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Not now, God

Photo: Unsplash/Nicolai Berntsen | Photo: Unsplash/Nicolai Berntsen

Let’s imagine something together. Your life is going along pretty smoothly. Your family is doing great! Like everyone else trials have hit you, but God has helped see you through each of them. You’re active in your church, you pray every day and read your Bible. Then one Sunday morning out of the blue the Holy Spirit shows up in your service in such a powerful way that the worship service goes on and on. People flock to the altar with tears of repentance and tears of joy.  Through tears and greatly humbled, the pastor does his best to preach his prepared message. God speaks to him telling him, that we need to set aside our schedules and stay and tarry. For those that can’t, we should open the doors tonight and every night this week for extended services.

The pastor affirms what he has been told, saying “Church, He is here. This is what we have been praying for, so we must make time for Him.” Your heart and mind start to race in a million different directions. You look over at your wife. She is giving you that “What now” look. Your favorite football team is playing against their chief rivals on Monday night. Tuesday night is your daughter’s ballet class, Wednesday night might work because its normal church night, but Thursday night is a basketball game at school and your son is the captain of the team. Friday night, you have been promising your wife, would be a long needed date night, and you already purchased tickets for a Broadway Show in town for 65 dollars each. What do you do?

Jesus hung on three nails for six hours, then bowed his head and said “It is finished!” John 19:30 (KJV) What was finished, was that even though He was God very God, he was also man very man. What he had to do as a man with His life was to become the perfect sacrificial offering for the sins of man. This was so that something so important, so necessary, so needed, so incredible, and so powerful could happen now! It was so that the Holy Spirit could come and be poured out on all flesh! Jesus in preparing his disciples said “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient that I go away: for if I go not away the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart I will send Him to you!” John 16:7 (KJV)

I think only God understands that most revivals start out with a small prayer meeting with just a few faithful pray-ers. In every single revival, which I have been able to trace, historically, this was the case. In most situations it was the unlikely people who started, and in many cases, it’s the young people who feel the call to pray, and throwing out their schedules, sought the face of God. Then as people prayed, things started to happen. Then God began answering their prayers. Next that generated both more people praying, and more times set aside for people to pray.

In Pensacola, Florida the revival began when a simple prayer meeting, generated by a group of teens, fresh from a weekend retreat, generated church corporate prayer one night a week. Then it became two nights, and more people began to come, and then three and so on. Eventually, the people really wanting revival were coming to church almost every night. As our Pastor preaches, God almost always works in the practical as He is setting up the Spiritual. Many at first ignorantly credited Evangelist Steve Hill for the mighty visitation of God that started on Father’s Day June 18th 1995 at Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola Florida. However, behind the scenes God was preparing some, and those that he knew He could, for one of the most amazing visitations in history.

I have learned every denomination in history has followed a similar pattern; they were birthed through some type of revival but ended up in eventual lukewarmity. If you follow a pattern throughout the Old Testament, you will see a three generational pattern develop before your eyes. God visits a person or a people group in a powerful way so they are wholly dedicated to God. Then their children grow up and because of mom and dad’s belief system have somewhat of a zeal for God, just not as much as their parents. By the time the third generation arrives there is little or no evidence that they have any real relationship with God at all.

As an evangelist/revivalist I saw some revivals shut down just as mighty visitations of God showed up. In one case it was a church board that shut it down. In another case it was a complaining pastor’s wife. But in every situation, it was people who had some common complaints, and it involved them being too busy, to take time out, right now for God. God the Holy Spirit is a gentleman and is easily grieved away where He is not wanted. Just the wrong person placed in a position of power can stop a God sent revival!

How serious is that? Jesus hung on three nails for six hours, not to mention a lifetime of suffering, denying Himself that he could be the sinless perfect Lamb of God. He came to take away the sins of the world, so that this same Holy Spirit that we are saying “not now” to could come now! How serious is it? It’s as serious as you possibly hindering a move of God that could, like in Brownsville Florida, impact thousands of lives for the Kingdom of God. Do you want to stand before God someday, and explain to Him, that you were just too busy to stop whatever you were doing, to let something begin, that could start? From Jesus’s perspective “It is finished,” so completely unhindered, let His Holy Spirit come! Now what was that about your schedule?

Rev Nolan J Harkness is the President and CEO of Nolan Harkness Evangelistic Ministries Inc. since 1985. He spent most of his adult life working in youth ministry. He also felt the calling of Evangelist/Revivalist and traveled as the door was open holding evangelistic meetings in churches throughout the Northeast. His website is

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