REVIVAL, WHAT IS IT?
On Thursday, January 7, 2016 I made the following post on my Facebook page.
Tom Graves Bookbites
January 7 at 6:16pm ·
At work this morning about 6:30 AM, I felt like the Lord said He was sending revival to St. Augustine Florida, and I should let everyone know it is coming! So here it is: Revival is coming to St. Augustine Florida! I receive it here in the Mighty Name of Jesus!!! Blessed be the Name of the LORD!!!
All during that day at work, I shared this word with anyone I felt would listen and to some who I simply felt God said “Share with them!” Responses were mixed from excitement, to we need a good meeting and a good Gospel sing, to no response at all, just a strange look. That afternoon, I felt I should post it to Facebook and I thank all those who clicked “Like” and all those who commented.
Since then I have been pondering that word and thinking about revival. What does real revival look like? Is it just a series of meetings or is it something more?
OUR SEARCH FOR REVIVAL
Having grown up in the church, I was very familiar with what was called the spring and fall revivals. Both were week-long meetings, usually with a guest evangelist and special singing groups. In fact, it was in one of these meetings when I was 16 years old that God confirmed His call on me to become a minister. However, I ran from that call for 15 years. When I finally did respond to His call, I was 31, I was married and had 2 children. I moved our little family to seminary and ultimately to a church field in Virginia. To read the story of our call and response, go to https://tomgravesbookbites.wordpress.com/2015/02/10/the-testimony-of-god/
Jeanie and I would hear reports about a “Revival” in a certain place and we would go to check it out and we would come away thinking, “There has to be more!” Many times there was good preaching and good singing and our hearts were touched but our souls were not satisfied. We wanted to experience more of God. There were other times where we recognized that man was manipulating the meeting and the people, and we came away disappointed.
In the mid 1990’s we began to hear reports of what seemed to be two authentic moves of God. One was in Toronto, Canada at a Vineyard Church and the other was in Pensacola, Florida at the Brownsville Assembly of God. In the spring of 1998, Jeanie and I decided it was time to check out what was going on. The closest was Pensacola, only about an 11 hour drive, one way. Our first trip found us standing in line before noon with several thousand other people for the service that started at 7PM. Jeanie and I were privileged to travel to the Brownsville Revival a number of times between 1998 and 2000. It literally changed me, saved my marriage and probably my life. It was the first place I had ever been where the presence of the Lord was actually tangible and could be felt by the physical senses. Some even described the feeling as electricity loose in the building. God convicted me of the sin in my life, then He touched me and I will never be the same. In my opinion, the fruit from these two revivals over the last twenty years have established their validity as genuine moves of God.
In one of our trips to Brownsville, I purchased a couple of cassette tapes by a man named Duncan Campbell. They had been recorded in the late 1960’s and contained Campbell’s account of a move of God that he had been part of on the Island of Lewis, in the town of Barvas, in Scotland from 1949 to 1953. I was so taken by the definition of revival that Duncan Campbell gave in regard to this outpouring of God’s Spirit that my daughter-in-law, Paige Graves, made a framed print for me. Quoting Duncan Campbell, it reads: “A Power-Force let loose, God steps out. The Holy Spirit begins to move among the people. God seems to be everywhere. REVIVAL: Not a special effort on the part of man; Not anything at all organized on the basis of human endeavor; But an awareness of God that grips the entire community.” That print hangs in our den as a constant reminder to me that revival is something God does, not man. But God does it in response to the prayers of His people.
DUNCAN CAMPBELL ON REVIVAL
“There is a world of difference between a crusade or a special effort in the field of evangelism. My dear people that is not revival! As I already said from the platform, I thank God for every soul brought to Christ through our special efforts and for every season of blessing at our conferences and conventions. We praise God for such movements. But, is it not true that such movements do not as a general rule touch the community. The community remains more or less the same and the masses go faster to hell.”
“But in revival, the community suddenly becomes conscious of the movings of God, beginning among His own people, so that in a matter of hours, not days! In a matter of hours churches become crowded. No intimation of any special meeting, but something happening that moves men and women to the House of God. And you find within hours scores of men and women crying to God for mercy… When God stepped down, men and women all over the Parish were gripped by the fear of God.” 
PRAYING FOR REVIVAL
Duncan Campbell then tells the story of how the Lewis Revival began and had been going on for a number of days before he arrived on the island of Lewis. It all began with an eighty four year old woman who had a burden for the young people of the community. There were no young people in the churches at the time, but God had given her a vision of the churches filled with young people. She went to her pastor and asked him and the elders to begin to pray two nights a week, from 10 PM to 4AM on Tuesday and Friday nights. She said that she and her sister would pray during those hours at their home. The men met in a barn and had been praying for revival based on Isaiah 44:3: “For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:” After several weeks of this prayer, a young man who was meeting with the group, stood up and read Psalms 24:3-5: “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” 
Campbell continues telling about the young man, “He shut his Bible and looking down at the other men there, he said this… ‘Brethren, it seems to me just so much hum-bug to be praying as we are praying and waiting as we are waiting, if we ourselves are not rightly related to God’… he began to pray, ‘God are my hands clean, is my heart pure?’ And that dear man got no further! He fell on his knees and then on his face among the straw and within minutes, three of the elders fell into a trance.” When that happened in the barn…a power was let loose in Barvas that shook the whole of Lewis. God stepped down, the Holy Spirit began to move among the people. And the Minister, writing about what happened on the following morning, said this, ‘You met God in the meadow and the moorland. You met Him in the homes of the people. God seemed to be everywhere!’” 
THIS IS REVIVAL!
Campbell asked the question, “What was that?” And then he answers, “REVIVAL! REVIVAL! Not an evangelist, not a special effort, not anything at all organized on the basis of human endeavor but an awareness of God that gripped the whole community, so much so that work stopped! What was happening? The people were meeting in groups. Young men would gather in a field and begin to talk about this strange consciousness of God that gripped the community.” 
As I said earlier, Campbell had not been in Barvas for the original outpouring, rather he was invited by the pastor some time later to come and preach for 10 days. He originally had written the pastor that he had other obligations and could not come, but God had those obligations cancelled and he knew he was supposed to go and preach there. He was met at the pier by the pastor and was asked if he could stop by the Parrish Church on the way to the place he was to stay and address the group that had gathered there. Here is his account of that evening.
“I went to the church. Now this is the interesting bit because it deals with the outbreak of God in supernatural power; the God of miracles revealing Himself in revival. I preached in the church to a congregation of about 300 and I would say a good meeting, a wonderful sense of God, something that I hadn’t known since the 1921 movement in Middle Gyle but nothing really happened and I pronounced the benediction. And I’m walking down the aisle when this young man came to me and said, ‘Nothing has broken out tonight but God is hovering over us…and He’ll break through any moment.’”
“Well, I must be perfectly honest, I didn’t feel anything, but you see, here was a man much closer to God than I was. Oh, he knew the secret. We’re moving down the aisle and the congregation is moving out. They are all out now but this man and myself. He lifted his hands and started to pray, ‘God, You made a promise to pour water on the thirsty and floods upon the dry ground, and You’re not doing it.’ Then he prayed and prayed and prayed again until he fell onto the floor in a trance. He’s lying there, I’m standing beside him for about five minutes and then the door of the church opened and the clerk came in and said, ‘Campbell, something wonderful has happened, revival has broken out. Will you come to the door and see the crowd that’s here.’ Eleven o’clock mind you, eleven o’clock and I went to the door and there must have been a congregation of between 600 and 700 people gathered around the church…Now where did the people come from? How did they know that a meeting was in progress in the church? Well, I cannot tell you, but I know this, that from village and hamlet the people came…”
“There was a dance in progress that night in the parish and while this young man was praying in the aisle, the power of God moved into that dance and the young people, over a hundred of them, fled from the dance as though fleeing a plague and they made for the church. And when I endeavored to get up into the pulpit, I found the way blocked with young people who had been at the dance.”
That meeting continued until four o’clock in the morning. As I was leaving the church, a young man came to me, oh, he’s not a Christian, but he’s a God fearing young man and told me this story. ‘Mr. Campbell, there must be anything between 200 and 300 people at the police station. They are gathered there and some are on their knees.’ Now, I can’t understand this. He wasn’t in the church you see, but here a crowd of men and women from a neighboring village, 5 or 6 miles away were so moved by God that they found themselves moving to the police station because the Constable there was a God fearing and well saved man.” 
Just think, all of this occurred in just one evening and quite an evening it was. Revival had come to the Island of Lewis. That is the kind of revival I want to see God send to St. Augustine.
It is noteworthy that this meeting fulfilled the vision God had given to the prayer warrior.
Campbell also commented on what he felt were the two main aspects of the Lewis Revival. First, was the awareness of the presence of God and second, was the deep conviction of sin that the presence of God brought to the community. These will always accompany a real move of God.
“My dear people, do you understand what REVIVAL means? Have you a conception of what it means to see God working; the God of miracles, sovereign, supernatural, moving in the midst of men and hundreds swept into the Kingdom? OH THAT WE MIGHT SEE IT – THAT WE MIGHT SEE IT!” Duncan Campbell  (emphasis mine).
That is our cry also, OH THAT WE MIGHT SEE IT – THAT WE MIGHT SEE IT!
Blessings, Tom and Jeanie
 These excerpts were transcribed from Duncan Campbell’s sermon “When God Stepped Down From Heaven” from You tube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xM4jozRoYp4