By now you may have heard about the movement of God’s Spirit which began on Wednesday, Feb. 8th during a chapel service at Asbury University and ended on Feb. 25th, attracting close to 15,000 people from across the country each day.  As a firm believer in revival, I want to share my testimony as it relates to awakenings and revival movements.  

  • I am a product of a revival movement in the Lutheran Church.  By God’s abundant grace and mercy, I found Jesus as my Lord and Savior at the California Lutheran Bible School. There I met students and instructors who had a personal relationship with Jesus. From that day in March of 1960, I have been a follower of Jesus, still highly motivated to see God move among Lutherans.   
  • I attended Fuller Seminary (1962-66), where I was deeply impacted by Dr. J. Edwin Orr, who had studied revival movements most of his career.  “An Evangelical Awakening,” notes Dr. Orr, “is a movement of the Holy Spirit bringing about a revival of New Testament Christianity in the church of Christ and in its related community.  Such an awakening may change in a significant way an individual, or it may affect a larger group of believers.” I came away from Dr. Orr’s lectures convinced of revival being a sovereign movement of God’s Spirit.   
  • I experienced a local revival as a youth pastor during the early 1970’s.  Our youth group embraced the “Jesus movement” as an indirect result of the Asbury Revival of 1970.  I simply made myself available as a clay vessel for the Lord’s use.  It is truly amazing the work God did in the hearts of teenagers in those days.  Programs and attractions did not convert hearts. It was the love of Jesus breaking into the lives of affluent young people.
  • I was part of a spiritual awakening during the late 1970’s and 80’s, when the Holy Spirit was being poured out on many church denominations.  Just last week, Judy and I spent an evening with six couples we had not been with for over 30 years. We all marveled and praised God for all we learned during those days at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Des Moines, IA.  I am eternally grateful for those folks and all that we learned together as we allowed the Holy Spirit to teach and lead us in new ways within the Lutheran tradition.  

So, I am sold on revival. A key verse for me is Habakkuk 3:2: “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” Oh, God repeat your mighty works in our day.  When I watch what happened at Asbury, I think of Acts 3:19, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”  The word refreshing “implies relief from difficult, distressful or burdensome circumstances” (NET).  God in his mercy is rescuing a whole generation of young people from a decadent and destructive culture. 

I am now at least 30 years removed from the last awakening I experienced.  I hope I am more mature and a little wiser.  When I see young college students bowing in repentance before the Lord, crying out to him for mercy, and wanting to be free from sinful habits, I say, “Amen.”  My task, at my age, is to pray and cry out to the Lord from afar, that these young people might be guided and molded to change our nation.