“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” Acts 3:19
Refreshing…In my mind, this verse is a key characteristic of the beginnings of “revival” among Christians. If there was a large number of salvations happening along with this phenomena, we might term it an “awakening.” When these things are happening in a certain place, we would see communities affected and changed. If people were “revived” and “awakened” and began to earnestly pursue their calling as ambassadors for Jesus in the world, we would call it a “revolution”! In the days we live in, we need it all!
Recently, my team and I had the chance to minister at a few churches in the area. We didn’t plan it, but we became known as the “revival team.” I wasn’t sure about that, but I was glad to see “refreshing” come to people. As I thought about all of this and what it meant, I kept thinking about this scripture.
I want to break it down a bit and apply it to some key points on how this could relate to the churches and ministers of Thailand as a whole.
1. Repent. This means to change your way of thinking. Just because we name the name of Christ doesn’t mean that are minds are completely renewed the way He wants them to be. We need a new change of mind in order to move forward. We need to make a decision to repent and humble ourselves. When we preach with the aim of a revival, this is what we are preaching towards; a change of heart and mind that is replaced with a more Kingdom centered mindset. “Revival” presupposes decline but that doesn’t mean that everyone that is touched by the Spirit of God in a meeting needed repentance. We simply rejoice that God is moving in people’s lives! I believe some of his way of doing this is through “refreshing” which can lead to “revival.”
2. That your sins may be wiped away. Though we have been forgiven through the cross and born again, we may have old carry over thought patterns and ways from our past life that need to be dealt with at times. We may have allowed religiosity, pride, fear, unforgiveness, bitterness, formality, and other hinderances into our lives and ministries. This has stopped up the flow of God’s Spirit moving freely in our lives and meetings. Once are sins have been dealt with, the door is open for a new wave of refreshing.
3. In order that times of refreshing may come. I believe that we don’t ever let go of something bad or hurtful in our lives without God wanting to fill that empty place again with something infinitely greater. Sin and disobedience saps our strength like the sun in the heat of the day. When we let go of things that are holding us back, the way is opened up for “times of refreshing” to come. Refreshing is depicted like cooling wind and rain. These times, or seasons, of prolonged refreshing are what I would call the beginnings of “revival.” This is why many times we sing songs like, “Send your rain.” It is a prayer for refreshing.
4. From the presence to the Lord. Heaven sent “revival”, as opposed to something man creates, comes from the very presence of the Lord. When His presence comes, we are many times overwhelmed. Some may weep, others may shout, some may bury their face in the carpet and sob, others may tremble, some may shout for joy, others may receive a fresh impartation of vision and direction, some may receive a deep peace and rest. I believe these are just a few of the manifestations of the presence of the Lord showing up. God is always present, but there are times when he is uniquely present. In the Old Testament, it was in the shekinah glory of God where the “chabod” or weightiness of his presence was sensed in a tangible way. In the New Testament, it is His Spirit “falling” on those who had already received Him by faith. Out of this place, the people of God move out to touch their world. Those who are refreshed, refresh others. As a movement reaches a critical mass, then communities and beyond are impacted.
I wish we could see this type of “refreshing” over every church and group of believers throughout Thailand. I wish that these “revived” leaders would then go to reach out to the lost and earnestly pray for an “awakening” among them. Most of all I wish that we could see a full on “Jesus Revolution” that shakes every area of life for the Glory of God in this land!
Here are a few pics of what “refreshing” looked like from three different meetings. I wish I would have take more, but I was barely able to snap these few!