I am a product of the Jesus Movement. I was a seminary student and a young pastor when the Jesus movement began in California in the late 60’s and early 70’s and than spread throughout the rest of North America and even into Europe. Like today, those days were marked by political strife, racial tension, government instability and economic volatility. I remember embracing the title “Jesus Freak.”
The movement was also a predecessor of the charismatic movement, which moved through the mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic churches. I attended large gatherings of believers throughout the 70’s and early 80’s. God was awakening the whole church to the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, who had had become “the forgotten member” of the Trinity.
The movement left its impact on the church. I witnessed this first hand as a young Lutheran pastor. There was tension as God was pouring new wine into old wine skins. Many Jesus people left and formed other churches, while some of us stayed, wanting to be a leaven with the traditional denominations. I am forever grateful for what God taught my wife and I during those years. We still treasure “the Scripture Songs” we learned as a family.
I bring up the Jesus Movement because some observers wonder if we are about to experience another Jesus Movement. Don Whitney notes, “Perhaps no year in modern history so parallels the turmoil of 2020 than 1968……But in retrospect, it’s encouraging to realize that rumbling beneath it all, the Jesus Movement was gathering momentum as a work of God’s power that would flourish across the country in the years immediately following.”
Now there was folks reporting on a “beach revival” talking place in Southern California. Worship leader Sean Faucht, leader of worship during the beach revival believes the church is in a time similar to the late 60’s and 70’s. “What we’re seeing how is a return to a gritty, raw Gospel, Jesus people movement foundation,” observes Faucht. “What it’s doing is stripping off the sheen and the polished nature of what we’ve built in America and it’s allowing us to return to the simplicity of the power of the raw Gospel.”
Wow! I read of other revivals taking place in other parts of the country, even at the place where George Floyd was murdered. Could it be that in the midst of all the chaos, conflicting politics and anger, God is sending awakening. Could this be “times of refreshing ” from the Lord (Acts 3:19).
As I write this blog I have several gut responses to the reports of revival. First and foremost, there is an excitement in my spirit, of another move of God like the 70’s. It was glorious time to be a “Jesus Freak.”
But secondly, I am reluctant to admit fear and hesitancy getting involved in a move of God’s Spirit that will surely confront the powers of darkness that war against our nation. Lord, forgive me for my lack of trust in your sovereign power to protect me and my bride during the coming battle for the soul of our nation.
Thirdly, I am convicted that I have not prayed in Faith, with my face and hands raised to heaven, crying out, “God has mercy on us.” Daniel helps me with his prayer, “We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your name” (Dan 9:18-19)