His response to their please for moderation was that he would rather die than not see revival. He Is Still Born In a Stable As soon as word got out about the experience that came upon Seymour's little prayer group, large crowds of interested people descended on them. To accommodate the large numbers of people, they were forced to rent a rundown old barn-like building in the middle of a black ghetto.
At the time no one imagined that the little street that it was on, Azusa, would soon become one of the most famous addresses in the world. The former mission had a dirt floor and was once used as a livery stable. Many remarked when they came that the Lord Himself had been born in just such a place. Even so, services were soon going almost around the clock to handle the hungry multitudes that were coming. One of the most remarkable characteristics of this revival from the very beginning was the diversity of the people who were drawn to it.
Some considered it unprecedented in church history. Within a week even a prominent Jewish rabbi announced his full support. Soon astounding healings and dramatic conversions were taking place almost daily. The church at the time was very dry, so each testimony went forth like sparks into a dry wood. Newspaper articles would fan the flames even more. Testimonies from the Welsh Revival had stirred multitudes to seek the Lord for revival in America, and the deplorable spiritual state of the country made her ready for it.
Because of this, the fire spread faster than possible any previous or subsequent revival in American history. Seymour started a little paper to teach about the renewal, printing 5, copies. They were passed around until they fell apart. Soon he was printing 50,, but there was no end to the demand. Within weeks a steady stream of missionaries were coming from every continent on earth. Those who were on the front lines of the battle against the forces of darkness were the most acutely aware that they needed more power. Just as the Lord's own disciples were told that they would receive power to be His witnesses when the Holy Spirit came upon them, this had become the only hope for effective ministry that many of the missionaries had.
They seized it like a drowning man grasps a lifesaver. They left Azusa with the power they needed, and soon gospel fires were burning brightly all over the world. In just two years the movement had taken root in over 50 nations, and was thought to have penetrated every U. Because missionaries were some of the first to come, missions remain a fundamental part of the spiritual genetic code of the Pentecostal Movement, and one of its greatest strengths.
Throughout the Scriptures it is seen that the power of God has always come in its greatest demonstrations where there was the greatest darkness. The first ones to carry the Pentecostal movement abroad were hardened, seasoned missionaries who greatly appreciated what they had been given. They used the power they had been given, and multitudes of men, women and children were delivered from bondage.
Soon missionary reports back to home churches read like a modern book of Acts, adding even more fuel to the fire of the movement at home. When it was discovered that the greatest demonstrations of the Spirit's power usually came in the darkest, neediest places, it compelled many to go on mission trips just to witness the power of God. This added great strength and depth to the new movement, and kept it growing throughout the world. Pentecostal children grew up hearing of the testimonies of God's power from missionaries.
Because such esteem was given to these missionaries, they often became the children's greatest heroes. Emulating their heroes, many of these children of the early Pentecostal pioneers grew up to be missionaries so that they could live close to such wonderful activities of the Spirit. Others became pastors and evangelists who founded new churches and ministries all across America. Many of them are now leaders of the great Pentecostal churches and denominations. Each of them is like a vast treasure houses filled with stories of the glory of God. They walked with Him and learned His ways.
They learned to be host to the Holy Spirit. They grew up believing that the book of Acts was not just a history book, but a living guide for normal church life. Many of their own stories read like a modern book of Acts as they earned their place as elders of the church. We do not see in order to believe, but we believe in order to see. Because it is basic Pentecostal theology that God is the same today as He was yesterday, that He does everything today that He did in Scripture, true Pentecostals believe in his present working, and so they see it.
Most Pentecostals will begin to wonder where they have gone wrong if they are not witnessing regular demonstrations of the power of God. To them it is blasphemy to think that God was an author who wrote just one book and then retired. They must have a living relationship with a living God, and so they do. This was the experience at Azusa Street. Believers were in constant awe at the works of God in their midst. People forgot to eat or sleep, sometimes for days at a time, because they were so caught up in the presence of the Lord.
Like the manna that came from heaven, every day they expected a fresh experience with the Lord. A House of Prayer for All Nations At any given time the Azusa Mission would be packed with such a diversity of people that some considered this almost as much of a marvel as the extraordinary miracles that were taking place. It began with a few black men and women in a little home group, but soon most of those who came were white. In one meeting over twenty nationalities were counted. Fine ladies could be found lying prostrate on the floor next to domestic servants and washer women.
Prominent churchmen and high government officials sat next to hobos. No one seemed to care. They all had one thing in common - they came to receive the Holy Spirit of God. He wanted to see for himself the great work that was already the talk of Christians around the world. Seymour was thrilled to have a visit from his mentor, and warmly welcomed him. However, Parham was deeply offended by what he saw. He thought that the various charismatic gifts were too openly demonstrated, and he was appalled by the way so many fell to the ground in apparent trances one report described Azusa as sometimes resembling "a forest of fallen trees".
God of Wonders: Experiencing God's Voice Through Signs, Wonders and Miracles
Seymour realized that some were faking the manifestations, and believed that these were tares sent by the devil to foul the field of wheat. Even so, he held to the biblical wisdom to let the wheat and tares grow up together. He knew that if he tried to root out the tares, the wheat would also be uprooted - if he stopped that which was not real, he would also quench the Spirit and the work that was real. He determined that the risk of having some problems was acceptable in view of the spiritual benefits at stake. He was right.
When he later succumbed to the pressure and changed this policy, the revival quickly died. Even more than the faking of experiences, Parham was appalled by the unusual social and racial integration. Parham admired the Ku Klux Klan, and especially objected to racial mixing or mingling during worship and at the altar. However, he did not believe this just out of racial pride, but because of a false doctrine. He believed the great sin of humanity that caused the judgment of the flood was racial mixing, and that Noah was chosen to survive because of his pedigree, being "without mixed blood.
The Bible does say that Noah was chosen because "he was perfect in his generations" see Genesis KJV , or literally, "perfect in his genealogy," but this had nothing to do with the mixing of human races. The mixture that so offended the Lord was the mixture of the fallen angels with men which had produced the superhuman "nephilim" see Genesis This was a race that the Lord did not create, and threatened the destruction of men who he did create, which He also planned to redeem.
This seems to have been Satan's attempt to preempt the "new creation" man that would be brought forth when the Lord gave His spirit to men. In contrast to Parham's philosophy, Seymour felt that an essential element of Christianity itself was a unity which saw beyond the barriers of race, color, gender, nation, class or status. This was a demonstration that God is no respecter of persons, and that all believers are truly one in Christ.
To him, the Azusa Street Mission was becoming a taste of what true Christianity was meant to be, just as the first Pentecost saw the coming together of those from every nation. Seymour's leadership of such a renewal marked by interracial equality, harmony and unity is even more remarkable when it is understood that this took place during the most severely segregated time in American history. It was also composed mostly of the two most embittered racial groups - the poor whites and poor blacks. When the revival spread, it was also most readily received in the Southern states where this conflict was then most prevalent.
This is another sign of true revival; the waters of God always flow to the lowest points, and He sends His light to the darkest places. A leading British clergyman, A. Boddy, wrote, "One of the most remarkable things [about the revival] was that preachers of the Southern states were willing and eager to go over to those Negro people in Los Angeles and have fellowship with them. This has been another tragic way in which history has continually repeated itself.
Those who begin a movement will almost always persecute those who seek to take it further, or who are used to start another subsequent movement. One of the worst curses placed upon biblical Israel for her apostasy was that they would eat their own children. The apostasy of the church has brought this terrible curse upon herself in almost every generation. Spiritual fathers seem to inevitably try to devour their own spiritual children. When Parham could not force his style of leadership upon the Azusa Street Mission, he denounced it, and started another rival mission at the fashionable Women's Christian Temperance Union Building.
This was the first schism in the Pentecostal Movement. When this rival mission failed, he spent the rest of his life denouncing Seymour and the Azusa Street Revival. By this he sealed his own spiritual doom. He continually lost influence and followers until his death in They freely shared what they had been given, and were delighted when they saw the Spirit poured out on those from other races, especially whites.
Thoughts along the journey to the heart of the Father.
They felt that the Lord had given them the greatest gift, and they were thrilled that they were able to share it with their white brethren. That this great worldwide revival was a contribution from the black community has never been denied by white Pentecostals, but it is often forgotten. Many of the white leaders who themselves went to Azusa Street to receive the baptism, remarkably still held to the prevalent segregationist beliefs of the times.
They took the blessing back home to their all-white congregations in which no blacks were welcome. This was not true of all, but it was of most, and the entire Pentecostal Movement quickly developed into the white and black streams that still prevail today. However, the separate black and white streams in this movement was not the way it began, and obviously was not the way that the Lord wanted it, but it is understandable.
The spiritual battle that began to rage against the baptism in the Holy spirit itself was probably the most fierce persecution that Christians in this nation have ever experienced. Until the Charismatic renewal made speaking in tongues almost fashionable, the price for being a Pentecostal was very high.
Caricatures of Pentecostals in newspapers across the country depicted them as anything from devil worshipers to lunatics. Employment was difficult, if not impossible, for anyone found to be Pentecostal. Their houses and their churches were often burned. The children of Pentecostals were ostracized, called "devil worshipers," and subjected to ruthless beatings by other children. Many had to flee from the homes and towns that they had grown up in. Both the press and historians have turned a blind eye to this persecution against Pentecostals. It was, at times, as terrible and degrading as what African-Americans suffered under segregation.
For black Pentecostals it was a double jeopardy, as they were secluded from the white culture because of their race, and then from the black culture because of their religion. Just as the first Reformers risked all that they had so that later generations could enjoy religious freedom, two generations of Pentecostals paid the price for our freedom to know the Holy Spirit in our churches the way that we do today.
They did it because they loved the Holy Spirit, and they counted knowing Him and allowing Him freedom in the church as more important than any freedom that the world could give them. Because of this intense persecution against Pentecostals, to add to this a battle with the powerful forces of segregation and bigotry, was understandably more than many felt they could handle at the time. Military history teaches that it will almost always result in defeat to try to fight a two-front war, so the battle against racism in the church would have to wait for another generation.
Even so, the Pentecostal Movement began with those from every race, creed and social position, in unity, seeking the Lord together. The power that was released to impact the world has never been as great as it was in those first years at Azusa when this unity existed. His house will be "a house of prayer for all nations" Greek ethnos, or literally "ethnic races". From the first Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit has proven that He will only come to the degree that we have unity. Like those who came to the Azusa Street Mission, we must want the Holy Spirit more than we want to hold on to our differences.
Christianity was born as a multi-cultural entity, on the Day of Pentecost when men had gathered from "every nation. In the little group at Antioch which sent our the first missionaries to the Gentiles, there was represented those from different races and social positions. When the Lord wants to do something truly great in the earth, this seems to be a dynamic that is required. In its most pure form the church will always be multicultural. That is why Paul had to resolutely confront Peter concerning his hypocrisy of not eating with the Gentiles.
Racial equality before God is fundamental to the gospel. It is debatable whether this multi-racial nature of the church was lost by the church because of her drift into apostasy, or whether it caused that drift. Regardless, it is the true state of the church that was born on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy spirit first came to the church, and we will only be the true church to the degree to which we recover it.
This is being realized by many church leaders today, and overcoming racism is now rightly a major thrust almost across the spectrum of Christianity. This is certainly one of the most positive sign of our times. In spite of almost constant pressure from world-renowned church leaders, who came from around the globe to impose what they perceived to be needed order and direction on the revival, for over two years Seymour held the course and allowed the Holy Spirit to move in His own, often mysterious, ways.
Like Evan Roberts, who was at the same time leading the great Welsh Revival, Seymour's greatest leadership quality was his ability to follow the Holy Spirit. Seymour and Roberts both believed that the Holy spirit required the freedom to move through whomever He chose, not just the leadership. They both resolved to allow anyone to be used by the Lord, even the most humble believers.
This sometimes brought embarrassment, but more often it allowed the Holy Spirit to do marvelous things among them. If we really want the holy Spirit in our midst, we must allow Him to be the leader. He is, after all, God. However, they are both true, and they are not in conflict with each other. Neither is either of these truths fifty percent of the truth. They are both one hundred percent true. God is utterly sovereign, and He has also, in his sovereignty, delegated authority to men that He will not even violate Himself.
Without freedom there could be no true worship or true obedience. That is why the Lord placed the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden. There could be no true obedience if there were not also the freedom to disobey. The Lord is the unquestioned Sovereign of the Universe, but when He delegates authority, He does not even violate it Himself. Otherwise we would never be able to rule and reign with him. To rule requires both authority and responsibility. Therefore, even though He always knows what we need even before we ask Him, he always waits for us to ask.
Liberty is required for true worship or true obedience. He has removed the veil into His presence for all, but we must seek Him. Therefore, we are all as close to god as we want to be. We are also as far from him as we choose to be. If His manifest presence is not in our midst it is not because of Him, but because of our own choice. Many give lip service to wanting the holy Spirit to lead their meetings, but really are not willing to give up their own programs, or trust Him in the way that He requires if he is to do this.
Seymour was willing. This kind of "hands off" leadership style has been a hallmark of most of the world's great revivals. However, even a cursory study of church history reveals that outside of revival it has seldom, if ever, worked. God simply moves in different ways at different times. In times of true revival there are usually dramatic and unique demonstrations of His sovereignty, and it is best to just stay out of His way. The rest of the time He seems to delight most in working with and through men.
Even so, our goal should always be to submit our will to His, and always follow His leading. The more we can do this, the more He will usually manifest His wonderful presence. As Vance Havner, one of the great revivalists of modern times, once observed, "Revival is like a sale at the department store. It is more dramatic, and gets more press, but the normal business of the store is the day to day merchandising of products. Much more has been accomplished for the overall advancement of the gospel by the day to day witnessing of faithful saints, and by the service of faithful pastors of local churches, who day by day fight on the front lines of the battle against darkness, than has ever been accomplished by a revival.
Revivals have sparked great spiritual advances, but they are sustained only by the day to day devotion of the saints. Azusa was spectacular, as were other subsequent revivals and movements, but the real and substantial advance has come from a multitude of lesser known, but nevertheless faithful leaders and people. The same is true in our personal lives. Spectacular spiritual experiences are wonderful, and can propel us to great heights of devotion and worship. Even so, the real strength of every Christian's life will usually be found in the degree of faithfulness to the disciplines of bible study, prayer, fellowship and day to day witnessing.
In times of revival, there is also a dynamic, manifest presence of the Holy Spirit that makes deviations apparent to almost everyone, including those who make them. Needed corrections are therefore usually automatic. However, when we do not have this dynamic presence of the Lord that is found in revival, almost every vacuum of leadership will be quickly filled with the immature, the prideful, or the rebellious.
The result of this will not be revival, but confusion, or worse. It is very important that we do not "get the cart in front of the horse," in the leadership we use. Seymour could use the leadership style that he did because he had revival. If he had tried to use this style with the same number and types of people without the dynamic of revival present, he would have had worse than chaos - he would have had war!
This had happened to many who have tried to exhibit revival type leadership without revival. The key is to be ready to step aside when the presence of the Lord does come. Our goal should be to have such a manifest presence of the Lord in all of our meetings.
However, the way to do this is not to just sit back and do nothing until He comes, but to faithfully press on to maturity by seeking to increasingly be sensitive to His leading. Occasionally the Lord catches us up in a spectacular manifestation of His presence, but usually leads us to higher ground like a father teaching his child to walk. He will help us to stand, and then back off so that we must walk to Him. As we learn to take a couple of steps, He backs further away so that we have to walk further.
He is not just playing with us when He removes His manifest presence, He is teaching us to walk in the Spirit and to pursue Him. When we do not feel Him it is not a time to sit down, but to try to take more steps. The New Testament epistles are basically the apostles' exhortations to leaders who were serving in times that were not dynamic revivals.
They did not expect the spirit to come every day like He did on the Day of Pentecost, so they went about doing the day to day work of the ministry. However, when He does decide to come in a dramatic way that ignites a revival, it's time to drop what we're doing and ride the wave for as far as it will take us. Wisdom is to know when the Lord is telling us to go forth and take the land, or when He is telling us to stand and watch His salvation. There are times for each, and anytime we confuse them we will have problems.
Seymour was called to lead in a revival. However, the fierce persecution raised up against the movement soon pressured him into an increasingly protectionist stature. Gradually he allowed more and more control of the meetings to be taken over by a few leaders. Soon they were following a program for the meetings.
Those who were witnesses said that just as gradually as this happened the Holy Spirit seemed to depart. This explanation of how the revival at Azusa Street ended could be the case. However, it is also possible that it was simply time to more on, and that the Spirit was withdrawing His presence so that the people would go forth. Just as the sale at a department store would lose its impact if it went on all of the time, it does not seem that the Lord ever intended for revivals to last forever in their initial form.
Even so, most revivals do end prematurely, or in a way that was not preferable, because of human mistakes. We should learn from there, but let us also not fall into the trap of wrongly worshiping revival. We can be a close to the Lord today as anyone ever has been, even in the midst of the greatest revivals. Without question, the Azusa Street revival was one of the greatest in all of church history.
It can be argued that it has not yet ended, but has gone on in many different forms, and in many different places. It is right for us to give honor to whom honor is due, and William J. Seymour must be considered one of the greatest Christian leaders of all time. The Greatest Miracle At the height of the Azusa Street revival Seymour prophesied, "We are on the verge of the greatest miracle the world has ever seen.
He did not live to see the completion of his dream, but he fully expected the renewal to ultimately accomplish it. As the movement has continued in a number of different forms, it is still more than possible, it is probable that his dream will come true. When it does, William J. Seymour must be considered as one who sowed the seeds for this greatest miracle of all. Possibly more than any other man in church history, he promoted that which alone can bring it to pass, seeking the fullness of the Holy Spirit in our midst. Above all things the Holy Spirit has come to testify of Jesus.
He alone can truly convict us of our sins and lead us into all truth. When the Holy Spirit does manifest Himself in our midst, we do not see the world in shades of black and white; we only see the glory of the Son of God. He has been given to us to help us see as God sees. God does not look on the outward appearance, but on the heart. God does not just see us as we are now, but He sees us through the blood of His Son, which is to see us as we are to become - made in the likeness of Jesus. We must begin to see each other the same way. Paul the apostle had said that "tongues are for a sign" I Corinthians , and that sign seemed to have been given on the first Day of Pentecost.
That day men from every nation heard the glories of God in their own language. This was the first time since the Tower of Babel and the scattering of men's languages that this had happened. The sign was that the church would be the anti-thesis of the Tower of Babel, where men were scattered from each other. In the church, we will all be regathered as one.
Even as fractured and divided as the Pentecostal Movement may presently be, it has the destiny and calling to help bring unity to the whole church. The fire still burns in the Pentecostal Movement. The fire will burn until all of the wood, hay and stubble has been consumed, and the gold, silver and precious stones have been purified. Each movement may be fashioned into a different stone, but the day is coming when we will all be fashioned together into one crown of glory.
The explosive spread of the movement begun at Azusa continued as long as the Holy Spirit was free to move as He willed, and the people sat before Him as one. As the revival drifted from these basics, they also drifted from the source of their power. Where the Spirit is Lord there must be liberty, and where He is Lord there will be unity. Before the Lord we all look the same. The blood of Jesus does wash away all color lines. It is interesting to note that the very name Azusa was derived from an Indian word that means "blessed miracle. At that time Azusa referred to the site of an old Indian village south of present day Los Angeles in the San Gabriel canyon.
There a young Indian girl named Coma Lee used to pray and fast for the healing of her people. She was gifted with healing power as she laid hands on the sick. After she prayed for a chief who was wonderfully healed, he gave her the name Azusa to commemorate his miracle of healing. For many years. During that time whenever there was suffering, people said, "Go to Azusa and be healed He came to know God as a teenager and served congregations of the United Free Church Presbyterian and as an itinerant evangelist. In addition to his involvement in the Lewis Awakening, he was much in demand as a speaker throughout the British Isles.
It chronicles some of Mr. Campbell's experiences and insights related to the revival from in Hebrides Islands off the northwestern coast of Scotland. Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence. As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence! When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.
Isaiah I never read that third verse without my mind going back to what actually happened in the parish of Barvas on the island of Lewis. At the outset, let me make it clear that I did not bring revival to the Hebrides. I had the privilege of being there and in some small way leading the movement for about three years but God moved in the parish of Barvas before I set foot on the island.
Revival is still a sign which is spoken against, and you cannot believe every story you have heard about the Lewis Awakening. Down through the years things have been said which have no foundation in fact, however, facts are powerful things. Revival Defined First, let me tell you what I mean by revival. An evangelistic campaign or special meeting is not revival. In a successful evangelistic campaign or crusade, there will be hundreds or even thousands of people making decisions for Jesus Christ, but the community remains untouched, and the churches continue much the same as before the outreach.
In revival, God moves in the district. Suddenly, the community becomes God conscious. The Spirit of God grips men and women in such a way that even work is given up as people give themselves to waiting upon God. In the midst of the Lewis Awakening, the parish minister at Barvas wrote, "The Spirit of the Lord was resting wonderfully on the different townships of the region. His Presence was in the homes of the people, on meadow and moorland, and even on the public roads.
Of the hundreds who found Jesus Christ during this time fully seventy-five per cent were saved before they came near a meeting or heard a sermon by myself or any other ministers in the parish. The power of God, the Spirit of God, was moving in operation, and the fear of God gripped the souls of men - this is God-sent revival as distinct from special efforts in the field of evangelism. A Foundation of Intercession and Vision How did this gracious movement begin? In , the local presbytery issued a proclamation to be read on a certain Sunday in all the Free Churches on the island of Lewis.
This proclamation called the people to consider the "low state of vital religion. We call upon every individual as before God to examine his or her life in light of that responsibility which attends to us all and that happily in divine mercy we may be visited with a spirit of repentance and turn again to the Lord whom we have so grieved. I am ashamed to think of it - two sisters, one eighty-two and one eight-four, the latter blind. These two women developed a great heart concern for God to do something in the parish and gave themselves to waiting upon God in their little cottage.
One night God gave one of the sisters a vision. Now, we have got to understand that in revival remarkable things happen. It is supernatural; you are not moving on human levels; you are moving in divine places. In the vision, she saw the churches crowded with young people and she told her sister, "I believe revival is coming to the parish.
25 Best Christian Revival Stories images in | Bible verses, Holy ghost, Holy Spirit
Sending for the minister, she told him her story, and he took her message as a word from God to his heart. Turning to her he said, "What do you think we should do? Get your elders and deacons together and spend at least two nights a week waiting upon God in prayer. If you will do that at your end of the parish, my sister and I will do it at our end of the parish from ten o'clock at night until two or three o'clock in the morning.
During this time they plead one promise, "For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring" Isaiah This went on for at least three months. Nothing happened. But one night a young deacon rose and began reading from Psalm 24, "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation" Psalm Closing his Bible, he addressed the minister and other office bearers in words that sound crude in English, but not so crude in our Gaelic language, "It seems to me so much humbug.
To be waiting as we are waiting, to be praying as we are praying, when we ourselves are not rightly related to God. Is my heart pure? Now, don't ask me to explain the physical manifestations of this movement because I can't, but this I do know, that something happened in the barn at that moment in that young deacon. There was a power loosed that shook the heavens and an awareness of God gripped those gathered together. Breakthrough in Barvas Now, I wasn't in the island at the time.
I was in another area when word came asking me to come to Lewis for ten days. I had other meetings scheduled and wrote back that I would put Barvas on my calender for the following year. However, do to circumstances I won't go into, my other meetings were canceled, and I found it possible to go to the islands as requested. Arriving by boat, I was met by the minister of the church and one of his office bearers.
As I stepped ashore, the office bearer came to me and said, "Mr. Campbell, may I ask you a question? Are you walking with God? It was a remarkable meeting. God sovereignly moved, and there was an awareness of God which was wonderful. The meeting lasted until four o'clock in the morning, and I had not witnessed anything to compare with it at any other time during my ministry.
Around midnight, a group of young people left a dance and crowded into the church. There were people who couldn't go to sleep because they were so gripped by God. Although there was an awareness of God and a spirit of conviction at this initial meeting, the real breakthrough came a few days later on Sunday night in the parish church.
The church was full, and the Spirit of God was moving in such a way that I couldn't preach. I just stood still and gazed upon the wondrous moving of God. Men and women were crying out to God for mercy all over the church. There was no appeal made whatsoever. After meeting for over three hours, I pronounced the benediction and told the people to go out, but mentioned that any who wanted to continue the meeting could come back later.
A young deacon came to me and said, "Mr. Campbell, God is hovering over us. There was a crowd of at least people gathered in the yard outside the church Someone gave out Psalm and the crowd streamed back in to the church which could no longer hold the number of people. A young school teacher came down front crying out, "O God, is there nothing left for me? There was a bus load of people coming to the meeting from sixty miles away. The power of God came into the bus so that some could not even enter the church when the bus arrived.
People were swooning all over the church, and I cannot remember one single person who was moved on by God that night who was not gloriously born again. When I went out of the church at four o'clock in the morning there were a great number of people praying alongside the road. In addition to the school teacher, several of those born again that night are in foreign mission work today.
I received a message that a nearby church was crowded at one o'clock in the morning and wanted me to come. When I arrived, the church was full and there were crowds outside. Coming out of the church two hours later, I found a group of people, unable to get into the church, praying in a nearby field. One old woman complained about the noise of the meetings because she could not get to sleep. A deacon grabbed her and shook her, saying, "Woman, you have been asleep long enough!
The blind sister encouraged me to go and told me, "If you were living as near to God as you ought to be, He would reveal His secrets to you. As we prayed, the sister said, "Lord, you remember what you told me today that you were going to save seven men in this church. I just gave your message to Mr. Campbell and please give him wisdom because he badly needs it. I agreed to go, and when I arrived at seven o'clock, there were approximately people at the church.
The people could not tell what it was that had brought them; it had been directed by the Spirit of God. I spoke for a few minutes on the text "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent' Acts One of the ministers stopped me and said, "Come see this.
On a trip to a neighboring island I found the people were very cold and stiff. Calling for some men to come over and pray, I particular requested that a young man named Donald accompany them.
Donald, who was seventeen years old, had been recently saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit about two weeks later on a hillside. As we were in the church that night, Donald was sitting toward the front with tears falling off his face onto the floor. I knew Donald was in touch with God in a way that I was not. So I stopped preaching and asked him to pray. Donald rose to his feet and prayed, "I seem to be gazing into an open door and see the Lamb in the midst of the throne and the keys of death and hell on his waist. After he composed himself, he lifted his eyes toward heaven, raised his hands, and said, "God, there is power there.
Let it loose! On one side of the room, the people threw up their hands, put their heads back and kept them in that position for two hours. It is hard to do this for ten minutes, much less two hours. On the other side, the people were slumped over, crying out for mercy. In a village five miles away, the power of God swept through the town and there was hardly a house in that village that didn't have someone saved in it that night.
In one area of the district there was bitter opposition to the movement because I preached the baptism of the Holy Ghost as a separate and distinct occurrence following conversion. Those who opposed me were so successful in their opposition that very few people came to the meetings. One night, the session clerk came to me and said, "There is only one thing we can do to the correct the situation which now prevails. We must give ourselves to waiting upon God in prayer. I have been told there is a farmer who said we could meet in his home.
He is not a Christian and his wife isn't saved, but they are God-fearing people. I felt the going very, very hard. I prayed. All the ministers prayed. One felt that the very powers of hell were unleashed. About midnight I turned to one of the elders and told him I thought the time had come for him to lay hold of God. This man rose to his feet and prayed for about half and hour. Of course, you must remember that we were in revival, and in revival time doesn't exist.
Nobody was looking at the clock. The man paused, lifted his hand toward heaven and said, "God, did You know that your honor is a stake? You gave the promise that You would pour water on the thirsty and floods upon the dry ground, and You are not doing it. When we grasp that the true nature of God is Spirit we then understand that God permeates all things.
He infuses them with his presence, indwells our bodies and our thoughts, our pasts, our presents and our futures. Although we may be without Jesus in the flesh, in the Spirit we have someone just as profound. This life giving Spirit of Jesus and his Father lives within us, more intimate than our own heartbeat, closer to us than our own breath! Marvellous as the indwelling might be, the Spirit is much more than a timid and silent witness! Yet in the gospel reading, in marked contrast, Jesus gently breathes the Spirit upon his disciples where in Acts the Spirit explodes onto the scene like a tornado.
The disciples did indeed receive the promised power from on high that ignited the age of the Church and empowered her ministry. We only need to read about the signs and miracles in the rest of the book of Acts to know that the Holy Spirit came to be with the Church for the long-haul and not just for a fleeting visit! In the Bible, wherever the Spirit of God is so too is the manifestation of his power! But has the mighty rushing wind of the Spirit diminished over the centuries to become a weak and pitiful wheeze?
Not at all!
And across the Atlantic, the outpouring of the Spirit in Los Angeles, at the Azusa Street Mission in was to act as a catalyst for the worldwide surge of Pentecostalism which continues to grow today! I travelled around England in the late nineties with Melvin Banks, an Assemblies of God evangelist, who has a profound healing gift. People were healed and forgiven, delivered from evil, set free from past hurts and addictions as the Spirit blew wherever he willed. We only need take a look back at the contrast between our New Testament and gospel readings to evidence this.
Probably all of us here today believe that the Holy Spirit can and does act in our lives. He speaks to us both personably and gently, through the moods and the whispers of thought and circumstance and he, of course, operates through the sacraments. Furthermore is Pentecost just an event in ancient history or is it still happening?
In our gospel reading we heard that the Holy Spirit is a speaking and revealing Spirit. This reliance on experience in order to believe is akin to thoroughly soaking the wick of the lamp of faith with water before even attempting to light it!
The faith that God requires of us is simply to believe that he can do what our experience would have us doubt.