April 9 was a monumental day as 100,000 believers gathered at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for 15 hours of worship and prayer to celebrate Azusa Now, the 110th year anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival in 1906, the catalytic movement of the Holy Spirit that resulted in more than 600 million Pentecostals and charismatics today.
Thousands showed up as early as 3 in the morning to get in line. This was the same venue where the great evangelist Billy Graham preached the gospel in 1963 before 134,254 people inside the stadium, and more than 20,000 left outside. There was great momentum and expectancy in the atmosphere as thousands in America and around the world have anticipated this event for months, and more significantly, for another powerful move of the Spirit in our time and generation once again Lou Engle, leader of the TheCall and the event, opened up the meeting with worship and powerful intercession and declarations from Korean pastors and leaders for another revival and great awakening.
At the heart of every awakening is the cry for unity and reconciliation. The next several hours saw powerful acts of confession, repentance, reconciliation, acceptance and love from leaders of various denominations and ethnic groups.
You could sense the pleasure, delight and presence of God as these leaders chose to lay down their differences to embrace and prefer each other for the sake of Christ and for the kingdom. The power of unity cannot be undermined; it sets the stage for a great move of God.
The Azusa Street revival in 1906 was a restoration of spiritual gifts and a sovereign release of the power of the Holy Spirit. The next segment saw Pastor Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, California, lead the charge for the ministry of healing. Significant healings and miracles took place. Accurate words of knowledge and prophecy were also released by Shawn Bolz, leader of Expression 58. The evening ended with Evangelist Daniel Kolenda, leader of Christ for All Nations and successor to evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, giving a provoking call to evangelism and salvation. It was a historical day in the body of Christ where declarations have been made, covenants have been forged, and heaven has been beseeched for another great move of the Holy Spirit in our land and in our time.
Azusa Now, What Next?
The sovereign move of the Spirit has characterized every revival and renewal in every era, from the early church to the middle ages, to the reformation era, to modern-day Christianity. Saints of old and present have contended for another great awakening. The bowls of intercession in heaven are about to tip over with an authentic move of God. I believe we are on the precipice, a tipping point of another great move of the Spirit in America and in the nations of the Earth. What the Holy Spirit has done in the past, he is getting ready to do it again. Knowing where we have been in the past will position us to better anticipate and steward our future. What will this next move of the Spirit include? Here are a few prophetic insights that we as a body of Christ can look forward to:
1. Unity and Synergy
William Seymour paved the way for the blurring of color lines and social status in the kingdom of God in 1906. I believe we are going to witness a level of unity and synergy across color, gender and denominational lines in an unprecedented manner. It will not be a superficial, verbal assent and agreement, but an actual working together, preferring one another for the sake of Christ and His kingdom in place of personal agenda and glory.
There will be an emergence of young leaders, an army of Holy Spirit empowered warriors who could care less if they become recognized or prominent. Their soul desire is bringing glory to the One who alone deserves it all.
2. Restoring the Power of Spiritual Gifts
The First Wave (Classic Pentecostalism in the early 1900s), the Second Wave (charismatic renewal in the 1960s) and the Third Wave (the Neo-charismatics in the 1980s) have all been birthed out of a cry for the tangible power of the Holy Spirit and a restoration of the manifestation of spiritual gifts. Since the beginning of the early church, there have been many strands of charismatic expressions. These groups and individuals purposed to preserve and perpetuate the charismatic practices and traditions that were consistent with the early church.
Ignatius of Antioch, one of the earliest bishops in the history of the church, was a Christian prophet who honored the gifts of the Spirit in the first century. Justin Martyr (100-165) claimed that prophecy and charismatic gifts still existed in the church. The prophet Montanus founded the first "charismatic movement" in church history, Montanism, or the "New Prophecy" in roughly A.D. 160-170 in modern Turkey.
The Greek church father Gregory Thaumaturgus, otherwise known as Gregory the "Worker of Wonders," is known for the miracles that accompanied his sermons. Antony, a third-century ascetic monk and father of Christian monasticism, was known to experience great signs, wonders and miracles living in the deserts.
The list goes on throughout history: St. Patrick (387-460), the apostle to Ireland, Gregory the Great (540-604), Symeon the "New Theologian" (949-1022), perhaps the most famous Eastern charismatic Christian, Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), Bonaventura (1217-1274), Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), Thomas Müntzer (ca. 1489-1525), the Catholic reformer, Ignatius of Loyola (ca. 1491-1556), Francis Xavier (1506-1552), George Fox (1624-1691), founder of the Quakers, Count Nikolaus von Zinzendorf and the Moravian Brethren, John Wesley (1703-1791) and many others were advocates and practitioners of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
An outstanding individual worth highlighting is Edward Irving (1792-1834), the Scottish clergyman and founder of the Catholic Apostolic Church who sought to restore the Church to the fivefold offices according to Ephesians 4:11-12, as well as the list of charismata described in 1 Corinthians 12. He is regarded by many Pentecostal scholars to have been a pivotal forerunner of the outpouring of the Spirit in Topeka and Azusa Street in the twentieth century.
The Lord is restoring and increasing the operation of the gifts of the Spirit en masse globally, all across denominational lines and mainline churches, including the Catholic Church. It will be like the Second Wave in the charismatic renewal in the 1960s, where denominational alliance pale in importance compared to the hunger for a powerful move of the Spirit in our time. Again, the priesthood of all believers will be emphasized. Every believer will be empowered to be conduits of the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit beyond the four walls of the church, in the marketplace, into every sphere of society. It is not reserved for the selected, anointed few. It is already happening, but the supernatural will increasingly become commonplace in the life and ministry of the church.
3. Increase in the Prophetic Among the Young
Between 1688 and 1702, in the southern part of France, there emerged a prophetic movement which became known at "The Little Prophets of Cévennes." A 13-month old baby who has neither spoken or walked would prophesy in perfect King's French. Young children and teenagers would roll around on the floor and prophesy.
When caught up in the Spirit, the children spoke the language of the Bible, French, although their mother tongue was the local patois. A shepherdess teenager by the name of Isabeau Vincent, 15 years old, would be caught up in ecstasy, prophesy in perfect French, and call sinners to repent. We are going to witness a powerful move of God among the young in our time. God is giving them a voice and releasing them to prophesy the manifold wisdom of God to confound and astound the wise.
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