By now, most people who closely follow Christ have heard of the incredible revival that's been ongoing at Asbury University in Kentucky. People and media have been converging on the campus to try and understand what is happening; what is God doing?
Among those who have attended, who are believers, there seems to be little doubt the hand of the Holy Spirit is at work. The revival began without any famous Christian leader or band being involved. It was not pre-promoted. And some national ministries, such as our own here at K-LOVE and Air1 have expressed caution about becoming involved so as not to interfere with something born entirely of God.
The image below is a poignant example of the outright love and honest fellowship that has been taking place at Asbury University's chapel.
Now there are reports of outbreaks of repentance and seeking Jesus at other locations.
One is Cedarville University in Ohio. The school's president Thomas White traveled to Kentucky to witness firsthand what was taking place. Later, back at his own school's chapel services, White began to see an unanticipated and incredible difference taking place.
Here is the complete note that Dr. White sent to the Cedarville campus community. It is clearly from the heart, and shows his desire to move with the flow of God and understand what miraculous event is underway. We have interspersed images from Cedarville's chapel as you read the note below.
"We are so thankful for how God is working on our campus in recent days. I want to share a brief summary for those who may not be aware.
Speaking on Psalm 86 on Monday, I planned for us to pray as an application of David crying out to God and then sing a song before continuing with the sermon. During that song, the first person to come to the altar to pray was a faculty member. He was followed by students, one after another. As I walked back up to the stage, I knew the sermon was over and God was moving. Before long, the altar was packed, with students down some of the aisles. We stayed even after the time for chapel had ended. We don’t do this very often because we value the important work that takes place in classrooms across campus at 11 a.m., but as I looked down at students with tears of repentance dripping from their cheeks while other students put arms around them to pray, I knew we needed to stay. God was doing something special. We eventually dismissed those who needed to leave, but many stayed.
At one point, I commented that genuine revival includes professions of faith. During a song, an RA came up to me to let me know that two of the students in his area were saved during that chapel.
We were still there when time for the next class came. Some left, but I noticed that other students were returning. I assume they came back after class. Around 1 p.m., the band on stage stopped playing. We invited students to stay and pray or sing as they felt led. When I left that day at 5:30, there was still a small group of students in the room sitting around the piano worshipping Jesus. I am told that there was never a point where the chapel was empty on Monday.
Monday evening at 8 p.m., we began a time of prayer and praise, and of course we read Scripture … after all our vision statement is “For the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ.” I expected to see a hundred or so students and for the service to last an hour. God convicted me of my “little faith” when I walked in to see a thousand, maybe more, students. 9 p.m. came and went. We approached 10 p.m., and the numbers weren’t decreasing. We prayed, we sang, we cried, we read Scripture, we had brief exhortations, we rejoiced, and we exalted King Jesus.
Tuesday morning in chapel, the speaker gave an invitation for students to come to the altar and lay down any idols preventing them from moving closer to God. The altar again was full. We went a few minutes long with one additional song, but before long, we dismissed students to go to class and agreed to gather again at 8 p.m. Tuesday evening.
Tuesday evening began slower. We prayed through the Lord’s prayer. We sang one song, heard a few testimonies, and prayed through the Beatitudes. In the first thirty minutes, I think we only sang that one song. I expected students might leave with less music, but not only did they stay, the numbers grew. At the beginning of our next song, I saw a young lady with tears streaming down her cheeks come to the altar on my left. Then another in the middle and another to the right came. I’m not a charismatic, but I felt the presence of the Lord in the room. It was palpable. By 9 p.m. we had more people in the room than when we started at 8.
I called for salvations. No one came. We sang again. I watched another young lady walk toward the altar with tears streaming. Friends joined her putting their arms around each other. After the song, I felt the Lord leading me to ask if anyone was saved tonight, and the young lady with tears raised her hands. We all rejoiced together.
We challenged the students to take what God was doing in their lives and go share it with others. Specifically, we told them that Wednesday evening, we would not be in the chapel. We wanted them to take the Gospel to other universities. Around 10 p.m., we shut down the organized portion of the service. Then something amazing happened. A student from Wright State University came up to me right after the service. She was in the room. Her church meets on the campus of Wright State, and she connected many students to the ministry there to help in spreading the Gospel.
Some students continued to linger, praying and singing. I noticed a young lady with a beaming smile waiting to talk to me. Her first words were, “I was saved tonight.” That makes four reported professions of faith this week. Praise God!
Friends, I don’t know what the Lord is doing. Are we having a revival on campus? I think it is too soon to declare that. Maybe we are seeing a unique outpouring of the presence of God, and maybe we just experienced a few days of special worship. We must keep the marks of genuine revival before us. We should see confession of sin, repentance, salvations, Jesus being exalted, and the Word of God being held high. We must maintain a humble posture with no exaggerations as to what is happening, seeking to avoid fabricating something through emotional events on one side and hindering the work of the Spirit through skepticism or not encouraging the right opportunities on the other side. A genuine work of God must be organic.
I am hearing that God is moving in similar ways on other campuses. The Lord is doing something unique and special at five universities that I am personally aware of, and I suspect even more. So how do we prepare our own lives just in case God decides to do another great awakening in our country? Here are some thoughts from Bill Elliff pulled from the primary message of the Welsh revival where 100,000 were saved in nine months.
1. Confess all known sin
2. Lay aside every doubtful habit
3. Obey the Spirit promptly
4. Confess Christ openly
We don’t know what to do next or what will happen next, but let’s prepare our own hearts to be ready just in case God graciously moves in our country. I started praying for revival over 25 years ago. Our campus has frequently prayed for the cornfield revivals. Resound Radio has emphasized praying for revival for years on the airwaves. And for many years Cedarville has done good Gospel work day after day with students' lives being changed during their 1,000 days on campus. We must keep up that good daily work. Ultimately, this is not about any person or Cedarville, so let’s make sure we stay humble and give all credit to God. We desire that Jesus Christ be honored above all!?
Join me in praying and preparing for God to move in our lives, on our campus, and in our country. It’s an honor to serve King Jesus alongside you.