By Larry Kreider
I have vivid memories of my family driving to the Chesapeake Bay for our annual family vacation. Each year we passed the same landmarks… the old barn, the railroad tracks, the football field, the small town, and finally, the beach. I clearly understood that we would not get to our destination until we had passed each of those landmarks.
Our Lord promises to pour out His Spirit in these last days, assuring us that “sons and daughters will prophecy, that young men will see visions and that old men will dream dreams” (Acts 2:17). He also promises that “the knowledge of the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the seas” (Habakkuk. 2:14). He is positioning Himself to send a last-day revival and has placed landmarks along our path to assure us we are traveling in the right direction.
The Lord desires to bring revival to us on many levels. Our God desperately wants to invade and revolutionize our personal lives, our cell groups, our churches, and our communities! Revival means a return of obedience to God. True revival is, in many ways, contingent on our obedience to Him as we look for the scriptural signposts along the way. Let’s consider ten clear signposts to look for as we head toward the destination of these prophetic promises of revival.
A Strong Personal Devotional Life
Every true revival has been characterized by a strong devotional life for each individual believer. Nothing can take the place of experiencing daily time alone with our loving, heavenly Father. Jesus tells us, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3). We get to know Him daily through personal prayer and time in His Word. A strong personal devotional life characterized the Moravian missionary movement during the 1700’s. The Lord is restoring a hunger for the Word of God and for prayer in His people.
A Desire to Worship Him and Him Alone
We worship whatever becomes our primary focus. In a generation when we can easily fall into the trap of worshiping our jobs, our families, our churches, and yes, even our small groups, He is calling us to focus on and worship Him alone. Imagine if your friends and family would come to your birthday party, but not even notice that you were there! We must give our God the worship only He deserves in our small groups and celebration services. The greatest personal worship of all is to lay our lives on His altar day by day as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to Him (Romans 12:1-2).
A Deep Repentance for Sin
True revival always includes thorough repentance. Our disobedience is not just a problem; it is a sin against a Holy God! David cried out to the Lord after his sin with Bathsheba, “Against you and you only have I sinned…” (Psalm 51:4). When we see how our sin grieves a Holy God, we can begin to experience true repentance, which produces pure love. Jesus said, “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little” (Luke 7:47).
A Burden For Souls and Evangelism
True revival delivers us from being self-centered and causes our hearts to focus on the unsaved. Those we meet at the grocery store and co-workers become souls destined for an eternal hell or an eternal heaven. We see non-believers as pre-Christians and begin to pray for an opportunity to share our testimony about Christ, knowing it may be their only opportunity to hear of salvation.
A Return to the Truth of Spiritual Parenting
Malachi tells us that in the last days the Lord will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers (Malachi 4:5-6). John Wesley’s class meetings in the 1700s were a form of spiritual families—spiritual fathers and mothers who trained spiritual children to become spiritual parents themselves. Thus the Methodist Church grew exponentially throughout the world. Anything we do in church without a revelation of spiritual parenting becomes just another church program. Elijah passed on to Elisha a double portion of what the Lord had given to him. We are called to do the same!
A Dependence on the Holy Spirit’s Empowering
Without Him we can do nothing (John 15:7). We desperately need the Holy Spirit’s power in our lives. Paul told the Corinthians, “I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:3-5). When God comes in power, we will never be the same.
Living Lives of Holiness and Integrity
In an age when sexual promiscuity and divorce and remarriage are rampant in the church, the Lord is calling His people back to a biblical standard of holiness. Marriage covenants must be kept. As believers in Christ, our word must be true. We are called by God to model a standard of holiness, purity, and integrity that makes the world around us jealous.
Committed to Loving Fellow Believers and the Unity of the Church
One of the signposts of every move of God is a holy desire to see the church as one, just as the Lord prayed in John 17. There is no competition in the kingdom of God. Pray for other churches in your community. No one church has it all. We need one another. Together, we are the church of Jesus Christ in our region. They will know we are Christians by our love!
Helping the Poor Becomes a Priority
When Peter and Paul affirmed their respective calls to the Jews and to the Gentiles, they made it clear that helping the poor was clearly a priority on the Lord’s agenda (Galatians 2:7-10). True revival includes reaching out to the poor locally, nationally and internationally. When we help the poor, we are lending to the Lord (Proverbs 19:17). He pays great interest on our investment!
Responding to the Call to Missions and Reaching the Unreached
The fruit of a revived spiritual life includes an intense desire to reach those who have no gospel witness. When our hearts have been truly touched by the Lord, we will find ways to practically help get the gospel to the unreached. My friends serving in the Muslim world speak of countries without any known believers in Jesus Christ. God has called us as His church to reach out to those who have not heard of His saving love through prayer, giving, and for some of us, through going.
Look for these signposts in your life, in your small group, in your church, and in your community. As you see these ten signposts coming into view, one by one, you will begin to find yourself right in the middle of a modern-day revival. Remember, God has promised to send revival. In many ways, it is up to us to allow it to happen. Let’s keep our eyes open and get ready to respond to Him. The best is yet to come!
About Larry Kreider
Larry has spent the past four decades training leaders to make disciples with the small group concept. Larry serves as the international director of DOVE International, a worldwide network of over 1,000 churches in twenty-six nations. Larry has written more than forty books and travels extensively teaching and imparting practical discipleship to leaders globally. Read about Larry or catch up on Larry’s blog.