The Pastor’s Piece – February 26, 2023
The Pastor’s Piece
February 26, 2023
February 17 found me and some friends in Louisville, Kentucky at the National Farm Machinery Show. I was there with the Fellowship of Christian Farmers International (FCFI). This is the largest indoor farm show in the United States. It is held every year during the second week of February. FCFI had been gifted a room where we invited people to come and hear speaker, Ron Miller talk about farming and the struggles farmers are facing today with, not only the economics of farming, but the mental stress that goes with it. Suicide rates among farmers are unusually high. After the meeting, we invited people to stay and pray with us. That’s why I was there – to pray. FCFI also rents space on the floor of the show room and we give out walking sticks and explain the way of salvation to those who stop by.
After the show ended on Friday, our Exective Director asked us if we wanted to drive a hour and a half south to Wilmore, Kentucky where Asbury University is located and where a revival was taking place. Of course we said yes.
Our arrival in Wilmore was like a scene from the movie Field of Dreams. We could see taillights as far as the eye could see as cars were backed up on the highway trying to get into town. It took a while but eventually we got there and found a place to park off the beaten path and walked to the chapel area where the revival was taking place. There was a line of people that wound its way all across the campus and down the street. We estimated about 5000 people were in line, waiting to get inside. It was cold outside. The temps were in the 20’s and the wind was brisk. We knew we weren’t dressed for that kind of weather. (When we arrived in Louisville it was 60 degrees). We looked around and saw a building that had people in it so we went there. It was another chapel – there’s a total of five chapels on campus. When we went in the door there was a big sign that said the chapel was full. Nonetheless, a very polite student found a place for us to sit and we took our seats. The revival was being live-streamed from the main chapel to four other smaller chapels on campus – this being one of them. It was a remarkable event.
The whole revival started when, on February 8, a chapel speaker invited students to stay after chapel and pray. Some went back to class, but some stayed. When the next class period ended, some students came back to pray. Then more. Pretty soon the chapel was full of praying students and they stayed 24/7 after that. We got there on Day 9.
We sat down and entered into the worship. For being an impromptu event – it was somewhat organized. Different students would lead singing for a few minutes. Then another group would step up and lead two or three songs. We sang hymns and spiritual songs. Some played guitar and sang. Others played piano and sang. Some of the music was professional grade. Some was very amateur. Some was almost unbearable – but none of that mattered. Between songs, a student would read Scripture and give a testimony. This went on for hours. People 18, 19, 20, and 21 years old were stepping up to the microphone and sharing how God had changed their lives. They were polite, neatly dressed, and sincere. Nothing was scripted or rehearsed. They spoke of repentance and renewal. They spoke of how God had changed their lives from the inside out. They spoke sincerely and graciously.
As we sat there we listened while they spoke. We closed our eyes when we sang the hymns and worship songs. Or maybe we didn’t sing at all – we just “soaked” it all in. Whatever it was, it was authentic and it was biblical. Sometimes we cried as the Spirit of God moved in our hearts. Sometimes we watched other people come in and worship with us. Without even realizing it, we were there for three full hours. It was amazing. God was there.
As we left I realized this could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But then it hit me – revival doesn’t take place here or there – revival takes place in the heart. If we want a revival across our nation and the world, it begins with me and you – one individual, one life at a time. Repentance first. Then comes renewal – and a future and a hope. As I prayed there that night, I included you – our community in my prayers. I included our church family. I included my family. And I prayed that this revival would spread across our nation like a wave. There’s a lot wrong in the world, but nothing is so wrong that God can’t make it right. That’s what I’m praying for.
Some will hesitate to call what happened at Asbury a revival. But I say, tomato – to Ma to – God is moving there and He’s moving here. Revivals aren’t limited to a place on the map, revival is anywhere people’s hearts are awakened to God.
Genesis 28:16: “Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.’”