On Wednesday, February 8th at 10am Eastern time chapel started at Asbury University in Wilmore, KY. What began with the assumption of many as a routine chapel service for the campus turned into a continue time of prayer, praise, testimony, and spiritual victory.
On Monday, February 13th I headed down to Asbury University to see what was happening in Hughes Auditorium on the campus. I had read online much about what was going on as well as varying perspectives of what was happening.
I arrived in the auditorium at exactly 2pm Eastern time. As I found my seat the worship team, made up of a pianist, a guitarist (on a mic), and one other vocalist was singing:
"Open up my eyes in wonder. And show me who You are. And fill me with Your heart. And lead me in Your love to those around me."
As they closed out their time of worship in song. A middle aged man, without introduction, walked to the podium on the platform. There were 20+ people kneeling around the altar, some with others, and some simply praying to God. The speaker encouragingly challenged those present to allow Jesus to sanctify and send us. He then reminded the congregation that Jesus was hosting this time.
Shortly thereafter there were moments of worship in song. Most began to stand, hands were raised around the auditorium. The voices and hands raised as the lines were sung:
"Death could not hold You, the veil tore before You, You silenced the boast of sin and grave, The Heavens are roaring the praise of Your glory, For You are raised to life again.
You have no rival, You have no equal; Now and forever, God, You reign, Yours is the Kingdom, Yours is the Glory. Yours is the Name above all names.
What a powerful Name it is, what a powerful Name it is, The Name of Jesus Christ my King; What a powerful Name it is, nothing can stand against, What a powerful Name it is, the Name of Jesus."
After a time of worship a lady came to the podium attempted to describe a bit of what was taking place in Hughes Auditorium. "God is restoring people to Himself. Healing brokenness that is first spiritual and then between individuals as well."
After reading 2 Corinthians 4:7, she invited everyone to "Live in this moment of making much of Jesus. Testify to His work.
At around 2:30pm we worshiped again. Afterwards a lady stood and reminded us of the story in Scripture of the woman bent over who was healed by Jesus and "immediately praised God." She ushered in a time of testimonies by giving the following guidelines for testimonies:
A. All about Jesus
D. Don't Preach.
The testimonies that followed were primarily college age, but included a person who was at the 1970 revival at Asbury and another middle aged person as well as a young child who simply said: I love Jesus.
I jotted down a few things that stood out to me in the time of testimonies:
"I thought I was zealous for the Lord, but I have never been more satisfied."
"Revival isn't hype, it's ordinary people who are hungry. Revival isn't hype, it's ordinary people crying out for a move of God."
A man who was referred to as Pastor David came to the podium to speak. He asked the question: "What is happening here?" His answer involved the following points I jotted down as he spoke:
"No screens, no cool building, no celebrities. Just a Malachi 4 promise. No glitz; all God.
The ticket for entry into this space is to be honest about our broken need for Jesus. We are seized by honesty. Confession, repentance, and reconciliation follow.
We are seeking the Freedom of the Spirit with the order that God brings. Asbury is only a steward of this move of God. We are checking our preferences at the door. We have to die to self.
The Spirit can only fill that which makes itself empty. Reconciliation is taking place here. There is no room for grudges here.
Let's be unrushed. Just waiting on the Lord. It's okay to just observe. But if you feel a nudge from the Holy Spirit, err on the side of faith and pray.
Awakening is not the same as going viral. Put your phone down. Be present here in the presence of the Lord.
Holy love is the authentication of real spiritual awakening. Don't look at this as abnormal, but as normal. This is what church ought to be."
He then read from Nehemiah 9:5-18 and made some comments on that passage of Scripture. After his comments he invited everyone to spend time praying with 5-6 people around them across the auditorium.
This was followed by a time of worship that involved the songs: "Lord, I Need You" "Goodness of God" "I Surrender All" "It is Well" and a few other songs. All together I spent over 3 hours in that sacred space. It didn't feel like that long. Just still moments.
Here are a few of my observations:
1. Jesus was the focus. There were no introductions or titles of people. No other causes were touted. The University students and leaders were careful not even to promote the school. It was all about Jesus.
2. It was a constant Gospel invitation. We were invited to repent. To believe/trust in Jesus. To confess our need for Him. To seek Him above everything else. To put our faith in Him. To surrender our lives to Jesus. To allow God to sanctify us. To seek holiness. To experience cleansing.
3. There was freedom in the Spirit and a clear order. I appreciated those stewarding the time for the freedom they allowed in the Spirit, but also an acknowledgement that the Spirit brings order. I never felt afraid something crazy or absurd or something that would disrupt spiritually would take place.
4. There was an evident seeking of Jesus among the people gathered. While I'm sure that not every single person was seeking, I quickly went from being a curious spectator to an engaged worshiper. It seemed the only natural thing to do. People were hungry, ready, and passionate about worshiping Jesus. It was refreshing to be in that atmosphere.
5. Fringe quacks were not permitted a platform. Some people with large flags showed up and were asked to leave with their flags by staff at Asbury University. I was told by a pastor friend in attendance that someone began to loudly & obnoxiously "speak in tongues" behind him and an Asbury University worker/volunteer tapped her on the shoulder and asked her to leave if she insisted on continuing. Various groups have tried to hole up in rooms below the auditorium and around campus, for the purpose of their own theological persuasions, but have been asked to leave. No crazy televangelists have been given the platform.
Thankfully, Asbury University leadership has zealously protected the holiness of these moments. They are stewarding well these moments despite the pressure from the "viral" nature of the event reaching around the globe. Despite the news crews that have showed up. Despite the folks trying to push their agenda or promote their own cause. Asbury University administration, students, and leadership have continued to keep their eyes on Jesus.
Dr Lawson Stone, a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary (literally across the street from Asbury University), said: "Some ask me do I think this kind of revival is unique to the Wilmore-Asbury community. After a while, I have to say well, no, but then again, yes. A constant theme in all the revivals we've experienced here that led to transformation is a lack of emphasis on manifestations, gifts, miracles, or sensationalism. It's confession, repentance, reconciliation, restitution, and renewed love. People try to get control of it and the sweet water just runs through their fingers."
It certainly fit all the characteristics of a genuine revival that I could observe. I am thanking God for what He is doing at Asbury University. I am thankful for the victory, healing, and restoration that has occurred already in countless lives. And now I am trusting that there will be spiritual shock waves across our nation and world and into the future as a result of the lasting fruit of what God has done in these moments.
Holiness Unto the Lord!
Love it brother! I need to get there.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for your perspective.ReplyDelete
Appreciate the first-hand account. Praying that it remains pure and is not hijacked by those with an agenda or who prescribe that revival must have particular expressions or fruits beyond simple biblical renewal in Holiness and love for God and others.ReplyDelete
Thank you for the lesson. When God is moving and freedom to join His worship is both encouraged and protected it is the picture of revival!ReplyDelete
Thank you for this. Holiness unto the Lord!ReplyDelete
Hallelujah What a Savior!ReplyDelete
Thank you for taking the time to shareReplyDelete
Thank you for the testimony of your experience. Many across our land are reading, listening and watching and it is good to have accounts that speak to the authenticity of GOD'S presence at Asbury.ReplyDelete
Good! Thanks. Resonates.ReplyDelete
Jarod, we might be related.My maiden name was Henry and I married a Henry surname. I love what The Lord is doing!!!!ReplyDelete