Why is it so easy to forget what God has done? The sad truth is that many Christians in the U.S. don't remember the great moves of God, even in the last century. But I'm grateful that people like my longtime friend Gene Bailey of Kenneth Copeland Ministries are reminding the church of amazing revivals that have shaped history—and pointing to how God is moving now.
A couple years ago, Gene launched a fascinating new show called Revival Radio TV. My wife, Joy, and I watch this show and are impressed with the good job Gene does. In fact, Gene is so known for his emphasis on revival that he's earned the moniker "Revival Man." The show is intriguing, and so is the way Gene and his wife came up with the name.
In an interview for my new podcast, "In Depth With Stephen Strang," Gene tells me it all started in 2015, when he and his wife started seeing a move of God break out in Eagle Mountain Church in Fort Worth, Texas. As they spoke with Eagle Mountain's senior pastor, George Pearsons, about revival and his time with Oral Roberts, they got the idea to start talking about great moves of God in radio episodes. Not too long after, they added video recording to the mix, and the show grew in popularity.
"I really thought we would do 10, 12 episodes and be done with it, because really, how many revivals are there?" Gene tells me. "That was my thought, that there really wasn't that much to cover."
But when Gene got out his revival handbook—which he says all good Pentecostals own—he started seeing there were many more revivals than he ever thought.
"The more we dove in, the more we started finding out," he says. "Things that were happening—things that happened in Russia when the curtain fell and when the wall came down and all these things that happened—we started hearing stories, and it really took a life of its own. And I'm just honored to be a part of the reach the program has had."
I believe what Gene is doing is very important. The sad truth is that many Christians—and many Americans in general—don't know much about history at all. I would venture to say the average Christian, especially if younger, doesn't know about the great revivalists like Derek Prince, Leonard Ravenhill and Lester Sumrall. Gene's program offers a truthful, Christian perspective on what God has done throughout the centuries.
Part of Gene's passion for these great moves of God comes from the unique way his own family got involved in the charismatic movement back in the 1960s.
"Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, where I'm from, we were attending a denominational church, and my parents made the mistake of getting baptized in the Holy Spirit," he tells me with a laugh. "And that'll just mess you up!"
The Sunday school class Gene's parents attended taught that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was for today, but church leadership disagreed and invited them to leave—so they did. But then something incredible happened. They started hosting a Tuesday-night prayer meeting in their home with 60 to 70 people attending.
"There were people everywhere," Gene says. "They were sitting on the steps. There were people who would show up and they'd knock on the door, and we would open the door and they would say, 'Is this the place?' 'For what?' 'I don't know. God just sent me here.' 'Well, come on in.' And we would have it. And this is when the Jesus Movement is happening ... and things are growing, and it was just amazing."
Gene is right; that time was amazing. The Jesus Movement impacted me a lot. But I remember as a kid, before the Jesus Movement, that everyone would, in a way, look down on Pentecostals because they would shout and raise their hands and act in a way that just wasn't dignified in many people's eyes. God was certainly moving among Pentecostal churches. But then we would hear about how Episcopalians were receiving the baptism of the Spirit and about supernatural ministries like Kathryn Kuhlman's. God was moving outside of Pentecostals, and the results were astounding!
But are we seeing God moving today with the same intensity we saw in the past? Gene says yes and no.
"There are pockets of revival," he tells me. "I think what you're seeing now and, unfortunately, I think in the church as a whole, we've grown insensitive. ... 'Been there, done that' and a familiarity that Mark 6 talks about. The reality is that God is doing something, and we just have to watch for it and look and get in the flow."
I couldn't agree more. We need to have our spiritual eyes wide open so we can see how the Holy Spirit is moving in our world and in our own communities. I encourage you to tune in to Gene's program. You can visit revivalradiotv.com to watch some of his inspiring revival stories.
I also encourage you to listen to my podcast interview with Gene, where we not only talk about how God has moved mightily in the last century or so but also about how He is moving right now. Tune in by clicking the podcast below!
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