“The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.” From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near”” (Matthew 4:16&17, NLT).
If you’ve been concerned about the state of the world of late, you’re certainly not alone, but I have good news for you! As a Pastor, a student of the Bible and Christian History, it is important for context, to look at where we’ve been, to perhaps gain a better understanding of where we’re headed.
Revivals usually work together with Awakenings. Typically, there will be some national or world event which awakens people to their need for God again and people begin praying. That is the typical pattern. For instance, between the Book of Malachi in the Old Testament and the Book of Matthew in the New Testament, or simply what the Gospels record, there was a period of approximately 400 years when God seemed to be silent. Known as the Dark Ages, it was a time when there was no revelation of God to His prophets, until the time of John the Baptist. Out of an extremely dark period of history, a message of light came, preparing men for the coming of the Lord.
For the past two hundred years of American history, the same pattern has held true. Preceding the Revolutionary War and America’s long battle for Independence was a Great Awakening beginning with a young pastor, Jonathan Edwards in Northampton, Massachusetts, continuing with George Whitefield’s and John Wesley’s famous treks across the nation, leading many to receive Christ as Lord.
The Second Great Awakening sparked by Rev. James McGready, continuing with Charles Finney saw hundreds of thousands of Americans come to Christ prior to the Civil War. It seems light not only separates darkness, but at times, stirs it up, too.
There were others: The Urban Revivals, in the days of Dwight L. Moody, the Welsh Revival, which spread to Pennsylvania in the time of Billy Sunday who saw an estimated 1,000,000 souls receive Christ. Around the same time, William J. Seymour led the famous Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, which spread around the world, and just a few years later, World War I broke out.
However, not long after World War II, a healing and evangelistic revival broke out under the leadership of Oral Roberts and Billy Graham, after which Bill Bright founded Campus Crusade for Christ, the Full Gospel Businessmen’s movement began, as well as the Jesus People and Charismatic movements.
So, what does this tell us about our day? Many believe another Great Awakening is taking place right now and a great revival is just around the corner; perhaps the greatest awakening of all, leading to the return of Jesus Christ Himself. Could there be a greater revelation of light than this? And we must be ready.
If you would like to receive Jesus Christ as Lord, simply ask Him to forgive you of your sins and be the Lord of your life. God has a plan for you, and it is good!
Rob Granger and his wife, Becky, serve as Executive Pastors of Grace Church San Marcos under Senior Pastors Brian and Melissa Bauer. Located at 855 E. Barham Drive, San Marcos, Grace San Marcos meets at 10 a.m. Sundays and 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays with meetings for youth, children and other groups scheduled throughout the week. Visit www.gracesanmarcos.net for further information.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Times-Advocate.