Now that I've proclaimed in previous entries that revival is coming soon (and in some places has already started), the question comes up: How will we recognize it?
In good Jewish fashion, let me ask another question: What's the focus?
If it's on personal peace and happiness, cultural issues, church growth or putting on a show, walk away from that. If it's on desiring Christ's kingdom, freedom from sin, a craving to know truth and an emphasis on service to the world and in His church, you're getting warm. Let's keep in mind that God made us to glorify Himself and no other.
That said, here are some things to consider:
1) Folks 30 and younger will drive this revival. The reason is simple: Right now, the generation directly behind mine doesn't really have its own "move of God"; it's either submerged in parents' faith or running away from it. Therefore, it needs to reach its own generation in the way He dictates, and it needs to hear that. A couple of years ago at dinner I had the honor of telling a then-29-year-old man, "You're the next wave." The temptation for us in the "baby boom" generation, more culture-bound than we realize, will be to discount the ways in which God is moving in that generation; however, if it doesn't contradict the Scriptures we, like Gamaliel, should wait and see if this has staying power.
2) It will be interracial and multi-cultural. The generation behind mine was reared with "diversity" and this is used to it; as a result, it doesn't have the racial hang-ups that previous generations did. It will be the first generation to live Martin Luther King Jr.'s words about being "judged [not] by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." As a result, the faith will be taken places we've been afraid to go.
3) Abortion will be addressed and dealt with but only as part of a consistenly "pro-life" ethic. The biggest mistake that the anti-abortion movement made was to link itself to the modern conservative movement, which was interested only in defeating the other side for its own sake. Since that movement is, despite all the noise it makes, on its last legs, its eventual collapse will free us who oppose legal abortion to expand our reach to issues of poverty, the environment and other issues of social justice. In addition, the image of Margaret Sanger, the late founder of what is now Planned Parenthood, will undergo a makeover in large part because folks are now learning that, contrary to popular opinion, she was actually staunchly anti-abortion. (And that may actually help to split PP!)
4) The "evangelical left" will play a surprisingly large role. One thing God has always done is reach out to the marginalized and make them into His trophies of grace, and the evangelical left certainly has been marginalized by much of the rest of the church for not being "politically correct." However, it has always been close to the heart of God because of its love for people and its desire to change systems that hold people in bondage. Dr. King will be recognized as a true prophet of God, as will such luminaries as Ron Sider, Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo.
5) The church will get back to the Scriptures' true teaching on homosexuality. That is to say, it will be recognized as an outward sign of inward rebellion against almighty God -- no more, no less. Those "conservative" churches who teach and preach homophobia and the liberal ones who affirm homosexual behavior as a legitimate lifestyle will both become irrelevant.
6) Folks will reconcile with each other. As they comb through their lives and recognize the wreckage that their sin has caused they will seek to make amends on both a personal and institutional level. Doing so will strengthen the church because it will break long-standing barriers that have kept them apart.
7) Persecution will come -- from, believe it or not, "conservatives." Keep in mind that the movement at its heart always was secular and extremely combative and doesn't take kindly to disagreement. Not only that, they operate from a default attitude of fear, the exact opposite of faith.
If there are more, I will list them here.