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Tent Revival and Such

July 9, 2008

I only have one full day left on the road with Eddie James Ministries. By Thursday evening, I should be back in Kansas City.

… I paused in my writing just then to take a deep breath and let out a long sigh.

OK, now I’m yawning.

Back to the point.

I’m really excited to be coming home. I miss my friends. I miss Richard. I miss the prayer room… my worship team… my bed… my towels… more than three remaining clothing options that are clean… things that make your feet stop hurting.

At the same time, however, I have really come to enjoy myself here. Now, by here, I mean “wherever Eddie’s team happens to be.” I kept catching myself referring to it in that way tonight. And I’ve decided that it is okay to do so.

I might as well be defining here relative to a body of people. Using it to refer to a geographic location isn’t necessarily any more stable. We don’t typically refer to a precise location in space when we say here. The planet is constantly rotating and orbiting the sun. Here is always moving.

So… here is wherever Eddie’s team happens to be at the moment.

I’m beginning to realize that, once I have left, I am actually going to miss being here.

Eddie James Ministries is comprised of a fantastic group of young people. They love the Lord. They are people of prayer. They dance their hearts out whether they are being watched or not. (OK, I’ll be honest… if I’m around, they’re probably being watched. I love watching the dancers when they aren’t on stage… when they’re back in a dark or hidden corner of the room, loving God and worshipping him through dance. These guys are for real… and it fills my heart with joy.) They’re genuine. They’re grateful. They’re funny. And they make sacrifices daily for the sake of those they serve.

It’s a little sad, to be missing home the entire time we are here, and to know that we will be missing here as soon as we go home. And I’m not alone: I said something to Alicia about it and she said she’s “bitter about having to love something that moves around.” I think she captures well my present frustration.

Our most recent geographic location is Shelbyville, Tennessee. We’re at a tent revival. No joke. There’s a big yellow and white tent, a sound system, a little stage, and a bunch of chairs. The staff members’ badges say revival on them. (I won’t get into the use of the term revival and how accurate that label may or not be in the majority of the instances where it is used. I will just leave it at: “We have a tent and it’s a revival.”)

Fortunately, we have only had meetings in the evening. No scorching Tennessee afternoons in the summer sun.

You only need a few things to survive such a tent revival:
Sleeveless shirts (… and something other than jeans might have been nice)
Bug spray
The ability to come to terms with the fact that you are going to sweat and be surrounded by others who are equally (or a great deal more) sweaty
Water
More water
Vision for what on earth it is that brought you out there in the first place
An air-conditioned hotel room to return to at the end of the night
Some sort of fanning device (whether that be an actual fan, a piece of humidity-drenched paper, or whatever… as long as it will move air around your face)
A good shower before bed

Each night in TN, we’ve had dinner with the team. It’s not because the food is all that great. (Not that the food is bad. I’ve just never been a huge fan of fried chicken.) It’s because we enjoy the team, and spending time getting to know them really helps us do what we do.

I’m not coming back here until the middle of August. And that should be my last time to come. I almost feel like I’m leaving Narnia and Aslan is telling me that I won’t be coming back… while he looks at my companion and tells her that she will again return.

ALMOST. I really love my life in Kansas City. And I am looking forward to being back in the prayer room, night after night, for several consecutive nights. (I won’t actually return to that kind of blissful IHOP existence until September. But… September isn’t too terribly far away.)

So, I will be grateful when it ends. I will be sad, but grateful. My life will be much less chaotic. And I’ll be with the people I love. Not the people I have come to love in the last couple of weeks… but the people I have loved for years… the people who I live in community with and pursue the Lord with every day.

One more full day and a day of travel. The end is in sight.

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10 comments

  1. This is a lovely post, at least to me. I like what Alicia said and it comes close to expressing my frustration with life, with God as concerns life, etc. The “moving around” bit, yeah, but maybe more, the going away. I’m in one of the those phases . . . . again . . . . still.

    And the hereness–that is a very big deal. One might say that Here is a good bit of what God is about even while it sometimes feels that He’s constantly undermining our sense of here–I suppose in an effort to show us where it really is. Which reminds me of a wonderful song from the Talking Heads that I have long liked a lot (and that probably goes in my lyrical canon) and that your mother liked at least a little (maybe a lot but probably less than I, especially since for me it’s a lot about her). It’s not quite the same without David Byrne’s quirky voice and the sweet music underneath it, but it starts like this:

    Home is where I want to be
    Pick me up and turn me round
    I feel numb – born with a weak heart . . .

    and it goes on to say

    Guess that this must be the place
    I can’t tell one from another
    Did I find you, or you find me?

    It really is an expression of how I felt. Here. Home.

    (Naive Melody)


  2. I am part of the “Tent Revival” I my self have been revived. Every drop of sweat, long days, blistered hand is worth it. Bending to lead a 8 year old girl to the Lord is the reward. (I won’t get into the use of the term revival and how accurate that label may or not be in the majority of the instances where it is used. I will just leave it at: “We have a tent and it’s a revival.”)
    To have the mayor of any city lay hands on and bless a meeting in our nation is a extraordinary event. To have a state senator come and lay hands on and bless a “Tent Revival” is even more out of the normal. Yes the term revival has and will be used again. Revival is relitave to each person. The question becomes what are you going to do with what you have been given. Is it worth some sweat, greasey food, and time away from home to change the life of a 8 year old girl. Her next request was for me to pray for her mom and dad. All I can say is pass the Chicken!


  3. Yes, I have to agree that the presence of the mayor really made me step back and say wow. Usually, the kind of thing that was happening (unashamed worship of God in the middle of the city) raises suspicion in any politician. It is remarkable to have found such support from him. And I think that is a good indication that the Lord is up to something.

    I was also very encouraged by the way that so much church leadership in the city came together in one accord. That, too, is rare. I don’t know the details of the churches involved or anything like that. In fact, I didn’t know that we were even going to a tent revival until about 10 minutes before we got there.

    I am sorry if my parenthetical statement concerning revival was offensive to you. I have heard so many preachers talk about our flippant use of the word revival… and it really struck me. I am thus reluctant to apply the label to any church gathering. Yes, many people may have been revived by the gathering, but I believe that there is so much more that the Spirit of Life is wanting to bring to Shelbyville than what you have already seen. Some of the things that were happenning in that gathering were amazing… and the simple fact of such a gathering was amazing. But I would still hesitate to call it a revival. (If we mean, by revival, a big church gathering–sure. If we mean, instead, something of the nature of Azusa street or what Finney or Edwards saw… then I don’t think you can call something revival before it starts.) I would consider it, perhaps, the predecessor to revival. A pre-revival gathering. The unity and prayer of the body of Christ that came into partnership with the heart of God to usher in revival. But that wasn’t revival… not yet.

    To quote Leonard Ravenhill: “We live in a generation which has never known revival–God’s way.”

    Ravenhill had A LOT to say about revival and wrote several books on the matter: Why Revival Tarries, Revival Praying, and Revival God’s Way among them. If you have any desire to understand where I am coming from, I recommend checking out one of his books.

    Here are a few more words from “Revival God’s Way”…

    “Our current use of the word revival is a misuse. We use it to announve the yearly ‘revival meeting’…”

    “Revival to the European believers is correctly thought of as an awakening, such as the nation-transforming visitation from God through George Whitefield and then the Wesleys in England. Or the earth-shaking move of the Spirit in New England through Jonathan Edwards, later joined by Whitefield. Any true revival can be proven by the fact that it changed the moral climate of an area or a nation.”


  4. Also, I said that the food wasn’t bad. And I genuinely meant that. I had some fantastic potato and pasta things and deserts at those dinners. The food was simply not a motivating factor in eating dinner with the team. And I really don’t like fried chicken… I know lots of people love it. I’m just not one of them. Which is why I tended to mostly stay away from the chicken itself. I really hope that you did not take that as a jab at the offering that was made to Eddie’s team. That they had meals prepared for them every night was a tremendous blessing.


  5. Ah yes, tent revivals… the one thing about being in the boondocks that I might ever consider missing. Not because I find them largely theologically correct, but because it is simply nostalgic. Somtin’ you city folks will ne’er quite get… amazin’ food and ch-ach in a tent… dat’s a right hoedown right ‘dere!


  6. it’s nice to hear from you while you’re out in the midst of something just a week or so ago you were kind of mixey about… i am happy that things are happening in your heart. i am happy that you are a part of something so blessed and necessary in the body of Christ (EJM). i am also happy that you are taking moments to step back and think about what you’re doing and how it is affecting people and places and whole ministries, no matter where it is you serve.
    honestly, i miss having you around. with the same honesty, i am thankful to God that he’s doing as he pleases with you in this season. despite the lack of sleep, the ever-changing schedule, the uncertainty of the future, and the physical awkwardness of your current “i kind of don’t exactly fit anywhere” state between watches and geographical locations and jobs, you still seek him who longs to be known by you through any chance opportunity provided. you aren’t just a merch girl or a bookstore employee or an intercessory missionary or a girl in desperate need of something solid in her life other than people–you are a bearer of the good news and the Holy Spirit, you are a daughter of the king, and you are releasing the knowledge of Christ (as well as the freedom that follows in his wake) to generations of people who will see him come with their own eyes to redeem his inheritance to himself.
    you matter.
    and i like you.
    i know you’re back in town now and i miss your face. call me when you want to kick it; i have beaucoups of time (relatively) beginning on wednesday. grace, peace, and REST to you, friend.


  7. thanks for clearing some of that up.


  8. “Amen” to what Kacie said. Thank you, Kacie. 🙂


  9. Christine,
    I am the Pastor that orchestrated this “pre-revival” meeting. I read what your response to the term “Revival” and you couldn’t be more correct. I also, thank you for EVERYTHING you said. You are truely a beautiful person and, you really conveyed your point to me impeccably.
    I will explain the use of the term “Revival” for this event in two statements and then I will allow everyone to respond if they want.

    1. I used the term as a prophetic statement. I believe this Gathering is a precursor to an AMAZING revival and the Greatest Awakening in history.

    2. I wanted religious people to come and get sprayed by the Holy Spirit. Most have NEVER felt Him. So, I knew we would get some “REligious” folks to come out un-aware they were gonna get WRECKED!! HA!! HA!!

    So there you go…..you are DEAD ON in your evaluation of the term AND the event that took place! Rock-ON GURL!!

    Please continue to pray for Shelbyville that the essential pieces to the puzzle continue to fall into place for a MAJOR outbreak of the Holy Spirit.

    InChrist,
    Pastor Randy


  10. hello! your explaination of Revivial was great! I am agreeing with Pastor Randy (my Pastor), Kudos to you.
    Please continue to lift up the people in this area and a flow of the Holy Spirit in the churches. something amazing was started, thanks for being a part of it.



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