Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”
- Mark 3:28-29
Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.
- Isaiah 63:10
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
- Ephesians 4:30
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
- Acts 2:1-12
On 8 February 2023, a regularly scheduled worship service was started at the usual time at Asbury University in Wilmore, KY, USA. It was your basic chapel service held in the university’s auditorium. But the service did not stop on time. In fact, two weeks later, the service was still continuing.
People from foreign countries came to experience this Outpouring of the Holy Spirit. People in the USA from as far away as Hawaii came to experience it.
Our associate pastor went. She said that she went down there on a prayer. She said she had goosebumps. You could literally feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. She mentioned some theologian or famous pastor, me missing the quote, that if he knew Jesus was in the next town, he’d be there. She went with no reservations, but she got a hotel room and came home the next day. Wilmore, KY is about a six hour drive from where we live, probably seven for the associate pastor who lives on the far side of Pittsburgh, PA.
The associate pastor went at the perfect time as the Asbury U. president restricted visitors from entering the auditorium. The situation was getting crazy. While Lexington, KY is very near, and Lexington is a fairly large city, Wilmore is a small town. The University is a small Wesleyan University, with Dean Jones being possibly their most well-known alumnus. Alternate chapels were set up for simulcasting the on-going service.
But then the university president announced that the service would have to move off campus. He stated correctly that he could not “stop” what the university had not started. This meant that the university started a chapel service, but the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was clearly something of God.
Yet, no media coverage links to the new site of the service. These are college students. How can they afford a hall large enough to accept all the visitors? Halls of that size are probably booked for the next several months. It is winter, a mild one, but still winter. They cannot simply go to the city park.
Thus, the university president said the right words, but whose right words did he say?
There were two overpowering forces acting upon the university president, maybe three. His statements hint at them, but since he is making statements using the “right words,” he does not identify the sources as the forces to cancel the Holy Spirit. And yes, ouch, I said it that way.
First, he mentions that the local police force had to redirect traffic. I have accidentally been in Gettysburg, PA during a battle reenactment. My Great Grandfather had been a part of the first reenactment of Pickett’s charge, although he had not been at Gettysburg during the war. But it has become a major event, probably with more pretend soldiers than the real ones that fought the original battle. The police redirected you away from any chance of parking. It took a couple of hours finding a place to turn around and get out of town.
If the Wilmore police were doing that, they were basically preventing people from getting to the auditorium. But even if they were trying to help the cause and keep automobile accidents to a minimum, the police force was probably getting tired and the city budget was running out of money for overtime. And think of what happens when a truck filled with groceries arrives and he finds gridlock and the delivery to the grocery store is delayed by a few hours. Does the driver miss his/her bonus for on-time delivery? Yes, the first force is the local town government needing or at least demanding relief.
The second force is stated in the web page. The link HERE. Maybe by the time this post is read, there will be information of IF there is a new location for the service. Asbury University was selected to host the Collegiate National Day of Prayer. It was to be a simulcast that would go nationwide, to all participating colleges, but the event had been planned for the auditorium where this service was on-going. Something had to be done and done quickly. They could not simply move the prayer service at short notice. It would make the university look bad.
These two forces are hinted in what the university president said. But the third might be rather obvious. How many professors called the president’s office or some dean’s office and then the dean called the president, to ask, “Class attendance is less than fifty percent. At what point should I simply cancel class?” My inference is that the business of the university itself was probably being impacted.
I am not trying to throw a wet blanket on the situation. If God starts the fire (an outpouring of the Holy Spirit) and God wants the fire to remain, nothing that we do will stop it. The university president said that specifically, in different, more PC wording. But the “stopping” of the service, for whatever reason, has probably had a major impact on what was happening.
Note that many of the visiting attendees went back to their colleges and little sparks started growing there, just not going viral on TikTok.
But my thoughts are bouncing all over the place. Was this the first major outpouring of the Holy Spirit since the Jesus Movement? Should I have attended? Will this outpouring amount to a national revival?
First Since the Jesus Movement
I became a true believer during the Jesus Movement, but in a small town in Mississippi. The history books only talk about hippies in California, but the Holy Spirit is not limited geographically. But I did not sense this palpable presence of the Holy Spirit. That had happened a year or so before. I just saw a huge majority of the high school students who were full of Joy and I had none. As I have written before, I said the salvation prayer daily and many days more than once, for probably far more than 500 times total. I finally accepted Jesus when I gave up with the prayer and surrendered to Him.
The Jesus Movement may have had a lasting effect on those who accepted Jesus, but it seems they became too focused on their lives in this fallen world. Was the fallen world so Hell-bent that applying the breaks in the mid- to late-60s did not even slow down the decline of our society?
I think it was a book by David Jeremiah, but I read that all previous outpourings in the USA, some spilling over internationally, were near national crises. There was an outpouring after both WWI and WWII. There were a few outpourings in the 1800s, about the same time as financial crises or wars. And the Jesus Movement was during the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Lib Movement, and the War in Vietnam.
I think that the Gen Z students at Asbury were fed up with the ABC lifestyle in America (Anything But Christ (or Christianity). The PC police are trying to make it a hate crime to bring up the name of Jesus in public. In other countries they are already there. As Rev. David Robertson, the Wee Flea, said in a recent podcast. There are two main candidates to head the Scottish National Parliament (SNP). The Christian was being attacked for her beliefs, but the Muslim was given a free ride by the media. You could not be Islamophobic and survive politically, but being Christophobic was even encouraged.
Maybe Gen Z is seeing the hypocrisy of the world and indeed the USA and they are saying enough is enough. We will see if this outpouring pours out to surrounding universities and colleges and keeps going.
Should I have gone?
I have the classic excuses. My wife is on kidney dialysis and she needs me even on the other days. My wife still has seeping sores from shingles, okay one seeping sore left as of the day writing this. She is in constant pain, and she has been for over two months.
Would it be selfish to drop everything and go to Kentucky? Six hours down. No telling how long the line is to get into the auditorium or the satellite chapels. Then the experience. Then six hours home because my wife has dialysis at 7:00am the next morning, and could I even function to drive her after that much exhaustion?
I prayed and prayed. I said to God that I needed that experience that I missed with the Jesus Movement. So often in the past couple of decades, I have prayed for a national revival, and here was the germ of one just a few hours down the road. “Please, Lord, I do not wish to miss this again!”
Then that Voice came to me after a few days of praying that, “But, my son, you have experienced it countless times. Bring your memories back to your beginning.”
Then, a flood of emotions came over me. Back in 1970, I think, a friend asked me to go with him to Nettleton Methodist Church for a weekend revival. He said, “We are going to go down there. Turn the church upside down. And then shake it real hard.” My argument was that I was Presbyterian and he was Baptist. He basically said we should go and they would never know what hit them.
I joined the Lay Witness Mission Team that weekend. We arrived at a new church once each month and sometimes twice, all Methodist except for one Presbyterian church, and we did as my friend said. Friday night services. Activities throughout the day on Saturday with services that night and services Sunday morning. By Saturday afternoon, if you did not have goosebumps, something was wrong with you. You could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.
I guess it wasn’t “countless” but I had never counted. It was about once each month for a couple of years, sometimes twice a month with profuse apologies from the mission team leader (and usually a reduced team attending the second of the month mission).
But feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit was the one constant. Only the faces in the crowd changed and where we slept for the night (in the pews or with a host family). And I had the Volkswagen bug with “Jesus Saves” on banners that stretched down both sides of the car. We had to crawl through the windows to get in and out. I was in good shape back then.
Will This Lead to a National Revival?
A lot of things go viral on TikTok. This was one of many. The Jesus Movement, according to my wife, was a failure. They focused on “Love” “Peace” and smelling flowers in the park. They let the world go to Hell around them.
Can the Gen Z born-again crowd change the political structure of today to stop the madness?
Our Sunday school is discussing the book of Jeremiah, and one of the first questions was whether Jeremiah was successful or not. Some said “absolutely no.” Some said “yes.” Why the opposites? The king and his court refused to listen to Jeremiah. They put Jeremiah in the stocks, in prison, and into a muddy cistern. Anything so that they did not hear him.
But I explained that a prophet was either someone who delivered a message from God or explained what God’s message meant. That way, we today can be “prophetic” just not producing new oracles about the world coming to an end next Tuesday at 3:47am Greenwich Mean Time. Note: We will never know the exact time. Jesus said so.
But Jeremiah proclaimed what God had told him, no matter how poorly received the message was. He was bold and unafraid. And sometimes a prophet goes to the nation and the nation repents. Other times, the nation refuses to repent. When they repent, God’s warning bore fruit. When they do not repent, God’s warnings become a curse upon the people.
Will the outpouring amount to anything? In looking at individuals who have been changed forever, it already has. In looking toward our nation or other nations in the world, it depends on their answer. Do they repent or does this outpouring result in condemnation on those who think city police overtime costs are more important or a planned national day or prayer is of greater importance for the auditorium or any other host of excuses. And were the decisions to move the service blaspheming the Holy Spirit (I am sure not) or grieving the Holy Spirit? I am not sure about that last one.
The Holy Spirit is not confined to an auditorium in Kentucky. He can touch your heart right now. The choice is yours. Are you getting goosebumps? Can you feel Him? He is there, and He is waiting for your answer.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.
I wanted to go. But it’s over 1,000 miles from where I live.
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That is what was bothering me. It was within a doable distance. It is partly the domestic responsibility (the Martha in me) and simply getting old, I guess.
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