Even after revival week, God continues to work
FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – As College at Southwestern student Omar Garcia returned to Fort Worth from preaching a revival at the First Baptist Church of Morse, Texas, he prayed that God would continue to move in his own heart and ministry.
“I don’t want this to end. May this revival continue to flourish, and may it come into the church and to our lives,” Garcia prayed. After he returned to Fort Worth, he proclaimed the Gospel and saw God continue to move among youth at the local church where he serves as a student pastor.
“I gave an invitation—no music, no fancy lighting, awkward silence. Four students came down and received Christ,” Garcia said. “Sunday morning, we’re going to baptize eight students.”
Garcia preached at FBC, Morse, as a part of Revive This Nation, Southwestern’s annual effort to promote spiritual awakening by sending revival throughout the United States. From March 11-14, Southwestern sent out 102 preachers, who—according to the latest reports—presented the Gospel one-on-one to more than 1,000 people and handed out 779 Bibles and tracts. As a result of personal evangelism and preaching, 119 people professed faith in Christ, 30 joined local churches, and 250 made other decisions. Both students and faculty from Southwestern preached in churches from Anchorage, Alaska, to Beaumont, Texas, and from Niagara Falls, N.Y, to Kailua Kona, Hawaii.
Garcia presented a testimony about his experiences from Revive This Nation during chapel at Southwestern Seminary, March 22. Throughout the week of the revival, Garcia fervently preached Scripture and shared the Gospel but with no obvious results. Toward the end of the week, he prayed that God would allow him to lead at least one person to the Lord. Immediately after he prayed, he met a young boy whose teenage brother wanted nothing to do with God or the church.
Garcia met this teenager and learned that he might come to the revival as long as Garcia would play a one-on-one indoor basketball game with him. So Garcia went inside FBC, Morse, and asked the pastor if anyone could get him the key to a local school’s basketball court. As it turned out, the head basketball coach of the school was attending the revival and said he could have the keys to the gym.
“So I ran outside,” Garcia recounted, “and said, ‘You have got to stay. You have to stay.’”
With some hesitation, this teenager decided to attend the revival. Garcia preached once again, gave an invitation and nothing happened, once again.
“They dismissed,” Garcia said, “and I looked up, and he was right there in front of my face, and he is broken. He is uncontrollably crying, and he can’t breathe. … And I began to share the Gospel with him and 25 minutes later, he was on the altar, praying God into his life.”
After Garcia shared his testimony from the revival, Thomas White, vice president of student services and communications, awarded Garcia with the Todd Brooks Riza Memorial Award. This award was established in memory of Todd Brooks Riza, who died in 1995 two days before embarking on his first preaching assignment. Riza’s parents, J.C. and Barbara, attended chapel for this presentation.
Earlier in the week, two other students shared during chapel about their preaching experiences during Revive This Nation. Doctoral student Kyle Walker preached a revival at Northside Baptist Church in Newnan, Ga., and Master of Divinity student Clint Crawford preached at Mountain View Baptist Church in Walden, Colo.
After a long week with no results and a long day of evangelism, where one person told him that he knew he was going to hell and did not care, Walker approached the pulpit on the last night of revival both tired and discouraged. He preached from the Great Commission and “felt like it was flatter than” the other four sermons he had preached. But after the sermon and invitation, someone in the worship band took the mike spontaneously and shared his testimony.
“When he was finished,” Walker said, “the pastor simply asked everyone to be seated and said, ‘Is there anyone else that would like to give testimony?’ And what typically was an hour and 15 minute service turned into a three-and-a-half hour time of revival.”
One young man, who weeks earlier had put a gun to his head and nearly killed himself, testified that God had given him hope and a reason to live. One 68-year-old woman said that God had called her away from a leisurely life of retirement to share God’s love on the mission field.
“On and on and on, people stood forth,” Walker said, “testifying to what God had done, confessing sin, being reconciled, and God brought revival to that place.”
During chapel, March 21, Crawford shared his conviction that God continues to work in the hearts of people.
“We may never even see the full fruits and blossom over the revival,” Crawford said during chapel, March 21, after sharing about some of the lives impacted through Revive This Nation. “Praise God for that, right? Even though the revival week is over, God is still at work.”
To learn more about Revive This Nation, stayed tuned to swbts.edu/rtn.