Did you hear? They found Big Foot! At least that’s what two Georgia men, one a policeman, claimed a few years ago. They said they even had his body preserved in a freezer at one of their homes. Members of the news media jumped on the story even publishing pictures of the frozen carcass incased in ice. As the story spread and experts began to examine the pictures it became evident that the whole thing was a bad hoax. I imagine there are still those who will claim it was real and now there is a government cover up.
As a teenager and college student (a long time ago) I was involved in what was then called the Jesus Movement. It was a genuinely exciting time of spiritual revival among young people in America as thousands came to Christ. It was probably as close to a great awakening as I have ever seen in my 40+ years as a Christian. Unfortunately, though many of the youth of that era are now in places of leadership in churches, the Jesus Movement eventually waned and America continued on it slide into secularism and paganism.
Historically, there have been a number of great spiritual movements in America. Events like the Great Awakening of the early 19th century, the Billy Graham Crusades of the mid- 20th century, and the Jesus Movement are examples. People are still looking for genuine movements of God today.
Unfortunately, there are lots of false movements today that masquerade as being of God and mislead a lot of people, even Christians. For more than thirty years I have researched and spoken on cults and unusual religious groups. Many of them are easy to recognize for any discerning Christian. For example, several years ago a man walked into the North American Mission Board, where I was working then, and actually claimed he was Jesus. I doubt anyone believed him, and I imagine he was suffering from some sort of mental disorder.
However, many counterfeits do a good job of disguising their unbiblical ideas in Christian terminology and even claiming to do miracles in Jesus’ name. For instance, an evangelist in Florida claims to heal people and raise the dead. However, objective investigators have been unable to find evidence that his claims are true. Meanwhile, he is living a life of luxury.
So, how do we know a genuine movement of God? Are there any guideposts we can observe that give evidence of a true spiritual awakening? I believe a real “God Movement” is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in a specific time and place, sent by God the Father, and focused on Jesus Christ that produce specific results in society, in churches, and in God’s people. Over the course of the next several issues of this newsletter we will examine a number of clear indicators of genuine movements of God.
© 2011 Tal Davis