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by  • JANUARY 16, 2014

The Shantung Revival by C.L. Culpepper

The Shantung Revival
by C.L. Culpepper

It’s Throwback Thursday where I review a book from the past on either prayer or revival and spiritual awakening. Today I will review a book, which might be difficult to get a hold of, but you can listen to Dr. Culpepper’s testimony online. Dr. Culpepper was one of the key Southern Baptist missionaries during the Shantung Revival (pronounced Shandong) in China during the 1930′s. The key to the widespread movement of God was prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit working through the missionaries. We have many people praying for revival in America today, but I believe one of the keys to revival is missing. This key is the working power of the Holy Spirit through the individuals. I hope you will listen to Dr. Culpepper tell of his reluctance to accept the filling of the Holy Spirit , but what happened in China when he was filled. We need more Spirit filled Christians praying for revival, if we are to move the hand of God in America.

Words from Dr. Culpepper:
“Most of the things that took place in Shantung are as foreign as Chinese in America churches today, mainly because of resistance to the Holy Spirit. This same resistance may seek to influence readers of this book. Many things in this book will be hard for some to understand. Only those who have seen the unusual working of the Holy Spirit can comprehend the revolutionary change which took place in the lives of those who witnessed the Great Awakening during the Shantung Revival. To others the terminology may be strange. For instance, the use of ‘the baptism of the Hoy Spirit’ and the ‘fullness of the Holy Spirit’ are understood in different ways by many people…This terminology is not used in a technical or theological way in this book. The writer has used these expressions to designate the experience of total surrender to the Holy Spirit, resulting in a dramatic experience of Christian joy” (p.9).

When Christians in America learn to walk in total surrender to the Holy Spirit and stop resisting His power, we will see revival.

For the rest of the post…

By Dave Butts

For many years now, the Lord has put the issue of revival praying upon my heart. Initially, I must admit, my prayers were fairly generic: “O Lord, please revive us.” As I have grown in my approach to prayer, I’ve learned more specific requests, especially in using the Word of God to help format and provide content for my prayers. Psalm 80 and Isaiah 63 and 64 have helped me to petition the Lord for revival with both variety and the power of Scripture behind my requests.
Recently I have been praying through the Psalms again. I began to lift before the Lord the words of Psalm 74. To my delight, I found another “revival” prayer. My desire is that this Psalm will provide fuel for the fire of intercession and petition in your life as you beseech God to once again bless us with His Presence in revival.

As you pray through Psalm 74, please notice that before major sections I share some comments to help you see the aspects of revival in each passage. I encourage you to move beyond Bible study however, to passionately praying the heart of the Psalmist.

The Awareness of the Need for Revival

At the beginning of Psalm 74 we find the agonizing realization that God’s presence is not near. In fact, because of sin, there has been a sense of rejection. As is typical in revival praying, there is a cry for God to remember His people and return to them:

“Why have You rejected us forever, O God? Why does Your anger smolder against the sheep of Your pasture? Remember the people You purchased of old, the tribe of Your inheritance, whom You redeemed – Mount Zion, where You dwelt. Turn Your steps toward these everlasting ruins, all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary” (Psa. 74:1-3).

The Result of God’s Apparent Absence

When sin is accepted in the life of the people of God, the consequences begin to be felt. The enemies of God and His people begin to afflict the nation. Notice that the Psalmist uses the phrase, “Your foes roared.” This reminds us that our ultimate enemy is Satan, the one whom Peter tells us roams about as a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour (1 Pet. 5:8).

“Your foes roared in the place where You met with us; they set up their standards as signs. They behaved like men wielding axes to cut through a thicket of trees. They smashed all the carved paneling with their axes and hatchets. They burned Your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of Your Name. They said in their hearts, ‘We will crush them completely!’ They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land. We are given no miraculous signs; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be” (Psa. 74:4-9).

Turning to an Awareness of the God to Whom We Are Praying

An important lesson to learn in prayer is that ultimately we need to be concerned about God and His reputation and the extension of His kingdom and purposes. Revival really isn’t about us having better meetings or being happy. It is about God’s Name being exalted and more praise and honor given to Him on this planet. Notice that the Psalmist asked God to go to work, because He is the one being reviled and mocked through the attacks on His people. Note also that this portion of the Psalm then moves into a wonderful expression of recognizing God’s power and ability to handle any attack. It is as we understand the awesome power of the One we are addressing in prayer, that our faith will grow and we will begin to pray in a way that moves the hand of God.

“How long will the enemy mock You, O God? Will the foe revile Your name forever? Why do You hold back Your hand, Your right hand? Take it from the folds of Your garment and destroy them.

For the rest of the article…

Corporate prayer is one of the most important things we are to do together.

Why? John Franklin wrote in And the Place Was Shaken

If we are to see a spiritual awakening in this land, a reversal of the headlong rush into the moral cesspool in which we currently swim, then there must be fervent, intense prayer meeting sprouting up all over this land.”

“Revival awakens in our hearts an increased awareness of the presence of God, a new love for God, a new hatred for sin and a hunger for His Word”

~Del Fehsenfeld Jr

The Importance of Prayer in the Work of the Church

Many churches today in America are doing many works for the Lord. Unfortunately, there are not enough people in these churches who will volunteer to help out. The workers we do have are exhausted. In spite of all this work, we do not see the evangelism results we would like to see. According to the Bible, the reason we don’t have enough workers is because of lack of prayer (see Matthew 9:38). Prayer is also key to our evangelism efforts. When prayer returns to the church, we can have less programs to draw people and allow the Holy Spirit to draw them.

According to Evelyn Christenson, “Prayer is a very important means in the salvation process. Prayer invites the God of the universe to work in them before we try. It releases the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives. It goes ahead of our evangelizing to prepare the soil of their hearts. It can open whole cities or nations for a moving of God toward Jesus. But prayer alone still can be just a means, although a vital means, if we don’t actually go to them in some way with the Gospel of Jesus (page 50)”.

For the rest of the post…

Jim and Lynn JarmanBy Jim Jarman

Converge missionary appointees to Sweden

The year was 1950. The famous revival on the windswept Isle of Lewis in the Scottish Outer Hebrides was already underway. It was a revival that began when two elderly sisters fervently prayed. Peggy Smith was 84 and completely blind. Christine, her younger sister by two years, could hardly walk and was bent over double from arthritis.

God had given them a simple promise from Scripture: I will pour water on him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground (Isa. 44:3, KJV).

With a deep burden in their hearts they began praying. Twice a week for many months, they went down on feeble knees at 10:00 at night and did not rise until 3 or 4:00 in the morning. In the midst of their prayers, God gave them a vision of a man they had never met, a man who would be used by God to change the island. The man’s name was Duncan Campbell – and he would be the first to admit the dramatic spiritual change that happened was not because of him.

In his later accounts of this awakening, Campbell would write,

In speaking about the revival in the Hebrides, I would like to make it perfectly clear what I understand to be real revival. When I speak of revival, I am not thinking of high-pressure evangelism. I am not thinking of crusades or of special efforts convened and organized by people. That is not in my mind at all. Revival is far beyond evangelism at its highest level. It is a moving of God whereby the whole community suddenly becomes God-conscious before anyone says a word about God.

Supernatural Movement of God

People on the island were inexplicably drawn to Christ. Without publicity, telephones, or Internet, they were awakened in the middle of the night and drawn to gather in a farmer’s field or at a local parish church. Sometimes they did not make it – and instead simply fell by the side of the road confessing their sins to God. Bars and dance halls shut their doors for good. Starting with the small town of Barvas, the entire Isle of Lewis was turning from darkness to light. Whole towns were being converted to Christ, with the exception of the stubborn little parish of Arnol.

Arnol was defiant in its resistance to the gospel. No one wanted to hear what Duncan Campbell had to say. In fact, the citizenry held opposition meetings to denounce the revival. Campbell and his fellow leaders knew that the only answer was prayer.

They gathered one evening in a farmhouse and began to pray, earnestly appealing to the promises God had made in the Bible. At midnight, Campbell asked John, the local blacksmith, to pray, which he did for more than two hours. Near the end of his prayer, with his cap in his hand, John looked heavenward and said,

God, do you know that your honor is at stake? You promised to pour water on the thirsty and floods on the dry ground. . . . I stand before You as an empty vessel and I am thirsty – thirsting for Thee and for a manifestation of Thy power. I’m thirsty to see the devil defeated in this parish. I’m thirsty to see this community gripped as You gripped Barvas. I’m longing for revival and, God, You are not doing it! I’m thirsty and You promised to pour water on me. God, Your honor is at stake, and I take it upon myself to challenge You now to fulfill Your covenant engagement.

At that moment, the house shook violently. A jug on the sideboard crashed to the ground and broke. Those who were present said that wave after wave of power swept over the room.

At the same time, the town of Arnol was awakened from its slumber. Lights went on. People came into the streets and started praying. Others knelt where they were and asked God to forgive them. Men carried chairs and women held stools, asking if there was room for them in the church. At 2:00 in the morning, revival came to this last resistant town on the island.

Another Shaking

As I reflect on this historic account, I wonder why my prayers don’t seem to shake much except my own confidence in prayer itself. How can I connect with God in such an intimate way that I can pray with absolute certainty that God has both heard and will answer? Why do I so willingly accept a “No” from God and chalk it up to His all-knowing nature instead of taking the time to understand His heart so that He can respond “Yes” to me?

Am I really that thirsty to know God? Do I want Him to water the dryness of my own heart? Am I willing to acknowledge my own cracked and parched soul?

There is no question that our society needs a shaking from God, a response that manifests His presence and His power, a deliverance that restores communities and nations. But I sense that any outward shaking will be preceded by an inward one that changes the very core of my being.

Before I can challenge God to remember His covenant, it is God’s prerogative to challenge me on the condition of my heart. Does my pulse stay in sync with the rhythm of His? Do I know God’s heartbeat well enough to pray His will so that He can say, “Yes”?

The history of revivalism shows that prevailing prayer precedes all major moves of God’s Spirit. “Lord, do not callous my heart. Callous my knees.” This is my longing as I pray. I hope it’s yours as well.

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly (Acts 4:31, NIV).

Jim and Lynn Jarman are Converge missionary appointees to Sweden. They will be serving as Team Leaders for Church Plants and Ethnic Groups at New Life Church Stockholm. 

For more information on their ministry or to receive prayer updates, contact them at jarman@europe.com.

Or do we long for and pray for the extraordinary?

…revival is not the ordinary result of ordinary work. Revival is always extraordinary! 

Richard Owen RobertsRevival18. 

by RAY ORTLUND

Five marks of revived churches

J. I. Packer, writing in God in our Midst (Ann Arbor, 1987), pages 24-35, proposes that, among the variety of God’s ways, five constants appear in biblical revivals:

1.  Awareness of God’s presence: “The first and fundamental feature in renewal is the sense that God has drawn awesomely near in his holiness, mercy and might.”

2.  Responsiveness to God’s Word: “The message of Scripture which previously was making only a superficial impact, if that, now searches its hearers and readers to the depth of their being.”

3.  Sensitiveness to sin: “Consciences become tender and a profound humbling takes place.”

4.  Liveliness in community: “Love and generosity, unity and joy, assurance and boldness, a spirit of praise and prayer, and a passion to reach out to win others, are recurring marks of renewed communities.”

5.  Fruitfulness in testimony: “Christians proclaim by word and deed the power of the new life, souls are won, and a community conscience informed by Christian values emerges.”

No church, no community, can experience these heavenly powers without earthly upheaval.

For the rest of the post…

“Revival is the Church of God as a conquering army putting to rout the hosts of hell.”

~ James A. Stewart

John Stott says in his exposition of Acts 2: Pentecost has been called – and rightly – the first revival, using this word to denote one of those altogether unusual visitations of God, in which a whole community becomes vividly aware of His immediate, overpowering presence. It may be, therefore, that not only the physical phenomena (verse 2ff) but the deep conviction of sin (verse 37), the 3,000 conversions (verse 41) and the widespread sense of awe (verse 43) were signs of revival.

~ R. E. Davies, I Will Pour Out My Spirit

April 2014
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