6 That which has been born of the flesh is flesh, and that which has been born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear its sound, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who has been born of the Spirit.”John 3:6-8 (LSB)
I grew up as a Southern Baptist. Much of the memories from my childhood have something to do with being at church each and every Sunday morning and evening. One thing I remember was an annual event in our church called a ‘Revival.’ The Pastor and his staff would plan it for a certain date, put that date in every church bulletin leading up to it, put signs up in front of the church advertising it, and make announcement after announcement from the pulpit to remember the upcoming ‘Revival.’…
The speaker for these revival meetings was usually some evangelist I had never seen before or a Pastor from another SBC church. One time we had a group of brothers come in and ‘do the revival.’ One preached, one played various instruments, while the other sang solos. That was my concept of ‘Revival.’ Is it possible for people in one place to plan for a certain date and time on the calendar to be the time and place God moves, pouring out His spirit on a local body of believers? The emphasis in those ‘Revivals’ I witnessed were on evangelism instead of a moving of God to bring about repentance and a rededication of a group of people to live for God instead of self.
I experienced dozens of these ‘Revivals’ until I became old enough to leave home and live my own life the way I wanted. I was not a believer. Oh, I had ‘gone forward’ during one of those ‘Revivals’ when I was in the 4th grade, but by my teen years I knew that I was not really a Christian. As soon as I could, I left church behind. Of course, living my life my way was not so hot. I ‘experienced life’ and found it wanting. Nothing satisfied. Through it all until my mid 30’s, I knew that I was ‘not right with God.’ No matter what fleshly pursuit I was after, I never crossed certain lines. I refused to participate in anything I considered blasphemous. Could it be that God was protecting me or keeping me from destruction? I have thought much about this. If I had gone further into my rebellion I may not have survived! I have learned to look at my salvation as a miracle. It most certainly was not according to what I wanted.