This is a time that we traditionally celebrate the birth of our nation. Regardless of how jaded anyone has become about our country it has been and still is an exceptional experiment in freedom and liberty, founded to a large part on Judeo-Christian principles and values. It is not perfect because it is a human institution.
It is still a place however that millions of people outside of America would leave their homeland to spend the rest of their lives here if they could, primarily because of the opportunities, the security and the quality of life that America provides.
There is a unique part of America’s history however that is not talked about much. It is our country’s unusual history of Christian revivals. That is not to say that God has not brought great revivals to other nations and parts of the world for the last 2,000 years. He has certainly has brought and is still bringing powerful movements of God in many parts of the world.
Iran is a recent example of a nation that is currently experiencing a powerful movement of God. But what is unique about American revival history is the sheer number and regularity of revivals.
From the First Great Awakening (1734-1743) and the Second Great Awakening (1794-1840) which turned a lawless nation back to God two times and spawned a movement that ended slavery and provided public education and saw hundreds of thousands of conversions to a Prayer Revival in 1857-1858 that started among New York businessmen and accounted for nearly 2 million conversions. Then a strange revival among Union and Confederate Troops in the middle of a bloody Civil War where an estimated 300,000 troops were converted.
Then there was Dwight L. Moody and the Great Urban Revivals of 1875-1885 which started in Chicago. The number of powerful God movements in 20th century America are too numerous to document in detail here. I will name a few.
From the African American (William Seymour) led Azuza Street Revival of 1906 to the Jesus Movement of the 1970’s which started when a few burnt out hippies decided to radically embrace a 2,000 year old gospel of an itinerant Jewish Messiah. Then there was decades of Billy Graham Crusades along with the Promise Keepers rallies of the 1990’s. But there were also dozens more 20th century God movements in America.
These last few years in America however have been marked by a sharp decline in morality, civility and church attendance. I confess that I have gotten caught up in anxiety, fear and sadness as I have watched orthodox Christian values take a back seat to new definitions of human sexuality. Right and wrong in general have gotten pretty confused. The political divisiveness and the riots, combined with a pandemic have only added to the spiritual darkness that is spreading across the land.
Some of you that are reading this are on the verge of giving up on Jesus and His value system and His church as it becomes increasingly difficult for you to live out your faith in a hostile culture. You are considering joining thousands of others in forsaking Jesus and marrying the Spirit of this age or trying to go it alone. If you belong to Jesus then you were called to be the faithful bride of Christ and to find great joy in Him even in hard times.
The gospel that Jesus’ children possess is a powerful eternal and supernatural truth that explains the world in a way that brings life, joy and hope. It can still transform a person and a nation.
What God has done for America hundreds of times before He can do again. Will you join me in committing to pray for these things daily?
If we will faithfully pray these kinds of prayers and live what we say that we believe, then God will do for America what He has done over and over again.
– Happy 4th of July and God bless America,
Jim for Lee and all of New Heights Church