Rev Dr Edgar Mayer – Living Grace Lutheran Church, Toowoomba – Date: 22 March 2015

For more sermons and other writings, please check the following homepage: www.livinggracetoowoomba.org

 

Revival Unceasing

 

In 1906, revival broke out at the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles. There was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit:

 

Frank Bartleman: Azusa Street, New Kensington: Whitaker House 1982, p56-58: Brother Seymour generally sat behind two empty boxes, one on top of the other. He usually kept his head inside the top one during the meeting, in prayer. There was no pride there. The services ran almost continuously. Seeking souls could be found under the power almost any hour of the day or night. The place was never closed or empty. The people came to meet God – He was always there. Hence a continuous meeting …

God’s presence became more and more wonderful … God broke strong men and women to pieces, and put them together again for His glory … No one knew what might be coming, what God would do. All was spontaneous, ordered by the Spirit … The meetings started themselves, spontaneously, in testimony, praise, and worship … We had no prearranged program … A dozen might be on their feet at one time, trembling under the mighty power of God … Someone would finally get up, anointed for the message … It might be a child, a woman, or a man … The meetings were controlled by the Spirit, from the throne. Those were truly wonderful days. I often said that I would rather live six months at that time than fifty years of ordinary life …

Someone might be speaking. Suddenly the Spirit would fall upon the congregation. God Himself would give the altar call. Men would fall all over the house, like the slain in battle, or rush for the altar en masse to seek God. The scene often resembled a forest of fallen trees. Such a scene cannot be imitated. I never saw an altar call given in those early days. God Himself would call them. And the preacher knew when to quit.

When God spoke, we all obeyed. It seemed a fearful thing to hinder or grieve the Spirit. The whole place was steeped in prayer. God was in His holy temple. It was for man to keep silent. The Shekinah glory rested there. In fact, some claim to have seen the glory by night over the building. I do not doubt it. I have stopped more than once within two blocks of the place and prayed for strength before I dared go on. The presence of the Lord was so real.

 

What happened at Azusa Street touched the world. The spiritual gift of speaking in tongues that had been lost to the church worldwide was restored and, within three short years, people spoke in tongues in country after country after country – including Australia. The Spirit of God was so strong at Azusa Street that it could not be ignored.

 

Some definitions of revival:

 

Richard Owen Roberts: Revival is an extraordinary work of the Holy Spirit producing extraordinary results.

 

Martyn Lloyd-Jones: We can define revival as a period of unusual blessing and activity in the life of the Christian Church. Revival means awakening, stimulating the life, bringing it to the surface again.

 

Ted Rendall: Revival is the healing of God’s people. It is the binding up of their wounds. It is being raised up from the sickbed. It is to receive health and strength, not primarily in a physical sense, but in the spiritual. It is the recovery of spiritual health (based on Hos. 6:1-3).

 

What Is a Genuine Revival by Evangelist Daniel Kolenda: Some think of a Revival as a time when the church goes to new places in God, but that would go against the fundamental implication of the word “revive” which suggests a previous condition rather then something new. So what is this condition that we are trying to restore? I’m going to take a long shot at this. May I propose that what we are trying to revive is called … authentic Christianity? You see, the book of Acts and the New Testament as a whole were not given to us as a fascinating historical account of the first century Church just for our personal reading pleasure. They are the minimal benchmark of what Christianity really looks like. People being delivered, healed and saved, demons coming out and the dead being raised. These things are not called a “revival” they are called, normal Christianity. We see these sorts of things happening in a “revival” because as aspects of authentic Christianity are being restored, we see its characteristics manifesting. But it is not new … it is a previous condition of life and thus, a “revival” of that life.

Most people focus on what a revival service looks like. They focus on the preaching, the worship, the altar calls, the crowds etc. But by the previous definition, revival as I see it, has very little to do with the liturgical elements and components of a revival service itself, but with the resulting impact of those services. Is authentic Christianity being restored? Does it look more like the book of Acts Church? Is God restoring something to us? I am NOT suggesting that “revival” results in a full restoration of New Testament Christianity. God meets us where we are. He often takes us one level higher at a time and works with us in a spirit of longsuffering and extreme patience.

 

Do we want this here? Do you want revival – here at Living Grace? Yes, we do but when it comes, will it last? How come that in less than three years the mighty outpouring of the Spirit at Azusa Street became a trickle – largely diminished and a shadow of the heydays in 1906? Do revivals last? Are we (in this church) getting ready – fasting and praying and becoming rooted firmly in Jesus – for a flash of glory that is over before we know it? The Welsh Revival of 1904 lasted not even a year. Is this going to be our fate? Is this normal?

Some say that this is all that you can hope for. Revivals do not last. The Lakeland Revival or Florida Outpouring of 2008 only lasted for about six months. [Within two explosive months (and there was also much excitement here in Toowoomba), it is estimated that over 140,000 people from over 40 nations had visited, and 1.2 million had watched via the Internet and God TV but it was not to last.] The Brownsville Revival was a little more successful – began on Father’s Day in 1995, over the next five years saw a stream of visitors from across the world – about four million visitors – (nearly 200,000 people claimed that they gave their lives to Jesus) – (thousands of pastors visited Brownsville and returned to their home congregations, leading to an outbreak of mini-revivals) – but today Brownsville’s attendance has dipped below 400 and there is a legacy of debt – millions of dollars.

This is not sounding good. What will be in store for us? I want to take another look at the Azusa Street revival and identify some of the reasons why the revival stopped. Maybe we can learn some lessons and gain wisdom so that we stand together as a church when it counts.

The Azusa Street revival demonstrates radically that no revival is ever spared the pain of conflict, rejection and warfare in the spiritual world. A pure bliss revival with no trouble whatsoever would be unbiblical and contrary to all the lessons that we can learn from history. The church damned Martin Luther and demanded that he be put to death. For a season, his life was not worth a penny. William Seymour, the pastor at the Azusa Street mission, was spared anything life-threatening but, from the beginning, the experience of persecution was far from being pleasant:

 

Charles Parham and William Seymour were called “rulers of spiritual Sodom”. W. B. Godbey [famed Wesleyan evangelist] said that they were, “Satan’s preachers, jugglers, necromancers, enchanters, magicians, and all sorts of mendicants.” And G Campbell Morgan [an otherwise great preacher and godly man] went on to call the Azusa Street Revival, “The last vomit of Satan”.

 

Do you want to be calledthe last vomit of Satan”? The press had a field day. When the first person spoke in tongues, all it took was nine days – (seven days after William Seymour spoke in tongues) – before the first newspaper had derogatory headlines: WEIRD BABEL OF TONGUES / New Sect of Fanatics is Breaking Loose / Wild Scene Last Night on Azusa Street / Gurgle of Wordless Talk by a Sister (Los Angeles Daily Times, Wednesday 18 April 1906).

The denigrating press was hurtful but (at times) also helpful:

 

The Azusa Papers: The secular papers have been stirred and published reports against the movement, but it has only resulted in drawing hungry souls who understand that the devil would not fight a thing unless God was in it. So they have come and found it was indeed the power of God.

 

The Azusa Papers: “Cartoons in the newspapers were my first introduction to this meeting,” said a brother, “and I said, this is what I have been praying for, for years. I was warned by leaders that it was of the devil, but I came and got a touch of heaven in my soul.”

 

The Azusa Papers: The papers published many false reports, and they were threatened with arrest and to have the meetings stopped on the charge of disturbing the peace; but Brother Pendleton announced that the meetings would continue for they must obey God. If they went to jail, they would have meetings there.

 

Cecil Robeck: The Azusa Street Mission and Revival, Nashville: Thomas Nelson 2006, eBook: As the revival grew, local newspapers continued to stir up controversy. Troublemakers began to attend, intent on creating as much disorder as they could.

 

Yet, persecution is probably never our preferred choice. More harmful than negative headlines were some of the attenders of the revival:

 

Frank Bartleman: Azusa Street, New Kensington: Whitaker House 1982, p56-58: The newspapers began to ridicule and abuse the meetings, thus giving us much free advertising. This brought the crowds. The devil overdid himself again. Outside persecution never hurt the work. We had the most to fear from the working of evil spirits within. Even spiritualists and hypnotists came to investigate, and to try their influence. Then all the religious sore-heads and crooks and cranks came, seeking a place in the work. We had the most to fear from these. But this is always the danger to every new work. They have no place elsewhere. This condition cast a fear over many which was hard to overcome. It hindered the Spirit much. Many were afraid to seek God, for fear the devil might get them.

 

The Azusa Papers: In the meetings, it is noticeable that while some in the rear are opposing and arguing, others are at the altar falling down under the power of God and feasting on the good things of God. The two spirits are always manifest, but no opposition can kill, no power in earth or hell can stop God's work, while He has consecrated instruments through which to work.

 

The (first) quote makes the observation that every new revival – every new work – seems to attract difficult people first. They are among the first to come. So – play it through in your mind – there is an outpouring of the Spirit – now, if every religious sore-head, crook and crank came to Living Grace as a consequence to seek a place and platform in the work, how would we handle the challenge? These people (and we’ve already had a share of them) come with their own agendas, their own issues, their unresolved conflicts and past grievances and they are not coming to find healing and fit in but take charge. Something new is happening at Living Grace and they come here to bless the community with their leadership and opinions. What do we do?

These days, I think that we are a little more confident in protecting what we have – our culture and values and vision. We know who we are. We are no longer as easily taken in by people who claim to be very spiritual but come with baggage which has never been addressed and which you do not always see in the beginning – in the honeymoon period of settling in. However, in revival times – as the quote says – “all the religious soreheads, crooks and cranksare coming and how would we deal with all of them coming here at the same time?

 

Frank Bartleman: Azusa Street, New Kensington: Whitaker House 1982, p62: In the embryotic stage of all new experiences much allowance must be made for human frailty. There are always many coarse, impulsive, imperfectly balanced spirits among those first reached by a revival, also.

 

Frank Bartleman: Azusa Street, New Kensington: Whitaker House 1982, p85: We had a fierce battle with such spirits. They would have ruined everything. The devil has no conscience, and the “flesh” has no sense. The very first time I opened the church for meetings [not the Azusa Street Mission] I found one of the worst fanatics and religious crooks sitting on the steps waiting for me. He wanted to run the place. He was a preacher. I chased him from the place, like Nehemiah did the son of Joiada, (Neh. 13:28.) I had never dreamed there was so much of the devil, in so many people. The town seemed full of them. It tempted the saints to fight and hindered the Spirit. These crooks and cranks were the first at the meeting. We had a great clearing-up time. Especially in the case of old professors. There was much professional, religious quackery. Judgment had to “begin at the house of God.”

 

Frank Bartleman: Azusa Street, New Kensington: Whitaker House 1982, p85: The devil sent two strong characters one night to side-track the work. A spiritualist woman put herself at the head, like a drum major, to lead the singing. I prayed her out of the church. The other, a fanatical preacher with a voice that almost rattled the windows, I had to rebuke openly. He took over the whole meeting. Conceit fairly stuck out of him. The Spirit was terribly grieved. God could not work. I had suffered too much for the work to turn the whole thing over to the devil so easily. Besides I was responsible for souls, and for the rent. So I had to tell him to leave.

 

Next to thereligious soreheads” (and the quote said that the Azusa Street Revival had to fear most from them), there is more trouble in the coming of people with unclean spirits – demons. At Azusa Street, “even spiritualists and hypnotists came to investigate, and to try their influence”.

 

Frank Bartleman: Azusa Street, New Kensington: Whitaker House 1982, p85: The devil sent two strong characters one night to side-track the work. A spiritualist woman put herself at the head, like a drum major, to lead the singing. I prayed her out of the church. The other, a fanatical preacher with a voice that almost rattled the windows, I had to rebuke openly. He took over the whole meeting. Conceit fairly stuck out of him. The Spirit was terribly grieved. God could not work. I had suffered too much for the work to turn the whole thing over to the devil so easily. Besides I was responsible for souls, and for the rent. So I had to tell him to leave.

 

The Azusa Papers: People have come to this place full of demons and God has cast them out, and they have gone out crying with loud voices. Then when all the demons were cast out, they got saved, sanctified, and baptized with the Holy Ghost, clothed in their right minds and filled with glory and power.

The Azusa Papers: Spiritualists have come to our meetings and had the demons cast out of them and have been saved and sanctified. Christian Scientists have come to the meetings and had the Christian Science demons cast out of them and have accepted the blood. Every plant that my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up.

 

The Azusa Papers: The Lord has taken Spiritualism and Christian Science out of people in this mission, and filled them with the Spirit, and they are sitting at the feet of Jesus. We teach against Theosophy, Christian Science, Magnetic Healing, Spiritualism, Hypnotism and all works of the devil.

 

How would you feel about an outpouring of the Holy Spirit when it also attracts warfare with demons and Satan? Maybe I should not even talk about this because it may frighten some and draw too much attention to the devil but, on the other hand, you have to know when you are in a war. How can you defend yourself and rise up in the power that God gives you when you don’t know that you are being attacked?

At the Jesus Tent, two women even politely introduced themselves as mediums. They were not hostile but interested in Jesus and what kind of power he might have. The miracle of gold sparkles stirred their interest and then one of them was prayed for with the laying on of hands, fell down under the power of the Spirit, was unconscious for a little while and – in her words – as she wasout like a light”, shesaw his light”. At another tent, a warlock from out of town wanted to come into the tent because the tent was disrupting hisworshipbut he could not come in because the demons in him could not handle the holiness of God inside the tent. For years now, witches have come onto our property – trying to curse the place – and, only last week, we had about three witches in our worship service which accounts for the heaviness during some of the service. Do you remember how (during the worship songs) I stood up and prayed against it?

How are we to deal with this in a revival when everything intensifies – including warfare? The Bible is quite clear how pervasive our struggle with spiritual darkness actually is:

 

Ephesians 6:12: “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” 2 Corinthians 4:4: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ …” Acts 26:17-18: “ … I am sending you … to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins … “ Ephesians 2:1-10: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient … But because of his great love for us, God … made us alive in Christ … “ Ephesians 4:27: “Do not give the devil a foothold. [Do not sin.]”

Martin Luther, like many of our fathers and mothers in the faith, concurred with the Scriptures. He saw our conflict with Satan as central to our faith and wrote: “This is why Christians have to be armed and expect every day to face constant attacks … He is the kind of enemy who never gives up or gets tired. When one temptation stops, new ones take its place … The petition [“deliver us from evil” from the Lord’s Prayer actually means – rightly translated from the Greek of the New Testament – “deliver us from the evil one” and] seems to refer to the devil, as if to compress everything into the one idea that the sum total of all our prayer should be aimed at this main enemy of ours … this petition also includes all the evil that can happen to us under the devil’s rule: poverty, disgrace, death … all the … heartache which never ends here in the world. Because the devil is not only a liar but also a murderer, he never stops trying to kill us, and takes his anger out on us by doing what he can to get us hurt in accidents, and to do us physical harm. This is how he manages to break many a person’s neck and to drive others insane. Some he drowns, and many he pushes into suicide and many other terrible evils …” (Luther’s Large Catechism, translated by Friedemann Hebart, Adelaide: Lutheran Publishing House 1983, p159-160).

 

There are a good number of us that already know what to do. They watch over the service, identify the trouble makers and pray – covering everyone and everything with the blood and sacrifice of Jesus which breaks any power of the evil one. This is God’s house and we have authority in this place and we know. Helen especially but also Pam and Bernie and others may get up and walk to where the source of darkness is coming from and then pray and they pray with power. Last week, Vicki told me that she also confronted one of the witches as she left the building. Vicki followed her out and straight up asked her: “Which god do you serve?” It wasn’t Jesus.

This is reality. We don’t have to be afraid but it can be confronting. (At least, it is not boring.) Faith in Jesus and a relationship with him is real and you better know this and fight for this because the devil does not want you to have it. He would just love you to sleep through the service and not worry much about Jesus during the week. But not here! This is God’s place – a place of revival – and God’s presence is going to be so strong – undiminished by witchcraft – that everyone knows.

Prayer is the most important key but I think that it is also okay to ask people to leave if their intentions are hostile. At the Azusa Street Revival, prayer was foremost and together with the presence of God worked wonders. God sorted things out, without anyone else interfering:

 

Frank Bartleman: Azusa Street, New Kensington: Whitaker House 1982, p85: Presumptuous men would sometimes come among us. Especially preachers who would try to spread their opinions. But their efforts were short-lived. The breath would be taken from them. Their minds would wander, their brains reel. Things would turn black before their eyes. They could not go on. I never saw one get by with it in those days. They were up against God. No one cut them off; we simply prayed – the Holy Spirit did the rest. We wanted the Spirit to control. He wound them up in short order. They were carried out dead, spiritually speaking. They generally bit the dust in humility, going through the process we had all gone through. In other words, they died out, and came to see themselves in all their weakness. Then, in childlike humility and confession, they were taken up by God and transformed through the mighty baptism in the Spirit. The “old man” (Romans 6:6) died with all his pride, arrogance, and good works …

 

They also found singing in the Spirit – worship – most effective:

 

Frank Bartleman: Azusa Street, New Kensington: Whitaker House 1982, p54: I had not yet spoken in “tongues.” But the “new song” captured me. It was a gift from God of high order, and appeared among us soon after the “Azusa” work began. No one had preached it. The Lord had sovereignly bestowed it, with the outpouring of the “residue of oil,” the “Latter Rain” baptism of the Spirit. It was exercised, as the Spirit moved the possessors, either in solo fashion, or by the company. It was sometimes without words, other times in “tongues.” The effect was wonderful on the people. It brought a heavenly atmosphere, as though the angels themselves were present and joining with us. And possibly they were. It seemed to still criticism and opposition, and was hard for even wicked men to gainsay or ridicule.

 

The Azusa Street Revival suffered persecution from a hostile press, struggled withreligious soreheadsand battled with unclean spirits. However, the most pain undoubtedly came from those that should have been their allies – other Christians, brothers and sisters in Christ. Those closest to the Azusa group wounded them the most and especially William Seymour, the pastor, suffered deeply because – according to the Bible – the enemy’s strategy is simple but effective: “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered” (Zechariah 13:7 – here it is God’s strategy of judgement).

William Seymour was called to be the pastor of a little holiness church in Los Angeles but, in less than two weeks, the woman that had called him (the founder of the church), rejected him and padlocked the church doors so that William Seymour could not come in and preach:

 

Cecil Robeck: The Azusa Street Mission and Revival, Nashville: Thomas Nelson 2006, eBook: Seymour arrived in Los Angeles on February 22, 1906. Two days later he began to preach. By Sunday, March 4, Mrs. Hutchins had decided that Seymour was not the man for the job. She rejected his ministry in a doctrinal dispute over the nature of the “baptism in the Spirit” and refused to allow him to continue. Turned away from his congregation and with no resources to leave the city, Seymour needed help.

 

When revival came, William Seymour longed for the support of his teacher, Charles Parham, but, instead of sharing the burden of responsibility and supporting Seymour, Charles Parham became one of the fiercest critics of the revival:

 

Cecil Robeck: The Azusa Street Mission and Revival, Nashville: Thomas Nelson 2006, eBook: When Parham arrived, however, he disagreed with some of what Seymour was doing—not least, the full racial integration of the congregation and the roles Seymour had allowed Glenn Cook and others to play. Parham did not approve of the methods they used when they worked with people around the altar. He judged them fanatical. Parham attempted to take over the mission and stop the work of those Seymour had recognized as leaders. Seymour was forced to dismiss Parham before he damaged the work irreparably, but Parham stayed in town long enough to establish a small, competing congregation just blocks from the mission. He appealed to the press not to pay further attention to Seymour’s work, but to turn their eyes to him as the true leader of the Apostolic Faith movement. As Parham’s aides advertised his meetings first in Los Angeles and then in nearby Whittier, they made strident claims.

 

Cecil Robeck: The Azusa Street Mission and Revival, Nashville: Thomas Nelson 2006, eBook: Charles Parham criticized the mission at this point as well, complaining repeatedly that, “Religious orgies outrivaling scenes in devil or fetish worship, took place in the upper room.” His criticism emerged from his visit to the mission in October and November 1906. He had been invited to speak there, but when he claimed, “God is sick at His stomach” (with how the revival was being conducted), he was shown the door.

Over the next several years, he wrote a series of ever more scathing attacks against the mission. “The Holy Ghost does nothing that is unnatural or unseemingly,” he later wrote, “and any strained exertion of body, mind, or voice is not the work of the Holy Spirit, but of some familiar spirit, or other influence brought to bear upon the subject.” Those who imitated the sounds of “the cackling of hens” or the “shrill cry of the panther,” he protested, were engaged in activities typical of “spiritistic mediums”.

 

Cecil Robeck: The Azusa Street Mission and Revival, Nashville: Thomas Nelson 2006, eBook: On January 10, Charles F. Parham, who had been in Toledo, Ohio, where he had heard about the revival, attended First Friends Church in Cleveland. He stood up in the meeting and declared that the “revival” that J. E. Sawders had brought was nothing more than “monkeyshines.” “The real gift of tongues,” he contended, “is never accompanied by spasms, jerks, or foolishness of any sort. This Pentecost is never accompanied by rolling on the floor or falling on the back or in spasms. It is a dignified gift and comes to uplift.” He went on to charge that it was the devil who “conflicts it with spiritualism, clairvoyance and hypnotism and they enter the flesh and cause these demonstrations.” Parham’s intervention was ill timed. First Friends Church was no longer willing to listen.

 

You can imagine how William Seymour must have felt. He admired his teacher and trusted him and called him to Los Angeles to share the leadership with him – he had invested so much hope in Parham’s maturity and godliness – but was betrayed.

Then – one and a half years into the revival – some other most intimate co-workers from the beginning struck a blow against William Seymour by setting up a rival movement with the same name – Apostolic Faith Movement – and publishing a rival newspaper with the same name as William Seymour at Azusa Street – “The Apostolic Faith” (a major means of influence in the revival, reaching 50,000+ people) – for good measure, stealing his contact list so that William Seymour’s paper was finished.

 

Cecil Robeck: The Azusa Street Mission and Revival, Nashville: Thomas Nelson 2006, eBook: Whatever her reasons, by December 1907 at the latest Florence Crawford had taken the initiative and broken her relationship with Pastor Seymour. She quickly formed an independent work in Portland, Oregon. She kept the same name Seymour used—the Apostolic Faith Movement—a decision likely to create confusion among those who knew, from reading The Apostolic Faith [Los Angeles, CA] that this was the legal name of the Azusa Street Mission. But Crawford undoubtedly took that into consideration. She next contacted the Apostolic Faith missions she had helped to bring into the movement along the Pacific coast while serving as state director for Pastor Seymour. Most, if not all, of these missions followed her lead. By taking this action, Crawford struck a critical blow at Seymour’s undisputed leadership of the movement along the Pacific coast.

 

Cecil Robeck: The Azusa Street Mission and Revival, Nashville: Thomas Nelson 2006, eBook: Three facts are beyond dispute. First, The Apostolic Faith’s base of publication changed from Los Angeles to Portland in mid-1908. Second, Clara Lum transferred the paper. Third, Florence Crawford and her new Apostolic Faith organization were the obvious beneficiaries of this move. Crawford had nothing to gain by not accepting the paper. But these facts raise at least three questions. First, do we have any evidence that Seymour’s charge that Clara Lum left suddenly was correct? Second, did Clara Lum “steal” the paper, or was it hers to take? And third, what reasons did Clara Lum have for leaving Los Angeles with the paper …

In particular, we find that Pastor Seymour travelled to Portland in the latter half of 1908 to try to regain control of the paper. This strongly suggests that Lum had moved the paper to Portland without any agreement or permission from Seymour to do so, especially on a permanent basis.

 

Tommy Welchel: They Told Me Their Stories, Mustang: Dare2Dream Books 2008, p47: Tradition tells us that when Seymour got married to Jenny Moore, two women got upset because they felt he didn’t have time for marriage with the return of Christ so eminent. These ladies got so upset that they stole his mailing list and ran off to Portland.

 

This must have hurt. When another mission opened up in Los Angeles, most of the white attenders at Azusa Street deserted the congregation:

 

Frank Bartleman: Azusa Street, New Kensington: Whitaker House 1982, p89: The New Testament Church had a split about this time. I was glad I had nothing to do with that. Brother Smale had forced the “baptized” saints to the wall. He had rejected their testimony finally. Brother Elmer Fisher then started another mission at 327½ South Spring street, known as the Upper Room” mission. Most of the white saints from “Azusa” went with him, with the “baptized” ones from the New Testament Church. This later became for a time the strongest mission in town.

 

Later, a preacher – that had been filled with the Spirit at Azusa Street – came and revived the church but – at the same time – tried to take over the church from William Seymour in his absence. William Seymour had to rush back to his congregation and this time it was he who padlocked the church against the unwanted guest-preacher:

 

Cecil Robeck: The Azusa Street Mission and Revival, Nashville: Thomas Nelson 2006, eBook: 1911, continuing for two and a half months. A compelling speaker and first-rate apologist, Durham’s forceful, eloquent preaching won many people over. Within days, the Azusa Street Mission had again become a force to be reckoned with in the city. The place was packed as many of the city’s “disillusioned” returned. Frank Bartleman wrote that on February 25, just eleven days after Durham began preaching there, all the seats were filled and five hundred people had to be turned away. Those who held seats refused to move lest they lose them, he claimed, and overnight, the “bottom” simply “dropped out of the Upper Room” Mission [the place where most white attenders at the Azusa Street Mission had gone].

William J. Seymour returned to Los Angeles in April, fully expecting to continue as the pastor of the mission. What he found was a man in place who had decided that he would be the new pastor of the mission. Even before Seymour’s return, Durham began preparing his followers to stand with him when Seymour returned “to get possession of the work.” When Seymour finally did return, he sat for several days and watched and listened. Deciding that what Durham was preaching was not what the mission taught, Seymour confronted the other man—and Durham made his play to take over the mission. On Sunday evening, April 30, Durham asked for a show of hands from those who supported the continuation of the “revival” under his leadership. The response was overwhelmingly in favour of Durham. Seymour sat quietly, and the next day he gathered his duly elected board together. They made a decision and padlocked the door. When Durham returned for services on May 2, he was surprised and angered to find himself locked out.

Durham claimed that Seymour had done him in by going to the “men of his own colour,” and enlisting them to “stand with him.” Durham’s version makes it sound as though Seymour simply played a “race” card when, in fact, he had reached a conclusion and made a decision that was in keeping with the mission’s statement of faith and consistent with the constitution of the mission. Durham left, taking the crowd with him. The following Sunday, May 7, Durham opened the Full Gospel Assembly on the corner of Seventh and Los Angeles Streets to a crowd of several hundred. He drew most of his congregation from the Upper Room Mission, though a few came from Azusa Street. He railed at Seymour, Fisher, and others who did not see things his way.

 

This does not sound like fun and the rejection continued:

 

Cecil Robeck: The Azusa Street Mission and Revival, Nashville: Thomas Nelson 2006, eBook: Two years later, on April 15, 1913, the momentous Apostolic Faith World Wide Camp Meeting began. Like the previous camp meetings of 1907 and 1908, the 1913 meeting, which ran through to the end of May, met in the Arroyo Seco between Los Angeles and Pasadena. Robert J. Scott, who had served as the organizing chair for the 1907 camp meeting, served in this role once again. People came from around the world to take part in it. The local press estimated that two thousand attended the opening service. William J. Seymour received no special invitation, nor was he seated on the platform. Those leading the movement around the country and in Canada now received pride of place.

 

Cecil Robeck: The Azusa Street Mission and Revival, Nashville: Thomas Nelson 2006, eBook: The bold attempts by Charles F. Parham in 1906, by Florence L. Crawford in 1908, and by William H. Durham in 1911 to take control of the Apostolic Faith movement, and the doctrinal challenge raised by the “apostolic” revelation that arose during the 1913 camp meeting, hurt William J. Seymour deeply.

Parham, Crawford, Durham, and those who promoted baptism in “Jesus’ Name” at the 1913 camp meeting were all white folks. When many of the white ministers in the predominantly black Church of God in Christ left that denomination in April 1914 and formed the Assemblies of God, not even the racially progressive Seymour was willing to trust many of his white Pentecostal brothers and sisters. It is easy to understand why …

The following year, 1915, Seymour compiled The Doctrines and Discipline of the Azusa Street Apostolic Faith Mission. In an “Apostolic Address” contained in his Doctrines and Discipline, Pastor Seymour explained how he had been invited to come to Los Angeles. As he and his friends had sought God, a revival had begun and quickly spread around the world. Very soon divisions had arisen, he observed, and the Holy Spirit had been grieved. Seymour placed much of the blame for these divisions on his “white brethren,” although he acknowledged that some African Americans had participated in them as well—most notably when a number of them had adopted the “apostolic” position.

Seymour’s solution for the interim was as simple as it was pragmatic. From the time that the Doctrines and Discipline was adopted, no white person would be allowed to serve in a leadership role in the Apostolic Faith Mission until the racial climate changed. He felt badly about that decision, noting that it wasn’t what God wanted, but he was just as convinced that Christ wanted to see love, not prejudice and discrimination, demonstrated between his children. He laid out his reasons in broad strokes that bear repeating in full.

 

Cecil Robeck: The Azusa Street Mission and Revival, Nashville: Thomas Nelson 2006, eBook: The ensuing years were difficult for Pastor Seymour, but he kept at his work. His death in 1922 went largely unnoticed—not even meriting mention in the local press. His widow tried to fill the vacuum left by his death, but the congregation continued to dwindle. At last no one remained except the few friends who had originally met at the Asberry home on North Bonnie Brae Street, and perhaps a half dozen others.

 

Cecil Robeck: The Azusa Street Mission and Revival, Nashville: Thomas Nelson 2006, eBook: In the middle of 1930, a man named Ruthford D. Griffith, aged 78, began to attend the mission with his wife. He claimed that he had been a missionary in Africa, and that he had pastored several African American congregations. Before long, he offered his services to Jennie Seymour. In exchange for some preaching, she provided the couple with temporary housing adjacent to her apartment upstairs in the mission. Before long, Griffith had decided that he could replace her as the pastor. He began by recruiting people who would vote for him. He argued that the mission was in violation of its Doctrines and Discipline, since this document stated that the congregation’s leader should be a man. Once he had these two things lined up, he moved on to intimidate not only Jennie Seymour, but also her faithful following, including the elected board of trustees. He forced the smaller Seymour party to worship upstairs, while he took the main sanctuary as his own. He announced that he was the new bishop of the mission and proceeded to take control.

In January 1931, the situation exploded into an argument that reduced both parties to throwing hymnals at one another. Police were called; the mission was padlocked. While Jennie Seymour sought justice, Ruthford Griffith sought control. The disagreement finally ended up in various courts, with Griffith suing the mission and the mission suing Griffith. The matter remained in the courts for another year and a half. While a lower court found in favour of Griffith, a higher court ultimately reversed the ruling, and in June 1932 it found in favour of Mrs. Seymour. By then the building had been demolished, and the group moved back to the Asberry home on North Bonnie Brae Street, where the revival and the mission had been born 26 years before. Jennie Evans Seymour died on July 2, 1936

 

Wow! How do you feel about that? Do we still want revival? And if we do, will we be able to handle the pressure, rejection and persecution, the pain of betrayal and abandonment? These are sobering questions but they are the right ones to ask.

 

John 15:18-21: If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.

 

Matthew 5:11-12: Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 

Hebrews 10:32-35: Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

 

2 Timothy 3:12: In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

 

Was the Azusa Street Revival worth all of the pain? Well, more than one hundred years later, we are still getting inspired about what God was doing there and, once God moved – once the first person was baptized with the Spirit and spoke in tongues – it did not take long for the fruit of the revival to go everywhere. There was a constant coming and going and people left with the baptism of the Spirit, they often left with the gift of speaking in tongues, they often left for the mission field, and they carried the revival everywhere. Azusa lit a fire and the fire literally stormed across the world and kept burning even though, in a few short years, it dimmed at Azusa Street. The fruit of the revival is still with us.

I don’t know how long we will last in persecution and warfare and having our hearts wounded but Wales was changed in the ten months of the Welsh revival – 100,000 converts – and to rejoice with that many converts in eternity will be worth all of our efforts.

What are some other reasons why revivals stop? One reason that is near the top of the list is surely exhaustion. At Azusa Street, they had worship services from 10am until late at night and people still tried to hold down jobs. How exhausted would we be? People come hungry for God and they want prayer and prayer ministry and help in receiving more from God. Even now, Sundays can be long days and Holy Spirit conferences can feel like running a marathon:

 

Frank Bartleman: Azusa Street, New Kensington: Whitaker House 1982, p90: I soon after turned Eighth and Maple over to Brother Pendleton, as I was too worn to continue longer in constant service in the meetings. I had been for a long time under constant strain in prayer and meetings, and needed a rest and change very badly. [See also Evan Roberts of the Welsh Revival.]

 

Exhaustion makes all of us vulnerable Working too hard while being separated from your wife is not brilliant. Todd Bentley fell into the same trap in 2008 – divorced his wife and married an intern. He knew that he was empty and sometimes he knew in a meeting that the anointing – the Holy Spirit presence for ministry had lifted – but he kept going (in his own strength) because God TV kept transmitting the service – the allocated time slot still had a few hours to run – and he thought that he was indispensable. The Florida Outpouring would stop if he wasn’t there.

When revival comes, it is not going to be so fragile that we cannot take a break and rest. Jesus made sure that he provided alone-time for his disciples (even though it was not always successful):

 

Mark 6:31-34: Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

 

Revivals also die because the people who carry the revival are lacking in wisdom. The Spirit is here in glory but people indulge in immature behaviour and make immature decisions. At Azusa Street, poor people – simple people –were suddenly forerunners in a worldwide move of God. How do you do that? What would we do in a revival that saw thousands coming to this church – week after week? Would we relocate, build dormitories, increase staff, publish newsletters and books, put out press releases, be on TV? What would we do and would we have any expertise in doing any of that? I am a preacher but I don’t really know how to run a big organization. Do we want to? I hate to think about the administration involved – staff reviews and a thick folder of processes (risk management, conflict resolution, safe place, etc.). Then, how do you grow the prayer ministry and preaching and supporting a network of relationships?

God gives grace in a revival because he knows that he is using ordinary people – “jars of clay” – but he expects us to ask for wisdom and be wise. At Azusa Street, God supplied wisdom and depth through older – tried and proven – saints and, here at Living Grace, we have been praying for similar saints – maturity to come in – and now (all of a sudden) we are being blessed with Pastors Herman and Val and Bob and DiAnne and a whole stream of hungry people that are coming with experience in ministry (e.g.: David and Judy Brandie, Carole Freeman, Chris and Veronica Kassulke). We honour age and the wisdom that comes with the years:

 

Frank Bartleman: Azusa Street, New Kensington: Whitaker House 1982, p86-87: One reason for the depth of the work at “Azusa” was the fact that the workers were not novices. They were largely called and prepared for years, from the Holiness ranks, and from the mission field, etc. They had been burnt out, tried and proven. They were largely seasoned veterans. They had walked with God and learned deeply of His Spirit. These were pioneers, “shock troops,” the Gideon’s three hundred, to spread the fire around the world. Just as the disciples had been prepared by Jesus.

 

However – at Azusa Street – maybe not everything was done wisely:

 

Frank Bartleman: Azusa Street, New Kensington: Whitaker House 1982, p91: Many are willing to seek power from every battery they can lay their hands on in order to perform miracles, draw attention and adoration of the people to themselves, thus robbing Christ of His glory and making a fair showing in the flesh … Religious enthusiasm easily goes to seed. The human spirit so predominates the show-off, religious spirit.

 

Frank Bartleman: Azusa Street, New Kensington: Whitaker House 1982, p87: Our so-called tarrying and prayer rooms today are but a shadow of the former ones, too often a place to blow off steam in human enthusiasm, or become mentally intoxicated, supposedly from the Holy Ghost. Many of them are a kind of lethal chamber, with very little of the pure Spirit of God. This should not be.

 

Cecil Robeck: The Azusa Street Mission and Revival, Nashville: Thomas Nelson 2006, eBook: The following year two Azusa Street missionaries also raised questions about what constituted appropriate missionary preparation. The first of these was John G. Lake, a missionary to South Africa who had been baptized in the Spirit at the Azusa Street Mission. In early 1909 Lake wrote to the Upper Room Mission in Los Angeles with what can only be described as a highly emotional plea that the tide of well-meaning missionaries be stemmed until certain preparations had been made. First, Lake complained, too many American missionaries were “rushing” to the foreign field without making advanced preparation. “American missionaries” warned Lake, “should not run over here until they know what they are doing, and under what conditions they can be received.” In addition, he argued, the churches that sent the missionaries needed to bear the responsibility for their ongoing support.

Second, Lake warned that the mission field was not the place for those who thought that they had all the answers before they arrived. Unlike Garr—who may have been too authoritarian in the way he proclaimed the Apostolic Faith in India—Lake called for the new missionaries coming to Africa to show more deference. “We have a tremendous native work on our hands,” he wrote, “and we heartily welcome REAL MISSIONARIES, but they cannot come to Africa with the thought of a lot of ‘brand new American ideas’ to teach to the natives.

 

I am sure that William Seymour would have loved a mentor – he was hoping that Charles Parham would be the one for him – but God made him a pioneer. He was going into unchartered territory and there you are often alone. There are no mentors.

What else can go wrong? According to some eye-witnesses, the revival at Azusa Street began to wane when Pastor William Seymour no longer stuck his head inside the shoebox that served him as the pulpit:

 

Tommy Welchel: They Told Me Their Stories, Mustang: Dare2Dream Books 2008, p36: When Seymour came down to the meeting, he would sit down and put a box on his head. At first, it startled Sister Carney. Sometimes he would sit with the box over his head for ten minutes and sometimes it would be an hour or more. Although the practise seemed ridiculous, Sister Carney realised that he was obeying God, no matter how silly or ridiculous it appeared. That apparent act of humble obedience led to mighty power when he removed the box. This box and act of humility was critical to the power God displayed through Brother Seymour. When Brother Smith asked Sister Carney what caused the miracles and Azusa to stop, she replied, “It was stopped when Brother Seymour stopped putting that box over his head. When he quit coming down and putting the box on his head, it started dying.”

 

Tommy Welchel: They Told Me Their Stories, Mustang: Dare2Dream Books 2008, p49: Anderson confirmed that this power stayed with Seymour until the time he stopped placing the box over his head.

Anderson told me that when Seymour stopped putting the box on his head, it was the first time he was ever disappointed in the man. Anderson felt that Seymour had surrendered to the pressure of the people rather than staying obedient to God.

 

Could this be true? What does this mean? A revival needs wise leadership but we must be absolutely careful not to take over the leadership from God. Hands off from what he is doing. William Seymour waited in the box for instructions – fully surrendered to God’s leadership – looking ridiculous himself in the process – but this is the way of God. Here at Living Grace, do we have our heads in a box where God can talk to us and be the leader of this church?

What else may have changed when William Seymour discarded the box? I am not sure but one critic accuses him of taking too much control on a number of levels:

 

Frank Bartleman: Azusa Street, New Kensington: Whitaker House 1982, p91: We were obliged to deal firmly with extreme cases, but in the main the Spirit passed over and moved out of the way irregularities, without further advertising them. Many have declared we cannot throw our meetings open today. Then we must shut God out also. What we need is more of God, to control the meetings. He must be left free to come forth at all costs. The saints themselves are too largely in confusion and rebellion. Through prayer and self-abasement God will undertake for the meetings. This was the secret in the beginning. We held together in prayer, love, and unity, and no power could break this. But self must be burned out. Meetings must be controlled by way of the throne. A spiritual atmosphere must be created, through humility and prayer, that Satan cannot live in. And this we realized in the beginning. It was the very opposite of religious zeal, and carnal, religious ambition. We knew nothing about present day “pep” and “make it snappy” methods. That whole system is a bastard product, as far as “Pentecost” is concerned. It takes time to be holy. The world rushes on. It gets us nowhere with God.

 

Frank Bartleman: Azusa Street, New Kensington: Whitaker House 1982, p115: But at this time old Azusa Mission fell more and more into bondage. The meetings now had to run just in appointed order. The Spirit tried to work through some poor, illiterate Mexicans, who had been saved and “baptized” in the Spirit. But the leader deliberately refused to let them testify, and crushed them ruthlessly. It was like murdering the Spirit of God. Only God knows what this meant to those poor Mexicans. Personally I would rather die than to have assumed such a spirit of dictatorship. Every meeting was now programmed from start to finish. Disaster was bound to follow, and it did so.

 

Cecil Robeck: The Azusa Street Mission and Revival, Nashville: Thomas Nelson 2006, eBook: The dispute over whether to take an offering at the Azusa Street Mission was apparently very divisive, at least in the sense that some people were openly offended by the thought of taking a formal offering of any kind. The mission had never done that before; they had always trusted God and the faithfulness of the people to meet their financial needs.

Rachel Sizelove, one of the organizers of the 1907 camp meeting, was there that morning. She would later complain, How well I remember the first time the flesh began to get in the way of the Holy Ghost, and how the burden came upon the saints that morning when Brother Seymour [sic] stood before the audience and spoke of raising money to buy the Azusa Street Mission. The Holy Ghost was grieved. You could feel it all over the audience, when they began to ask for money, and the Holy Ghost power began to leave, and instead of the Holy Ghost heavenly choir, they brought in a piano.

 

Frank Bartleman: Azusa Street, New Kensington: Whitaker House 1982, p139: As with Israel in the Exodus, the “mixed multitude,” (Ex. 12:38) the exterior shell of every movement with which it loads itself and in which it later becomes buried, falls to lusting for “flesh.” One can usually judge the progress of this process by the things the movement comes to demand. Instead of delight in the pure Word, prayer and worship, a love for souls and zeal for good works, there comes entertainment, programs, musicals, sensationalism, and oratory. These things have no place in essential, true Christianity, but are professionalism - flesh! Oh, God, deliver us from fleshly substitutes for the Spirit.

Most meetings can only be kept alive now by continuous entertainment, professional evangelism, and a strong social spirit. And this is all too true in Pentecostal, Holiness, and interdenominational circles, as well as in the older denominations. Where is the life itself to draw the people and bring God to them as in the beginning! This is not New Testament. It is abnormal, grieving and limiting the Holy One of Israel in our midst.

 

Frank Bartleman: Azusa Street, New Kensington: Whitaker House 1982, p70-72: The truth must be told. “Azusa” began to fail the Lord also, early in her history. God showed me one day that they were going to organize, though not a word had been said in my hearing about it. The Spirit revealed it to me. He had me get up and warn them against making a “party” spirit of the Pentecostal work. The “baptized” saints were to remain “one body,” even as they had been called, and to be free as His Spirit was free, not “entangled again in a yoke of (ecclesiastical) bondage.” The New Testament Church saints had already arrested their further progress in this way. God wanted a revival company, a channel through whom He could evangelize the world, blessing all people and believers. He could naturally not accomplish this with sectarian party. That spirit has been the curse and death of every revival body sooner or later. History repeats itself in this matter.

Sure enough the very next day after I dropped this warning in the meeting I found a sign outside “Azusa” reading “Apostolic Faith Mission.” The Lord said: “That is what I told you.” They had done it. Surely a “party spirit” cannot be “Pentecostal.” There can be no divisions in a true Pentecost. To formulate a separate body is but to advertise our failure, as a people of God. It proves to the world that we cannot get along together, rather than causing them to believe in our salvation. “That they may all be one; that the world may believe.” - John 17:21. And from that time the trouble and division began. It was no longer a free Spirit for all as it had been. The work had become one more rival party and body, along with the other churches and sects of the city. No wonder the opposition steadily increased from the churches. We had been called to bless and serve the whole “body of Christ,” everywhere. Christ is one, and His “body” can be but “one.” To divide it is but to destroy it, as with the natural body. “In one Spirit were we all baptized into one body,” - I Cor. 12:13. The church is an organism not a human organization.

They later tried to pull the work on the whole coast into this organization, but miserably failed. The work had spread as far as Portland and Seattle, under Sister Crawford. God’s people must be free from hierarchism. They are “blood-bought,” and not their own. An earlier work in Texas, later tried to gather in the Pentecostal missions on the Pacific Coast, and Los Angeles, but also failed. Why should they claim authority over us? We had prayed down our own revival. The revival in California was unique and separate as to origin. It came from Heaven, even Brother Seymour not receiving the “baptism” until many others had entered in here. He did not arrive in Los Angeles until the “eleventh hour.” The great battle from the beginning, both in Los Angeles and elsewhere, has been the conflict between the “flesh” and the Spirit, between Ishmael and Isaac.

 

I am not sure that this kind of criticism was always warranted. As movements mature, more structure is required – wisdom in stewarding the revival – but nevertheless I agree that we must be careful. Our heads need to stay in the box and only come out when we know what God wants us to do.

Persecution, exhaustion, lack of maturity and taking control away from God – all these will quench revival and then there is the general truth thatthe human soul is ever lazy toward God, and no one generation has seemed to be able to travel very far on its way back to God and his standard from which the early church fell” (Frank Bartleman: Azusa Street, New Kensington: Whitaker House 1982, p131). It’s hard to sustain hunger for God – especially when revival meetings seem to satisfy all of our hunger – and it is easy to lose our first love for God (Revelation 2:4; 3:15-16).

For all of these reasons, revivals often die – also in the Bible:

 

Judges 2:7-12: The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel.

Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. And they buried him in the land of his inheritance … After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.

Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger.

 

Judges 3:7-12: The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord; they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs. The anger of the Lord burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim, to whom the Israelites were subject for eight years.

But when they cried out to the Lord, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, who saved them. The Spirit of the Lord came on him, so that he became Israel’s judge and went to war. The Lord gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him. So the land had peace for forty years, until Othniel son of Kenaz died.

Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord … [See also Judges 4:1-5:31; 6:1-8:32; 8:33-10:5; 10:6-12:15; 13:1-16:31.]

 

However – defying all of these warning and dire precedents in history – the good news is that this is not what God has intended for us. Our revival – when it fully comes – can remain, intensify and continue into the next generation and the generation after that and many more. There may be different seasons of what is going to happen – (see Jesus’ miracles in Galilee and his suffering in Jerusalem; the disciples enjoying an intensifying revival in Acts 2-7 but then being scattered in persecution; the Israelites’ passive deliverance from Egypt with signs and wonders, glory cloud, pillar of fire, manna, perfect health and lasting clothes but having to actively take the Promised Land in warfare without some of the miracle manifestations) – but – surely – we are never meant to be outside the will and power of God. John 15 is for me the perfect picture of revival – (maybe revival + reformation) – and it comes with the promise of lasting the distance and growing maturity and fruitfulness:

 

John 15:5-8: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing … If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

 

Jesus invites us and calls us to remain in him – always – so that his power operates among us – always – and that we bear much fruit – always. This is to the Father’s glory and a glorious revival. We are never meant to be separated from Jesus. Never! On the contrary, we are growing closer to him – always:

 

2 Corinthians 3:18: And we all, who with unveiled faces behold the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

 

I am encouraged by the revival at Toronto which began in 1994. Last year, they celebrated their 20th anniversary and visitors from overseas may no longer make the Toronto Airport Church the number one tourist attraction of Toronto but the revival has lasted (without the scandals of other places), having touched the world, and true Generals of the kingdom of God stood on the stage, sharing what happened to them personally in the revival and how God then launched them into amazing work and fruit bearing (e.g.: Heidi Baker, Bill Johnson, Che Ahn, Randy Clark). It is possible to have a lasting revival. TheGeneralsalso shared how tough the years have been but their joy and wonder at God was contagious and I was impressed by how hungry they still were for more of God. (They recognized that the meetings were now different at Toronto but trusted that they were in the will of God – connected to the wine – and asked for another wave of God’s glory.)

 

You may also consider how revival has been passed down the generations in the case of Reinhard Bonnke, Rolland and Heidi Baker, Bill Johnson, Andrew Murray, Rick Warren.

 

The Azusa Street revival is inspiring. God used the most unlikely people in the most unlikely location – a sub-standard building – which gives us hope. He can use anyone and learning from history – gaining wisdom from past mistakes – we prepare ourselves to have a revival that lasts.

 

2 Corinthians 3:9-11: … How much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! … How much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

 

Jesus is our Lord – granting us righteousness through faith in his sacrifice on the cross – and there is no greater glory than being with him in a relationship that lasts. In him, we have lasting life – a lasting revival. Amen.