God has been moving in the hearts of people in the East Tennessee city of Rogersville over the past few weeks, sparking a revival that's spread across many churches.
The East Rogersville Baptist Church is just one of 1,000 churches participating in the Awaken Tennessee initiative surging across the Volunteer State. It started as a 30-day prayer and fasting event on Jan. 26 that will continue through Feb. 23. It is estimated it will touch more than 100,000 people during the period. In the midst of this season of prayer, a powerful response has taken place with lives being touched by God's power, leading to salvations, rededications, and baptisms.
The fourth verse of a hymn written by Presbyterian Pastor William Patton Mackay in 1863 is one way of describing what is happening:
Revive us again -- fill each heart with thy love;
May each soul be rekindled with fire from above.
Hallelujah, thine the glory!
Hallelujah, thine the glory!
Revive us again.
On Tuesday, Pastor John Butler gave CBN News an update on the revival happening in his city. Several pastors are reporting their services are exploding with revival as a result of the Holy Spirit showing up and taking over.
Butler shared with CBN News several personal stories written by people attending the conference. They all said they could feel God's presence in their lives.
One person said: "Revival has changed my life. I was not a good man. I was just walking through life and I got off the road. I was not living right. I felt comfortable with what I was doing. God has revived me. I am a new man. I will commit to this church and do what God will have me to do."
Another wrote about the "weight he was carrying was just too heavy."
"Sunday morning when I was sitting and listening to the first song, God broke my heart to pray for myself to be a better dad, husband, and teacher. Early Monday morning, around 3 AM, God woke me up in a still small voice. He told me the stuff I was reading on my phone was a sin against him, but also my family. The demon in me was ruining my work, my family and me. I sat in the pew after the service fighting the devil to just let go of the pew. Four people sat with me and ask me if I was ok. Jason Putnal was the last and I lost it. God said now!!! I laid it on the altar. Best week in a long time. I have fought this demon for a while. I tried by myself but the battle was not mine. The weight I was carrying was just too heavy."
Another person told how the Lord had filled them with the desire to share the gospel daily.
"Well, Glory! How do I even begin to write on this card what God has done? The Holy Spirit has revealed sins and un-forgiveness to me that I had cast from my memory. Those are now in the sea of God's forgetfulness. God has filled this church with a renewed desire to see the lost saved. Our youth are stepping up in the unimaginable ways. Most of all, the Lord has filled me with a desire to share daily with the unsaved and unchurched."
One spoke about the preaching they heard this week.
"These days have been great! There is nothing like the freeness of praying and expressing one's personal story is the best preaching ever! Thanks for giving us this opportunity to see through God's power this week, that not one preacher alive can cause to happen the things we've seen this week. I really don't know what's next but whatever it is, I want it."
Another wrote that God told him, "This is your team."
"God moved Himself into this place. I've struggled letting God fully take a hold of my life because I have so worried about missing out on earthly things that all my friends were doing. I would participate and always feel convicted. I prayed for God to take away that fear. This week I worshipped side-by-side with my best friends and one of my friends got saved. God whispered to me 'this is your team, they are with you and I am with you.' Praise God I am ready to serve!"
One person who was saved during the conference said, "When I walked in I felt the Holy Spirit here."
"My story starts when you had the Decision America Live stream. As I went to bed that night I had a vision of a man kneeling in a hallway praying. So I felt led back to this church. I was here when you brought Terry and Barbi to church. When I walked in I felt the Holy Spirit here. I contacted Terry and Barbi about the Awaken TN. They connected me with Sheldon Livesay and he emailed me back with the events for the Awaken TN. I was here Sunday and Monday and felt the Holy Spirit move. On Tuesday, I felt the whisper of God say, 'it's your time.' So I went to the altar and got saved. On Wednesday I got baptized. Jesus wins! Glory! Glory!"
A grandfather listed how God had blessed him and his family.
"The preacher asked me to list something significant that God has done for me. I do not have room on this paper to list anywhere near what God has done for me. God saved my soul as a young boy. He brought me back from a life of sin. I have lived long enough to see my children saved. I have lived long enough to see 2 of my 3 grandchildren saved. The third is asking questions about being saved and I am confident the Lord will save her. He has restored my faith in prayer. He restored my soul & my cup has run over and I am so grateful."
One person recalled how God had touched them.
"For me, this revival started long before I made it through those two glass doors. A week ago, I was mad at God, I felt wronged, like I had trusted Him and He had led me astray but God had a plan. Through the work God has done here and the people He has touched, He has touched me. He showed me HIS PLAN and reminded me that HIS PLAN is ALWAYS strong. So tonight, I want to give my love and submission back to God, trust HIS plan and let go of this calloused heart. So before I even got here, to this revival, through two souls, God has ALREADY revived me."
And another simply wrote on their card, "God is good all the time."
Pastor Butler reports services will continue through the end of this week.