Pastor Bob Nichols Revival Testimonies
Friday, February 24, 2006
Let's look at Acts 3:19, "So, repent." "What? Bless God, I am the righteousness of God in Christ." So am I. But you never go beyond the need to repent when you need to repent. You can be going down the road and your car starts pulling in one direction, and you say, "I don't believe in flats." And so, for a while you can fake it. But after a while, that tire completely gives out, and you are coming in on the rim. If there is a flat, bless God, stop and fix it. Change it out with something fresh and something that is road-worthy. So, He said, "Repent." I don't care how much you say, "I am the righteousness of God in Christ," there are times that we all need to take spiritually inventory. You may not be doing the five cardinal sins, but your attitude may be as rotten as purgatory. You may be filled with a spirit of offense. That is one of the biggest problems in the Kingdom of God today, just a spirit of offense. So, repent. I don't know about you, but Bob Nichols finds an occasion to repent, even this week. We think we are so on-fire for God. We are walking on the water, because we know where the rocks are. But, if we have missed it, we still need to repent and humble our hearts before God. Hardness of heart was the cardinal sin of Israel, and also of the disciples. They considered not the miracles because of hardness of their hearts. Dear God, if we had seen the thousands fed, the lepers cleansed and the sea parting, you would think that we would never have a dull day. We would. Human nature is human nature.
So, the Bible said, "Repent." Change your mind and purpose, turn around. This is what revival is. Revival is not just laughing and shouting and running and dancing, it is all of that. But it is also repentance. It is a change of mind. Turn around means to go the opposite way. Turn around and return to God, that your sins may be erased. This is New Testament. That your sins may be blotted out and wiped clean, that times of refreshing, of recovering from the effects of heat, of reviving with fresh air, may come from the presence of the Lord.
Revival is not having church every night, yet it could be. There are a lot of things that I don't know. But there is one thing I know, I know the presence of God. I covet the presence of God, in a song, in a testimony, in message, in you. I have seen and experienced the presence of God in such a strong way this week. I was just thinking how my life has changed. I am not the same preacher that I was in 1993. I am not the same minister of even a few weeks ago. I have searched my heart, but not under condemnation. I was talking to God about some things that I am going to do "if." And God said, "Why don't you just do it anyway?" Okay. Isn't that something? We will do things "if." Usually what we say we will do "if," we should be doing anyway, while others are slowing down. I have never been more excited about the ministry. I have never had more open doors. I just wish there was a greater capacity of me to do the things that God is opening doors to do. Hey, this thing is just getting fun! The fun has come back to the ministry. It is a joy to be a part of what God is doing. The day of the drop-in preacher is gone. You better orient those who are coming in, about what is happening in your church. Four or five negative statements can throw cold water on your whole church. I just simply say that if you don't understand it, hey I can handle that, there was a time that I didn't understand certain things. But if you don't understand it, just grin and bear it. And just go with the flow of the anointing you have. Revival is for the marriage. Revival is for the family. Revival is for the church.
There was a time when Pastor Bob Nichols had to say, "I have been in the ministry all these years and I have seen a lot of wonderful things, but all of a sudden, where you live and what you drive and what you wear and where you go and the bells and whistles do not satisfy you if the fire of God is not in your spirit. We all started with nothing and thank God for the privilege of having anything. Now we have this thing so sophisticated it is like a New York business situation. And I know there is a business side to the ministry. Real revival begins with a heart hungry for God, not a gimmick. It is not a formula. It is not–get a certain evangelist–it starts with a heart hungry for God. "God I am hungry. I am really hungry." But I don't have time for God. They put you in Intensive Care and you have got all kinds of time. They put you in jail, and you have got a lot more time. We had a man, we could not keep him in church, they put him in jail, and he stayed there. He didn't have time for church, but he had time for jail; a lot of time, now.
Folks, God is dealing with us. A personal revival is where it all begins. Your church will never have revival; your staff will never have revival until you have a personal revival. I have been through many times and seasons. I was raised a classic Pentecostal. Raised in those early days of the Assembly of God then my heart got hungry and I have seen the flow of the Charismatics. I have seen the flow of the Word. And, I tell you, the Word changed my life. I do not make fun of the true Word of God. But the problem is that we have a lot of guys that have come into the Word that don't know the moving of the Spirit, and they think because they know so much Word that they know it all. But they don't. And then you have Pentecostals that, bless God, this is our heritage you can't tell us anything. It is about a personal revival. To pastors, it is a family revival; taking your family with you. You can't make anything happen.
Revival is not a force, it is a flow. And so, it is a family situation. You have heard that. That has been well taken care of. God wants your wife to go with you, your husband to go with you, your children to go with you, your grandchildren to go with you. And, you know, that really began to hit me. This is a great church and we have seen some of the greatest ministries in the world come into this place. But I began to think, "I want my grandchildren to see the moving of the Holy Spirit of God. My daughters have seen the moving of the Holy Spirit of God, but I don't want my grandchildren to be raised like little classic high church people. I want my grandchildren to know the Holy Ghost. I want my grandchildren to know the power of God. Not just go to church because it is granddaddy's church. Not just go to church because it is the right thing to do." You know there came a time in my life that, as wonderful as my father and my mother were, there came a time that, I had to face God for myself. God has no grandchildren, only sons and daughters.
Then it is a staff revival. If you are going to have revival in your church you have got to take your staff with you. Now, I kind of got caught on the short end of this thing, because God spoke to me in the month of April. From January I was crying out to God up to the month of April. God says in April, "You will have a summer of revival." The latter part of April, I fly to Ohio to preach for one of our sons in the ministry. Then I flew down to Florida because God told me that I am to have the evangelist in my church, and I have a thing about knowing somebody before they come in. So I flew in, and I had a migraine headache, which I never have. I was tired. I had been preaching all weekend, and I came in that night and I could not believe it! "These crazy people? This great revival? They are sitting around laughing like hyenas. I flew on commuter, I hate commuter, I hate those little puddle jumpers. I did all of that, for this?" Brother Wally Quinn kept giving me tapes. His message was good, but that noise just drove me up the wall. I always said, "I am noisy enough for any service." But there was something about it. After all of that, I got to thinking, "After all, after you have been in the ministry about 40 years you have seen enough sad faces. What is wrong with joy? When you have seen as many mean folks as I have seen, and a lot of good folks, too, what is wrong with joy of the Lord? What is wrong with being happy about going to church? So my watch was beginning to run a little bit. But then, all of a sudden, the altar call was given, and I saw 130 people come forward. I hadn't seen that in a long time. People coming to Jesus weeping, and they had already been there for three hours. "Sinners won't stay that long." Yes they will, when the Holy Ghost is in the house. My antennas went up, and I said, "Wait a minute, people are getting saved. I think I can laugh a little bit. I think I can lighten up a little bit." When you teach that deep Word and nobody gets saved, you need to check up on some other things. Well, I went back the next morning and there was the sweet presence of God. Then I had lunch with the evangelist. And I really made a connection with his spirit, and I saw that. That night, in the service, I was in that night's service and I had extended an invitation for him to come to Fort Worth. He said, "Why should I come to Fort Worth. I have 100 invitations." I said, "Because if you can have a revival in Fort Worth, you can have a revival anywhere." Well, you don't tell a South African it can't be done. They are survivors. I think I stirred him up a little bit on that. But the next night, about the same number came to Jesus. I remember back on West Berry Street, when nothing was happening and I said, "God I will do anything. I will do anything that is right, and I will do anything works to win souls for you." I am not built just to carry on. Something has got to move. Something has got to happen. I have got to see people come to Jesus.
I remember those old tent revivals, those early preachers and putting up those tents. And I remember our pastor had ministries like A.A. Allen and a host of others from the Voice of Healing. And I remember those gospel tents and people coming to Jesus. And then after we were just married, Joy and I traveled with Dr. Gordon Lindsay and we met many of the men that were being used of God in that day and hour. And I have been exposed to the moving of God's Spirit. I am not built for maintenance. I am built for aggressive evangelism and seeing something done. Dr. Gordon Lindsay said, "You ought to pray one radical prayer every day of your life." He said, "The sun should never go down without you praying a radical prayer. You ought to pray a prayer so radical, it challenges your faith. Have you prayed a radical prayer today?" He said, "Determine which way God is moving, and move with God." I have never forgotten that. So, I came home. Brother Rodney said, "I will come to your church." Then I got scared. I thought, "What am I going to do now? I mean, these people have been in revival for weeks and weeks, and I mean, we have got the 12 o'clock crowd. They will put up with me. I don't know, that is like driving a bulldozer in the aisle." I am going to tell you that I fell on my face before God and I said, "God, I have got myself into something now. You have got to help me!" So I called the staff in. I didn't have time to be nice about it. You need to be nice about it, but I didn't have time to be nice about it. I called everything in that got a paycheck around here, and we have got quite a few, and I said, "God spoke to me and said, 'We are going to have a summer of revival.' We are having an unusual evangelist in, and you may not understand it. But if you don't understand it, just don't say anything." I said, "If I hear that sigh around the corner in the hall, if I see that rolling of the eyes…" You would spank your kids for that. I have seen staff sit on the back row, "What is pastor up to now?" If your staff is not with you, the revival is going to be in vain. They will sabotage it. So I called folks in and I said, "I don't understand it all myself, but I am hungry. I am hungry for God. And God said, 'We are going to have a summer of revival.' If you understand it, fine. If you don't, and you can't have it, give me your resignation. We are going to have revival at Calvary Cathedral International. We are going to have a move of God." We have mastered the weekend. I have some very special friends who told me, "I don't like to come for a two week revival." I said, "You are going to be mighty lonesome between Sundays, honey." It is hot on Sunday, but I tell you, it lonesome on Monday. People just don't come out because they are supposed to come out any more. There has got to be a move of God that brings people out.
So, I did my best. I started preaching on the Book of Acts. I started going back to those 1700 and 1800 revivals. I began to get back into some of that Finney stuff that I had put up on a shelf and was drawing dust. I did everything I knew how to do. I said, "I don't understand everything God is doing, but we are going back to the Book of Acts." I have had Word people say, "We have graduated from the Book of Acts." Oh yes? That is why you are so dead. It is all of it. But occasionally you need to peruse out the Epistles and get back into that red hot and rediscover the Holy Ghost. I want to tell you, when God breathes faith into your heart, get a lock on it and don't let go. I said, "Bless God, if they all walk out, we will raise up another congregation by the grace of God." That wasn't an arrogant statement. I just had to face reality. It has happened in places. Giants entrenched in strong mountains stand helpless before a faith that is born of the heart of God.
About the second Sunday, people filing out at 12. The second Sunday, I got a righteous anger on me and I just stood up and said, "You wouldn't walk out on Jesus. I wouldn't." If I had to go out for a minute I would say, 'I will be right back.' Joy and I have lived for the ministry. My wife has never said, "Bob, what is in it for us?" My wife has never said, "Will we ever get this house paid for?" My wife has never said, "Bob, what is going to happen to us?" We didn't even start retirement until four years ago. God is getting involved in that thing and it is getting more interesting by the day. You stop asking, "What is in it for me?" and start saying, "Which way is God moving?" and move with God. You will see signs, wonders and miracles.
We got a late start. I have always been a late starter. I don't understand it. Always been a late starter. Calvary Cathedral International has always been a slow starter. We got into Christian education when everyone else was getting out. And I prophesy to you, "We won't back off of what God has told us to do because it is not the current fad."
I tell you, after the second Sunday, something began to break in this house. I was worried about finances. I said, "Not enough money is coming in the offering." Here is where you need to be hooked up with a faith person. He said, "Bob, don't worry about it." He said, "When revival comes, God will take care of the finances." Now that is faith talking right there. I have been with an evangelist who was as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof about every offering that did or did not come through. When revival comes, money comes. Meetings will cost you, revival pays. Real revival pays. You get involved with what God is involved with.
Revival hit. And this auditorium began to fill up. We went for weeks and weeks. And in the morning services, people who used to come every other Sunday morning, whether they needed or not, and left early, now they are taking their sick leave to come and be in revival services. In the morning, we had four hour services, 10 to 2. Down at the restaurant they would say, "We were getting ready for you about 2:30. We knew you would be in here about now." Night services began at 7, and were over at maybe 11 or 12. You say, "Do they have to go that long?" No, but they did. And people that I would hardly get into church, now you could not pry them out of church.
When the spirit of revival comes it will touch your pocket book, it will touch your watch. It will touch your schedule. It will touch your heart. It will touch your personal agendas and activities. It touches everything. We saw this thing shaken by the power of God. We saw people saved every night.
Revival is fun. There was a revival in our music. There were four strategic staff changes in this church and I will not elaborate. I am just simply saying what is happening could not have happened unless God brought change. God put people in strategic places in this church to hold up my hands that had a heart for God. I have paid some dues to come to where we are today. Today we have a staff that is hungry for God, hungry for revival, on-fire for God, and they want everything that God has for them. Our staff is thrilled about what God is doing. Time went out the window, Sunday morning 12:00, gone with the wind; the wind of the Holy Ghost. You start praying about what you do. It is not the same old, same old. Revival changes the rules.
Revival is not a force, it is a flow. I said it is a flow, not a form. Yet it has form and force. Many try to make the same thing happen every service. Revival is laughter, but it is more. It is repentance, but it is more. It is changing, but it is more. It is tears but it is more. It is shouting, but it is more. Every church does not have the same assignment, but every church has the same Holy Ghost.
My cry is, "God let us be what you want us to be!" We did go several weeks with only one night off. But there does come a time that you have got to remember that you also have a family church. I think really there is a beautiful balance that is coming in when people are having maybe two or three nights that family can do what the family needs to do. But, you know, if your family is dysfunctional and upside down, it is not going to help you have time together. You will just fuss and fight anyway. When you get full of the Holy Ghost, you get full of God's love and faith and hope, then you are going to enjoy being together. It is no fun being together with a bunch of crazy, mixed up people. Revival will make your marriage be a marriage of harmony. Revival will bring those children in. Revival will touch your finances.