Asbury Happenings and the Collegiate Day of Prayer- Feb 23rd

I thought I would get a post out to you as I’m sure you’ve been hearing about “happenings” at Asbury University in Wilmore, KY. A helpful email came through my InterVarsity inbox this week that I’ll pass on to you. Steve’s encouragements and resources capture well the direction I’d take you if I were to curate InterVarsity’s view of campus revival. The most timely thing I want you to see in this post is the Collegiate Day of Prayer event coming up later this week (down at the bottom of this post). Click through to details about that after reading Steve’s summary. I hope you can join the prayer event later this week via live-stream.

Here are excerpts from my friend Steve’s thoughtful email:

“On February 8th a chapel service at Asbury University in Wilmore, KY spilled over into a time of extended prayer, worship, repentance, reconciliation, and renewal. Thousands of people — including students from campuses around the country — have flocked to campus in search of an encounter with God

Could this be a revival?

Revival: “A season of breakthroughs in word, deed, and power that ushers in a new normal of kingdom experience and fruitfulness” — James Choung and Ryan Pfeiffer, Longing for Revival (p. 17).

Two postures: I’ve observed a variety of different responses to the happenings in Asbury. For my convenience and nefarious rhetorical purposes, I’ll lump them into two buckets.

  1. Grumpy Skepticism: I’ve heard criticisms about the emotionalism, song selection, ethnic makeup of the gathered students, content focus, venue, and even the pizza served to people waiting in line for entry (#HotNReady). What’s happening in Asbury might not look like the revival you hoped to see.
  2. Enthusiastic Endorsement: I’ve heard giddy comparisons to Azusa, Wales, and Asbury from the 70s; guarantees that this will transform a generation; smug credit-taking; and attempts to cozy up to the moment for personal gain. You might be tempted to chase revival for reasons other than the pursuit of God.

A Third Way: I’m going to use the second oldest trick in rhetoric and encourage you to avoid the excesses of these other approaches. Don’t let the pull of grumpy skepticism blind you to the good God’s doing in Kentucky. Don’t rush to name, label, and pump your thing on the back of this moment.

My encouragement — watch hopefully. Revivals take time to reveal themselves. Watch and pray. Be actively patient. Fan into flame the spark of hope that we might all be on the cusp of a special spiritual moment. Don’t rush to judgement. You can be present without sitting in judgement.

3 Application Ideas

  1. When God is doing something in a life or community, watch hopefully. Pray rather than judge.
  2. Paul (the Apostle, not the Beatle) once said that love hopes all things. What can you hope for the crowds gathered in Kentucky?
  3. Choung and Pfeiffer wrote: “No revival has happened in history without revived people” (Longing for Revival, p. 9). Perhaps Jesus is inviting you today to repentance and consecration. Ask Jesus to revive you — to bring in your life a season of breakthroughs word, deed, and power that ushers in a new normal of kingdom experience and fruitfulness.

The revival — when it comes — will not be live-streamed. Instead, we will be swept up with Christ as participants rather than spectators. Our expectations will shatter and we’ll stand in awe as he does more than we can ask or imagine. We will be beset by critics and credit-takers. But beyond them will be a great cloud of witnesses — watching hopefully, longing for revival.”

Some resources Steve shared:

Here are four great things I’ve read about what’s happening in Asbury (plus a bonus book resource for the overachievers).

  1. What is Revival — and is it happening at Asbury? by Craig Keener.
    Keener is a thoughtful biblical scholar, professor at Asbury Seminary, and first-hand witness to what’s happening at the college across the street (link).
  2. Facebook Post from Madison Pierce.
    Pierce is a seminarian at Asbury Seminary and has been present on campus. The linked piece beautiful captures five generation-distinctive marks of the moment at Asbury and the new wineskins Jesus is offering.
  3. Instagram Post by Pete Greig.
    Greig, the leader of the 24-7 Prayer Movement, offered a mature pastoral word: “When it comes to reports of revival, I’d rather be gullible than cynical.”
  4. Facebook Post from Jason Gaboury.
    Gaboury (of all the posts and commentary I’ve read) best pulls back the curtain for what the moment at Asbury might reveal for us about campus ministry in for this generation. His observations glow with insight.

BONUS: Longing for Revival by James Choung and Ryan Pfeiffer.
This has become my go-to book on revival. The authors deal honestly with tensions many of us feel when talking about revival. They offer practical guidance to help us seek revival in healthy ways. And they provide a framework to consider revivals at the personal, communal, regional, national and global scale. Highly recommend!

Collegiate Day of Prayer
For two hundred years, churches across the United States have been gathering on the last Thursday in February to ask the Lord to pour out revival and awakening on college campuses. This year, the big gathering for the Collegiate Day of Prayer and host site for the simulcast that will be shared around the country is — I KID YOU NOT — Asbury College — I SAID “I KID YOU NOT.”

Participate in the Simulcast: The time will stir your heart for the Lord and guide you as you pray.

Use a Prayer Guide: Consider using one of the linked prayer guides to not only, well, guide your prayer (that’s like the minimum a prayer guide’s supposed to do) but also to join the focus of your prayer with other believers from around the nation.

Well, that’s about it from Steve! Thank you Steve!

And that’s it from me! Let me know if you participate in the Simulcast! If my week doesn’t swallow me up, I’ll try to send another reminder before Thursday night!

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