John and Carol Arnott are the Founding Pastors and Presidents of Catch the Fire (formerly known as the Toronto...
There are three lies which the enemy is attempting to propagate throughout the Body of Christ and particularly in churches that begin to flow in the current revival. Believing these will stop a local church’s ability to continue in revival. They should be avoided like the plague.
The first lie is that revival is over. If Satan can convince you that this is true, tragically revival will be over for you. Everything in the Kingdom works by faith, and as long as you believe that it’s over, then it’s over for you.
The second lie is a subtle attempt to diminish what God is doing. It’s what we call a “been there, done that” attitude, as though revival was nothing more than senseless manifestations of laughing or “carpet time” with no real direction or practical purpose. So now that our curiosity has been appeased, we can look for the next little gimmick that God may bring our way. Believing this undermines the value of what is happening, the value that thousands testify to.
The third lie masquerades as a rational thought process. It says, “I’ve had my little time of blessing on the floor. My spiritual life has been truly refreshed. Now it’s time to move on!” But as Melinda Fish so aptly says, “Move on to what?”
I say to all of these lies, “No way!” This wonderful move of God is still the best thing that has happened to us. From my perspective, for seven years we have been enjoying the awesome presence of God, with all its extraordinary side effects. We continue to see the most marvelous and lasting fruit. Thousands are giving their lives to Christ. Marriages are being healed and restored. Youth are on fire, deeply in love with Jesus Christ and full of purpose. Why would anyone want to move on from this? We should be contemplating how we can not only continue in it, but how we can have even more of His life-changing presence? God is not calling us to move on until He sends the “More” out of heaven. What He is calling us to do is to keep maturing in the dimension He has opened up to us which began with a divine encounter with the Holy Spirit. He ignited the flame of divine romance, we fell in love with Jesus again, and then with one another fulfilling the two great commandments. In order to help us continue loving, God goes deeper into the heart, healing life’s hurts. This anointing will also bind up your broken heart continuing the process of sanctification.
As the River keeps flowing, God renews your calling and gifting. As the Holy Spirit imparts gifts, Christians then want to move out aggressively to fulfill the Great Commission. In this way, we allow the River to move us on, without ever leaving behind enjoying His wonderful presence, always pressing in for more of Him.
What we do with this blessing is important. In the parable of the talents, Jesus talked of a lender who gave money to three of his servants. Two invested and doubled their investments. The other buried his talent. The lender praised the first two servants.
“Well done good and faithful servant...I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.” (Matthew 25:15-30)
But the master rebuked the third slave who hid his talent in the ground. “'You wicked, lazy servant...Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”
Did you catch the importance of verse 29? For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. I don’t know about you, but I want to be one of those who has and is given more. I want to have an abundance. I want more of Him and His Kingdom!
You will never receive more of God without staying in the River, without soaking in the Holy Spirit’s presence. He is our source of all the fruits and all the gifts. He wants to fill you repeatedly. That is why we must put those three lies aside and commit ourselves to spending time every day in the presence of God.
My constant personal prayer is that God will keep my heart excited and in awe of Him. I don’t ever want to get used to His wonderful presence. I believe that the presence of the Holy Spirit is the greatest treasure on earth. Do you? There is a cost, you know.
Let’s examine previous revivals to see if we can learn from their mistakes. Arthur Wallis, in his book, REVIVAL: RAIN FROM HEAVEN, states that ten years after the Welsh revival in 1904, there was no evidence that it had ever taken place. Likewise, in the Lewis revival in the New Hebrides in the 1950’s - why ten years later was there was no evidence that they had ever experienced a powerful visitation of God? How could this possibly be?
Oh yes, there were isolated individuals who went on to do great things for God, but the original churches that had experienced such a wonderful move soon returned to their former deadness. The fresh awe of God was not valued and maintained. The old structures and patterns soon returned leaving no room for the new wine.
The sad truth is that many leaders simply don’t like the changes that come with revival.
The Azusa Street Revival, on the other hand, became a worldwide movement. It spawned new denominations and subsequent revivals, changed the Church’s methods, and its fires continue to burn to this day. For years after, Azusa leaders were excited about the gracious outpouring that God had given, and faithfully stayed with it for the long term. Why?
Its leaders paid the price to change the wineskin in spite of being persecuted for it by that part of the Church that was reticent to change.
There are many excuses that Church leaders offer to belittle revivals when they come. They label the revival as disorderly, disruptive, emotional or unscriptural. They accuse the hungry of pride or self-gratification.
The sad truth is that many leaders simply don’t like the changes that come with revival. They don’t like manifestations. They don’t like the “out- of-my-control” feeling, and they don’t like the emotions. The fact that similar things happened in Scripture seems to be unconvincing; they will try desperately to preserve a structure that in most cases, is really not working at all.
The Holy Spirit is looking for those who will be called out of the old structure and flow with the new move that He has initiated. We need to both love the new anointing and also the new structure that comes about as revival brings new ways and methods.
Jesus said in Luke 5:37-39, “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’ ”
There are two very important insights to be gleaned from this passage. Firstly, when we have an outpouring of new wine in revival, there are new methods and structures that are necessary to contain the blessing. The new ways in this revival include abandoned worship, a pursuit of intimacy with God, and a release of the joy of the Lord. Ministry is also moving away from the professional, one-man revivalist model and into the hands of the local church and the ordinary Christian who is now on fire.
Does your hunger for more of God exceed your fear of His new way of doing things?
The second thing to notice is that those who are used to the old ways will stick with them even though they may be ineffective in producing the fruit the new anointing was sent to create. People who do this will find themselves resisting the new.
So, some of us have a decision to make. Do we try to hedge our bets by trying to find the middle ground of moderation and compromise? Or do we pay the price of separation, turn from the comfort of public opinion, and go hard after God?
I say, “Go hard after God.” Stay in the River, and let the River flow. I have great faith in the Holy Spirit’s ability to make us fruitful and multiply our talents. Does your hunger for more of God exceed your fear of His new way of doing things? New wine needs new wineskins. Don't cling to the old. The new wine will burst them and both will be lost. In order to keep revival, you need to love it-all of it!
This archived article was written by John Arnott for release in Feb, 2001. Circumstances and situations may have changed regarding the author, locations and ministries. This content may therefore be outdated or misinformed.
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