Is it Revival? Thoughts on Asbury University

            Lord, send a revival. If you are like me, you have been praying for a move of God to sweep across our nation for many years. I realize I need revival, First Southern Baptist in Salina, KS, needs revival, and the Church in America needs revival. By now, many of you are hearing about a worship service on the campus of Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. The worship service started last Wednesday and ended at the regular time, but no one left. As of the writing of these thoughts, the worship service has not stopped. Has revival broken out on the campus of Asbury College?

            I am no longer surprised at how American Christians respond to matters of faith. The Asbury Revival has had its critics. If, like me, you have been praying for revival, why do we so often disregard a perceived move of God? I’ve seen critics say it can’t be revival because they are singing the wrong songs. They are not preaching; they are not talking about the gospel enough. It can’t be true revival because it’s on a Wesleyan campus (As if God can only move on a Baptist or Presbyterian campus). It doesn’t fit into their perceived “God Box,” so it can’t be genuine. Is what is going on true revival? My answer is relatively simple, I haven’t been there, so I don’t know, but I fervently pray it is genuine.

            Here are a few things from people who have been there (Don’t listen to critics who only judge based on a 15-second Twitter clip here and there).

Here is a report from an eyewitness, an Asbury professor:

Some were reading and reciting Scripture. Others were standing with arms raised. Several were clustered in small groups praying together. A few were kneeling at the altar rail in the front of the auditorium. Some were lying prostrate, while others were talking to one another, their faces bright with joy.

They were still worshiping when I left in the late afternoon and when I came back in the evening. They were still worshiping when I arrived early Thursday morning—and by midmorning hundreds were filling the auditorium again. I have seen multiple students running toward the chapel each day.[1]

A respected Baptist pastor, Bill Elliff, has spent time on the Asbury campus. He has a history of firsthand knowledge of revivals in America. He notes the following about the move of God in Wilmore. [2]

  • Vibrant, powerful worship
  • Intense and intentional humility
  • Life-changing testimonies that give all glory to God, are brief, and current.
  • Guided Prayer
  • Spiritual, emotional, and even physical healing
    • The theme is Jesus, exalting Jesus, surrendering to Him, testifying about Him
  • Preaching
  • Wise leadership
  • Consistency with the ways of God
  • Giving God time and waiting
  • Spreading
  • Overwhelming love

As I read this, my heart is overflowing with hope and joy. You and I have been praying for this for many years. I know there is a new and sincere delight in God in revival. There is a desire to live holy and a great need to exalt Jesus as Lord. It is not about the individual person but about God. In revival, there is renewed joy and love for others. There is a restoration of marriages and a renewal of hope. There is deep confession and repentance. Revival changes people.

Is it revival? There seem to be indicators of genuine revival. However, I’m not sure; time will tell. Nonetheless, don’t simply disregard what God is doing. Don’t listen to critics who have not been there. Instead, join me in fervently asking God to send revival and pray revival continues to spread across college campuses. Join me in asking God to send revival to our hearts and churches. May God begin revival in me. If God wills, could this be the third Great Awakening? Oh, God, may it be so.


[1] https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2023/february-web-only/asbury-revival-1970-2023-methodist-christian-holy-spirit.html

[2] Spend some time reading about the revival here: https://billelliff.org/blogs/news/reflections-from-asbury-part-2

My Journey of Grief

To define grief simply, I would say grief is a season of sadness. For a more in-depth definition, I’d say grief is a season of sadness brought on through a major life change, a change that might even be catastrophic. As we enter the holiday season, the intensity of grief is often dependent upon the primary catalyst for your grief. A simple reminder is not to compare your pain. Your pain is your pain. No matter the root cause of your grief, it is absolutely ok and necessary to grieve.

That is the heart of the first lesson I’m learning through my own personal grief. I know some of you will be walking through the depth and darkness of great grief. I’ll be celebrating the Thanksgiving and Christmas season for the first time without my parents. I know it may not compare to the grief of the first holiday, or any holiday for that matter, without one of your children. Nonetheless, it is my grief, and I am giving myself permission to grieve. Over the next few weeks, I want to encourage you through your own grief.

There are times in the pain of grief it feels as if God is distant and doesn’t care. However, I know He is close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). I know I can cast my cares upon Him because He does care about me (1 Peter 5:7). It feels as if I am alone in the silence and solitude of my depressed soul. But I know God is faithful and will never leave me (Hebrews 13:5).

My parents loved the holidays. Some of my most precious and earliest memories revolve around the joy and happiness of gathering during the holidays. The Thanksgiving my family were the only Houston Oilers football fans during the annual Dallas Cowboy game. Somehow Houston won, and my family celebrated in a sea of silver and blue. The numerous Christmases in Plainview, we had to wait on my cousin and uncle to arrive before opening gifts. The year my boys were seated on the fireplace with their cousins wearing their brand-new John Elway jersey, a gift from my dad. Memories are sweet and never die. One of the first ways to battle grief is to remember. Don’t be afraid to talk about the person or people who are not there. Laugh, cry, and remember. Allow the deep seeds of grief to come to the surface.

            In a few hours, I’ll pack in the car with part of my family and travel to Texas to be with all my children and grandchildren. Those who know me know how much I love the holidays. But there is a part of me dreading spending this first holiday without my parents. My dad passed away four years ago, and my mom only a couple months ago. I feel the freshness of the wound of grief. But I will rejoice in my family. I will remember the joy of past holidays and cling to our future reunion.

I know many of you have much greater pains of grief than I do, and I want to be praying for you. If you want me to pray specifically for you during this holiday season and beyond, just drop me a note (gsavage@fsbcsalina.com). I’d be honored to pray for you and would covet your prayers for me as well. I know God is good and faithful. I will trust in Him and press deeply into His comfort and care for me. Keep following the blog this season, and I’ll update with other ideas to help in your grief during the holidays. For now, remember them, laugh at the memories, cry with the pain, and trust in the goodness of God. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.