Please note the date of the following article and the media that reported it. This did not happen 150 years ago, but only months ago and yet it has the “feel” of some revivals I have read about. At least the leading edge of one. God is giving grace to our land and answering the cries of a faithful remnant of intercessors by sending seasons of refreshing to many who are thirsting for Him and turning from that which is lifeless and of this world. Change us, Lord. May we not settle for being stirred only.
We have preached and settled for a humanistic “gospel” that would make us the recipient; the end-all, be-all, the center, measure and focus. A gospel that makes it all about us (God forbid). A gospel that makes us long for heaven rather than Him. No, beloved, it is all for the glory of Christ Jesus! He is the eternal Prize! He is Lord above all lords and King over all kings. Before the Lord, all of man’s kingdoms crumble to dust and are blown away. His River is Life and everything it touches will live!*
“THOUSANDS TURN OUT for REVIVAL, RIVER BAPTISMS”
by Susan Reinhardt,
-Asheville Citizen-Times, Sept 11, 2006.
Diane and John O’Shields of Burnsville were first in line and had more than one reason for getting wet in what some revival officials say was North Carolina’s largest river baptism. The baptism came as the faithful stretched into six weeks what was conceived as a two-week Cane River Tent Revival led by the Rev. Ralph Sexton Jr., of the ministry by the same name. No one in this small idyllic Yancey County town just northeast of Asheville has ever seen such a sight
Crowds swelled on each side of the riverbank. Wearing a black pantsuit and pearl earrings, she wiped tears from her eyes as she waved at watching loved ones. She and her husband held hands, closed their eyes and mouths and briefly disappeared under the water. The couple, married for 21 years, decided let this chance in the water with a reverend, the presence of God and countless witnesses work double-duty. “It’s our Baptism and wedding at the same time,” she said, her dress soaked and her face salted with tears. “We weren’t married in a church, so this is our marriage ceremony, too.” Theirs was just one among of the hundreds of stories and reasons people had for wandering into the waters, wetting their Sunday best or blue jeans. Dee-Dee Carver said the devil had hold of her the past two years. It’s not that she sinned or carried on wildly, she said. She’d just turned her back on God.
“The past five years,” she said, her face going from glowing to pained, “I’ve been dealing with a rebellious son.” She said he was into drugs and trouble and she needed the Lord’s strength to see her through. She’s been a Christian for years. But like many who gathered every night for six weeks at revival, she needed a fix
“I’ve been coming every night I can,” the 51-year-old Madison County woman said. “I come here and feel that sweet, sweet spirit.
I think it’s God’s way of saying, ‘I still love you.’”
MORE than 4,000 a NIGHT
Sexton began this revival in a cornfield six weeks ago with nearly 30 area pastors and churches who came together for a single cause: healing, soothing, saving and bringing God into troubled personal lives and into a world in a state of unrest and war. It started July 31 and was supposed to end two weeks later, but people kept coming, clogging roads and bringing the need for fire trucks and helicopters.
Sexton said he is humbled and encouraged by what he’s seen in the cornfields owned by John Young, who pastors baptized Sunday afternoon. “I’ve had opportunities in the past to be involved in area-wide meetings,” he said. “But this exceeds all expectations.” Asked why some nights more than 4,000 would show up, including teenagers, Sexton credited the Lord and the times we live in. “In our communities, there seems to be a hunger to return to basic moral and faith values,” he said. “We have an unsettled world. Every continent has a madman and every country is asking for peace and safety and we’re finding none…”