Friday, February 17, 2023

Spiritual Revival Begins on University Campus

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A revival is taking place on the campus of Asbury University in Kentucky. A school founded by Methodists.

It's now spreading to other university campuses.

Students say during a call to confession last Wednesday, Feb. 8, at least 100 people fell to their knees and bowed at the altar. Since then, they say, "it has turned into a Holy Spirit outpouring that shows no signs of stopping." 

Be informed, not misled.

Today is day nine in Hughes Auditorium at Asbury University where a spiritual revival is underway. 

It began in the most simple way, with prayer and humility, when a few students prayed together at a mid-morning chapel service on February 8.

Alexandra Presta is the editor of the student-run website The Asbury Collegian. She wrote in an article published on Feb. 8, "As a senior, I have never witnessed anything like this." 

Here is how she describes what is happening:

I have been in Hughes Auditorium for almost twelve hours now without an intent to leave anytime soon. 

Peers, professors, local church leaders, and seminary students surround me— all of them praying, worshipping, and praising God together. Voices are ringing out. People are bowing at the altar, arms stretched wide. A pair of friends cling to each other in a hug, one with tears in her eyes. A diverse group of individuals crowd the piano and flawlessly switch from song to song. Some even sit like me, with laptops open. No one wants to leave. 

No one even expected this to happen. Not on a random Wednesday for sure. Yet, we sit and sing about God’s love pouring out and His goodness. 

As a senior, I have never witnessed anything like this. I’ve heard about it from alumni, especially those who have come to chapel and spoken about their experience with the Revival of 1970.

December graduate Elle Hooper agrees with me. 

“I am one of many who have been praying for this since my freshman year,” Hooper said. “To be here and witness to this is life-giving.”

There have been moments of testimony, Scripture reading, and prayer, private and public — whatever the Spirit felt like doing. Different leaders like chapel speaker Zach Meerkreebs and campus pastor Greg Haseloff worked to keep the day flowing as long as God intended it. Pizza, snacks, water, and coffee rejuvenated the energy around dinner time and after the sunset.   

This experience is a true testament to show God’s timing. He knew when we as a student body and as a community needed a day like today. To confess, reconcile, heal, and allow prayers to be spoken over us — He knew what we needed to do and helped us do it. He is still present even as I type these words; honestly, it is hard to describe everything I am feeling, much like my friends sitting around me. 

Part of me is filled with nothing but gratitude. We have sung the popular song by Brandon Lake more than once, but the truth of the lyrics hit every time: “So I throw up my hands, and praise You again and again ’cause all that I have is a hallelujah.”

I have embraced friends, cried with strangers, and overall felt more connected to God than I have in a long while. And I am only one person, one witness to healing and transformative action taking place on the carpets, against the walls, and between the wooden rows of seats. 

Junior Abigail Glei said she felt peace about the sovereignty of God. “He is teaching me to believe that He is in control and that I don’t need to worry.”

Asbury has a history.

In 1970, what began with a chapel service was followed by 144 hours of unbroken worship---very similar to what is happening again today. 

Jim Garlow, best known as a longtime California pastor and New York Times best-selling author knows about that revival because he witnessed its effects. Garlow, now 75, started at the seminary in the fall of 1970.

“What happened in September,” he recalls, “was the students regathered from the summer, and we gathered back in this auditorium, and they reported all the places the revival had gone during the summer internationally.”

Yes, that one-week revival at a seminary was part of a spiritual renewal that went worldwide.

That revival spread to become referred to as the "Jesus Movement" or the "Jesus Revolution," culminating in a series of "Jesus Marches" through the cities of the world, with tens of millions of youth marching for Jesus. 

In their June 21, 1971 issue, Time Magazine put Jesus on the cover

I was a youth pastor during that time in history. I will never forget it. 

Is this a real move of God?

American Family Radio's "Exploring the Word" co-host Bert Harper, a Southern Baptist minister, tells AFN he is excitedly following the Asbury revival partly because he trusts those who have stepped foot inside Hughes Auditorium.

“A pastor friend visited Asbury to observe what God was doing,” Harper tells AFN, “and he said within an hour he was a participant.”

Harper, who knows the history of revivals in the United States, says he believes Asbury mirrors those genuine, Holy Spirit-inspired movements because the Spirit is leading the congregation in Wilmore [where the seminary is located] just like the early Church in Jerusalem.

“God is doing a deep work and it is Holy Spirit-driven,” Harper says. “Emotions are following the Spirit without the emotions leading the way.”

The world is watching.

The world is watching Asbury in real-time.

Similar reports are now coming from Lee University and other seminaries and universities.

Unlike the 1970 revival there or the 1950 revival that preceded that one, news of Asbury’s ongoing, unbroken worship service is spreading online from YouTube videos to Twitter posts and the hashtag #asburyrevival. That accessibility of the day-and-night worship service is spreading quickly, drawing crowds from all over who might be showing up to post a TikTok video or repent of their sins, or both.

The worldwide exposure also means Asbury is the target of well-meaning critics and ill-intentioned wolves, which have both been around since the Jerusalem church.

Asbury leaders are reportedly watching for wolves inside and outside the auditorium, too.

Radio host Janet Mefford is watching out for those wolves, too. Using her Twitter account, she is warning that a liberal "queer" group named "The New Evangelicals" have arrived on the seminary campus to stir up trouble.

So it appears the Holy Spirit, and the rainbow flag-draped wolves have both arrived in Wilmore, Kentucky.

Psalm 11:3 asks, "When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?"

These kids at Asbury and elsewhere are answering the question. And showing the way.

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Engaged. Be Prayerful.