Frankie Mazzapica - Is Revival Biblical?
My name is Frankie Mazzapica, the title of the message is, "Is Revival Biblical"? Is Revival Biblical? Now, let me make sure we all have the same definition of revival. All of us have used it in our vocabulary at least once or twice. I have a brother-in-law that has this painting, you know, a fair venue that they do once a year where you can show up and pick out a painting, and the theme is called revival. I don't know how that ties in. But we've used that word in our vocabulary many times, but in this particular context, in this message, I want to share with you a working definition. A revival is when the presence of God manifests in a way that it changes all of who we are.
Now, when I say manifest, there's the omnipresence of God, which means he's everywhere, you can get in a rocket and go as far... you cannot get outside of the omnipresence of God, but then there are places where God says, "This is where you will experience the manifest presence of God". In Psalms chapter 26, verse 8, the Psalmist says I love to come to the sanctuary of God, because it's where his presence dwells. The sanctuary is one of those places where you experience the presence of God. This is why, when you walk in, you feel one way, but when you walk out, you feel a different way. When you walk in, you feel like, you know, "Hey, I got a lot of issues, I got a lot of problems," possibly, I don't know what season of life you're in. But when you stand and worship, you just have this sense of knowing that God is taking care of things, you're just standing in the sanctuary in his presence and you know.
However, there's a whole 'nother level where we call it revival, where the presence of God is so tangible that it causes believers to not want to leave his presence. If you do a Google search, you do a light dive through history, you will see churches that have people lined up for miles trying to get into the building because they want to just be in the presence of God. It's not the preacher, it's not the singer, it's the presence of God. Right now, there's an Asbury Revival at Asbury University, you can Google that. There's people, 24-hours a day, they're in church. They leave, they eat, they come back. People from around the world are flying to this revival. At Texas A&M, there's another one. Out of nowhere, hundreds of kids just came together to worship.
Now, there are some kids that, you know, they weren't moved at all, and that's completely fine. But when you get 400 or 500 college kids coming to worship, something's up, that something's up. It wasn't coerced, something's up. I mean, we all know college kids, right? They don't just, like, "Hey, let's get together and worship," that's not what they do. There's 20 universities in the country right now that are experiencing this level of revival, 20, 20, where people are just gathering together and they don't want to leave, just worshiping. This is happening throughout the country right now. All you gotta do, if you don't believe me, go home and Google it, Google, "Texas A&M prayer".
Google, a couple, maybe, I wanna say, like 24 months ago, 18 months ago, there was a beach revival in California where just these thousands of people were just showing up on the beach and they're baptizing them by the thousands. Go home and Google, "Beach revival," you'll see it. This is what God is doing right now, he's doing it all over the place. And in every single church, every single pastor raises their hand and says, "Me, I wanna be next, I want to be next". Wouldn't you love it if this church was a place where there were people lined up for miles trying to get in? Are you with me? But we can't determine whether or not Gods dove of revival will land on our building or not, we can't determine that. But what we do know is that the promises of his Word will always remain.
And this is what it says, in Hebrews chapter 11, verse 6, he says this, he says you cannot please me without faith. Faith is being sure of what you cannot see and certain of what you're hoping for, you're certain, you're believing. You can't do it. And then he tells us what faith is. You can't please me without faith. And this is what faith is, faith is being sure that I'm here, secondly, that I am a rewarder of those who diligently seek me. And so what he is saying, what we can take from that is we don't know if we will be a church where thousands are lined up down the street, but what we do know is that when we cry out to him, we experience a reward that's beyond our imagination. And when you begin to grab that from a personal standpoint, you may not be in a church where there's revival, but in your 3 foot radius, you experience God in a way that's hard for you to explain.
And when you walk into your house, that radius becomes your sanctuary, your car becomes a sanctuary moving down the street. When you walk into your home, it's like, this is a domain for the presence of God, there's no evil spirits that can come in here, this is a sanctuary of the Lord, and you create revival in your own house, in your own family, in your own heart. I want to talk about just a couple of things in answering the question, is revival even biblical or is it just a bunch of emotion? You know, I try my best to not get too excited. I'm half-Italian, half-Brazilian, so it's hard for me not to do that, there's a lot of Latin in me, and so it's hard for me not to do that.
But the reason why I try to pull myself back is that I don't ever want to lead you to believe that I'm trying to whoop up the room, I want to let God do the talking for him. And so, if you're an intellectual, you're thinking to yourself, "Is revival even biblical? Can you open up the Bible and find the word revival"? Let me answer that. No, you can't. Go through it, you can't find the word revival. However, if you study the scriptures and you see God come in and cause an entire city to cry out before God, then you look at that and go, "That's a revival".
Let me give you an example. In Jonah chapter 3, verse 10, God tells Jonah, "I want you to go to the city of Ninevah, and tell them how much I love them, so that they will turn away from their evil ways". Jonah said, "I'm not going". The reason why he said, "I'm not going," is he hated those people so bad. He hated them not just because of some road rage incident, he hated them because they would literally do the most grotesque things to people. They would burn people, they would burn families for these worshiping reasons, and it's like, I hate those people, and they were evil. So Jonah said, like, "I'm not going over there, I hate those people," and he ran from God the best way he could.
You guys know the story, he ran so far, he got in a ship, the storm came, he was like, "I think this storm is here because of me, I'm running from God". They grabbed him, they threw him overboard, all of a sudden, the sea kind of, like, "Oh my goodness, I'm glad we got rid of that guy". Just as a sidebar, there's some people in your life that are in your life and if you were to get them out of your life, the storm would kind of calm down. That's just a sidebar. It's just like, "I love you, it's been good, it hasn't been real good, but it's time for you to go, I love you".
That's another sermon for another day, okay? But anyway, so Jonah, now he's in the water... A whale, you know the story, a big fish comes and grabs him. He's at the bottom of the ocean in the fish and he's still thinking to himself, "I still don't like these guys, I still don't want to go preach to these guys, but I'll go ahead and do it if you just get me out of the fish". He gets out of the fish, the fish coughs him up, he goes to Nineveh, and he preaches the worst message ever preached in the history of preaching. He literally goes up there and says turn from your wicked ways or the Lord is going to scorch you from fire from heaven.
That's it. The Bible says he goes and he sits on top of a mountain, with popcorn, that's my part, but he goes and sits at the top of a mountain to watch God burn these people up. All of a sudden, the entire city turns their heart from wickedness, worships the Lord, God forgives them, and all of a sudden you see a revival. Anytime people are turning, people, masses of people, crowds of people turning, this is revival. In Mark, this is my last biblical example, in Mark chapter 3, verse 20, the Bible says that the multitudes surrounded Jesus again, so much so they didn't even have time to eat. So when Jesus fed the 5,000 with two fish and five loaves, yes, it was the greatest fish fry in the history of mankind, but that wasn't the first time that they were there, they were always there. Everywhere he went, the multitudes were following him around. That's why it says, and the multitudes came once again, to where he didn't even have time to eat.
So anytime there's multitudes, a crowd of people, longing for God, being passionate for God, asking God to forgive them, and new people who don't even know the Lord are coming in and they're like, "I don't even know, oh my goodness," and all of a sudden they feel their heart being drawn by God, this is what a revival is. Now let me backstep and take a sidebar, and say, let's talk about the practical things for you and I. What is it exactly? Like, keep it simple, Frankie, give me just like three things, because any more than that I'm gonna forget. Give me three things that I can do, that I can do to experience his presence in a way that I'm longing for, but I don't even have the words to describe it, I just know that I want more. Well, the first one is a certain level of surrender, there's a certain level of surrender that has to take place.
See, the Bible says, in Psalms chapter 5, verse 3, it says this, "Every morning," I wake up, I'll be back at it again, "Laying the pieces of my life on the altar waiting for the fire to fall". Every morning I wake up, I'll be back at it again. I'm not gonna miss a day. Sometimes you'll be able to set your alarm, get up early, get on your knees, even if it's for two or three minutes, raise your hands, and lay your pieces out. "Lord, I'm laying my marriage down, I'm laying my finances down. Lord, I'm laying," you lay it all down. Sometimes it's in your car because the morning was so frantic. I mean, I've got three kids, sometimes just the only thing going up in the air is not prayers, it's Cheerios, it's just like the house is going crazy right now. In those moments, you're laying the pieces of your life on the altar while you're driving down the street. Can somebody say amen to that?
Like you're driving down the street and you're like, "Dear God, you have all of me right now". And I'm gonna tell you, when you live close to the throne, your prayers don't have to be long. You just say, "Lord, I'm laying it all down right now". Let me encourage you with this thought regarding the length of prayers. Sometimes we think we shouldn't even pray unless we're gonna pray for an hour. Smith Wigglesworth once said this, I don't always pray for a half an hour, but a half an hour never goes by without me praying. You're just constantly praying, constantly praying. Now, praying is my second point, so I'm a little bit ahead of myself, so I'll get there in a minute.
Let me go back to just surrendering. When I say surrendering, it's surrendering every part of your life, not just, "Hey, here's my needs, my hopes or desires, I'm surrendering this," but we're also surrendering anything that is keeping the love of God from flowing through us. Let me see if I can illustrate this with a water hose. I actually saw this illustration a while back, and I thought, "I'm gonna share it with Celebration Church". See, when something is to flow through, when water flows through this water hose, you gotta connect it to a source and then it comes out. But have you ever been using a water hose and the water is not coming out? You turned the water on but there's no water coming out. Are you with me? Say yes.
Now just say out loud, everyone just say out loud, there's no wrong answer, if the water's on but there's no water coming out, what's the problem? Bing-bing-bing, bing-bong, yes, there's a kink in the hose, and that's what's keeping the water from flowing out. Sometimes your relationship with God is not reaching its best and you're not partnering with him as much as you're able to because there's a kink in the hose. What do I mean by that? Sometimes when you just got this horrible attitude about everything in life, right? it's a kink in the hose. It is so hard for God to show his love through you when you're mad at everything, it's really, really hard.
Sometimes the kink in the hose is that you just love, love, love telling people what they're not good at and where they have failed you. And you know, it's really hard for God to speak love through you to someone else when you got a kink in the hose, the way you're talking is not the way he wants you to talk. And sometimes the kink in the hose is an addiction, sometimes the kink in the hose are these flagrant things that we're doing that is not God's best for our life. And it's in these moments that we have to back up and we say, "Hey, look, God, I want to partner with you, I want to experience this flow of love into my life, and I don't want to just keep it. Like, I want to know, every time I lay my head on the pillow at night, I want to know that I'm partnering with you".
I don't know about you, but when I was growing up, I just wanted to make a lot of money. My family didn't have a lot of money when I was growing up, and that was the one thing that I wanted to do. And then you reach a certain point in your life where you realize that you're not gonna be Bill Gates, and then it's exhausting trying, and you just say, "You know what? I want to partner with the God Almighty in this universe, and that's what I want most". Are you with me?
Let me share my second point. I spent more time on the first point than I planned on, let me go to the second point of prayer. So the first one is surrendering everything, the second one is prayer. You know, when I was a kid, it was so wild how God would do this to me, and I'm sharing this because I think it's happened to many of you as well, I'd get in the bed and I'd think to myself, "I should probably get out of the bed, get on my knees, and tell the Lord I love him". And every time, I would think, "Nope, I'm too tired to do that, I'm going to bed". And then I'd have this second thought, "Well, I want him more than I want to sleep".
So I'd get out, I'd get on my knees, and say, "God, I'm too tired to pray, but I just want you to know I love you". And I'd get back in my bed. How often does the Lord just cross your mind out of nowhere? You weren't even thinking about him one second ago, you were working, you were working on something, you were in your laptop, you were writing something, you were driving down the road, you're watching a movie, you're in a conversation, you're in a meeting. And then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, he crosses your mind. Raise your hand and wave at me if that's ever happened to you. Out of nowhere, how did this happen? Can I tell you this?
That moment was the moment when the Lord just wanted to brush past you and say, "Hey, I'm thinking about you". He's always thinking about you, he's always close to you, but every once in a while he just wants you to know it. And in that moment, where all of a sudden he just crosses your mind, that's him saying, "Hey, I just want you to know that I'm here". In your heart you know he's there, but any time he crosses your mind, that's his way. Because you weren't even thinking about him a minute ago, and then he just crosses your mind.
In these moments I want you to do exactly what we talked about when I was getting out of bed. At that moment, just respond, just respond. And if you're in a meeting, obviously you can't stand up and say, "Glory to God". You can't, "Ahh, I love you, Jesus, I'm a friend of God, I'm a friend of God". Like, that's not appropriate, obviously. But if he crosses your mind, just respond back and just say, if you can say it out loud, that's brilliant, but even if you can't, he crossed your mind with a thought, now you send a thought back to him. You just go, "Man, that was weird, I love you too, I love you too. You just crossed my mind, you wanted me to know that you're here, I just want you to know, I know it sounds weird, I'm here too, and I love you too".
And the more you respond, the more that communication will take place. And I'll tell you, I'll even challenge you to do this, tell the Lord, "I want you to cross my mind more, cross my mind even more than that". This is how you're taking practical steps, to say, "I want to be in a revival, I want to feel his presence, I want to. In this three foot radius, I gotta be in a revival, I need to. If you're there, then I want to feel you, I wanna hear you".
And so you start with that. First, it's the surrendering, that was the part one, but secondly, you just back up and say, "God, cross my mind, I'm inviting you, I want you to". And every time he crosses your mind, you just say something back. And what you'll find is he'll cross your mind more, you'll say something back more, and then 1 Thessalonians 5:17 is the theme of your life, you never stop praying, it just keeps going. Do you receive that? Come on, you receive that?
So you have this moment of surrendering, you have this moment of prayer, and then the third point is desperation. This moment of desperation usually comes through some type of deep need, you're in deep need in order for you to be desperate. If you didn't need anything, you wouldn't experience any desperation. I'll say this, and I just want you to think about it, are you closer to the Lord when life is going great? Do you feel intimate with him when you're on the mountaintop going, "Life is awesome," when you got the window down, you're hanging out, you're like, "I'm getting green lights like crazy, this is great," I call you up, "How you doing"? "I'm doing awesome". Like, we all have those moments, right? where life is going good, "It's good to be me today".
Do you feel closer to God in those seasons or do you feel closer to him when you're in a desperate season? Are you with me? It's in the desperate seasons. It's fascinating how we experience him on the mountaintop, we also experience him on the valley, the desperate seasons, but the mountaintops are usually pretty sharp. "Yes". The yes is like, about an hour, and then the valley, that's got a nice little run to it, right? And if you just kind of look back, and you just look at peaks and valleys, you're like, "Oh my goodness". You go, "My goodness, the majority of my life is probably gonna be needing something, desperate for something".
Let me give you one illustration real quick. There's a guy named Elijah, and God told Elijah, "I'm sending a storm". The storm is about to come and God tells him, "Start running now, because the storm is going to be huge". Well, there's another guy, he saw the storm coming, he got on a horse and started riding. And so he's riding, the guy's riding hard, and then all of a sudden, Elijah starts running, but the Spirit of the Lord hits him and he's running so fast he passes the guy on the horse, Passes him.
But before that ever happened, he was praying for rain because they were in the middle of a drought. He had his head in the dirt, crying out to God, "You've got to send rain, you've got to send rain". It was a moment of desperation. Now let me ask you, was he more intimate with God when he was saying, "Send rain," or when he was? You know the answer, it was in that season of, "God, I need you". And sometimes the Lord will allow those seasons to last a little bit because that's when your relationship with God is the closest. Do you receive that? Come on.