“The aura of God’s
stayed with my
father. He never
forgot the power
of those days.”
This month I have been remembering my father who passed away twenty years ago on March 9, 1997. God used him when I was younger to ignite a desire for revival in my own heart. This occurred as Dad talked about revival. He saw revival several times over his years of ministry. But most pronounced was the revival in the church he pastored in Miami, Florida. He spoke of it often, and when he did, with fondness of memory. These reminiscing times ignited something in my heart.
Dad told of a meeting in the late 1940s with a young Ed Nelson, who was then in evangelism. Nelson had seen a meeting in Indiana break open and last for six weeks. So Dad invited him to Miami. The meeting went for three weeks. It was more than a good meeting. It was a meeting with God. Saints experienced revival and sinners came to Christ. As a result of the moving of the Spirit, the church grew remarkably and Dad said he was baptizing new believers for months. As a result of this season the church basically doubled from about 150 to 300 people. According to my uncle the church continued in a revival atmosphere until the next surge of revival in the early 1950s. This time it was a two week meeting with John R. Rice. Again the Spirit of revival brought in another glorious harvest, and Dad said he was again baptizing people for months. As a result of this season the church doubled from about 400 plus to 800 plus.
The aura of God’s reviving presence stayed with my father. He never forgot the power and preciousness of those days. Although he saw other revivals over the years, there was something special about that first impression. Once when I was serving as my father’s assistant, he took me with him to a meeting of preachers who were discussing the issues of the day. The discussions were animated and at times stiff with tension and disagreement. But they ended the time with a prayer meeting. I remember my father knelt to pray next to Monroe Parker. The prayer meeting had been fairly perfunctory, but changed when my father lifted his voice in earnest heart-cry, “O Lord, please send another revival—like the one You sent in the days of my youth….” He could go no further as the tears flowed freely. Monroe Parker, who knew revival in his youth as well, leaned over and said, “God bless you, brother!”
Moments like that sent sparks of revival desire right into my heart. I wish I could talk to Dad now, since there are many questions I would love to ask him now that I didn’t have sense to ask then. But I’m grateful for the impact of these blessed memories. Before my father died, he spoke several times of a coming realignment of things. Perhaps a great revival will be a part of this realignment.
John Van Gelderen
About This Blog
Hello, I’m John Van Gelderen. I am an evangelist and the president of Revival Focus Ministries, an organization for the cause of revival in hearts, homes, churches, and beyond, and for evangelizing. This blog is focused on experiencing Jesus. I believe in order to really live, you must access and experience the very life of Jesus Christ.