A ‘surprising work of God’ in Asbury chapel

USA: A ‘surprising work of God’ in Asbury chapel

Joel News International Edition # 1291, February 16, 2023
and a further report by Baptist pastor Bill Elliff

See also: Fresh Outpouring at Asbury University

Share good news  –  Share this and any page freely. Over 100,000 views of these blogs annually. Share this link on your media, eg Facebook, Instagram, Emails

A ‘surprising work of God’ in Asbury chapel

Fresh Outpouring at Asbury University

A student witness to the extraordinary revival at Asbury University

Renewal Journal – a chronicle of renewal and revival: www.renewaljournal.com

Permission: you can freely reproduce and share these Renewal Journal resources and books, including in print, eg., uploading to your Amazon Kindle, etc. (just include the source)

A service at a college chapel in Kentucky has ballooned into a nonstop prayer and worship session that some are calling a ‘revival’. People are traveling thousands of miles to take part in it after seeing viral videos on social media.

Asbury Theological Seminary professor Tom McCall writes about what happened on Wednesday, February 8, and continues:

Most Wednesday mornings at Asbury University are like any other. A few minutes before 10, students begin to gather in Hughes Auditorium for chapel. Students are required to attend a certain number of chapels each semester, so they tend to show up as a matter of routine.

But this past Wednesday was different. After the benediction, the gospel choir began to sing a final chorus – and then something began to happen that defies easy description. Students did not leave. They were struck by what seemed to be a quiet but powerful sense of transcendence, and they did not want to go. They stayed and continued to worship. They are still there.

I teach theology across the street at Asbury Theological Seminary, and when I heard of what was happening, I immediately decided to go to the chapel to see for myself. When I arrived, I saw hundreds of students singing quietly. They were praising and praying earnestly for themselves and their neighbors and our world – expressing repentance and contrition for sin and interceding for healing, wholeness, peace, and justice.

‘Some were praying, others were lying prostrate’

Some were reading and reciting Scripture. Others were standing with arms raised. Several were clustered in small groups praying together. A few were kneeling at the altar rail in the front of the auditorium. Some were lying prostrate, while others were talking to one another, their faces bright with joy.

They were still worshiping when I left in the late afternoon and when I came back in the evening. They were still worshiping when I arrived early Thursday morning – and by midmorning hundreds were filling the auditorium again. I have seen multiple students running toward the chapel each day. By Thursday evening, there was standing room only. Students had begun to arrive from other universities.

The worship continued throughout the day on Friday and indeed all through the night. On Saturday morning, I had a hard time finding a seat; by evening the building was packed beyond capacity. Every night, some students and others have stayed in the chapel to pray through the night. And the momentum shows no signs of slowing down.

‘Asbury has an extensive history with revivals’

My colleague Steve Seamands, a retired theologian from the seminary, told me that what is happening resembles the famous Asbury Revival of 1970 he experienced when he was a student. That revival shut down classes for a week, then went on for two more weeks with nightly services. Hundreds of students went out to share what happened with other schools. But what many don’t realize is that Asbury has an even more extensive history with revivals – including one that took place as early as 1905 and another as recent as 2006, when a student chapel led to four days of continuous worship, prayer and praise.

Many people say that in the chapel they hardly even realize how much time has elapsed. It is almost as though time and eternity blur together as heaven and earth meet. Anyone who has witnessed it can agree that something unusual and unscripted is happening.

As an analytic theologian, I am weary of hype and very wary of manipulation. I come from a background (in a particularly revivalist segment of the Methodist-holiness tradition) where I’ve seen efforts to manufacture ‘revivals’ and ‘movements of the Spirit’ that were sometimes not only hollow but also harmful. I do not want anything to do with that.

And truth be told, this is nothing like that. There is no pressure or hype. There is no manipulation. There is no high-pitched emotional fervor. To the contrary, it has so far been mostly calm and serene. The mix of hope and joy and peace is indescribably strong and indeed almost palpable – a vivid and incredibly powerful sense of shalom. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is undeniably powerful but also so gentle.

‘There is an inexpressible sweetness to it’

The holy love of the triune God is apparent, and there is an inexpressible sweetness and innate attractiveness to it. It is immediately obvious why no one wants to leave and why those who must leave want to come back as soon as they can.

I know that God moves in mysterious ways; Jesus tells us that the Spirit blows where it wills (John 3:8). And sometimes God does what Jonathan Edwards called “surprising work” and what John Wesley referred to as “extraordinary” ministry. I know that these are no replacement for the long road of discipleship. But our Lord promises that those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness” will be filled. Hopefully this encounter will have real-life implications in society too, in the same way the Second Great Awakening was pivotal to bringing about the end of slavery in our country.

Source: Tom McCall, CT

Move of God moves off campus

After a weekend of massive crowds at Asbury University, a big change takes the revival off campus. An estimated 15,000 to 20,000+ people attended services over the weekend, February 18-19,  at Asbury with 5 overflow buildings and a grass lawn filled. There was a 2.5-mile backup of cars going into Wilmore Kentucky which normally has a population of 6,000. The number of people wanting to participate in the meeting caused the university to expand its worship services to five overflow buildings. Wilmore City officials decided to reroute traffic due to the flood of people descending on the small town to experience the move of God. But the staying power of the Asbury outpouring is about to be tested in a big way. The university has announced that public worship services in the school’s Hughes Auditorium will end.

Beginning Tuesday, February 21, services available to the public are being held at another location in the central Kentucky area. “As part of Asbury’s intention of encouraging and commissioning others to ‘go out’ and share what they have experienced, all services will be hosted at other locations and no longer held at Asbury University. We encourage guests to utilize these other designated facilities for worship and gathering. More information will be shared,” the school posted on its website. Asbury President Kevin J. Brown, Ph.D. also posted a four-minute video update posted to Twitter calling these last few weeks at the Christian school, “unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my life.” “Whether you call this a revival, a renewal, an awakening or an outpouring, what we have experienced on our campus these last few weeks is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my life,” Brown said.

Brown said he believes Asbury is not the keeper or source of this movement, saying it has already gone to other campuses across the U.S. “People are hungry for something more,” he said, quoting Jesus in the New Testament’s Matthew 5:6. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.” “We look to other schools, other churches or ministry communities as co-commissioners in this movement that’s taking shape for us,” Brown said. “Whatever happens from here, our deep desire is to see a life-transforming renewal of our younger generation to faithfully serve their communities, their schools, their churches, and their professions. To see them go into the difficult and dark places in the world and to be light.” In closing, Brown thanked people for praying and asked them to continue to pray that what is happening at Asbury would continue to move across states, countries, and continents so that all may see Christ” he said.

How It Started: The Asbury Collegian reported that it began during a call to confession on Wednesday, February 8, when at least 100 people fell to their knees and bowed at the altar. Since then it has turned into a Holy Spirit outpouring that has only grown larger and larger each day with visitors pouring in from around the U.S. and the world. It is being compared to the culture-changing revival at the same college in 1970, but there’s something different this time. The new non-stop prayer and worship awakening has had social media as a powerful ally that wasn’t available in previous historic campus renewals. The impact has been so powerful that this ongoing Spirit-led event has even drawn the attention of major media outlets. But it’s also drawing a wider worldwide audience, particularly of young people, to witness what is happening through firsthand accounts, photographs, and videos with many of these posts going viral.

Numerous reports reveal the Holy Spirit has ignited several other flames that are now burning brightly at other universities and colleges around the country, bypassing denominational boundaries. It first spread to Lee University, a school with Pentecostal roots in Tennessee. But students at Baptist schools like Cedarville and Samford Universities have also been experiencing the power of God. Over the weekend, there were reports the Holy Spirit-led meetings were still going strong at Samford, a private Christian school located on the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama. Students are in Reid Chapel (Samford University) in complete awe of God. Praying, worshipping, reading Scripture, according to eyewitnesses. Meanwhile, early reports are coming in that students at Baylor University are also seeking God for a move of His Spirit.

A moving documentary about the 1970 Asbury College Revival

Joel News International Edition # 1291, February 16, 2023

Dutch Sheets describes his open vision about revival: Video

Report by Baptist pastor Rev Bill Elliff

The quiet, precious movement of God continues in Wilmore, Kentucky, on the campus of Asbury University. This is not the first time an extended movement has occurred here. Similar movements happened in the 30s when a prayer meeting led by E. Stanly Jones lasted for many days. In the ’50s, two other activities occurred, and in 1970, a chapel service extended for seven days and nights.
I’ve had the privilege of sitting in Hughes Auditorium, where this is happening, watching and experiencing this extraordinary movement. I have been a pastor for 54 years serving in the Baptist stream. This is what I’ve observed.

Worship is being led by various student teams. Some are more proficient than others, but all are humble. We do not know their names. There are no fog machines nor lights—just piano and guitar by unnamed students worshiping God. We are singing songs that would be familiar to most of us, often just acapella, with no instruments. Contemporary songs are sung, often interspersed by the
hymns of the church. There are no words on the screen, and they do not seem to be needed.

The wise pastors on Asbury’s staff who are gently shepherding this movement keep reminding us that there are no superstars and that no one is to be exalted except Jesus. They have encouraged us to get lower and lower and lower under Him, exalting Him higher and higher. I have personally watched them stop a person or two who may have tried to hijack the meeting. They realize that God’s manifest presence is precious and desperately needed. They want no one or no thing to
quench or grieve His Spirit.

The leaders, at times, will open the microphones for a season of testimonies of what God has done. They instruct the crowd to observe these ABC’s:
– All glory to God alone
– Brief
– Current
They stand with microphone in hand and wisely shepherd these moments. They will close the lines when they sense it’s time to move forward.
Often during these testimonies, when they sense God repeating a theme, they have paused and called for those with the same issues to stand, and for people to gather around them and pray.

At various times, they have led us into corporate prayer. Instructions are given, and then we’ve turned in small groups and cried out to God.
At the altar, they have a continuous team of prayer counselors, identified by lanyards around their necks, who are helping those in need and praying with them. They have gently invited the people to come to these trained counselors for prayer.

Everywhere, people are sharing with others in need outside the auditorium. God is opening people’s lips and giving them the Acts 4 courage to “speak the word of God with boldness.” The result is what you would expect—the gospel is spreading rapidly, and many are coming to faith in Christ.

Many are giving testimony of how God is instantly releasing them from years of bondage to addictions. Release from past hurts, bitterness, fear, is happening quickly for the humble ones who admit their need and cry to the Savior. Some are testifying of physical healings, just as occurred in the Book of Acts, but this is not at all the dominant theme of the meetings. The theme is Jesus—exalting Him, surrendering to Him, and testifying of Him to others.

One prognosticator on social media proclaimed that this was not of God because there was no preaching. I smiled, because there have been moments of preaching throughout and a “regular” sermon every single night, delivered humbly by godly pastors.

I cannot say enough about this. I have been in many moments of intense revival. I have led in a number of these moments. I stood at a microphone for five weeks, shepherding a movement of God for 3-4 hours a night.
I’m overwhelmed by the wise, quiet, strong, loving leadership of those in charge. It is not dominating and not restrictive. They are discerning God’s movement and cooperating. They are giving instruction and direction when needed.

The Jesus movement was characterized by vibrant, simple worship and constant witness to the gospel. I was there. The church, by and large, reacted to the “hippies” who were being saved and the more current expressions of worship. Many churches ridiculed this and quenched the Spirit, unwilling to accept new wineskins. Most of these churches have plateaued and died. The churches
that humbly opened the door to lost people and wisely shepherded God’s activity, exploded.
Calvary Chapel, a small California church, kept responding to God and, in the Jesus movements wake, have started 1400 churches.
Two things characterized the 1857 revival: First, fervent noon-day prayer meetings that grew from six people (with Jeremiah Lanphier) to 50,000 people every day in New York City alone and, secondly, unashamed testimony and witnessing. There were simple “rules” that they used to guide the prayer meetings. They lasted from 12-1 each day. It spread across the country. Prayer requests came from around the world. I’ve read many of those actual requests—most are for the salvation of
a loved one. In revival, our hearts return to beat with the heart of God whose great desire is for people of every tongue, tribe, and nation to come to Him.
When the church begins to pray, that IS revival, for we are usually prayerless. When that reviving turns to fervent, unashamed witnessing and the rapid acceleration of the gospel, we term that “spiritual awakening,” for that is exactly what God is doing among the lost.

The revival here is not hurried or rushed. There are long periods of stillness and waiting. If you want to rush in, get a big dose of God and rush out, don’t come. God works on His timetable. We give God little time and almost no silence. What is happening here is occurring because thirsty people are waiting before God. In time, He speaks to one, then another, bringing them back to intimacy with Him. I’ve always thought that we don’t experience God because we put Him on our timetable.
Waiting is a lost art, and it is turning our full attention to Him until He makes Himself known that we need.

As of the fifth day of the movement, 22 colleges have sent groups of students here, hoping to see the same outbreak on their campuses. It would not surprise me if that was how this exploded nationwide, for students are most tender and willing. It is also no coincidence that a very carefully made movie about the Jesus Revolution is coming out by our friend, Jon Erwin, February 22nd, and that the Collegiate National Day of Prayer broadcast has been scheduled for over a year to be
broadcast from Asbury on February 23rd. We should pray that these will further accelerate God’s work.

One of the leaders spoke to us last night about the beginning of the revival when a pastor spoke of hypocritical, self-seeking love. He remarked that what these days have done has reversed that.
Asbury has become a sanctuary of the love of God. That is the essence of God (He IS love) and has been the hallmark of every moment when He is placed again on His rightful throne in our hearts, homes, and churches. “Heaven a World of Love” was preached by Jonathan Edwards. And revival is heaven coming down.

I talked with a friend who reminded me of this beautiful truth from a missionary involved in the great revival in Shantung, China, in the late 20s.
“We heard of the revival in Korea, which began in 1907. It was a mighty movement and had been born through a prayer-revival among missionaries. Oh, to be able to go there and bring back some glowing coals to our own field! But the journey was long and expensive and I had not the money. As I prayed for money and looked for an answer, a definite word was sent instead: “What you want through that journey you may be given here, where you are, in answer to prayer.” The words were a
tremendous challenge. I gave my solemn promise: ‘Then I will pray until I receive. Having pledged myself … the first conscious thought was: Then prayer means as much as that, and that my promise should be kept means as much as that.’ That experience helped me to endure through the almost twenty years which were to pass before the first small beginnings of revival were visible. Truly, God
works unhurriedly.” (Marie Monsen, missionary nurse to north China, describing how she came to pray for the revival that burned there from 1927-1932).
You don’t have to come to Kentucky to experience revival and awakening. “The kingdom of God is here,” Jesus said, and He has gladly chosen to give us the Kingdom.

Coming out of Hughes auditorium, with its love and grace and humility, and reading the words of some critics on social media was revealing. If you are tempted to criticize this movement flippantly, it might be wise to heed the counsel of
Gamaliel when his religious colleagues criticized the early disciples.
“So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.” (Acts 5:38-39)

See 1970 report – Asbury Revival

FREE SUBSCRIPTION for new Blogs and free offers


Blogs Index 1: Revivals (briefer than Revivals Index)
Blogs Index 2: Mission (international stories)
Blogs Index 3: Miracles (supernatural events)

Blogs Index 4: Devotional (including Testimonies)
Blogs index 5: Church (Christianity in action)

Blogs Index 6: Chapters (Blogs from Books)
Blogs Index 7: Images (Photos & Videos)

FREE SUBSCRIPTION: for new Blogs & free offers

Share any Blog to inform and bless others

Logo Square - PNG
Click here to be notified of new Blogs

Share good news  –  Share this page freely
Copy and share this link on your media, eg Facebook, Instagram, Emails:
A ‘surprising work of God’ in Asbury chapel

Fresh Outpouring at Asbury University

See also new book:

The Life of Jesus – Blog
The Life of Jesus – PDF eBook
Amazon link – paperback, hardcover, Kindle

The Life of Jesus: History’s Great Love Story
Renewal Journal – a chronicle of renewal and revival:

Permission: you can freely reproduce and share these Renewal Journal resources and books, including in print, eg., uploading to your Amazon Kindle, etc. (just include the source)


Joel News – Inspiring stories on the advance of God’s Kingdom around the globe today, delivered once a week in your mailbox. We cover all continents and serve mission-minded Christians in over 100 nations.


Copyright © 2023 Stichting Joel Ministries, All rights reserved.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *