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August 15, 2023

Epoch-Making Revival

One of my favorite verses on revival is Acts 3:19: "Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord."

As is often the case, our English translation doesn't fully convey the Greek content. The phrase "times of refreshing" is loaded with meaning. "Times" is translated from the word kairos, which means "opportune time."(1)

Wuest, a very literal translator of the New Testament, uses the following phrases to translate kairos: "epoch-making periods" (see Acts 3:19); "strategic, significant period" (see Acts 12:1); "strategic, epochal time" (see Acts 19:23). Using his words, kairos times are strategic, significant and epoch-making. America must experience an "epoch-making" revival. (2)

I looked up the term "epoch-making" to make sure I understood it. It means "significant by virtue of ensuing historical developments.”(3) Epoch means "a period of time characterized by momentous events or changes,"(4) and "a fixed point of time from which succeeding years are numbered."(5)

That's what we're after - momentous events and changes. A revival so great it is historical, one from which succeeding years are numbered. We sometimes speak of floods as epoch-making and historical. The year is remembered, like the Johnstown Flood of 1889 or the Big Thompson Canyon (Colorado) Flood of 1976. The size of the flood is measured by how often one of that proportion comes: a 50-year flood or a 100-year flood. We want a flood of the river of God so great that people will speak of it the way they speak of physical floods…a revival of such monumental proportions that it is epoch-making. Historical.


The word "refreshing" in Acts 3:19 is important. It is translated from the word anapsuxis, from ana and psucho. Strong's Concordance says ana means "repetition, intensity or reversal."(6) Zodhiates agrees, adding the word "increase."(7) Psucho means "to breathe, blow or refresh with cool air."(8)

Here are some definitions of the two words ana and psucho combined (anapsucho or anapsuxis)

  • "to draw breath again"

  • "to revive by fresh air"(9)

  • "to cool or refresh with a breath"

  • "to regain strength"

  • "Restoration"(10)

In this verse, Peter is saying that if we respond properly to the Holy Spirit, it will create a kairos time for God to breathe on us again; to revive us with a fresh breath; to restore us, giving us new strength.

I also like the concept of intensity in ana. God wants to breathe on us again intensely. Peter was apparently thinking back a few days to Pentecost when the breath of God blew again intensely, once more filling humans with the life of God.

In Ezekiel 37:1-14, the dry bones represent spiritual death. First, God caused them to come together, reconnecting; then He put skin on them, "but there was no breath in them" (v. 8). The prophet was then told, "Prophesy to the breath . .. say to the breath, ‘Thus says the LORD GOD, Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life’" (v. 9).

This is what occurred in Genesis 2:7: God breathed into Adam’s lifeless body and brought His life to it. In Acts 3, Peter thought back through history - Genesis, Ezekiel, Pentecost - and prophesied that it could happen again if the people would obey the Holy Spirit.

It did, and has happened since on numerous occasions. God wants to do it yet again! He has another breath - another wind - to blow on our generation and wants to release it with great intensity.


We must seize the moment. Twice the New Testament tells us to “redeem the time” (see Ephesians 5:15-17; Colossians 4:5, KJV). "To redeem" is translated from exagorazo, meaning "buy or purchase," and "time" is kairos - buy the opportune, epoch-making time.(11)

Indeed, opportunities must be bought; they cost something - time, energy, abilities, money, and even our very lives. If we don't spend what is necessary and “buy” them, opportunities can be lost.

“When Apple Computer fell on difficult days, Apple's young chairman, Steven Jobs, traveled from the Silicon Valley to New York City. His purpose was to convince Pepsico's John Sculley to move west and run his struggling company.

“As the two men overlooked the Manhattan skyline from Sculley's penthouse office, the Pepsi executive started to decline Jobs's offer.

“‘Financially,’ Sculley said, ‘you'd have to give me a million-dollar salary, a million-dollar bonus, and a million-dollar severance.’

“Flabbergasted, Jobs gulped and agreed - if Sculley would move to California. But Sculley would commit only to being a consultant from New York. At that, Jobs issued a challenge to Sculley: ‘Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want to change the world?’

“In his autobiography Odyssey, Sculley admits Jobs's challenge ‘knocked the wind out of me.’ He said he'd become so caught up with his future at Pepsi, his pension, and whether his family could adapt to life in California, that an opportunity to ‘change the world’ nearly passed him by. Instead, he put his life in perspective and went to Apple.”(12)

We must not miss our opportunity to change the world! Let’s pay the price and buy it!


Allow God to birth vision in you, vision that will motivate you to faith and action. Vision is a life-changer, a rearranger, a cause producer. Its hunger can be insatiable, a motivating force creating energy and energizing creativity.

Vision moves us from mere mental assent to physical exertion. It separates the hearer from the doer, the convert from the disciple, mediocrity from excellence. Vision is also what separates a ripe harvest from a reaped harvest (see Matthew 9:37).

I remember hearing Wayne Myers, a well-respected missionary from Mexico, speak for three straight nights at the first missions conference I ever attended. I was single at the time, still living at home, 22 years old. After listening to him the first night, I gave a third of my bank account to the missions program of the hosting church. The second night I gave the next third. You guessed it: the last night I gave the rest. If there had been a fourth night, I’d have been walking home - they'd have gotten my car!

There was no manipulation; this giant of the faith didn't make me give the money. No one twisted my arm. What happened? Some of the all-consuming vision he had for reaching the world with the gospel was supernaturally imparted to me, and I bought the opportunity. I've given to missions ever since.

I remember when vision came to me to reach out to those devastated by pain and suffering. It was February 10, 1976. The country was Guatemala, the village was San Pedro, and the setting was a food line. I was serving soup to hungry women and children who had lost everything the previous week in an earthquake that killed 30,000 people and left one million homeless. I vividly recall ladling out the soup into cans, bottles, jars (whole or broken), and whatever else they could find to hold a little soup. I also remember looking at the last lady in line, a mother holding her two-year-old child - who likely hadn't eaten in days - and telling her there was “no mas” (“no more”).

Things got all messed up in my life at that moment! I could no longer look the other way and pretend not to see the needs of suffering humanity. I had looked into hungry eyes ... hopeless eyes ... haunting eyes. And vision was born, plans had to be changed, spending habits altered, priorities rearranged. Things have never been the same since.

Let’s ask God to increase vision and passion for a historical, epoch-making revival. Let’s ask for hearts that are willing to seize the moment, and buy the opportunity.

Pray with me:

Father, we ask You to increase our passion and vision for the epoch-making revival You have planned. Light the flames of passion in the church to such strength that no price will be too great to pay. Awaken hearts to seize the moment, buy the opportune time that You have created.

Breathe on the dry bones of the earth and give them life. Save and deliver, redeem and transform. Make this an epochal, historic revival - unlike any other. We believe entire nations can be born-again in a day. Do it, we pray!

And we pray again for the precious people of Maui. Our hearts break for them. Please bring hope, comfort, provision, and healing. They are a strong and resilient people - awaken this strength in them now. Orchestrate events to cause many to turn to You in this time. Give great wisdom, administrative excellence, and creativity to leaders. Stir the hearts of many Americans to help by praying, sending money and provisions. Release a spirit of generosity to many people.

We ask all of these things through the authority we’ve been given in Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Our decree:

We decree that the life-giving breath of God is bringing revival to earth again, with great intensity, and it cannot be stopped!

Today’s post was taken from my book Praying for America, which is no longer in print.

[Dutch Sheets, Praying for America (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2001)]

Song: Revive Us (Revival in Belfast) by Robin Mark:

Click on the link below to watch the full video.


  1. James Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990), ref. no. 2540.

  2. Kenneth Wuest, The New Testament: An Expanded Translation. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1961).

  3. New Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus of the English Language, s.v. “epoch making.”

  4. Ibid.

  5. The Consolidated-Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary, s.v. “epoch.”

  6. James Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990), ref. no. 303.

  7. Spiros Zodhiates, Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible - New American Standard, rev. ed. (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1990), p. 1804.

  8. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary (Iowa Falls, IA: Word Bible Publishers, 1992), p. 1496.

  9. Ethelbert Bullinger, A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1975), p. 631.

  10. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, abridged (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1985), p. 1352.

  11. James Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990), ref. no. 1805.

  12. Craig Brian Larson, Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1993), p. 278.


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