The unending chapel at Asbury University has ended.
Has the "revival"?
From students to skeptics, from reporters to professors, from locals to visitors, from theologians to teenagers, those who touched the round-the-clock spiritual outbreak at Asbury testified to its power and authenticity.
But now what?
From multitudes to midterms... spirited singing to syllabus schedules... from praise services to papers due. Revival meets reality.
And reentry. In all the space launches we've seen over the years, one of the most dangerous times for the crew has been reentry. That blackout stretch of their return to earth, racing through the earth's atmosphere at speeds that produce unsurvivable heat.
After momentous spiritual experiences, we all go through reentry. Where the heat of the return to daily reality can be spiritually deadly.
But here's where revival can also prove to be truly life-changing.
When three of Jesus' disciples went up a mountain with Him, they were leveled by the view at the top. "He was transfigured before them... His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light." If that wasn't mind-blowing enough, He was joined by two visitors from heaven, Moses and Elijah! Talk about a "mountaintop experience"!
When it was time to leave the mountain, Peter had a "bright" idea - "It is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three tabernacles...". At that moment, "a voice from the cloud said, 'This is My Son... Listen to Him!'"
"When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus."
Two thousand years later, we still want to stay on the mountain and enshrine the extraordinary. But the point of the mountaintop is to see Jesus bigger than we've ever seen Him before! And to see "no one except Jesus."
Then armed and emboldened with this fresh vision of Jesus, we take it down to the valley. For the disciples on that Transfiguration Day, at the bottom of the mountain, they were greeted by a demon in a boy. Hell was waiting to meet them right after they had seen heaven come down.
So after the "Asburys," how can the "revival" survive reentry and transform everyday reality? The fact is that it's too soon to call a "mountaintop" experience a revival until it reenters - and revolutionizes - life in the "valley."
Years after those moments on the mountain, Peter wrote, "We were eyewitnesses of His majesty." But then he makes the stunning statement that "we have a prophetic word made more sure." More sure than actually seeing Jesus in all His glory and actually hearing God's voice from heaven? Yes, says Peter. It's the written Word of God, inspired as "men were moved by the Holy Spirit of God."
Because the sustaining fuel for ongoing revival isn't the mountaintop experience with God - it's the daily meeting with Him with your Bible in your lap! "More sure" than the extraordinary experience? The experience is more subjective, memory-dependent, anchored in feelings. God's Word is unchanging, tangible, complete.
That's where our heart meets Jesus' heart... where we see our burdens and relationships, our sin and situation through His eyes. Where we again see how big our Jesus is - not in an extraordinary gathering but in our ordinary battles.
So, will the reconciling spirit of the outpouring translate into a life of forgiving those who hurt us?
Will the sustained praise from the mountaintop be the way we greet each day's burdens in the valley?
Will the intense repentance of the glory time spark a lifetime of righteous choices and instant confession?
Will the passionate worship of revival become passionate witness for Christ to the lost in the valley?
When Isaiah experienced an overwhelming takeover by the majestic glory of God, it was followed by a crushing sense of his unconfessed sin. After his repentance and redemption, he answered the call of God to "go and tell" with "Here am I."
Think Cape Canaveral. That ball of fire that launches a rocket and crew to an orbit they could reach no other way. It's a powerful, literally earth-shaking experience. But it's only the beginning. The real story is the mission that follows the fire. So it is with revival.
Across the land and around the globe, there are spontaneous Spirit outbreaks and mounting evidences that God is on the move. That there is a "more" He wants to pour out in ways we have never experienced before.
An outpouring in a small Kentucky town has captured the attention of the nation and world, and exposed a deep hunger in our hearts for that "more." An outpouring that is now spreading to new places and campuses almost daily.
There's a wave building that can carry us to new heights. Unless we miss the wave because we're too busy trying to measure the wave.
I'm praying I will be ready to catch the wave. We really need to hear from heaven. "Speak, Lord - Your servant is listening."