Decently and In Order

We think we want to experience a personal revival, as well as a revival in our churches, so that ultimately the community will be saturated with the presence of God and many lost souls will turn to Christ. Maybe we read books or articles about revivals that have taken place in the past, and our hunger for the same thing has led us to pray and earnestly seek God for a similar move of the Holy Spirit.

Benteng (on left) & Karl, outside the barracks in East Boston, Massachusetts shipyard. Karl was a new believer who, had had a very serious drinking problem. July 1980
Chet (left) & Karl, outside the barracks in
East Boston, Massachusetts shipyard.
Karl was a new believer who, had had a
very serious drinking problem.
July 1980

But This Isn’t What We Prayed For!
Prayer for revival is most probably offered out of ignorance. Whenever a more pleasant or favorable situation is desired—we pray for a revival. But revivals don’t always bring pleasant or more favorable conditions. Revivals are rarely “decent and in order,” at least not like what we think “decent and in order” should be. For those given to security and ease, revivals are an unwelcome intrusion. Those ignorant of revivals will say a move of God is “out of order” if things get messy. Every revival that has occurred, beginning from Acts 2 and onward, we learn that you can’t have a revival without the challenges they bring. Can we have children with no accidents or messes that need cleaning up? Can we have infants with no soiled diapers? When we have a large number of people converted in a short period of time, there will be many problems, which some will quickly say isn’t “decent and in order.”

Front of 2A boiler in the aft boiler room. The USS Barry had steam turbines for propulsion. March 1981
Front of 2A boiler in the aft boiler room.
The Barry had steam turbines for propulsion.
March 1981

Types of Problems That Emerge During Revivals and Accelerated Harvesting

  • Various Satanic attacks
  • Doctrinal quarrels
  • Divisiveness
  • Power struggles
  • Burnout
  • Immaturity of leadership reveals itself
  • High rotation of ministry leaders
  • The revelation of deep-seated pride
  • Surfacing of sin issues previously buried
  • Most of the harvested souls are lost. This last problem is often created by several things:

> The preaching and teaching was focused on stirring the emotions, or focusing on the miraculous, and not laying a solid biblical foundation in the lives of the new believers.

> Instead of worshiping a “God of Love,” the believers divert their attention to worshiping a “God of Fire.” Many will come to revival services just to seek a spiritual experience instead of coming to seek Christ.

> Believers being encouraged to be like Simon, who was only seeking the power, instead of seeking the humility and holiness of Christ.

“Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

“And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

“But Peter said to him, ‘Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God.Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.’

“Then Simon answered and said, ‘Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.’” (Acts 8:14-24)

The USS Barry Revival was unique in that it was not associated with any church building or denomination. But as I will show in subsequent stories, this revival had the exact same problems that are common when a revival breaks out in a church building.

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