In the Spring of 1996, before revival hit the church I pastor, we began recruiting men to attend our first Promise Keepers event, to take place in Washington, D.C. We had about 25 guys sign up–a great size group for the size of our church at the time. Then, revival came to Victory Church, and not everybody was happy about it. We actually lost fifty of our one hundred official members (even as we gained more than that back in new members). It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. There was lots of excitement about what God was doing. Every morning I would wake up excited and ask, “God, what are you going to do today?” But it was also relationally painful to endure severed relationships. I blamed myself for a lot of the trouble, but God wanted me to see that it wasn’t all on my shoulders.
During the tumult, someone asked me: “How many men who signed up for Promise Keepers are not going because of the revival?” The Holy Spirit must have led that man to ask that, because the answer provided a shocking revelation to me: NOT A SINGLE MAN WHO HAD SIGNED UP FOR PROMISE KEEPERS WAS AMONG THE GROUP THAT LEFT BECAUSE OF REVIVAL. I know, I shouldn’t shout in print, but what are the chances of that? Miniscule!
That reality showed me that not only was that group resistant to more radical forms of revival; they were resistant to something as mainstream as Promise Keepers! And even if they weren’t resistant, they weren’t interested in going beyond their everyday experience to pursue more of God. They weren’t willing to change, to repent. And that is the condition for awakening or revival.
Here’s the point: We have to be careful that we don’t tell God, “God, I want revival, but not like that.” Or, “I want revival, but here’s the way I want you to do it.” Or, “God, I want revival, but here are my limits.” There are some things that I would certainly do differently than in my first experience of leading revival. I know I made some mistakes. But ultimately, revival is not something that we control. That’s not your choice. Revival comes when you are willing to say, “God, you alone are God, and I turn away from my need to control and be the center of the universe. God, you can run the universe however you like. You can do in my life whatever you wish. You can change my world, my church, my nation, my life, to suit your will, not mine.”
RESULT: Refreshing. Don’t you want this? Are you getting it by your usual routines? Let’s go after it.