Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Why I Never Left the Brownsville Revival and How God Continues to Change Me

This article is in reply to Matthew Oliver's article "Why I left the Brownsville Revival".

My name is Shane Good.  I am 37 years old and have been happily married to my loving wife, Julie for 13 years.  We have 7 of the most beautiful, well behaved children I could have ever asked for.  I am a carpenter by trade and love preaching and leading worship when the opportunities arise.  I have traveled extensively around the world preaching the gospel and have had the amazing opportunity of seeing the lost being found, the weary strengthened, the bound set free, those troubled by Satan delivered and most importantly I saw the religious find a real, powerful relationship with Jesus.  It was on one of my trips to Canada that I met my wife.  For the most part, we brought a message of repentance  and we saw revival come to many churches.  

This is my story.  

It was in January of 1996.  I was the average, church attending "Christian" teenager wondering where God was.  I remember praying and feeling like He was so far from me and not understanding why.  I remember becoming increasingly frustrated with church.  It felt so dead and dry.  I remember reading my Bible and asking myself why so much life surrounded Jesus yet my church seemed so dead.  "Where was this amazing life changing power?"  I wondered.  "God is this all there is to you?"    


One evening I was home by myself watching the X-files and near the end of the show one of the characters said "God is speaking, but no one is listening."  I don't know why but that ripped into my spirit.  I became undone and began weeping.  When my parents got home I was still a mess and they wanted to know what was wrong with their son.  I felt deep in my heart that God had something to say to me, to do in me, but for some reason something was holding Him back from me.  

It wasn't long after that I got a call from an old friend of mine.  The last time I saw him he was a cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking druggie.  I was surprised to hear him say with tears; "Shane, Jesus totally got ahold of me and changed my life at a church in Pensacola.  I wanted to call and tell you to go check it out."  Having a more religious mindset I figured it was just another regular church service.  The reports however, did not stop coming in.  We kept hearing more and more reports of things happening at this church in Pensacola, FL.  Fortunately, we only lived 30 min away so my family and I decided to visit. 

My first visit was like religious culture shock.  So much was happening.  We were sat right behind two teenage girls that vibrated and shook during the entire service.  Then this guy named Steve Hill was talking about Jesus with such authority.  At one point during the message a visiting Methodist minister who was sitting in the choir loft stood up with a shout, spun in a circle and fell to the ground shaking, taking some microphone stands with him.  We had seen enough.  The next chance we had we got out of there. 

I am so glad that the story does not end here.

At this time I was working an evening shift at an amusement park near Gulf Shores, Alabama.  My dad and Shaun (now my brother-in-law) began going back to the revival.  They would sit in the balcony and just watch and listen.  One evening as they were driving home my dad turned to Shaun and said; "Do you feel that?"  He immediately knew what my dad was talking about.  They both felt a burning in their heart.   They knew at that point that something very real and powerful was going on at the Revival.  Soon my parents were coming home full of the excitement of the Lord and very much refreshed.  I would get off work, come home and my parents would get home after me.  My mom came to me one evening, shaking under the power of the Lord and said; "Shane, you have to go back.  It is awesome!"  It didn't take long and I decided to go back.

So there I was standing outside the doors of the church and I prayed; "Lord, I am sick of religion.  I am sick of just reading about you.  Lord, I want to know you.  If for some reason you are here yet not seemingly at my other church please change me."

I can honestly say that I walked in to the service that night and was never the same again.  


Not Legalism:

Before revival I had an extensive secular music collection.  I loved music.  I also had an extensive movie collection.   I loved movies.  They were a good way to pass time.  They were a distraction.  Many Friday nights I could be found at the theater with friends.   

I didn't stop listening to secular music because a man told me to.  I didn't stop watching movies because a man told me to.  God came down and changed every aspect of who I was.  I was a new creation.  I was now born again and filled with the awesome Spirit of the Lord.  I didn't stop sinning because I had to.  I wanted to.  God had shown himself to me, He changed me and filled me.  Why would I want to jeopardize this new relationship that I had longed for?  I wanted to protect what the Lord had given me.  This wasn't legalism.  Legalism is what He saved me from - doing things just because a man said it was wrong.  Now His Spirit was speaking it to my heart.  I was FREE!  From then on I strove to please the Lord.  Was I perfect?  Of course not.  Did I make mistakes?  YES.  But now I could go to Him as his son and repent and reconcile with Him.  It was awesome!  I can't tell you the countless times the Lord woke me up at night just to be with Him and enjoy His amazing tangible presences.  I can't tell you the countless times I would be driving in my car listening to revival music, weeping.  I was in Love with Jesus.  I began inviting friends from work to come to the Revival and saw many of them give their hearts to the Lord.  Evangelism no longer consisted of handing out tracts.  Going to Wal-Mart for a gallon of milk was now an amazing opportunity to meet people and tell them about the living Jesus.  So many came to the Lord this way.  Some of them right in the Wal-Mart parking lot.  Some of them later enrolled at BRSM.  On Friday nights a group of friends and I would show up at Brownsville before the service began, Steve Hill would lay hands on us and we would go down to the beach and tell people about the Lord.  So many came to know Him.  It wasn't hard, it wasn't religious, it was easy because the Lord was with us.  By the time we got back to Brownsville on those evenings it would be prayer time.  I would track Steve down and give him the report of what happened that evening and he would say the results over the loudspeakers; "Friends, 10 people received the Lord down at the beach tonight."


A Revival for the Sinner 

I was always amazed by the different types of people that would walk through the doors of Brownsville.  It was awesome to see so many cultures, backgrounds and colors in one place.  In the words of Steve Hill; "You’ns, y’all, us’ns, we, we’ns, you’s guys, you guys, all, each person, that individual, all the people, kids, adolescents, old folks, young folks, city slickers, farm boys, home boys, hamburger flippers, ice cream dippers, teeter totter riders, fearless skydivers, short order cooks and collectors of books, smart people that teach, and mooches that leach, Michiganders from Kalamazoo, and citizens of Timbuktu, butchers and bakers, and candlestick makers, anybody can be saved. “Whosoever,” that is you!
    You can be big, tall, small, short, full-headed, gray-headed, bald headed, headed for bald headed, big boned, medium boned, small boned, blond hair, black hair, red hair, green hair, gross hair, red, yellow, black or white. You are precious in His sight.
    You can be sort of bad, sort of real bad, really bad, baddest of bad, or king of bad.
    You can live uptown, downtown, out of town, suburbs, big house, small house, no house, jailhouse, little house on the prairie, penthouse in Pittsburgh, Days Inn in downtown Dayton…
    You can be a Jew from Jerusalem or a Gentile from Jacksonville. You can play the banjo or be named Joe and play in a band. You can be so smart that you can say the ABCs backward or be so backward that you never learned the ABCs. You can hold the Guinness Book of World Records for eating the most live slugs or have a collection of the world’s most colorful bugs. You can be visiting this revival like everyone “oughta” or come walking off the streets from Boston just to get a drink of “wata.”
    You can be patriotic, wearing red, white, and blue and be sitting by your friend who has a big tattoo. You can be a shepherd from the hills or a pusher of pills, a wise man from afar or a soap opera star. You can be a Methodist from Montana or a Jew from Japan, be a vegetarian from Virginia or a connoisseur of Spam. You can come from Texas in a Lexus with spurs in your heels, or be a fly fisherman from Frankfurt with 15 shiny reels.
    You can make your living churning delicious homemade butter, or spend every day collecting cans in the gutter. You can play a guitar and be an international star, or be clown in a circus driving the world’s smallest car. You can be the tidiest person this world has ever known, or live like a pig with garbage in your home.
    You can keep up with the Joneses or be the Jones’s housekeeper or maybe the coolest dude in school with the largest florescent beeper. You can smell like Chanel and live like a queen, or make your abode in an alley wearing tattered Levi’s jeans. You can drive a BMW and wear flashy Italian suits or ride and Appaloosa sporting pointed cowboy boots.
    It doesn’t make a difference if you’re happy or you’re blue, just call upon the Lord- “whosoever,” that’s you!


One day before the revival service Steve was in the "pastors' lounge".  He was standing looking out the window.  A young person was walking up the path to come in the side entrance of the building.  The sanctuary was already full so the young person was turned away.  Steve noticed this and immediately had them come back in and had them change seats with someone who was already a believer.  Steve loved the lost.  Steve's goal was always to see those that were lost, no matter their condition, to be in the service on the front row if possible.  I remember seeing police officers bringing in young people off the street who they just picked up.  Instead of taking them to jail, they took them to the Revival.  Everyone was welcome!


Not Tiring of Repentance

To this day I don't look at the revival as a church service.  The real fellowship happened after the service with friends and family.  At homes and restaurants or where ever you were.  The meeting was usually evangelistic and it needed to be.  There were times where God lead the service a different direction but it still always lead people to the cross.  Much of the church was in sin.  We needed to hear truth.  We didn't need our ears tickled.  Yes, for the most part Steve preached a message of repentance almost nightly.  But there were hundreds of new people there every night.  Just because I had heard a repentance message does not mean for my sake Steve should have stopped preaching it.  And the proof is in the fruit.  Hundreds would storm the altars during Steve's call to repentance nightly.  Steve's message also encouraged people to live lives pleasing to the Lord.  Lives of holiness.  If we are not reminded of the dangers of sin we end up where we are going today.  Churches that bless homosexual unions while turning a blind eye to the plague of divorce, churches that say the grace of God covers all sin past, present and future regardless of how we choose to live in the present.  I just read an article about a "church" in Panama City that has a night club as an "outreach" and holds events that encourage sexual impurity.  It is sick!  This is where sin leads.  We need people to stand up with the power of the Spirit and speak truth as it is written in the scriptures.    


The Gospel of Freedom and Truth

I often wondered why people who were not really interested in living whole-heartedly for the Lord wanted to attend BRSM.  It was Bible school not a secular fraternity.   This wasn't pre-school.  It was not the leaders responsibility to babysit the students.  The rules were set.  No sexual immorality among other things.  That does not seem to be a negative requirement for those wanting to learn more about God and His Holiness.  Being kicked out of Bible school is a lot more lenient than some of the ways God dealt with sin in the Bible...just think of Ananias and Sapphira.   One of my roommates, a young man, was kicked out of BRSM because of sexual sin.  During the weekends he was driving back home and sleeping with a woman almost 3 times his age.  It was a weird and sick relationship.  We prayed with him about it but in the end he did not want the relationship to end.  I went to Scott Brown at pastoral care and informed him what was going on in hopes that my roommate would come to repentance.  It ended with the student being removed from school because he was not willing to give up the relationship.  I also heard of people being removed because of other sin issues.  Not once did I ever hear of a case where someone was removed unjustly.  From what I recall there was always grace and leniency.  Why call yourself a believer and go to Bible school if you want to remain in habitual sin?  The Lord calls us to be separate from the world.  He wants us to be free. 


Leadership 

I remember Steve saying over and over that no church was perfect.  He would say; "and if it was perfect the moment you got there it would cease being perfect."  The leadership recognized the imperfections of the revival.  They did the best they could with the lens they were looking through.  I went through things at the revival that were hard;  times of stretching.  God was stretching all of us.  Leadership included.  Did I walk away hurt, beaten and bruised?  No...I hopefully have come out of it stronger.  Did the leadership make mistakes at times?  Yes.  I remember one of the young people that my friend and I led to the Lord was getting a lot of attention at the Revival.  Steve would call him up and have him give his testimony.  Steve was always so excited by what the Lord was doing and how He was changing lives.  On the flip side, I saw this young new convert begin to change and get a bit prideful due to all the sudden exposure.  I went to Steve's office and sat down with him and shared my concerns.  Steve was always very approachable.       

I remember the first time I met Dr. Michael Brown.  My dad and I had joined the prayer team and during our pre-service meeting they introduced this "new guy" named Michael Brown.  They wanted to know if anyone would like to "catch" for him during the prayer time.  My dad volunteered and had a great time in the Lord.  After the service my parents and I went out to eat with Dr. Brown at What-a-Burger.  It was then that Dr. Brown told us about his desire to start a school of ministry that would be connected to the Revival.  He asked if my parents would want to be involved in that.  My mom ended up being the Registrar of the school.  To this day Dr. Brown continues to speak into my life via books, videos, social media, radio and e-mail.  He continues to give so much to the body of Christ.  I feel blessed to have him as a brother in the Lord.

Anytime man is involved in anything it will not be perfect.  I saw things that I did not agree with but the good far outweighed the bad.  I spent personal time with Steve, Lindell, Michael Brown and others and their passion and heart was always for the Lord and seeing His kingdom advance.  

I think we can all agree that the split was a very sad ending to the Brownsville Revival.  I think it is what people choose to do with themselves after that really shows their heart.  Many people went into depression and some fell away from the faith.  Some got bitter and angry.  Anyone with a solid foundation and their eyes fixed on Jesus should not be shaken by a church split.  We are following Jesus not man.  Did it come as a shock?  Yes it did.  Was it a disappointment?  Yes.  Did it stop the Lord's kingdom from advancing?  No.  Did it affect my relationship with the Lord?  No.   


The Value of Remembering 

"I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds. Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God? (Psalms 77:11-13)"

When I think back at where I was going and how the Lord used the Brownsville Revival to save me, change me, and launch me into ministry, I am so thankful that I went.  The things I saw Him do in my life and in so many others strengthens my faith in what the Lord can still do.  Many of my thoughts and opinions have changed over the years on different issues BUT if there was another Brownsville I would be there.  I would overlook the flaws.  I long for the Lord to pour out on His people again.  I just pray I am a part of it when it happens.  

Just think of when the Lord was calling His disciples, they didn't look at the flaws of each other they looked at Him.  If they would have been looking at the flaws each other they may have never seen past it all to experience what the Lord had for them.    

My overall experience was amazing and to this day I tell people stories of all the amazing things I saw the Lord do there and beyond.  

In the Old Testament the Lord always told his people; "Don't Forget" because we always do forget.  Many times they would pile up some rocks as a reminder.  As I go back in my mind and think of all the things the Lord has done I am still brought to tears and taken back in time to those days.  It makes me hunger for more of the Lord.  He is still speaking and moving; but are we in a place where we are listening? 

I hope that by reading this posts the Lord will draw you closer to himself!



- Shane Good 



9 comments:

  1. YES! It was the *cementing of what God did in those services that happened afterwards in fellowship that helped us process and know He was changing us from the inside out. Thank you for sharing your places of remembrance. #overcomers #neverthesame

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  2. Great post! Brownsville Revival is still changing me, even now after all these years. Never the same!

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  3. Dear Everybody. I and my daughter were treated so awful by people at the Revival I cannot even tell you. I was lied about, called ugly names, and parents even would jerk their kids away from me when I was around. I was wounded and a particular usher, who will remain nameless, did everything in his power to keep me out of the building. But I was not there for them. I was there for God. I bless each and everyone of you. You were callous and did not value me as a person, but I do not hold it against anyone. I love Jesus and I cherished each moment under the mighty presence of God. I would (and did), pay any price to make it last as long as possible. The usher, I grew to feel sorry for him. God repaid me in FULL for every blow, every insult and every rotten thing done. I do hope those people will some day find freedom, but when I stand before God, I will be there alone. It is MY responsibility to guard MY heart. I freely support every side, and every pastor connected with the revival. I will send money and pray for your success. We were never called to be perfect. We were never called to agree on doctrine. We were called to be one in the Spirit and I say TRUE CHURCH ARISE in the Name of JESUS! Put your hurt away because a NEW GENERATION IS NEEDING GOD IN A MIGHTY WAY!

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    1. I am so sorry to hear that you felt unloved at Brownsville. It is refreshing that you did not let that affect your desire to run after Jesus!

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  4. God moved so powerfully in my life during those Glory Days. I will ever remember and be grateful. It didn't stop when revival stopped. Now, my heart aches for those who live a watered down gospel, which as Paul says, is no gospel at all! When I read II Timothy about how people will live in the last days, I am burdened with seeing those who claim to be believers as they slide further from Truth and ever nearer to compromise with things of this world. Scripture reminds us to check our heart daily to see that we are in the right place of living a life truly in the faith. As a believer, WE DIE to this world and its pomp and glory, it's riches and rewards, its cravings and drsires. We live to, for, and in Jesus. OUR LIFE is not our own, we have died to this world and its ways. If that is not our view, we need to look again to see if we have been deceived by doctrines of demons.

    For God so loved the world that He gave His only son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting LIFE! THAT is love. Expecting a holy God to overlook our sin or compromise with things of the world by saying "God is Love" is a dreadful misinterpretation of God's love for mankind. He came to deliver us out of sin, not to "understand us" in it!

    Sin is what separates us from God and my heart does not want to be away from Jesus. He is the one whom I love and desire to please. No wonder the Bible speaks so strongly against sin! God knows that it's the little foxes that spoil the grapes. In other words, the fruit never comes to ripeness when we allow little "innocent" sins into our lives. Those little sins inevitably lead to more which build a barrier between us and the Lord.

    Thanks, Shane, for a wonderful testimony of a life changed by Jesus according to the Biblical pattern given to us!

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  5. Thanks so much brother for posting this.
    I’m from Germany and my church was somewhat influenced by BRSM when I was a kid back in the 90. We have never experienced revival to this day (we did have a near church split though), but I am incredibly thankful for the legacy the revival left behind. A couple of months ago the Lord reminded me of the song "Lord, Have Mercy" out of the blue and I watched some of the stuff you can find on youtube.

    I have to say it did make me a little nostalgic and I got sad that things fell apart at some point, but I quickly pushed those thoughts aside because, as you put at the end of this post and of every Brownville video, I want to remember the great things God has done (also in my life) in the past and be encouraged to know that EVERYTHING is possible with God. Seeing the awesome things he’s done in our days (even if that was 20 years ago) has been a huge blessing to me.

    Oh man. God is so great.

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  6. Rick,

    Thanks for sharing that! We serve an amazing God. How were you touched through BRSM? I would love to know.

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