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If we want to have the presence of God like other people have seen, it starts with us getting hungry for the Lord. We have to want it. We have to have a heart for it.
We're coming up on one of the biggest revivals this world has ever seen: the former and the latter rain coming together to bring in the end-time harvest.

What an amazing time that will be.

Now when I say "revival," I'm referring to more than the local church body having a good time in the presence of God. I'm talking about something more than the entire church body being healed or filled with joy. Revival impacts those outside the church. It goes into the public school systems, into the city, into the workplace. It lights the kind of fire that spreads beyond the four walls of a church.

Revival touches the world.

More Than a Localized Affair

Habakkuk chapter 3 describes what revival looks like:

A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth. O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy. God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. (Habakkuk 3:1–3 KJV)

If the earth is "full of His praise," that means people other than a small company of believers are beginning to recognize and offer their own praise to God. Revival reaches beyond the local church company and affects the whole earth.

And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power. Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. (Habakkuk 3: 4–5 KJV)

Burning diseases and pestilence depart before Him by virtue of the outpouring of His power and His great glory filling the heavens. In other words, the curse in the earth is rolled back. This is what revival does. It brings such an awareness of the person of God in such a release of the power of God that it rolls back the curse and its effects in the earth. The whole earth begins to praise God in recognition of who He is and the power that He can bring to bear in their lives.

This is what we desperately need—not just individually, but also corporately. Revival is the only thing that's going to change this nation.

Reaching All Flesh

We see a snapshot of revival described by the apostle Peter in Acts 2:16–21:

But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord comes. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

"The last days." That statement has confused a lot of people. The last days? You mean Peter thought that the beginning of the New Testament Church was the last days? We're still hanging around two thousand years later.

Most scholars agree that this is a reference to what we call the church dispensation or the dispensation of the Holy Spirit. That's the age we're living in right now. According to 2 Peter 3:8, one day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. When Peter spoke, he was in the beginning of the last days. James 5:7 reveals to us God’s timetable:

Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. (KJV)

In other words, the Lord’s timetable is such that when the harvest is ripe as a result of the early and the latter rain, that’s when the end will come and the Lord will return. I think the picture that is painted clearly by scripture is that the end of this age is going to be typified by two great events: an outpouring of God’s Spirit (one that you'll either be a part of or you'll watch from the outside) that will be so great it will bring in an end-time harvest.

This is what the Lord is waiting on to fill the house of God and bring as many believers into the fold as possible. After revival has come, the Lord will return and the church age will end.

Today is the beginning of the days of an outpouring of God.

What Will It Look Like?

Revival is going to include a lot of different supernatural elements. Peter talked about some of them: visions, dreams, prophecy, signs, and wonders in the heavens above and in the earth, natural events that are going to make men's eyes open wide. A number of different things will occur. You may have a preconceived idea in your head of what revival looks like. If so, you need to consider the words of the prophet Isaiah:

Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:18–19 KJV)

It's easy to look back on the old things God did and expect Him to move in the same way. Throughout the ages, we've had wonderful moves of the Spirit and heard of many wonderful revivals. We've experienced laughter, joy, healing—all of which were awesome—but we can’t dictate to God what revival should look like. Even though many lives were touched during these revivals, we can't look back.

We must avoid preconceptions about what a move of God looks like. Every revival or outpouring is different. From the day of Pentecost to the Azusa Street revival to the healing revival in the 1940s and the charismatic renewal in the 1970s, virtually every revival has had a different theme with different manifestations of the Spirit being emphasized.

We mustn't put God in a box by placing expectations on Him of how we want Him to move. That is a trap we must avoid. God wants to do new things on the earth.

It’s Not Any Man
Another trap Christians fall into when it comes to revival is expecting a minister to give a performance. When a minister feels like he has to perform, everybody is headed toward the flesh and not the Spirit. It is a natural human response to look to a man, but it's something we must avoid.

For example, Living Word has revival services on Wednesday nights to learn about and pray for revival. Imagine one Wednesday during our revival services we had a rip-roaring good praise service. The music was anointed and everybody experienced genuine praise. People were dancing, musicians were singing new songs from their hearts, and words from the Lord came forth. The following week, the people who attended the week before might have expectations for the service to be exactly the same. Feeling this pressure, the music minister might be tempted to play the same songs as the previous week in an attempt to recreate the previous week's atmosphere. The first week was Spirit-led. The second week would be manmade.

Every time I walk in to lead a Wednesday night revival service at Living Word, I have to avoid the compulsion to feel like I need to follow the previous week's format or I need to come up with something really good. If that's all I ever did, everyone might as well go home and not come back.

How can you avoid placing a minister in a box and expecting him to give a performance? When you come to service, expect to hear from God. Don’t tell the Lord how He should speak to you. Simply expect to hear from Him. He might speak to you through the written Word. He might speak to you through preaching. He might speak to you through the inward witness. He might speak to you through somebody in the lobby on the way in or He may have somebody prophesy to you.

God will use a variety of different vessels or methods in order to speak to you and to bring His purposes to pass in your life. The most important thing is to come looking for God. Expect God to move in whatever way is needed, whether it’s through the preaching of the Word, prophecy, or ministry of the Holy Ghost in some other fashion. One week, you may dance all night long. The next week, you may sit quietly in His presence for an hour.

The Word presents us with hundreds of different possibilities of what a service may look like, and we need to stay within the perimeters of the Word. That’s where safety lies. We have a river of living water welling up from within us; the Bible says there is also a river that originates in heaven. I believe the meeting of these two rivers brings a move of God.

There are different ways the river of God can flow. Our task is to find the direction it is flowing. Identify the current. Get in the
middle of that river and let it flow.

Brother Hagin used the analogy of getting in the flow of the Spirit to that of being in a canoe. Some ministers come up with their own plans of where they want to go in a service. When they do that, they wind up working very hard and making little progress. That can be compared to getting in a canoe and paddling against the current. It’s much easier to find out which way the current is flowing and then follow it. You might not even have to paddle. You just flow wherever the Lord is taking you.

Stir Up Your Hunger
It’s wonderful to think about God coming to earth and changing hearts and lives in ways we haven’t seen before. I love thinking about lives radically changed because of God's presence. It's important to remember, though, that as much as we may wish it would happen immediately, God’s not going to drop His Spirit on people who aren't ready for Him. We must prepare ourselves for this revival. We first have to be hungry for God—more than anything else in this world.

People in other countries are often desperate for the Lord in a way that is beyond our capacity as Americans to even comprehend. They have nothing, and the preaching of the Word can turn their desperation into a hunger for God. As a result, many of them typically see signs and wonders.

Americans have a hard time cultivating a hunger for God because they don't "need" anything. Much of America seems to mimic the church at Laodicea whom Jesus rebuked in Revelation chapter 7. The Laodiceans thought they were rich, increased with goods, and had need of nothing, but as Jesus pointed out to them, they were poor, blind, wretched, miserable, naked, and lukewarm. That paints a pretty vivid picture, doesn't it?

We have to come to a point where we recognize the utter futility of life without God (even in a nation as blessed as America) and let that begin to birth the hunger within us that will bring the Lord's glory and manifest presence to earth.

Revival Begins With You
Revival begins in small pockets of believers who care enough and who are hungry enough to pray and be determined in their pursuit of God to contend for the glory and the presence of God regardless of the time constraints and challenges they face. Having these remnants of believers in the earth enables the Lord to respond with His presence and His power.

I'm not saying we can dictate to the Lord what to do by staying at church and praying until midnight until He shows up. We can't manipulate the Lord in that way. We're told in the Word, however, that we are to prepare the way of the Lord (Isaiah 40:3–5). There is a preparation that we as His covenant people can make that will enable His plans to unfold in a more effective way than would otherwise be true.

Yes, it is true some things are going to come in the fullness of time, but other things will come as responses to our hunger for the
Lord. Simply put, if you don't see enough of God, the first place to check is your appetite for God. Is your appetite to serve God bigger than your appetite to serve the demands of your flesh?

What you're hungriest for is what you’re going to get filled with. If you're not getting filled with enough of the Lord, don't blame it on this ministry or that ministry. You and you alone are responsible for cultivating a hunger for God. Matthew 5:6 says
that if you hunger and thirst, you will be filled.

If we want to have the presence of God like other people have seen, it starts with us getting hungry for the Lord. We have to want it. We have to have a heart for it. When we expect revival and see the hand of God move in miraculous ways on this earth, the only thing left to do is plant ourselves right in the middle and let God take us where He wants us to go.

Revival is the only thing that will radically change this world.


Source: Winner's Way Magazine
Excerpt permission granted by Mac Hammond Ministries

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
 
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
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