CAN WE SEE THESE THINGS AGAIN?

If a poll was taken on the above question there would, no doubt, be a variety of responses some positive and some negative. For example some may say that it is not possible "because of the state of the church today" or "because the days of big crusades are over." Before I go any further, however, I would firstly like to make some simple observations from the Word of God, and then to pose some questions for us to consider.

Here are some observations from the Word of God:

  1. God has not changed. His power is just the same as it ever was (Heb 13:8, Malachi 3:6). The same God who worked through Edward Jeffreys 70 years ago, or Evan Roberts in the Welsh Revival 100 years ago, or through Wesley and Whitfield in the Methodist Revival 300 years ago has not changed and is with us just as much today. The former text quoted (i.e. Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever) was in fact Edward Jeffreysí favourite text and quoted it in almost every sermon. (As Nell Hawkins stated "he believed it from the depths of his heart, and by the power of Godís Holy Spirit within him, he transfused the truth of it into their hearts and minds).

  2. There are so many promises in His word to show us His desire to do great things amongst us, such as the following :-

3    It is evident to me that throughout the UK and not least in Liverpool and Merseyside there is    a greater desire in the hearts of Godís people to see him move in revival power in these desperate days and in our sick land than we have seen for many years.

So, on the one hand we have a situation where God wants to work and on the other one were the people are really desirous to see him move. So why isnít it happening? Before I try to give my own response to this, I would like to pose some questions for us to consider: -

  1. Is there anything in the Word of God that would discourage us from expecting these things to happen again?
  2. Are the days of big crusade meetings over?
  3. Were not the needs of the 1930ís completely different to what they are today?
  4. Isnít such an event a sovereign act of God, and therefore will only come in Godís time?
  5. Doesnít the state of the church today negate the possibility of such a move of God?

What I would now like to do is to give a personal view on the above and then come back to the main question again.

  1. Is there anything in the Word of God that would discourage us from expecting these things to happen again?

    In the light of the above quoted scriptures I personally canít think of anything, at least that cannot be remedied by us.

  2. Are the days of big crusade meetings over?

    This may well be true, but Iím not specifically referring to a repetition of the large crusades such as those taken by Edward Jeffreys, because I donít think that the way in which God moves is really so important. What is important, I feel, is the outpouring of the same power that turned the world upside down in the early church (Acts 17:6) that can shake our city in whatever way God wants to do this. He alone holds the keys to unlocking the outpouring of his blessing that His word indicates is being held in readiness for the time when Godís people are ready to receive it.

  3. Were not the needs of the 1930ís completely different from what they are today?

    Admittedly the crusades were held towards the end of the Great Depression, there was no National Health Service or any of the comforts or the amount of entertainment that we have today. But have these things made us any happier? Are we more content and fulfilled than they were then or are we appreciably healthier? I donít believe that we are, in fact I would say that the quality of life in some respects is not as good as it was then. We only have to look at some of the people as we walk in our towns or cities to see that there are a lot of sad and hard faces and some look desperately miserable. The spiritual needs of today I would say are surely as great as they were then, if not more so.

  4. Isnít such a move of God a sovereign act of God, and therefore will only come in Godís time?

    When relating this to the Edward Jeffreys crusades I donít believe that this is true, because in many places where he went he also saw Godís blessing such as in his previous crusades and also the crusades taken after Liverpool. Please refer to Appendix 1 for further details of Godís blessing on his ministry during a period of many years.

  5. Doesnít the state of the church today negate the possibility of such a move of God?
  1. In saying that we really want God to move in our midst, how desperately do we want this? Do we want it at any price? The rich young ruler was earnest in his desire for eternal life, so upright and blameless was his life that he could say to Jesus "all these commandments I have observed from my youth." How many of us could say that? But Jesus wanted to draw him into following him and into service for him, but sadly he was not willing to pay the price that he asked (Mathew 19:16).
  2. Are we able to say to the Master "I am ready for whatever you want to do in my life?" or are we so encumbered with the cares, distractions or riches of this life? Do we have our lives so well ordered and planned that we have a placard outside our lives with the notice "do not enter!" Perhaps we have certain "no go" areas in our lives that are "non-negotiable" to any interference" As somebody recently commented "God is the ultimate interferer in our lives" and He will not accept anything less than a complete surrender to His will and purpose in our lives. So committed was Isaiah that when God asked the question "who will go" he was able to respond immediately "here I am send me" and I believe that he would have gone, there and then (Isaiah 6). Do we have this readiness in our lives? Those who will have seen "The Diary of Revival" will recall that when Evan Roberts believed that God was calling him to his hometown of Loughor, he dropped everything in obedience to God and returned home and that without any promise of support. God certainly honoured him for that and within a few weeks the great Welsh Revival had broken out.

I believe that these are important things for us to consider and that before we are quick to judge the state of the church that we need to look carefully at our own lives here.

Another point that I would like to make is that God does not always require great numbers of people through whom to work. Consider the following: -

So, to return to the original question "can we see the extraordinary sights again in Liverpool and Merseyside, I do believe that it is possible, though not in the way that we may expect. Hence, as previously advised, the reason why I have written the booklet, not just as a historical recollection alone, but as something to remind us that what God has done in the past, He is well and truly able to do the same again. At the end of the day though it very much depends on us as individuals and we should perhaps examine ourselves to see if we are in the place where God wants us to be and if we have the willingness and readiness that he is looking for, or are we a blockage in any way to what God wants to do?

My conviction is that if each of us on a daily basis focuses our hearts and minds on the greatness of Godís power that so shook this city all those years ago and commit ourselves to Godís call and service with that same spirit that Isaiah had, then who knows what God will be able to do amongst us.

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