While preaching at Rockharbor, my home church in Costa Mesa, California, where thousands of students and young adults attend, I quoted the old Puritan John Owen on the need for personal holiness-not exactly the hottest topic today: “There is not a duty we perform for God that sin does not oppose. And the more spirituality or holiness there is in what we do, the greater enmity to it. Sin never wavers, yields, or gives up … no area of one’s life indeed is secured without a struggle.”
Then I issued a call to confession. Suddenly the biggest guy in the auditorium charged the platform and dropped to his knees before me. He was sobbing so hard that people in the front row began to cry along with him.
Over the last three years, I have witnessed thousands of such confessions at churches and at more than 30 campuses, both secular and Christian. I’ve discovered that this generation of young men and women is crying out for revival.
I acknowledge that the statistics related to, for example, the sexual practices of today’s generation are extremely alarming to their baby boomer elders, who thought they had broken all the taboos. According to Mark D. Regnerus’s book Forbidden Fruit: Sex and Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers (Oxford, 2007), “[E]vangelical teenagers don’t display just average sexual activity patterns, but rather above-average ones.” But I’ve been learning that this depiction is far from the whole story.