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:
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).
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: -
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.
In the light of the above quoted scriptures I
personally canít think of anything, at least that cannot be remedied by us.
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.
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.
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.
We need to be careful here when making such a statement, for the simple reason that we are all individual members of the church. So how does this apply to us? Here are some questions to ask ourselves, and Iím including myself here.
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.