiences that these people are having in this revival.  The fact that folks are coming from all around to be part of it should say something about their hunger for a genuine move of God that’s present in so many people.  This revival may be disingenuous for some, but radically real for others.  The proof is in the person and how they allow the Holy Spirit to work in them individually.  Let’s not be too quick to judge, rather, let’s pray for and observe how the Lord is working in the people who are part of this latest move of God.

History is replete with stories of revivals that have broken out in various places over the years, some more powerful than others, but all contained larger pockets of truth and genuineness that were reflected in the many lives changed, physical and emotional healings, demonic exorcisms, genuine salvations, and most of all, a real impact on the communities where the revivals were held.  In every revival you will always have counterfeits, just like you do in every church. 

The greater focus needs to be on those who are genuinely seeking the Lord for His intervention in their life.  While we can experience a revival moment in our individual devotional and prayer time, it’s always nice to fellowship with like minded brothers and sisters in the Lord who are also desiring a closer walk with Jesus.  This is God’s heart for us too, He desires to show Himself strong in our life if we allow Him. This can happen in a revival, in our prayer closet, a church worship service, or our commute.

As far as the coming worldwide revival that so many believers are hoping for and are speaking of; it’s coming, but not in the way that most may think.  The seven-year tribulation will soon be upon this world and from that tribulation, a genuine revival will break out that is coupled with much martyrdom, suffering, and chaos.  People of God will be hunted down and killed all day long for their faith in Jesus, just like sheep to the slaughter.  Their repentance of sin and rejection of this world’s ways will most likely cost them their very life, just like it was for the first century believers.  While the Church will not be here for that revival, many unsaved people who are here now, who perhaps think they are saved, when they miss the Rapture, if they come to faith in Jesus then, will have their revival moment, but it will come at a high price.

My prayer for you is that you will be less judgmental about this revival, or any other that may sprout up from it, and be more concerned about those individuals who are coming to a genuine faith in God through Jesus that is based on the Bible, God’s Holy Word, and not some emotional or euphoric experience. I have been doing this for a long time and I have seen a lot of great people go south in their faith because their spiritual soil system was not properly cultivated and nurtured.  I have learned that slow and steady wins the race of one’s faith. As we place our faith and trust in the Lord and in His Word, then He will, by the power of His Holy Spirit, lead us and guide us through the valley of the shadow of death, this life

Now with all of that being said, I should like to share another perspective on this revival from Pastor J.D.   Farag, who I love and respect very much.  He gave a sermon on February 26, 2023, that exposed what so many people believe about a supposed end time revival that must occur before Jesus can return to the earth for His Church.  This belief suspends the doctrine of imminence and puts the Rapture on hold so the Church can take over the world and bring it into subjection to God and basically become Christianized.  This belief system stems from Kingdom Now and Dominion doctrines that hold to a post-millennial position which conveys the idea that there is a post-trib Rapture or no Rapture; rather, the entire world will be made Christians, and then Jesus will return.  People who are part of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and even folks who embrace the IHOP mandate of reaching the world for Jesus so the Rapture can occur are also looking for an end time revival; again, before the Rapture of the Church. They basically teach that Jesus can’t return for His Church until the entire world has heard the gospel.   This view opposes the doctrine of imminence regarding the Rapture.  They get this doctrine from the passage in Matthew where Jesus said,

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”                                     – Matthew 24:14

  • This passage is as true as it is relevant, but ‘the gospel of the kingdom being preached in all the world’ doesn’t have to happen before the Rapture, because ‘the end’ doesn’t mean the Rapture.  The Rapture is an event is a series of events that will occur before ‘the end.’

Trying to suspend the Rapture in leu of the preaching of the gospel message throughout the entire world, which by the way, will occur during the seven-year tribulation, is preposterous.  This perspective is supported by the Seven Mountains Mandate, which is also a Dominion doctrine.  It basically says that Christians need to take over the world in seven main areas before Jesus can return to the earth.  They are 1 the arts, 2 business,3 education, 4 family, 5 government, 6 media, and 7 religion.   While I do believe that all of this will eventually happen, but it will only happen when Jesus returns in His glorious Second Coming with His Church to retake the earth and establish His millennial kingdom. Until then, we’re doing our best with what we have, and revival is part of it, but it’s not the whole.

Pastor Farag gave a list of eight questions that need to be asked when evaluating the authenticity of a revival.

1. Does it have as its foundation, the gospel of salvation found only in the person of Jesus Christ?

2. Does it reach the lost in the sense that it’s not exclusively in the Christian arena, as-it-were?

3. Does it focus on a ‘spiritual experience’ or the person of the Christ, Whom the Holy Spirit points to?

4. Does it lend itself to emotionalism and hyper-Pentecostalism at the expense of sound doctrine?

5. Does it have the markings of being manufactured in the ‘energy’ of the flesh to further a particular doctrine?

6. Does it provide a platform for, promotion of, and acceptance with the LGBTQ+ community?

7. Does it require that participants go to a specific location in order to ‘experience’ a specific sensation?

8. Does it create confusion and division in the body of Christ, and as such, bears bitter fruit?

Pastor J.D. went on to expound on each of these questions in his sermon that you can watch on YouTube or their church website.  Bottomline, if a person’s theology and eschatology says that their has to be a world wide revival before Jesus can return for His Church in the Rapture, then the motivation for them would be to start hosting revivals and get this movement going.  In reality, this kind of motivation is more about flesh than it is spirit, the Holy Spirit.  God can still use this and other revivals for His glory, even if they are questionable or false. One man said it this way, ‘God can use a crooked stick to draw a straight line.’ 

The goal of these post-millennial, delayed Rapture groups is to unite the entire world under one ecumenical banner that will usher in the glory of the Lord so then Christ can return.  While it sounds good, in the end, only Jesus can (and will) do this, but under His authority and standard.  However, the false christ, the anti-christ, the instead of christ will attempt to unite the world under his banner during the seven-year tribulation.  Unfortunately many people now, who are participating in revivals, like at Asbury, but who are not saved, will find themselves being deceived by this coming false christ, who will attempt to unite the world. We all know how that will turn out.  I am saddened that many who miss the Rapture will fall into this end time deception.

There are most likely individuals who are participating in this revival that genuinely love the Lord and are experiencing a move of His Spirit. For example, I sometimes tune into the live feed from the Asbury revival and sing along with the worship.  I enjoy it, even though the guy on stage may have a different view about liberalism or morality than I do.  I watched a pastor who visited the revival share his testimony on YouTube and how he just enjoyed the service and worshipped with the rest of the students. He said that two of his staff members who attended the service with him were healed, without even being prayed over.  That’s cool, and something that is characteristic of a genuine revival, but also of a false one.

Someone may have been ‘slain in the spirit,’ which also happens at revivals, but it also happens at Benny Hinn crusades, and we know what all of that entails, a kundalini spirit.  It masquerades as genuine but in the end, no change occurs in the person laid out, just a nap, and a possible headache or lawsuit. 

Be not offended brother (or sister), as an Assemblies of God minister, I have been in many a worship service where people were genuinely ‘knocked out’ under the anointing of the Spirit, but it’s not all real.  This is why we are to test the spirits to see if they are of God. I remember when I was in college back in the 80’s, the RA’s (resident assistants) were asked to come to the front of a particular chapel service and pray for students who were responding to the speaker’s message.  As they came forward, I prayed for this gal who was immediately slain in the Spirit. I was just praying for her, and she went down; it was as real as it was genuine.  At that time I thought she was faking it and I went and sat down, disgusted.  Another student, after seeing what happened to her, asked me to pray for him, which I did, but with a lack of faith. I later learned, after speaking with the young lady, that what she experienced was very real and life changing for her; God had genuinely touched her life. 

Another time when I was a young lead pastor in a country church in upstate New York, we were having some powerful Pentecostal services.  This one lady, an upstanding woman in our community, came walking down the isle to be prayed for; as she approached the altar, she was knocked back on her back right in the aisle, slain in the Spirit.  Nobody even touched her, but moments later when she got up, she was changed.  Another lady, an elderly woman in her 80’s, in another service, who was being prayed for was knocked back onto the front pew of the church. Nobody touched or pushed her, nor was anyone there to catch her.  She fell over the front pew and remained stiff as a board, planked, with her feet on the floor and her back on the top of the back rest.  She remained there for several minutes while the alter service ensued.  To tell you the truth, it looked kind of freaky and abnormal.  After the alter service, I asked one of the board members to ‘revive’ her as it was time for the Word; he did so, reluctantly. She was fine, but a bit disappointed as she was with the Lord at that moment.

Another time in another church I was pastoring, we had a wild alter service where the power of God was being manifested; people were being healed, and lives changed.  This one gal came up for prayer, she asked me to pray for her and questioned if she would ‘pass out.’  I told her, ‘Not if she didn’t want to.’ I prayed for her, and she was immediately slain in the Spirit.  This was all very real; it wasn’t mind tricks or demonic persuasion.  She, like so many others, are looking for God to move in their life a very real and tangible way and He did and will for you too.  I have found that weaker believers are always looking for a ‘Word from the Lord’ from the man or woman of God.  Here’s a Word from the Lord for you, are you ready?  ‘Read your Bible.’ I have surmised, over my years of service to the Lord, that people who are genuinely seeking God for a move of His Spirit in their life will get it.   They must be willing to repent of their sin and change, giving up the old for the new; this is the gospel.  Any Pentecostal minister will tell you the same because we have lived it.

In any service or revival where the Spirit of the Lord is allowed to move, He will, but so will the devil.  Each person has to decide how a move of God (or the devil) is going to affect (effect) them.  They must and will respond accordingly and appropriately. If we’re looking for a religious thrill ride, we’ll get it, and that’s all. If we’re looking for the real deal, that is a genuine move of God that radically transforms lives, then we’ll get that.  We will get what we are looking for and pursuing.  Seek, find, and knock; that was the Master’s command.

In all of this, I caution you to trust the Lord and listen to His voice when it comes to discerning what is really happening in this, and other revivals.  We need to be more about working and watching for the Lord’s return than we are being critical of the authenticity of a move of God in another place.  If someone wants to believe that the entire world needs to hear the gospel before the Rapture to occur, fine.  Won’t they be surprised when they launch out of their BVD’s in a millionth of a second at the trumpet’s blast.  As long as they are ready to go.

Be strong man (and lady) of God, were almost home.  Revival is coming and it will be as global as the seven-year tribulation that is prompting it.  History has shown us that when times are tough for the believer, their faith in God is strengthened and they gravitate to a real and genuine walk with the Lord that is often forged from the fires of their adversity and trials.  Suffice it to say, mature Christians don’t grow on trees, they grow in ovens that are sometimes prompted by hard times.  Don’t despise the trial that may come your way; instead, thank the Lord that He will give you the strength, ability, and grace to forge your way through to the end.  Enjoy your revival moments when they happen, but more importantly, be about your life of service and obedience to the Lord. However we do our faith, we need to be living and loving as best we can in these last days, serving the Lord and being good stewards of the people and ministry that God has called us to.  Stay in the Word, stay in fellowship, and keep on keeping on until we hear the trumpet call of God.


Encouragemen is a blog written by Pastor Rob Lee, recently relocated to Northwest Missouri.  He lives with his wife of 33-years, near their three adult children, their spouses, and children (their grandchildren).  Pastor Rob is an Ordained Assemblies of God minister, a former Lead Pastor (25 years), police chaplain, and community advocate.  He continues to serve, consult, and disciple men of God, including those who are in the ministry. 

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