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Christian revival is no accident, says Hispanic evangelical leader: 'God is in charge'

Fox News Digital spoke with Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, a faith leader in Sacramento, California, about today's Christian revival, the film "Jesus Revolution" and "God's hand" at work.

In an interview with Fox News Digital, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, speaking by telephone, said it is no accident that at the same time that Asbury College in Kentucky played host to a Christian revival among thousands of people (which has since spilled over to additional locations), so, too, has the runaway hit film "Jesus Revolution" come out — helping to inspire and lead millions more people back to a place of faith, belief and hope.

"If you were a skeptic," said Rodriguez, "you would label this as a coincidence. But if you’re a person of faith — you see this as divine providence. It can't be a coincidence."

He added, "God is in charge. God is up to something. And that's the great news."

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Rodriguez, based in Sacramento, California, is senior pastor at New Season Church. 

He said he finds what's going on right now to "be unbelievably interesting," he said. 

"During COVID," he said, "Gallup and Pew had surveys out regarding the ‘Z Generation' and how it's the most so-called ‘unChristian generation' — some have even deemed it the most anti-Christian generation in American history. Well, how about that? Then God shows up — and we have the Asbury revival, and we have this emphasis on generational change and how a mess can become a miracle."

Again, he added, "It can't be a coincidence. God is up to something. That's why I truly believe that America's mess is about to become God's miracle."

There's been "anarchy, chaos, crime and violence," he said. There's been the COVID pandemic. There have been "so many problems," he added — so much craziness. 

People have even asked themselves "whether we’re living in a movie script, an alternative universe. And yet God said, in the midst of all that, ‘Let me show you who’s really in charge.’"

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Rodriguez noted, "You have young people hungry for spirituality, for authenticity, for truth in a world full of fluidity and relativism today. There's a generation hungry for truth and something that is solid. So I love the fact that God, with a wink and a nod, says, ‘Yeah, sure, you guys think you're in charge? And you really think I'm no longer involved? Let me show you who's truly in charge and who's on the throne.'"

Pastor Rodriguez said this is not just about the Asbury revival. 

"It's what happening across the country."

People had said, he emphasized, "that Christians and followers of Jesus would not come back to church after COVID, that churches would lose 30% of their attendance. And now, all of a sudden, we're hearing of explosions in church attendance across the country, even in California," he said.

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"I mean, go figure," he said. "So what is it?"

There are people hungry, he said, for faith, for spirituality. He said to recall John 1:5 — because "light shines into darkness, and darkness will never overcome the light." 

And "that's why I truly believe that family messes will become God's miracles, generational messes will become God's miracles and personal messes will become God's miracles."

He said this is not just "a happy, happy message. We don't deny the fact that there are messes. We look at what's happening in America with the fentanyl crisis. There are over 100,000 people — primarily young people — dead as a result of the infiltration of this drug into our country, coming in from the southern border."

He noted the crime problem in Chicago, in Oakland, in New York City and so many other major cities across America. "We're looking at disarray, we're looking at families without a father figure in 78% of African American homes, we're looking at so many other issues in America — including political disarray and discord. And we ask, ‘Is there an answer?’"

And yet, in the midst of this, "in this chasm — God shows up. And says, ‘I got this. All you have to do is call upon me. And I’ve got this.'"

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And that's where "we, as a church," he added, "need to stop the whining and the moaning and the complaining — and we have to get out of the fetal position. God is not coming back for a defeated church, a broken church, a whiny church. He's coming back for a glorious church, according to the Apostle Paul."

So "we really need to demonstrate the glory of Jesus to a broken world," said Rodriguez.

That is what "prompted me," he said, "to write this new book. Understand who you are. Let's do away with perpetual victimization mode — and let's apply the fact that we are conquerors in Christ. We can literally change things with truth, love, hope and grace."

What about all those who feel inadequate or imperfect or unable to reach this understanding?

Rodriguez didn't mince words. "You mean all of us? We are all imperfect. We have all sinned and fallen short. That's us. That's each and every one of us. And that's the beauty of the gospel."

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He said further, "Regardless of where the mess came from, God has not just the power but the commitment to turn our mess into a miracle. All he says is, ‘Believe in me. Give me not just your dreams, but your nightmares. I'll take care of the rest."

The speaker, movie producer, bestselling author and president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference has a new book out in April called "Your Mess, God’s Miracle" (Baker Books, April 2023). 

And in it, he says, among other things, "How often do we realize that our longing for more of God in our lives is already present and available? We miss out on seeing what we have in the present because we are living conditionally in the future."

Yet "God has already given us all we need and more."

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez: Almost anything that grows also needs light, including your spirit as you walk by faith in God’s light.

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8). 

Once you begin growing and maturing in your faith, then you begin to glimpse the new life God has for you. Your new life in Christ allows God to fulfill all He has created you to be. 

When you live without the power of the Spirit, you diverge from God’s plan for your life.

When you live in the power of the Spirit, you experience God’s best for your life

In God’s Word, He tells us, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart" (Jeremiah 1:5). 

Similarly, we see the psalmist acknowledge that "you made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb" (Psalm 139:13 NLT). 

No matter what has happened in your life, God can use that soil — even the rocky, thorny, shallow soil of your past — to grow you beyond anything you can imagine. 

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"‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’" (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT). 

You are no accident, my friend. You are the son or daughter of the King of kings.

From "Your Mess, God's Miracle" by Samuel Rodriguez, April 2023 (Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, bakerpublishinggroup.com). Copyright © 2023 by Samuel Rodriguez. Used by permission of the publisher. 

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