God has things right where He wants them to be, right before He does what only He can do, as He so clearly demonstrated in the 1970’s which we’ll share in detail. In today’s landscape, it appears that the ways of godliness, and our nation’s moral compass, has all but been lost. While people are leaving God, and others are choosing atheism and agnosticism, many are losing hope. 50 years ago, it was a similar story in America. Leading up to the 1970’s, America was experiencing what many perceived to be some of its bleakest and darkest days. What many were not aware of was the greatest move of God’s Spirit was about to be poured out upon the nation. Men had their thoughts, BUT GOD!
At the same time, on the campus of Asbury College, the Lord began to deal with the heart of one man to share his testimony of what the Lord had done in his life, and confessing his sin publicly, calling sin as sin. As young man began to confess his sins, SUDDENLY! It seemed to catch everyone by surprise. The Holy Spirit took over a gathering of young people on the campus of Asbury College. It was 1970, and this was the spark that began to ignite the whole nation on fire for a passion and hunger for Jesus Christ. Young people openly shared testimony after testimony of what the Lord was doing and had done in their lives. One woman shares, “I’m thankful that this afternoon, I know, that the Lord saved me. I didn’t think that I could really know or be assured as I feel right now. And I thank the Lord because it’s only Him that could do this for me.” This is so incredibly powerful how God moves in those suddenly moments! It’s so vitally important that this was taking place amidst horrific atrocities taking place in the world and the nation. It’s so important that we not judge things based on what we see or what we think. The Lord is so incredibly outside of our minds and our expectations.
Looking at the realities of present day, we can see that we are not so far removed from the darkened and bleak days that were being experienced in the 1960’s and 1970’s. According to Pew Research, what young people believe today, is drastically different than their elders. “While roughly two-thirds of older adults say they believe in the biblical God, just 49% of those in their 30s and 40s – and just 43% of adults under 30 – say the same. Even with this age gap, an overwhelming majority of the youngest adults continue to believe in God or a higher power…” Now we can get an understanding of why things are happening the way that they are in our nation. When young people are not even wanting to go to church, to learn about true godly authority in Jesus Christ, we cannot be surprised when there is all-out rebellion against all forms of authority. Remember, God is the one that establishes authority and all authority comes through him, as Romans 13:1-5 reveals,
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
When satan wants to stir people up, he causes people to buy into rebellion. Amidst this horrific rebellion and difficult times, Time Magazine dedicated the front cover of their April 8, 1966 magazine asking the question, “Is God Dead?” Hopelessness seemed to cover the nation. 5 years later, God had his own plan in mind. God’s Spirit began touching hundreds of thousands of people across America. It was so powerful, and so suddenly, that Time Magazine dedicated the front cover of their June 21, 1971 Magazine. IT WAS A JESUS REVOLUTION! Days prior, rebellion lined the streets, as every establishment of authority was the enemy. Suddenly, young people lined the front pews of church services. “While the rest of the congregation mumble their amens, the kids punctuate Bisagno’s sermons with yells of “Outta sight, man, bee-yoo-ti-ful.”Almost overnight, after hating the police and throwing rocks at them, some of these same people were declaring their love and support for the police. “Chicago police, we love you!…Jesus loves you!” The drug addicts and drug dealers weren’t selling and taking the drugs, there were passing around boxes to put their drugs INTO to give them to the police. What? They passed a bucket and the young people, at the leading of Jesus, put their drugs in the bucket!!! They were getting free from drug addiction. Their faith in Jesus empowered them to trust Him and His leadership in their lives, trusting Him enough to give up all the drugs they used to distract them from life and life’s responsibilities. THIS IS WHAT GOD DOES! The answer is not legislation. The answer is JESUS!
Young people share mighty and encouraging testimonies of the power of the Holy Ghost in their lives. Young people share their transformational stories of how the Lord delivered them from their sins, addictions, loneliness, and anger. “I was a heroin addict. I prayed to Jesus and I was taken away from my drugs without any withdrawal.” This is so powerful. This young man had been so hurt by life, which we all are. The question is, will we turn to the world’s answers for relief, or will we find refuge and life in Jesus Christ? It’s relieving and helpful when the reality that we all have sinned and fallen short of God’s desire for our lives, becomes your reality, because we understand nothing in this life can wash away our sins like the Blood of Jesus can. It’s so surprising to someone who comes to Jesus that their sin is what caused most of their problems and issues they’ve had in their life and that Jesus can forgive them and restore them.
Where there had been divisions in families, the Lord miraculously brought families together, through healed hearts, instantly after being water baptized. “A freshly dunked teenager, water streaming from her tie-dyed shirt, threw her arms around a woman and cried, “Mother, I love you!” A teen-age drug user who had been suffering from recurring unscheduled trips suddenly screamed, “My flashbacks are gone!” For anyone, who are parents, you deeply understand the pain of watching your children living their lives outside of God’s plan for them, watching them walking blindly into the dark consequences of their own choices. As parents, you can wrap your faith and your heart around this reality, that whatever the problem might be involving your children, God can fix it.
What is so immensely powerful is how people that were living “successful” lives by the world’s standards were aware that it was in vain. They knew that outside of Jesus Christ, it was still empty. As one young woman shares, “right before I had been saved it was better than it had ever been before. Outwardly, everything was together. I had realized all of my dreams and it was then realizing that I realized they were vein, they were empty, there was no satisfaction in them. And I knew it was nothing without God”. You make think your life is going great until the moment that you see Jesus and realize whatever you thought you had, is nothing without Him. She also recognizes how different the atmosphere is when God’s children gather, compared to the intellectuals of the world. “There was no joy when philosophers got together. There was nothing but contention and strife. When the children of God get together it’s gonna be beautiful.” God doesn’t want one person to be lost and spend eternity without Him. Each and everyone of us have to choose whether we want to spend life with Jesus.
The Time Magazine article continued to recount how many drug addicts of the day were witnessed to and reached for Jesus. “You can use drugs after Jesus, but you won’t need them. If you become Christians, this is what has to happen.” Others testified how the Lord empowered them to say no to the devil’s temptations to return to drugs and addiction but decided to flush it all down the toilet! Be encouraged as you realize that much of this movement took place in San Francisco, California and the West Coast. What is taking place in today’s headlines is nothing that is outside the mighty hand of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Don’t be discouraged, depressed, or hopeless when you see the things that are taking place in our world. Completely sane and filled with common sense, bright leaders are being told that they are the ones that are crazy. This is what the devil does. He brings division and accusation. One man, who shared his testimony thought the problem with the world were people who were working, not him. “I thought it was their fault because they were paying taxes and the war [Vietnam War] was going on because everyone was insane in society. And they were accusing me of being insane, and I thought they were insane.” After coming to Jesus, he understood the reality of insanity and that the only answer was Jesus Christ. He continues to share, “I went into Berkely, and when there was a riot there, and I saw long haired people throwing bricks at the police. And I love the police now. I love this country. I love the people in the country.” Just as things are dark today, they were dark and looked hopeless 50 years ago. Truth of the matter is, deception is when you think what you are doing is right, you’re actually wrong. Sounds equally similar to the people with ANTIFA filling the streets today, rioting against the police. Be stirred for a greater hunger to know this same Jesus Christ that touched millions historically, for He is about to do it again in a way that will make past moves of His Spirit look like an appetizer. MORE LORD!
According to Barna.com, since 2000 there has been a catastrophic decline in the number of Christians in America. “In 2000, 45 percent of all those sampled qualified as practicing Christians. That share has consistently declined over the last 19 years. Now, just one in four Americans (25%) is a practicing Christian.” Obviously, when the light is turned off, the darkness is experienced. Instead of screaming at the darkness, light a candle, for as a believer, are the Light of the World. This is why you’re reading this right now, we are shining the light of Jesus upon you. The Barna Research continues to reveal how this decline in Christianity in America has caused an equally proportionate increase in those not acknowledging God, writing, “This shift also contributed to the growth of the atheist / agnostic / none segment, which has nearly doubled in size during this same amount of time (2003: 11% vs. 2018: 21%).” This is staggering. This explains the realities that we are experiencing in our nation today!
While God is pouring out His Spirit upon the nation, people in all areas of society were being touched and transformed by God. One man who was powerfully touched by God, in the 1970’s, was Bill Bright, who was a successful businessman. Time Magazine reported, “The biggest of the straight groups is Campus Crusade for Christ, 20-year-old soul child of former Businessman Bill Bright. He still means business: this year’s budget is $12 million, and by next month he will have 3,000 full-time staffers on 450 campuses”. This is such a powerful reality to understand. Many people who are “in ministry” never got the proper training of how to manage a budget of that size. Imagine how someone with business experience can bless and serve in the ministry! Many people feel defeated thinking that in order to serve the Lord, they have to be standing behind a pulpit on Sunday morning. This is simply not true. The gifts that you have in your life are given to you from the Lord. You can submit those gifts to the Lord for His glory and for His Kingdom!
At the same time, one young Assemblies of God minister, David Wilkerson, was powerfully touched by God. The Lord had moved on his heart to reach gangs in the downtown area of New York. One particular gang member, Nicky Cruz, beat Wilkerson multiple times for sharing the gospel to him. Cruz ended up surrendering his life to the Lord, because of Wilkerson’s persistence, and their story was written in the book, “Cross and the Switchblade”, which has sold 6 million copies. Be encouraged knowing that there is no limit to what God can do. The book would later be turned into a movie starting Pat Boone, Erik Estrada and Jacqueline Giroux.
God sees you right now. It’s no accident or coincidence that you are reading this right now. You are on the heart and mind of God. If you don’t think that you are valuable or that your life has any worth, those are lies from the devil. It’s no surprise that all of Hell may be coming against you. That’s because God has a mighty plan for your life, and the adversary, satan and his demonic forces, who has set himself against God, is wanting to stop it. You can reach out to God, and call out to Him through His Son Jesus Christ right at this very moment and ask Him into your heart as your Lord and Savior. We have to acknowledge that we are sinners, and we need a Savior. Somehow, by His grace and mercies, He does a mighty work in our lives by the power of His transformation. It’s all for His glory. Jesus is not dead. HE’S ALIVE!