On Wednesday, Feb. 8, following an ordinary morning chapel service led by Rev. Zach Meerkreebs in Hughes Auditorium at Asbury University, students were encouraged to stay after chapel if they wanted to continue worshiping God.
More than a week later, that worship service hasn’t stopped. As news has spread, Christians from across the country have made pilgrimages to witness what God is doing at the small, multi-denominational university located in Wilmore, Kentucky.
Sarah, a student who attends Asbury University, described the sermon as a “really encouraging and challenging message about love from the book of Romans.”
Meerkreebs encouraged students to sit in the love of God—to taste, see, and experience the power of the Holy Spirit.
“If you want to become love in action, you start by prostrating yourself before the love of God. If you want to become love in action, you have to experience the love of God,” Meerkreebs said. Directly addressing those who are preparing to graduate this year, Meerkreebs added, “Do not graduate and think you are going to do all this stuff in your own strength. Do not leave here before you learn about the love of God and experience the love of God, so you can pour it out, and he will fill you back up.”
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“Asbury,” Meerkreebs said, “the world needs this kind of love. Syria and Turkey needs this kind of love. Your mom and dad need this kind of love. The teammates on your team, the people on your floor, Wilmore, Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, the United States need this kind of love. They need a bunch of Christians to experience the love of God so they can pour out the love of God—not through their own efforts and not through their own knowledge—but because they are filled with his love.”
“I pray that this sits on you guys like an itchy sweater. And when you got an itch, you got to take care of it,” Meerkreebs said.
Sarah shared with ChurchLeaders that she was one of the students who stayed after the chapel service and continued to worship, adding, “Something felt different and I couldn’t leave just quite yet.”
Describing what happened next, Sarah said that despite having class right after chapel, she took off her backpack and decided to stay.
“There were maybe 20 students who were there just worshiping Jesus with everything they had, and it was beautiful,” she said, explaining that students “began to pray over each other, and my friends brought in their guitars and started playing and singing too.”
“Jesus has been moving in beautiful ways since the very beginning. The time just absolutely flew that day. I ended up being there for 13 hours straight, not once leaving, because I just couldn’t get enough of it,” Sarah added.
53 years ago, on Feb. 3, 1970, something similar took place in the same auditorium—an event now known as the Asbury Revival of 1970. It began when Dean Custer B. Reynolds invited students to share their testimonies during a chapel service. That revival lasted for 144 hours and resulted in the university canceling classes for a week.