Last week I attended meetings of a sort that are slowly, but surely fading away. It's called a Revival Meeting. This one was poorly attended, based on what I know of the church where it was held. I don't plan to get into all the potential reasons for the disappearance of such a thing. But I think this needs to be contemplated.
There are those who would oppose them for theological reasons. In Jonathan Edwards' day they opposed them, too. Edwards and others ignored their protests. God rewarded their faithfulness.
Yet, revival meetings are now a thing of the past. I still recall when meetings lasted all week long. In my lifetime, they moved to lasting just 4 nights. Now a weekend is a long meeting. One evangelist told me he gets more invitations to "One Night Revivals" than ever before. How, pray tell, do you have one night revivals? Doesn't that sound contradictory to you? Or perhaps its very descriptive. After all, I have seen moves of God that lasted all of 3 hours--one night. After that, all was as it was before, if not worse.
No, I believe that the chief reason for the disappearance of the revival meeting in North America has more to do with our misguided sense of practicality over our theological convictions. If it is a theological conviction on your part, may God teach you otherwise!
By practicality, I mean that such meetings are no longer practical for us. It is an inconvenience for us; and we all know that making time for a revival meeting would mean sacrificing something else. I only have to look at America's spending habits to know we are not real keen on sacrifice. For example, I went to a popular sporting goods store the other week. They sell boats, guns, fishing gear, clothing, and all the things one needs to be an outdoorsman. Some of those boats sold for more than 40 thousand dollars. [I could use 40 grand. It would go a long ways to funding our ministries and the men and women being called to work with me in South America.] If a man can afford it and has the discretionary income to buy it, more power to him. But there are men and women who will go to the bank, take out a loan, buy a boat and trailer, a new truck, and all the gear they need to go "enjoy" a few hours on a lake front. They will create a level of indebtedness that causes them to sacrifice on the altar of pleasure, all the while claiming there is no time (or money) for a revival meeting. Behold your god, America!
We have traded the Living God for the no-gods of pleasure, practicality, and possessions. And that, to me, is one reason that the revival meetings of old are no longer a thing to be attended.
Americans think they are doing okay with God. So did Israel just before God took them to Babylon. While the revival meeting is not, in and of itself, the answer to revival, it does give us a chance to be revived. I believe America would do well to spend some corporate time together, seeking God's face, turning from their wicked ways, and begging God for forgiveness. That, after all, was the original intent of the revival meeting.
May God send a great revival!