Revive Us Again

Revive Us Again

10 December 2007

"Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy."  (Habakkuk 3.2)

"We have heard with our ears, O God; our fathers have told us what You did in their days, in days long ago."  (Psalm 44.1)

"Revive us, and we will call on Your name. Restore us, O Lord God Almighty; make Your face shine upon us, that we may be saved."  (Psalm 80.18-19)

"Restore us again, O God our Saviour, and put away Your displeasure toward us. Will You be angry with us forever? Will You prolong Your anger through all generations? Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?"  (Psalm 85.4-6)

How do you end up leaning against a lamp-post, outside the picture theatre, in a country town in New Zealand? Lost? Nothing better to do? Waiting for a bus?

None of the above ... but something infinitely more interesting and exciting! A pilgrimage to the scene of an authentic, local church revival back in the mid-1990s!

In this photo (taken a few days ago) I'm outside the Thames' (on the Coromandel Peninsula) mainstreet, picture theatre, paying a nostalgic visit and recalling the meetings when Heaven itself seemed to have invaded the old cinema's then-decaying interior.

Perhaps my sweetest memory of all, is the little children who Sunday night after Sunday night crowded into the front-row seats to be as close as possible to the "action". Then during the worship, as the presence of the Lord and His anointing intensified, one-by-one, without prompting or human pressure, the children would fall to the floor under the Holy Spirit's power. It was worth going to a meeting just to see these spontaneous and entirely innocent encounters between God Almighty and little kids!

"Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."  (Matthew 19.14)

Folk came to those revival meetings in flash clothes (their "Sunday Best") and work clothes; church shoes and no shoes. I remember at one evening meeting, praying for a fellow who'd come straight from his work in jeans and an old "bush" singlet. God, who is no respecter of persons, did not despise or disdain his attire. The Holy Spirit touched the man, down he fell and away he rolled. He came to rest on the footpath outside. We went on praying for him beneath the stars, observed by tourists out for an after-dinner stroll.

"I now realise how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right."  (Acts 10.34-35)

People with no faith, had faith towards God revived in them. People with some faith obtained more, and those with much faith discovered that even they could be revived and granted an increase!

"The apostles said to the Lord, 'Increase our faith.' "  (Luke 17.5)

"Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end."  (Isaiah 9.7)

At another meeting, a pastor (with many of his "flock") from another church in the district, stood up and apologised for injury and hurt which had occurred between the two fellowships some years earlier.

Today it amazes me how quickly so many church leaders in New Zealand have "moved on" from the 90s Revival. Some become quite aggressive in their denial that revival ever even occurred here; They actually enjoyed it hugely until it became theologically challenging and/or administratively inconvenient!

It surprises me too, that many who flocked to revival meetings (which took place simultaneously all over the country) flocked off so quickly when they received "the bill", or the excitement seemed to wane.

"If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me."  (Matthew 16.24)

Every time I go past the picture theatre in Thames I feel nostalgic ... I yearn for the return of revival. But such visits and reminiscences don't end in nostalgia. They disturb and provoke me to pray with renewed faith and fervour,

"Lord, I have heard of Your fame; I stand in awe of Your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known...Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You? ... Revive us, and we will call on Your name."  Amen. Come, Holy Spirit!