What Does Revival Look Like?

Joy- Welcome to Asked and Answered,” the podcast series that answers all your questions on missions today. With me in the studio are Ron and Charis Pearce. Welcome back, guys! The question I have for you today is what does the outpouring of the Holy Spirit look like around the world?

Ron- Well, it varies from place to place, country to country, time to time, all those sort of things, but there are some general trends or general signs that we look for when we go into an area and that is what we are going to discuss today, what are some of those things that we look for.

Number one, we look for something where people are excited. Now you might say well, that could be about anything. No, I’m talking about the things of God whereby you can sense an enthusiasm for what God is doing in their presence. Therefore, you listen to that and you try to boil down is this human or is this a bubbling over of the Holy Spirit in their lives that talks about several things. One, that the believers are getting deeper in God, that the Word of God is being cherished more than ever before, that there is an aggressive amount of evangelism, discipleship, there are new believers and probably the biggest one is that the unsaved are getting hungry. They are wanting to have the answers, they are wanting to know more and there is not that dull silence and everybody is just sort of carrying on with life. No, all of a sudden questions are popping up and seekers are coming to the forefront.

Joy- Because they are watching.

Ron-They are either watching or something has happened that has drawn them to that point. Now you can say it’s the Holy Spirit that is drawing them to that point, yes, but there is usually a catalyst. God does something around them and it creates this hunger and then all of a sudden it comes up. And sometimes the catalysts are a disaster, Covid, a disease, you can get a hurricane, cyclone, I’m just trying to think of some of the things out there that do it. Abject poverty, collapse of economies, and all of a sudden people are starting to ask questions. Their normal religions, their ancient traditional religions, are not answering their questions and they are looking. And that is why we look at those sort of factors in the whole thing, just to see if there is something there that is going to spur on a growth spurt within the body of Christ. Is the body of Christ going to grow? Is it growing? And if it is growing, what does it look like? So those are the things we look for.

God does something around them and it creates this hunger and then all of a sudden it comes up. And sometimes the catalysts are a disaster, Covid, a disease, you can get a hurricane, cyclone.

Charis- And I think one of the differences between a large move of the Holy Spirit and just a fleeting gathering together is the hunger and the depth of the people. They want more which leads into the desire for more Bibles and the desperation for it.

Ron- Yeah, when we get a phone call and you’ve got a guy on the other end of the phone and he says, Ron, this is going on and this is going on and this is going on and we need more Bibles.” And he doesn’t say, I need a new suit or we need a bigger church building.” Some of these other things in the Western world that sort of speaks of, Oh, this congregation must be growing because we’ve got to build a bigger building”. Nothing like that. So, what it is, they say do you have any Bibles? Even just a few. How many can you give us? We are getting requests in all the time. I just had this come in from Albania and a brother there talked about the fact that there are people there so hungry for copies of the Word of God but there are none available right now. So, that is where we are going to jump in and help. So, the first thing that we do, as we’ve talked about before Joy, is that we listen for that request for Bibles like Charis just said, and that is the first sign that we are going to get involved. After that we can step in with some other things, pastoral support and monies for training, evangelistic outreaches, that sort of thing. Even bicycles and motorcycles and things like that. But the first hint that there is something is hunger. Hunger by the believers, hunger by the unbelievers, a searching. That is the sort of thing and I know very well that that is the moment that God starts to look down and say Aha! They’re coming out of their lethargy, they’re looking for me and I’m going to find them. And that is what we want to find. We want to find those sort of groups around the world and we are finding them. Such areas, I can even point to the ones that are really searching right now. That would be Cuba. And people are going to say Cuba? That’s where we go for a holiday!” No, it’s true but people have had really rough times there with Covid and hunger and the economy and I’ll even go as far as saying the government and all of those things. They have had a really hard time and they are searching for God. And then you can go to areas like Serbia with the Romani people, you can go to Albania, you’re going to go to India. I was just talking last night to a brother there of an extremely large church planting outfit, ministry and he was talking about its just popping up everywhere. People are being baptized. Last night at one o’clock in the morning he sends me some more pictures of baptisms. He says they are happening every day and I just get this flood of pictures of people wanting to be baptized, it’s huge in numbers right now. So, China is just like this machine rolling out and they need millions and millions of Bibles. Why? Hunger, disappointment with the government, they feel like they are in prison, the people as a whole. They don’t know who to trust. Oh man, when I hear those sorts of words, that’s searching. Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, you can go to a lot of these countries right now and you sense that God is really on the move in their people. And you’re going to say, is it everybody? No, not everybody but vast numbers, more than we have ever had before. Ethiopia that I keep coming back to, that is an area whereby people are just turning to the Lord everywhere. Again, it’s out of hunger, they are craving the word of God. They need millions of Bibles and New Testaments in the country today. They need them. Therefore, that is where we start in this outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Charis- I think also the desperation and urgency to share the Gospel with their family and their friends. They know the time is short and they will do anything they can to share what they have discovered with their family and friends.

Ron- I give a good example of that, that was excellent. Just recently in Ethiopia, there was a group of people, large group, a huge group of people that had accepted the Lord and they had evangelists that were going out and sharing the Gospel with people, I’m not going to give too many details here for security sake. But they were going out and this large group of people didn’t want the evangelist, the church planter, to go home. In fact, it was sort of like a forceful, Please, don’t go home!”

Joy- A forceful kidnapping.

Ron- It was a Christian kidnapping so it’s okay but it was the idea that they were imploring them, they were begging them, don’t go home. And it was sort of like, Why, I want to go home, I’ve been on the road for the last three months and I want to see my family!” etcetera. And they said, No, we’ve got friends, we’ve got relatives in other villages and they are still in darkness. They still don’t know the way to Jesus. They don’t know that he is the promised Messiah. We have been looking and looking for hundreds and hundreds of years in our religious group, and we never found the answer.” And they said, Please don’t go, what if they die before you get back?” That sort of panic, that sort of, please don’t go because we are finally convinced that we found the truth and we are concerned about our brothers and sisters and relatives and friends, we’re concerned about their eternal destiny! So this one brother says, Ron, we had to stay, we have to keep going. There is no option because they just keep coming and saying there are more people.” The reality of that is an emotional and intellectual thing. It’s totally being captivated by the lostness of mankind. It grabs ahold of a people and then we say okay, they’ve got it. That’s where we want to be at Empower and active at feeding that hunger.

Joy- If you were to gather the different leaders of countries and get them together talking it sounds like they would have similar stories to share.

Ron- Exactly. The cultural differences and language differences, they’re always going to be there but the essence of a revival, the essence of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, it’s always the same. And it’s been that way since the book of Acts and probably before that in the Old Testament as well, people searching for God. There are identifiable signs but our problem is that we so quickly forget about the hunger. We get captivated by the things of this world. We are mesmerized by toys and when the good times come, the easier times, we just wander from the Lord. And this goes back to the children of Israel, this goes back to the Old Testament and the time of the kings and everything like that. This goes to the prophets and they were calling people back to God like come on, do you remember how God took care of us? And the people just sort of are deaf, dull of hearing as it says in Hebrews. This is where we are at today in some areas, but there are these other areas, and this is what I am trying to encourage people with, even in a time when the world today is going through a lot of turmoil and distress, there are these places around the world where there is a sensitivity to the voice of the Holy Spirit calling to the people and they are responding. Their worlds are broken, and then we move in there with huge amounts of scripture saturating entire areas with the Word of God and then you go I with other tools and things like that. The Spirit of God is working, you are just throwing gasoline on this spiritual fire that’s growing there. That is what we can do from afar. We do not take the credit for this, no, God caused the hunger, God is going to cause the fulfillment, and He’s going to feed them. We are just going to provide the food.

Joy- It’s like you always say, we lose our identity in the church.

Ron- That’s right. But it’s so fun, Joy, to sit back and watch this! It’s so much fun to sit there and say okay, it’s popped up over here.

Joy- To wait for the next area.

Ron- Ah, the next area. And they are coming quicker now and they’re more diverse. Even within a country, this can be a revival within a revival you know! So if you get in one area and you get an outpouring of the Spirit and then you’ve got a certain group like maybe the prisons of a certain country, whereby all the prisoners are accepting the Lord in the midst of another revival. So it’s levels of revival that are going on. That is fun to see. And the people that you would have never thought that we in missions sort of cast aside and say these people will never respond to the Gospel. They have been hard for years and years and years now are coming alive. Prime example, Israel and Israel for 2,000 years was like a rock, so hard. The whole issue of trying to find Jewish people that wanted to hear about the Messiah, then all of a sudden just a few years ago the word went out, maybe Jesus was that Messiah, maybe Isaiah 53 is true. Then it started and in Israel today there is a growing hunger to know who the Messiah is and when they meet him they are excited.

Joy- Okay, there you have it, what the outpouring of the Holy Spirit looks like and there is absolutely hope for us here in North America hearing those stories. Thanks!

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