Fresh Encounter: God's Pattern for Spiritual Awakening
Authors: Henry and Richard Blackaby and Claude King
Chapter 19 Review
On page 242 the authors write:
Brian Edwards noted that revival doesn't outlast one generation because it is not intended to be normative. He wrote, "Revival pulls the church out of its rut, awakens it from its sleep and sets inertia in motion." Revival is restorative not normative. Once revival has done its work, it is no longer necessary. The new, vibrant walk with God revival produces, however, ought to be carefully nurtured and zealously protected.
Revival is God's means for bringing His people back into an intimate, loving fellowship with Him. Once people have returned to God, the key is to maintain the relationship God has restored. While people can enjoy gathering with their church family night after night and having emotional experiences during the services, returning to God must lead to nurturing the newly experienced, intimate walk with God.
It appears that the people of America today are obsessed with having an "experience". Today we see concerts, social media events, games, vacations and the like all promising an "experience". The problem is that we have now created a generation that always expects an "experience" and is completely unsatisfied with "normal" life. This shift in cultural expectation has infiltrated the church as well.
From the 70s-90s we saw a great movement in what has been labeled the "seeker friendly church". The idea was to entertain and/or provide so much for the people that they wanted to return for the next service. Out of that movement we now see, as common practice, across the American Church landscape today are churches that play secular music, us props, have celebrity appearances and the like in fulfilling a promise to provide an "experience". Many churches are calling for revival not for repentance sake but the sake of an "experience".
Biblical revival served a single purpose and had a beginning and an end. The single purpose of revival was to revive the people of God (believers), so that they can get back to what was the expected normal Christian life. Once the people of God have been revived they no longer have a need for revival. That's why we see the quote "revival is restorative not normative" repeated throughout the book.
Living for Christ is not one amazing experience after another...with each experience greater than the last. Living for Christ is taking the normal everyday things and using them for the glory of God. Sometimes was have amazing experiences and sometimes we have "typical" everyday lives. We don't seek experiences, we seek Jesus.