Hey Calvary Fremont –
In the 1960s, Orange County in Southern California had the largest number of 18–25-year-olds of anywhere in the nation. This was the time of the hippies, LSD, rock ‘n roll, and the heady days of the sexual revolution. Timothy Leary exhorted us to turn on, tune in, and drop out. Mary Eberstadt has argued that the invention most impacting the social life of America was the Pill – invented in 1950. It separated sexual activity from procreation – and many took full advantage of it. The Pill protected women from pregnancy, but it didn’t protect against venereal disease and family breakdown. Drugs, sex, and rock ‘n roll was the boast of a whole generation. Drugs, sex, and rock ‘n roll was swallowing a whole generation. And then Jesus came along! The Jesus Movement of the late 60s and into the 80s swept millions into the Kingdom of God and revitalized the Church.
It could probably be demonstrated that collectively, the greatest number of 18-25 year olds are to be found on the campuses of our universities. I receive in my inbox on a weekly basis reports and statistics indicating that when church kids go off to university, the majority of them lose their Christian faith. University is where faith dies and Woke comes alive. The University is where speech is censored, and hormones are set free. The University is where the subjective triumphs over the objective, and personal preference triumphs over truth. The University is where isms and ideologies are swallowing a whole generation. And then Jesus came along!
On February 8, 2023, the 10:00 AM chapel service at Asbury University in Kentucky has continued non-stop even until now. Some call it a revival. Some call it renewal. All are grateful that Jesus has shown up in the power and holiness of the Spirit. Young people are repenting of sin and surrendering their lives to Jesus. Word spread of this visitation of Jesus and thousands have driven and flown in and have been touched by Jesus. Hundreds wait in line for an opportunity to enter the meeting hall where Jesus is moving so sweetly and wonderfully. And what’s more, there are reports of this kind of visitation breaking out on other university campuses!
Wikipedia reports: The revival is additionally significant because of its spread on social media, particularly among Generation Z (born 1997-2012). Gen Z is the most irreligious generation in US history. On February 15, hashtag “asburyrevival” had over 24 million views on TikTok. By February 18, views blossomed to 63 million.
And according to one of the attendees, leading the charge in the sanctuary and on social media is Gen Z. “They’re the ones that started it, they’re the ones that sustained it, and they’re the ones that have been on the platform the whole time,” he said. This reminds me of something that happened in the gospel of Luke –
“Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness”. Luke 3:1-2
Who has the word of God? Not Caesars or Governors, not tetrarchs or High Priests. None of the big-wigs have the word of God. God passed all of them over and gave His word to an eccentric, unknown man in the Judean wilderness. If someone were to ask you where the next powerful visitation of Jesus would take place, you would probably point to some megachurch with a national, if not a global reputation. Wherever you pointed to, it would not have been to a University somewhere in Kentucky. And whoever you considered competent to be at the helm of such a fresh outpouring, it wouldn’t be untrained Gen Z university students. But God’s ways are not our ways nor His thoughts our thoughts.
Whatever God is doing and for however long it lasts, there will be thousands who have been profoundly changed by Jesus Christ. Even as Jesus walked into the utter darkness and despair of Orange County in the 1960s to redeem a generation lost to chemicals, so Jesus is walking into the utter darkness and despair of a generation lost to ideologies. Jesus is reclaiming the most irreligious of American generations. No, Asbury University in Kentucky is not UC Berkeley in California, but we can certainly pray that what has begun in Kentucky make its way to California and touch Gen Z in all of our Universities.
When Jesus made His home in Capernaum, it fulfilled the word of the Lord through Isaiah –
THE LAND OF ZEBULUN AND THE LAND OF NAPHTALI,
BY THE WAY OF THE SEA, BEYOND THE JORDAN, GALILEE OF THE GENTILES—
THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT,
AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH,
UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED. Matthew 4:15-16
May all who sit in darkness and in the land of the shadow of death see a great light!
Be blessed and stay healthy and follow Jesus – Pastor Tim