Friday, October 9, 2009

I AM LOOKING FOR A BIG TENT


As a young lad back home in Brownsville Florida I used to see many tents getting put up in a large field near my home over the course of time. It usually meant a revival was in town either from a local church or a traveling road show evangelist was setting up shop for a week. Being I was the kid with a curiosity about any thing I was always Johnny on the spot to see what was going on. I would ride my trusty Schwinn bike up to the event to watch what was happening. Some times they would have only an organ for music or a complete band. The music was what got my attention most of the time but that was only part of the show.



There was always the fellow who was the pastor or evangelist that gave a rousing sermon on damnation and salvation with a choir really getting into the singing. It certainly had my feet moving with the rhythm. As I sat in the back watching all that was unfolding, I witnessed some things that was alien to me at the time and was unable to comprehend at that age. I saw people jumping and waving their hands with joy and glee. Some were crying and some some were praying out loud so I thought. Some times the pastor or evangelist would call out for some to come forward to be healed. The pastor put their hands on the ones that came forward and appeared to be healed on the spot. Some passed out and were revived but all got up and jumped for joy at each healing..This was amazing for a young lad like me to take in but it captivated me to no end. As I sat there transfixed and taking in all that I saw, I had no idea what was going on but I was held captive with what was transpiring. It was never any thing I ever saw in my church I attended during those days as a child but it did move me.



At one of the tent risings for a revival, I looked for what seemed to be a pastor or evangelist and asked him what was he doing that made so many people do what they did. He looked me sternly in the eyes and said "Young man, I am winning souls to Christ and healing broken lives. Do you need to be saved?" (His statement has stayed with me all my life even when I was backsliding) I replied No I live with my mom and dad and go to church. He laughed and invited me and my parents to come to his revival so that they can be saved too. My parent did go to a few with me but they did not feel the captivation I felt at those tent revivals. I guess I had an impressionable mind back then.



Over the years I did go to some revivals as an adult but they seemed to disappear form the land scape over time. It has just been the last few months that this episode in my younger life has returned as a reminder about revivals from the past. I don't know why but the urge to go looking for a big tent has surfaced. Perhaps it is a yearning to experience again what I did as an impressionable youth when I did not fully understand what a revival really was. I know this though. It really made me feel good to attend one and see so many people with joy and happiness for the Lord.
I think that is what I have been missing in my adult life as a self professed Christian. The spontaneity of a revival where the Holy Spirit reigns and there are no regimented worship sessions. It is led by the Holy Spirit, in worship to the Lord.



I does bring up a haunting question of where did the revivals go? Why would such a spiritual filled gathering fall from the landscape in the Body of Christ? Has that been outlawed by our government now too? Do any of you ever hear of revivals any more? p

So with that I am looking for a big tent once again.


12 comments:

David said...

Make me want to shout, "GLORY!"

I have attended some of these revival meeting over the years-- they are bit more tame up her in the northeast. I didn't get saved under those circumstances, but I did experience a facet of the Kingdom that was exciting, and profound.

I suppose there are many more worship styles then there are denominations. That is good and bad. Each one of us is to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ-- and as a father, the building blocks of that relationship will be custom made to fit who He has made us.

As America gets busier and busier, there is less and less time for outings. But a relationship with Jesus takes time-- He can't be crammed into an hour on Sunday morning. That's hardly enough time to get warmed up.

It seems natural, regardless of where we are in Christ, to look back at the day when we first fell in love. Thad sad fact is that the honeymoon is over, and now we are going to have to work at it. the good news, is that His mercies and the excitement of His love, are new every morning. Glory!

photogr said...

David:

You are right about hardly enough time to get warmed up on Sunday morning.It seems like I am really starting to get into the service and it is over. That was the great thing about revivals. They usually lasted a week at a time. Some lasted even longer.

I can recall a few years back a local church started a revival in Brownsville that lasted over two or three years that I remember duirng my visits back home. Odd thing was the services appeared to last all day and night as long as people came in to worship. The logistics behind that must have been staggering.

eaglegirl said...

Photgr,
I'll have to tell you about a church in the neighborhood that has mini revivals each week ! Even without a tent.
Their service last 2-3 hours every Sunday morning.

Tsfanpc said...

Photogr, I have not heard of any tent revivials in my area for a very long time. But many of the local holiness churches here still have revivals throughout the year.

The little church that I attend, just got out of one about a month ago. So revivals do still happen. But they are few and far between.

And they are never held anymore in a tent. But a nice a/c, cushy comfortable church. Maybe if there were some more tent revivals around maybe there would be a revival of soulwinning to Christ once again. As in the days gone by.

photogr said...

Carol:

I will have to check that out. Sounds interesting. I imagine they allow the Holy Spirit to reign in that assembly.

photogr said...

Tsfan:

I can understand the move to a comfy church with A/C but the word Revival seems to be missing.

Perhaps the Holliness churches might be onto something that others are missing.

I too have been to some churches that held reivials with in the church but for some reason the tent revivals were more meaningfull back in those days to me as a child. Just wonder what would happen today if there was a renewal of the good old days revivals.

Beverly said...

Hey, Larry! The Holy Spirit is welcomed in the church I attend every Sunday, too, just like those tent meetings you're talking about. I've been where there was an imitation spirit and people were just showing off, and He had to touch my life before I understood what was going on. We've had speakers who came out of the Brownsville Revival. Before I ever went there, a revival went on for over a year. There are newspaper stories about it. It was like people came to the revival to get refueled to take it back to their own churches and get them on fire for God again. It was and is a wonderful thing!

photogr said...

Bev:

I do remember the Brownsville Church very well. It was a great revival winning many souls to Christ as I recall. Yep we need more good old time revivals. As a matter of fact that church now is one of the largest churches in Pensacola. Wonder if they will ever have another one again.

Beverly said...

Larry, here's the link to our page on the "big revival."

http://ncwc.org/index.php?module=pagemaster&PAGE_user_op=view_page&PAGE_id=14&MMN_position=42:42

photogr said...

Bev:

All I can say is wow! I must get down there before it ends. Keep me posted.

Thanks.

Forensic2 blog said...

The cost of living for those revival to go from one place to another on what was taken in didn't cover the cost like they could have done many years ago, so most had to give it up and stick to pastering in a church.

It brings us back to we the people wanted the right to buy what we wanted and at what price so flood the emports and slowly the samll shops and then bigger shops/companys went bust. Farmers gone , rose grower gone,car manufacture, etc. We once supported are own counrty, now we need support from other counrtys and thats a bad thing.

Cheers to the word of God.

photogr said...

Forensic:

That may well be the fact. However, There is not any excuse to reduce having revivals either in a tent or a church. It is Gods will to spread the Word of salvation and redemption for the un believers.

If the churches fail in this then it is our responsibility as Christians to follow His will.