We are approaching the 100th Anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival. In April 1906 the Holy Spirit fell on a ragtag group of black, white, and Hispanic Christians who had gathered in the rundown Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles. They sang with fervor, testified of Godâ€™s sanctifying power and spoke in tonguesâ€”in a day when such behavior was considered fanatical. This now-famous revival, led by an unknown black preacher named William Seymour, was a defining moment in the history of Christianity.(link).
I have received numerous emails this week about the Azusa Street Revival. I don’t know if I am considered Pentecostal or not. I was raised as a Charismatic Lutheran! What I do know is that I crave to know the real God and take part in everything He has to offer. I read recently on another church’s website that they believe that the physical gifts of the Holy Spirit were only for the disciples and they were “dispensed” only for the 1st Generation Church. They believe that the current resurgence of speaking in tongues and prophecy is unscriptural. I am sure that there are committed Christians that could debate that issue until Jesus returns. That’s not my point in bringing it up. My problem is that I can’t deny personal experiences. I have been in prayer meetings where people have prophesied in tongues and someone completely unrelated would interpret the prophecy. I pray in tongues and I know I’m not just “making it up”. I have witnessed physical healing and demons being cast out of people. I know people who have battled demonic spirits.
So – if I follow their logic – if what I have experienced in my own personal life is unscriptural then it isn’t from God. If it isn’t from God, it must be from Satan. Is that what they are telling me? Could they be so sure of something that they would condemn me for believing that the same power of the Holy Spirit that was available to the disciples is available to us today?
Listen – I’ve read the book – I know who wins. Why are we as a church so passive? A lot of us are living life just holding on until Jesus returns and takes us to heaven, instead of boldly proclaiming the message of Jesus. We should be warriors instead of wimps! We need to start living our life with a triumphal view of the future.
God is moving. God does not wait for us to decide to serve Him. He moves and it is up to us to find where he is working and join Him. Believe me, I’m writing this for me as much as for you. I want all Christians to step up. Take a stand. Why be so afraid to “offend” someone? We don’t bring people to Christ. Christ is already there. Christ moves in peoples lives – we’re just there to support and encourage them. Be prepared to answer questions. Be available. Be a friend. Be where Jesus is working.
In an article in Charisma Online, J. Lee Grady lists some things He sees God doing today:
1. Heâ€™s shifting us from buildings to the organic church.
2. Heâ€™s shifting us from pulpits to people.
3. Heâ€™s shifting us from racism to reconciliation.
4. Heâ€™s shifting us from male-dominated to egalitarian.
5. Heâ€™s shifting us from hidden sin to healthy holiness.
6. Heâ€™s shifting us from human ability to supernatural power.
7. Heâ€™s shifting us from poverty to prosperity.
8. Heâ€™s shifting us from escapism to conquest.
I don’t necessarily subscribe to all of the items on the list as they are written but I think it provides a good starting point for a discussion. Lets have a discussion about where you see God moving the church. Read the article that I linked to and read his explanations on each point. Then, give me your opinion.
Where do you stand?