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Why Past Revivals Fizzled Out? (A Word of Encouragement for Asbury)

Updated: Mar 24, 2023



Welcoming the American Revival Series (Part One) –


I very well might be a prophet!? Just days before this miraculous event started at the Asbury University Campus I wrote an essay called, “10 Reasons Revival wont Start in the Churches”. The article was a judgment on religion, well better yet false-religion and an explanation of why we haven’t seen a real nationwide revival since the 60’s and early 70’s. I gave 10 Biblical Reasons why the Spirit of God is grieved, constantly, generation after generation grieved in our version of Christianity in 21st Century America. I literally wrote the article days before God’s outpouring in Kentucky began, Wow!


Since God has shown up in such a wonderful and miraculous way I would like to give encouragement but also a warning as we chose to either bless or curse what God is suddenly doing in our nation (and I have heard that this is already starting to spread to a few other college campus’! Praise God! “Come and Save Jesus! Save us Lord! Save our Nation!”):


God wants to pour out His Spirit on all flesh. It’s in his heart to do so, He told His prophet so, Joel 2 “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh”. And God is going to fulfill exactly what He said, to the very “jot” and “tittle” (for those Bible scholars reading this article), He is going to fulfill it exactly as He said: in the way and season He promised. And this is only the beginning! Amen?


Now let me tell a few stories of what happened in these past revivals, one could say my opinion of why they ended and the flames smothered… but this very well could prove to be much more than opinion, I might be prophesying here!?


The Azusa Street Revival started humbly in someone’s home. Few realize this about Azusa Street, it was a small group of basically rejects who were almost entirely African-American, the man of God William Seymore had just been refused from pastoring a local denomination based on account that they did not realize he was black when they hired him from afar. After he was refused the congregation, while he waited upon the Lord, fasting and praying in Los Angeles, the Lord put it on a new friend of his’ heart to open their home and start a simple prayer meeting: asking for the Holy Spirit to Come, just like in the book of Acts. I would greatly encourage you all to study it (here is a documentary an old acquaintance of mine did some years back) it’s so incredible all that God did in the early 1900’s in Los Angeles (and they say, “Can anything good come out of Los Angeles!?”).


What I want us all to see, clearly, here is that religion totally and completely rejected Seymore and then his miraculous prayer meeting, even after all the miracles started and the Revival began. It would be sometime before the Christianity at large would get involved with Seymore and his “band of rabble” – years into the revival many religious folk still refused him altogether, no matter the power of the signs and wonders God was doing on Azusa Street.


But the story of the Jesus People Revival in the 60’s and early 70’s to me is even more applicable. These humble, desperate, hippies started to find Jesus in Haight-Ashbury near Berkely, CA (another revival that basically started among the college and college-aged young people. Ironically – Asbury is awfully similar with Ashbury.). While what is commonly reported in history as the drug and illicit sex culture of the hippies, the truth that most secular historians fail to mention (perhaps for bias) is that these hippies were coming to Jesus by the thousands and tens of thousands, they were getting off of drugs and ceasing in their sexual perversion and the revival quickly spread the nation. Jesus had hijacked the hippie-movement and turned it into one of our nation’s most incredible spiritual revivals of all time!


Perhaps the most famous of all the early hippie preachers was a man who began preaching in his twenties named Lonnie Frisbee. Lonny had a tremendous passion to convince his generation that God loved them, that the love they were looking for would not be found in sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll but in Jesus. Lonnie would baptize hundreds and thousands at a time at beaches throughout California. What started in California quickly spread like wild fire throughout nation but then the whole world: Hawaii, England, all throughout Europe, Indonesia, China, parts of Africa, etc. fires of revival were burning all over the world! The hippies started going to the nations and telling “The Whole World about Jesus and what He has done for us!!” Hawaii had a massive revival that started about the same time as what exploded in Haight-Ashbury. I became friends with the old man, Ken Smith who was often thought of as the preacher and lead minister of that “Big Island” Revival. We will truly not see all that God did during those years until we enter eternity.


But religion crept in. And what was Spirit-led, organic, pure and undefiled quickly became stolen by ambitious clergy who decided that God would need their help controlling and managing His own Holy Ghost movement. Lonnie, like many others of that generation, were hurting youth and in need of Godly father-figures. Divorce had rocketed across America throughout that generation and broken families produce broken and hurting children, like Lonnie. They were turning to God out of a great desperation, Vietnam war was waging and there were countless social-political problems throughout America: Kennedy, MLK Jr., Civil Rights and thousands of our youth dying in an unpopular and controversial war that seemed to linger for years. These youth were desperate for God and God heard that generation; and answered their prayer! But religion saw its chance to ride the coat-tails of God’s Spirit, forming several new denominations and adding to their numbers greatly throughout those years. What could have happened if men had not tried to control and dominate what God was doing..?


The story of Lonny Frisbee gives us clear insight into what actually happened to offend these precious innocent ones and wreck the powerful move of God throughout our nation and the world. Lonny was manipulated by some very convincing and Alpha-male type religious leaders into the belief that he needed to be not only mentored but ruled. To this day many religious leaders still adhere to this doctrine that they used to deceive Lonny which teaches that every man and woman must have rule over them – as if to say that men and women are not safe to be ruled by God and His Spirit but must have a someone of flesh and blood ruling over them throughout their lives. (Yes. This remains a prevalent doctrine throughout Christendom to this day.) At first this “Shepherding” doctrine sounds like something from God, as if to say, “God has appointed men and women to lord over your lives and even be another mediator between man and heaven”. This doctrine, among other things, seems to have convinced young Lonnie that he was not ready or safe to be the movement leader that he was and Lonny was driven away from California and went to Bible College in Florida. My personal opinion is that Lonnie’s Bible College years sowed seeds of doubt, confusion and offense into him, as he saw with innocent eyes the impurities of the religion called Christianity. I have met many who knew Lonny well and I was able to spend time with several of his close friends. After Bible College Lonny was never the same, free and loving, unincumbered and full of faith man he was on the beaches of California, again. Still breaks my heart to consider the life and ministry of this precious man of God. There is much controversy surrounding Lonny Frisbee but after having looked into these things in depth I’m reporting to you much of what I have concluded.


I will let you all study up more on Lonnie, books have been written about him, there are a few documentaries out there if you are interested to hear more about this amazing man, “The Hippie Preacher”. Many will tell you of Lonnie’s sins and talk of his tragic death but I choose to honor the broken-hearted and innocent man of God, who loved Jesus until the very end.


What if a real man of God had met Lonnie instead of these religious titans - a man who had the heart of a father, the heart of Our Father and was interested in loving Lonny rather than glomming on to his charisma and the power of God at work in his life? Riding the Lonny-wave to achieve their own ambitions…. Makes me grieve for Lonny and those precious young people around him even as I write about them now. But this is a new generation. I believe that this Last Days American, and soon World-Wide Revival will be entirely different from anything we have seen and God has already promised us it would be so. In many ways the revivals of the past 120 years have all been leading up to this moment, what Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24, “And then this gospel of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in all the nations and then the end will come.” Some of the gospel has been preached to the nations but the religions of men have usually been attached to those messages. Now, in these last days, this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in its perfection and then Jesus will return to rule the earth! Just as He promised, just as the angels promised, “Men of Galilee, why do you stare up into the sky? Do you not know this same Jesus, who you just saw taken up into heaven, shall return to you just as you have seen Him depart!?” (My paraphrase of Acts 1:11)


Many of you will really enjoy reading the book I wrote: it’s 22 Chapters of my testimonies of my walk with God literally around the world. I titled it, “Jesus did not Start a Religion” for many reasons but while I was writing it God told me, “You are writing this book for the young generation and religion will not steal their joy!” In a way it’s the story of Jesus’ Revival alive in my life for the past 30-something years. The Revivalists will enjoy it.


 

In closing, God wants to be our God. He is our Father and He wants to father us. Remember the first commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” When we look to men as rulers and leaders in our lives often we unwittingly make them as our gods, doing what they say, listening to their words as if they are God. Our Father will bring people across our paths to teach us, it’s good to be mentored and loved, fathered and discipled, obviously. God can and does speak thru men. But some will make a relationship like this, what should be loving, giving, beautiful and free, ugly. Some among us will corrupt what God has intended as good gifts, men serving and loving the body of Christ, building instead the same kind of religion that crucified the Messiah, our Jesus, the only Begotten of the Father. Remember the parable of the tares – the enemy sowed tares (weeds) in the field together with the good wheat. Here are a few scriptures very very vital to this conversation that they won’t teach you in most churches, bible colleges, etc. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13) “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” (I John 2:27)


And another fundamental scripture to walking with God, “Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28)


Our God is more than enough! His Spirit is Alive and must never be replaced by any man in our lives. God will speak through men at times, He will speak thru women, He will speak through old and young, rich and poor, educated and simple-minded, He will speak thru a donkey, He will write on walls, He will do all kinds of marvels to speak to us. God is our Father. He loves us. He is alive and wants to make Himself known to every-single one of us, uniquely, who would call upon His Holy Name. If those proclaiming to be the ministers or God aren’t giving you plenty of room to discover your God and walk with Him, if they are dominant and demand to be in rule over you – I suggest you literally run away from them, let God be their judge.


Many of us have been hoping and praying for a Great Revival to come to our nation and blanket the world with the presence of God and the knowledge of His salvation. I am writing to inspire the faith of many but also as a warning, a warning to the religious leaders and a warning to the young disciples: “It’s better you tie a millstone around your neck and cast yourself into the sea than that you would offend one of these precious innocent ones who are finding their God…” (my paraphrase of Matthew 18). Go, you precious young men and women, you are free! God will not put you back into bondage. You are free to rise and fall, you are safe to make a mistake or two: hope, play, fail, achieve, love… you are free to boldly go into the presence of your God, to come before His throne, to sit at His feet and learn of His ways. He will never demand of you. He will never manipulate, dominate or coerce you. Our God is the ultimate gentleman. He won’t jerk you around on the dancefloor and force a kiss upon your lips. He is perfect in all of His ways. None of us ministers will ever come close to competing with your own wonderful, mysterious and alive relationship with Dad. You are the children of the Living God. Now you will live your life with your Father and unto eternity!


I will continue to pray that He keeps you separated from all these things that will so easily cause you to stumble and to drive an offense into your soul. This false religion has been at war with Messiah since the very beginning. That’s a very deep thought. The very first lie of our adversary could be described as the devil starting his own religion, “You can be like god… if only you follow me…” In essence that is what Satan did and has been doing since the very start, deceiving us away from Dad… But no more. He infiltrated religion. Our enemy lurks within our governments, our business enterprise, our schools, our hospitals, our churches and even our own homes… But now we are coming back to our Father, our Dad, who is the Mightiest Warrior in all the land! The General of the largest and most powerful army ever! The Lord of Hosts. The God of Angel Armies. We are returning to the King of kings, and Lord of lords. He is going to fix everything. Remain in Him.


Pray without ceasing.

Worship Him. Let your hearts yearn for a Word from Him… Come to walk with your God.


You can not imagine the life He is about to give you, uniquely, for - “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard nor has it entered into the hearts of man

What God has prepared for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose”

Truly, The Best is Yet to Come!!


I love you brothers and sisters…

With all my heart…


(But Dad loves you more!!)


- Robert Anthony



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