The Essence of ReFRESH

We are now in our tenth year of ReFRESH® conferences. We’ve held them in the Ozarks, Smokies, Richmond (IMB staff), and Albany at Sherwood. Each conference is unique. God seems to always bring the people who need to be there. No conference is like another one. The settings, those attending, the wind of the Spirit, and the flow of the sessions differs from conference to conference. In leading over 20 of these, each one stands alone.

In looking at the decline of morals, values, decency, and ethics in our culture, it became quite obvious that we need revival. I don’t think revival will come from the White House or Congress. I don’t think it can be legislated or even orchestrated. We can, however, pray and seek God as His people. Revival is a church matter. When revival comes, the climate and the culture will change. It could change locally, regionally, or even nationally. It has to begin with leaders, with God’s remnant.

A revival is a work of God’s spirit among God’s people. The lost are never told to seek God for revival; the saints are. Revival is God rending the heavens and coming down on His people. It is an awareness that adjustments need to be made. Priorities need to be changed. Choices are called for. Repentance is expected. Restoration is necessary.

Do we need revival? Why? What’s the big deal? It’s just a meeting right? Don’t you know how busy we are? Our calendar is already full of stuff. Revival is a new beginning. Let me ask you a few questions:
● Is there something missing in your Christian life?
● Are you serving God more and enjoying it less?
● Have you grown weary in well doing?
● Are you discouraged because some prayer is not being answered?
● Do you feel a distance between you and God?
● Was there ever a time when you were closer to God than you are today?
● Are you concerned that your children grow up to love Jesus and serve Him with all their hearts?
● Do you care about the condition of our community? Our state? Our nation?
● Do you live in fear of the future?
● Are you ready for Christ to return? Would you be embarrassed if He came today?
● Would you describe your life as a pursuit of holiness, or are you just getting by?
● Are you comparing yourself to others, or is your standard Christlikeness?
● Is your prayer life where it needs to be?

How you answer those questions will let you know if revival is important or not. ReFRESH® is a time to deliberately think on these matters. Some of you are in danger of being devoured by the wolves. Some of you are wandering dangerously close to a cliff and are about to fall. Some are about to quit the ministry.

The cloud of blessing is moving off America. Christianity is exploding in third world countries. It is prospering on other continents. Here in the land of freedom of religion, we take our religion for granted. “In God We Trust” is stamped on our money, but He’s the last resort, not the first option. Whatever we do in these next few years will determine the kind of country, church, and future we leave to our children.

If you think it’s bad now, wait another ten or twenty years. Paganism will rule the day. Just look at how quickly we’ve fallen in the last fifty years. The pace of paganism is cancerous. It devours and destroys. We can’t afford to sit and sing “In the sweet by and by” when we are headed down the slippery slope.

We’ve witnessed the moving of the Spirit in our previous conferences. You can’t get it by osmosis. You can’t get it by buying the tapes. Revival is in many ways atmospheric. It can’t be explained, it has to be experienced.

James Buchanan writes, “A revival of religion…consists in new spiritual life imparted to the dead and in new spiritual health imparted to the living.” Stephen Olford said, “Revival is not some emotion or worked up excitement; it is an invasion from heaven that brings a conscious awareness of God.”

Iain H. Murray wrote, “The characteristic of revival is that a profound consciousness of sin is produced in many persons at the same time by an awareness of God.” J. I. Packer writes, “Revival means the work of God restoring to a…church, in a manner out of the ordinary, those standards which the New Testament sets forth as being entirely ordinary.”

Take some time off. Invest in your spiritual life. Revival is not an option, it’s a necessity. If it’s optional, you may be in a more serious spiritual condition than you realize.

Join us this year! There’s still to sign up for the Ozarks or the Smokies. Cost to attend is $150. Register online at or contact Debbie Toole (, 229-883-1910, ext 1200).

One thought on “The Essence of ReFRESH

  1. Michael,
    Today’s Christian is not like those in the days of Jesus. The more I examine Jesus’s life, the more I see how far from being like Him we really are. Believe it or not, the Christian has placed standards on others too. We have placed standards on believers as well and that is not right. Instead of conforming to a doctrine, and standards; shouldn’t we be living out what Jesus lived out in his life. I am not saying that doctrine is wrong, but how we instill it in the lives of others could be. I believe that there is certainly a standard that we should live by in order to encourage and show others why it is important to live a godly life and to live for God, but at some point we as Christians need to realize that the doctrine we preach about, and teach may not always be the right doctrine. We have to carefully look at it and make sure that it lines up with what Jesus taught and spoke of in his day.
    As a believer, I have never agreed with doctrine being taught, I have always read God’s Word as instruction, as encouragement, things to look out for, but also as how to set an example of Christ and live out that example so that others see that in me. I Christians today ram the gospel down other peoples throat and I cringe because Jesus never did that. Jesus poured out His Love, Mercy, Forgiveness, Grace, Peace, and Joy to and for us, should we not be doing the same in this day? How do you suppose Jesus won the hearts of others. Not all from teaching, mostly by loving, showing forgiveness, bringing a peace to the person heart etc.
    I rarely see that in today’s world. We are so wrapped up in doctrine and other things that we miss the bigger picture.
    This is just one part of my view point, and I have many other view points. I am not one to compromise my faith, and I can tell you that I won’t and haven’t given in to the world.
    BTW, your book Fire Proof Your Life is a really good book.

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