The Key to a Third Great Awakening
The sound of dancing like muffled rain drops on a tin roof can be heard in the distance. The heralds have their songs muted by the utterly chaotic noise of a confused generation, but make no mistake, they are singing still. They bear on the wings of their song the blessing of God’s sovereign timing and the joy of His soon appearing. The Lord Himself is coming with banner and torch in hand lighting the way for all who will soon be awakened in the morning of His greatest harvest.
Do not allow fear to capsize your heart, disturb your mind, or distract you from the magnificence of this moment. He has heard the cry of the foolish and the appeal of the wise. He is choosing to come as no respecter of persons. He is coming as a Father to reveal the fierceness of His love and the fire of His holiness. Our Father, the King of Glory, is coming, and He will reign forever and forever.
The question is not of His coming but of our awareness of His approaching and our preparation for His arrival.
In Zech. 1:1 we are introduced in a single verse to the power of repentance and the hope of the King’s appearing. Tucked away in the neatly scribed names of Zechariah and his fathers we discover a glimmer of light preceding the dark words, “The Lord was very angry with your fathers.” (Zech. 1:2) We read, “Zechariah, (which means “God remembers), the prophet, the son of Berechiah (which means “God blesses”), the son of Iddo (which means “At the appointed time”) saying …”
The message begins with the incredible reminder that God remembers and He blesses at the appointed time. Has history stumbled upon a time for such an encounter with the King of Glory as though He was unaware of her staggering? Might we even be so bold to ask if it is possible He was watching her stagger all along that she might fall into the arms of His embrace?
Are we in such a time of revival and awakening? Are we at such a time for the message of repentance and holiness to be sounded again from the pulpits of America without affection for fee or favor? Are we at such a time when the fierceness of His love and the fire of His holiness are being manifest and people’s hearts are being flayed before Him in secret? Are we at such time when the sound of dancing in the distance and the muted song of the heralds is being heard—though it is muffled?
Are we at such a time that the great cloud of witnesses are anticipating the reactions of our generation to the times in which we live? Are we at such a time that the synergy of generations is rising before us like a tsunami of His holiness? Is awakening afoot?
The Lord is visiting His people with banner and torch in hand. The noise that produces fear is like a cluster of chaotic and confusing sounds, but the sound that accompanies His coming is as the mist upon a rooftop or songs carried on the wings of hope. Fear causes us to fail to hear the gentle steps of His approaching like a breeze among the myrtle trees or a whisper of assurance that His eyes are upon us. It is not difficult. Zechariah continues the Word of the Lord, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Return to Me,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘that I may return to you,’ says the Lord of hosts.” (Zech. 1:3).
Zechariah yields his life to bend toward us releasing the message of the hope of His coming. The Lord warns Zechariah, “‘Do not be like your fathers … they did not listen or give heed to Me,’ declares the Lord. Your fathers, where are they?” (Zech. 1:4). We hear easily in the times of shouting, but what of the times of whispering?
I propose to you the sound of His coming is at hand. The demand on us is not to manipulate His coming but to surrender to His arrival. The moment of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 was not determined by the disciples gathered in the Upper Room. Their responsibility was simply to recognize the sound of His arrival and surrender to the accompanying fire. The Lord Himself had orchestrated the affairs of men to be in the right city at the right time where the maximum number of people could receive the manifest glory of His appearing. He is orchestrating these days as well.
One of the early sounds of true awakening is the rapid and resplendent sound of people praying and seeking Him in different places at the same time. Suddenly you begin to realize it is not about this city or that, this church or that church, this region or that region, but it is the sound of His angel armies riding like horsemen across the land quickening hearts to arise and the wind of His Spirit blowing among the myrtle trees. (Zechariah 1). The sound of the hunger of His people being fed by prayer.
The sound of revival along the Gulf Coast during the past six months has been one of the most incredible times of my life and ministry. We have really sought to “prefer one another more than we preach to one another.” A number of pastors from very different backgrounds and expressions of local congregations are seeking to “move together” throughout the region carrying the banner of hope and harvest in one hand and the torch of His holiness in the other. We have seen thousands respond to altar calls, and we have seen incredible miracles as we moved from city to city and church to church. Not everyone understands it, and many doubt the effectiveness of the model, but for those of us laboring together it is an incredible journey and I personally believe it is the hope of what is to come in the nation.
True awakening can never be contained in a building and will not be controlled by a single ministry! Why not allow the Holy Spirit to release the fire of His holiness that permits us to value each other for the gift He is in us and allow our message to transcend the scope of personal preference or prejudice and walking in humility to make the Name of Jesus famous in the earth? It has been said of the Welsh revival, “The outpouring of the Spirit came dramatically, with precision, in the second week of November 1904 on the same day—both in the North and in the South.”
It was March 16, 2014 for me when through a vision I saw the Lord step into the sanctuary, and my life will forever be marked by that moment. However, it was a moment, though the vision lasted for nearly six hours, others were experiencing their own encounters and visions that I knew nothing about. My vision in no way diminishes the significance of theirs—quite the opposite: I have learned the Lord is moving all over the nation and in many other nations at precisely the same moment. He is beginning a movement birthed out of moments of encountering His glory. For a dear friend of mine it started in a truck stop when the glory of God fell and people were saved, healed and filled with the Holy Spirit right on the spot. For another pastor friend it began in his kitchen floor! The story goes on and on, but it must be celebrated as a collective and received with the hope of His appearance.
If you are reading this and feel as though you are still waiting for the moment when you encounter His glory, do not be distracted by a sense of delay. “Behold, He restrains the waters, and they dry up; He sends them out, and they inundate the earth” (Job 12:15, NASB). He chooses to restrain the water that it might come forth to transform the earth! In the revival of the 1890s there were regions in the British Isles that did not come into revival for a year or two, but when they did it was often a wider and deeper move of the Spirit.
You know you are getting close to revival when the level of your expectation demands the discipline of your preparation.
Prayer movements are being refreshed and renewed. Expectation is arising in the hearts of a people who are less concerned about their future than they are confident in the faithfulness of the Lord to respond to the appeal of His people. Regions are beginning to connect, and laborers are meeting in the field to reap a harvest no one can reap alone. Ministries are collaborating by the joining of hands until our hearts begin to become one.
We are living in unprecedented times, and unprecedented times provide unparalleled opportunities. My confidence is that we will witness thousands of churches of varying sizes, strengths and assets come together in these unprecedented days to witness the miraculous move of the awakening that is afoot.