During my time at the revival at Brownsville, it was not uncommon to find me out at a remote part of Pensacola Beach with a longboard, looking to catch a few waves between school and services. If you live on the West Coast, I know the Gulf isn’t Mavericks. On a good day, you might ride a 3- to 4-foot wave.
This is why I eagerly anticipated the storm season. Any time a tropical storm would move into the Gulf, you knew that the waves were bound to pick up. I became a part-time meteorologist, following the surf reports and weather conditions looking for those windows when the larger swells would start to move in and the waves would be the greatest.
I had no control over the weather. I had no ability to produce a wave. The only thing I could control was where I would be when the waves came in. I had to be properly positioned.
As we fully enter into 2014, I truly believe with everything that is within me that we are entering a season for a great outpouring of God’s Spirit. This is a time for “breakout.”
I am hearing from many across the nation who are beginning to sense that the fresh winds of revival are already blowing. I am certain that God is ready to visit His church with many Pentecostal "suddenlies."
Friends, are you properly positioned for what God is about to do?
As a student of revival, I have observed how the length and magnitude of these waves of outpouring are dependent on how we position ourselves in advance. It is my prayer that houses of worship will be prepared to host these moves of the Spirit longer than a weekend or just a few weeks. Even more, I’m praying that churches would be positioned to let these moves spill out of the four walls and cultivate a true awakening within their communities.
There are a few things that I learned from those days of riding waves in the Gulf that I believe can help position anyone to catch the next wave of revival:
1. You have to embrace simplicity.
There is a simplicity to surfing. It's just you and the board at the mercy of the waves. Likewise, there is a simplicity to the Spirit.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God” (Matt. 5:3). Those who have embraced poverty of spirit are those who have let go of everything in order to obtain the one thing that matters most. Revival starts when we simply humble ourselves, return to Him and recognize that Christ isn't just a good option—He is our only option.
Leonard Ravenhill often said, "We don’t have revival because we are content to live without it."
It’s time to become discontent. Let us loose ourselves of everything that hinders or obstructs and return to God. Embrace the simplicity of coming bare before the Lord and resting upon the mercy of His waves. God promises if we would simply humble ourselves, pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways, He will hear from heaven and heal our land.
2. You always start the same.
Surfing always begins with the exact same starting position. You have to learn to lay prostrate on the board. Revival begins with a similar starting position as well.
I am unaware of a sovereign move of God that wasn’t preceded by prayer. The Welsh Revival began when a group of young people gathered in a chapel to pray. The Azusa Street Revival was born out of a prayer meeting in a little house on Bonnie Brae Street. The Brownsville Revival came on the heels of three years of prayer.
We talk about the need for prayer, we preach about the power of prayer, we celebrate the virtue of prayer, but yet we don’t pray. If we truly believe that prayer works, why do we pray so little?
There is no other way to begin to properly position yourself than to lay prostrate before the Lord and seek His face.
3. You kneel before you stand.
As important as it is to learn to lay on the board, you have to learn to kneel on it as well. Kneeling before God is equally important.
God didn’t just say, “Humble yourself, pray, and seek My face.” He also commanded His people to “turn from their wicked ways.” Revival and repentance always work together.
One of the inherent dangers in the distorted grace message is the redefining and removal of repentance. Repentance is a prerequisite for revival. Without it, revival is impossible, and without its continued presence, revival cannot be sustained.
4. You have to anticipate the wave.
Surfing requires expectancy. You have to see the wave coming and begin to move with it before it arrives.
Yes, God is always moving. Yes, the Spirit is always being poured out. However, there are seasons when God moves sovereignly in an even greater way. America experienced such moves in the First and Second Great Awakening. Our nation desperately needs a third.
Whether or not this next move of God rises to that level or not may depend on how we choose to anticipate and move with Him.
Consider how most people attend church on Sunday with an expectation to hear a sermon about God. Few come with an expectancy to actually meet God. Imagine the shift that would take place in your church if the majority came this weekend with a genuine expectancy to experience God rather than a service.
The greatest move of God this world has ever seen is not behind us—it is ahead of us! There truly is a wave coming. Don’t be content to sit on the beach and watch others enter in. Push out into the deep with eager anticipation. Surf's up!
Daniel K. Norris is an evangelist who works alongside Steve Hill bringing the message of revival and repentance to the nations. Together, they co-host a broadcast called From the Frontlines. Norris also hosts the Collision Youth Conference that is broadcast all over the world. He can be contacted at danielknorris.com.