The Coming Great Awakening in Appalachia
by Michael Edds
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For some time the Lord has been saying to me that the Holy Spirit is "hovering and brooding" over the Appalachian Mountains. As you recall from Genesis, the Spirit of the Lord hovered and brooded over the face of the deep. This was just before He said, "Let there be light." He spoke light and life into existence. As a mother hen broods over her eggs, she imparts something of herself to them....her body heat. This causes the eggs to grow and develop the embryo within. Finally, the little chicken is born.
One night, I was reading the book, Azusa Street by Frank Bartleman. He was one of the great intercessors before and a leader during the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in California in the early 1900s which led to a world wide revival. On November 16, 1905, he wrote, "The Spirit is brooding over our land again as at Creation's dawn, and the decree of God goes forth: "Let there be light!" (Genesis 1:3.) Brother, sister, if we all believed God, can you realize what would happen? Many of us here are living for nothing else. A volume of believing prayer is ascending to the throne night and day. Los Angeles, Southern California, and the whole continent shall surely find itself before long in the throes of a mighty revival, by the Spirit and power of God."
As you know, a mighty world wide revival followed this prophetic word. The same Holy Spirit is brooding and hovering once again. It is not strange that He is hovering and brooding over the Appalachian Mountains. Divine impartation is causing the embryo of the next Great Awakening to grow and develop here.
This vast mountainous region, which seems to be filled with so much spiritual darkness and deadness today, was once the womb of one of the greatest moves of God. The Second Great Awakening that swept much of the South was birthed at a Presbyterian Communion service at Cane Ridge, Kentucky. Rev. Barton Stone had no idea what God was about to do during that service. 10% of the population of Kentucky plus the Governor came! This revival swept the Appalachians and the South. Thieves, prostitutes and drunkards became mighty men and women of God. Denominational barriers vanished. Slaves were set free. Divine Light filled the spiritually darkened valleys, hollows and hills. What we call the "Bible Belt" of the South today is nothing more that the residue of that incredible move of God. It changed our very culture.
Holy feet have trod our soil. The great Methodist Circuit rider, Francis Asbury traveled 8,000 miles a year holding immense camp meetings and services through out the Appalachian wilderness. The great evangelist Amanda Berry Smith, former slave and one of the first African American female evangelist, preached and sang in tremendous camp meetings in this region.
Many of our towns and cities were established by born - again believers. The city of Harrisonburg, Virginia was founded by the Harrison family which was led to the Lord by Francis Asbury. Gospel Hill in Staunton, Virginia was the location of a great prayer meeting that met in a blacksmith's barn. Boehm's Chapel is Lancaster, Pennsylvania was the focal point of great revivals that swept all the way to Baltimore, Maryland.
Numerous historic camp meetings sites dot the landscape of Greenbrier and Monroe Counties in West Virginia. A visit to the US Post Office in Lewisburg, West Virginia will reveal a painting on the wall. It depicts a great camp meeting from the 1800's that took place on a hill near this picturesque village. Three thousand Appalachian frontiersmen camped here for days while the Glory of God rained down. The educational system of that town was started 200 years ago by a man of God, John McElhenney, who often preached in these camp meetings among the groves.
There are innumerable historic spiritual wells all around us in these mountains. The foundation stones laid for civilization throughout Appalachia were laid by men and women of God. God is not finished with the Appalachian people. Divine destiny calls them again today.
The old wells have been stopped up for many years. The spiritual Canaanites have controlled the holy wells from which once flowed the power and presence of the living God. God is raising up a generation of "Isaacs" to take back and reopen these old wells of revival.
A writer once wrote, "The apostasy of the early church came as a result of a greater desire to see the spread of its power and rule than to see new natures given to it individual members. The moment we covet a large following and rejoice in the crowd that is attracted by our presentation of what we consider truth, and have not a greater desire to see the natures of individuals changed according to the divine plan, we start to travel the same road of apostasy..."
The great visitations of God in the Appalachia's historic past caused denominational lines to vanish. Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and others joined hands as brothers and sisters in Christ. Their passion was to be filled with the presence of Christ and to see the lost saved. The color and gender lines also vanished.
As Frank Bartleman once wrote, "God wants a revival company, a channel through whom He can evangelize the world, blessing all people and believers. He could naturally not accomplish this with a sectarian party. That spirit has been the curse and death of every revival body sooner or later....to formulate a separate body is but to advertise our failure as a people of God. It proves to the world that we cannot get along together, rather than causing them to believe in our salvation..."That they may all be one; ...that the world may believe" (John 17:21)
God does not need another denomination or organization to be established. The church is an organism, not a human organization. That was one of the major reasons that the historic wells of revival stopped flowing. Man took control out of the hands of God. WE DO NOT NEED MORE PROGRAMS, MORE COMMITTEES, MORE DENOMINATIONS, MORE STRATEGIES OR PLANS. WE MUST RETURN TO THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED TO THE SAINTS! We must return to the source of the "old wells"......that is God.
The Holy Spirit is hovering and brooding once again. HE hovers over Appalachia. Appalachians have been labeled as being ignorant, out of the main stream, archaic and out of touch with the rest of society. We have been labeled as bare foot, uneducated, inbred hillbillies. However, the great moves of God usually come in the most humble and forgotten of places. The Great Revival in Wales was among the coal miners, Christ was not born in a palace but in a stable, Cane Ridge in Kentucky was a frontier wilderness, Azusa Street Mission was in the poor part of town. In the middle of Wittenberg stood an ancient wooden chapel, thirty feet long and twenty feet wide, whose walls, propped up on all sides, were falling into ruin. An old pulpit made of planks, and three feet high, received the preacher. It was in this humble place that the preaching of the Reformation began. It was God's Will that That which was to restore His glory should have the humblest of surroundings.
God's call to the "Isaacs" of Appalachia today is to redig the old wells.....the wells of salvation, holiness and righteousness. God is calling His people to repent of their wicked ways and turn to Him. He is calling the intercessors to pray and intercede as never before. He is calling us to lay aside our denominational differences, our plans and programs. He is calling us to Himself!
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