by Mark Bishop
What’s the best excuse you’ve ever heard? “The dog ate my homework.” “I ran out of gas.” “I was delayed because of a train.” Is that the best you’ve got? Excuses are as old as mankind. Adam offered God an excuse after his first transgression: “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat” (Genesis 3:12).
Jesus exposed some of the most ridiculous excuses ever recorded. In Luke 14, He tells the story of the man who made a great supper and upon invitation was given these excuses: “I have bought property and must go and see it.” “I have bought five yoke of oxen and I go prove them.” “I have married a wife, and there fore I cannot come.” These three men represent the three levels of excuses. One said, “I am going to prove my oxen.” He simply chose to test drive a team of oxen over the invitation. The one who had bought property, sight unseen (which is absurd and unheard of), used the second degree of human shielding, “I must go.” He felt he was in a position where he had no choice, he must go. Then, we find a man that had put himself into a position where he could not go. He had made choices that simply prevented himself from being able to go. At the end of the day, regardless of the excuse or the events leading to that excuse, none of these men enjoyed the festive event that could have enhanced their lives.
We tend to find excuses why we can’t have revival, and once a revival is announced, some find excuses why they can’t attend. There is no excuse acceptable that prolongs or prevents a move of God among us. We must not allow anything to hinder what God is wanting to do in these last days. Revival can’t be put on hold because of a flimsy excuse concerning property, possessions or people. Maybe the natural disasters or personal calamities we face are really an opportunity to rid our- selves of unneeded hindrances. When we allow things to come between us and God, they become idols. We must lay aside every weight today that would hinder us from experiencing Holy Ghost revival.
As I was growing up, it seemed as if revivals always fell on the same week as mid-term tests. Looking back, I realize that those revival dates were made in the Hyatt lobby during the previous General Conference or a year ago at a camp meeting, with no regard to the Myrtle Attendance Center’s testing dates. Even today revival meets opposition. January isn’t a good time because we have just completed the musicals, banquets and holiday season. February is not ideal because it’s the final weeks of hunting season, and the hunters want to get in the last few days of camo quest. March would be the perfect time if it wasn’t for spring break, and all the sports enthusiasts couldn’t dare miss March Madness. April wouldn’t work out well because of Easter Sunday, Easter dramas, and kids are really excited about Little League. May would be ideal if it weren’t for Mother’s Day, graduations, school programs and Memorial Day. June is set aside for Father’s Day, and school is out and people are traveling out of town to the mountains, beaches or Mouse world. July is filled with camp meetings, picnics, fireworks and more summer vacations. August is so busy as we are shopping for back-to-school clothes and supplies.
September brings us relief from the dog days of summer, but we must plan around Labor Day and kickoffs. October is reserved for harvest festivals and Halloween. We would be naive to think revival is possible around Thanksgiving; that is family time and hunting season. The apostle Paul himself couldn’t book a revival in December; it’s the most wonderful time of the year. There is no perfect season for revival, other than right now! We should be ready to receive a harvest of souls on any day in any month. You will never find a convenient day or time to have revival. You must pray, fast and have church and God will send revival. Revival comes to those who desire it, those who want it more than baseball, football, hunting or picnics.
Our evangelists are committed to keeping the fire of revival burning with prayer, fasting and preaching the anointed Word of God. We are seeing people seek God as never before. All around the world we are hearing great reports of God pouring His Spirit out as never before. I have watched this year as new souls fill our pews, hungry for God. I believe we need revival in the church to bring a harvest of souls, and the time is now!
Mark Bishop is the newly-elected Evangelist Department Director.