14 Jun BROUGHT TO THIS MOMENT: The Enduring Impact of the Azusa Street Revival, Jack Hayford and David Moores
*Excerpt from The Charismatic Century,
Decide Our Response to the Spirit’s Century-long Workings, Pastor Jack Hayford
As millions of Christians have opened to the presence and power of the Spirit globally, the Church is moving daily beyond the walls that house their assembled times of worshipping God and learning His Word. Then, nurtured by their worship and fellowship, by the natural flow of their daily lives, they spread into the marketplaces, workplaces, and neighborhoods of the world, which become salted through and through with people for whom faith has begun to manifest beyond “belief in a system,” to “believing for the presence of Jesus—in my life, on my job, in my circumstance, and toward those I know, meet, work with and care for.”
It is a summons from heaven, reminding us that above all systems, the Church is about people—people who know who Jesus is. It is with and through them He has willed to “build My Church”; enfranchising them with “keys of the kingdom of heaven”—with Holy Spirit power, gifts, signs and enabling boldness to “minister” in His Name (Matthew 16:13-19).
It is a statement from God’s Word, pointing us to the last times—that He who said He “has given you the former rain faithfully” will cause “the latter rain” to come, bringing with it restoration and redemptive graces; bringing the Bride of Christ to a place of purity (without spot), fidelity (without blemish), integrity (without wrinkle), and maturity (“a glorious Church”) “ministering” presence (Ephesians 5:24-27).
It is a surging stream from God’s eternal temple, breaking forth like a river that brings divine life wherever it comes, and bursting out in every place hearts that welcome the Holy Spirit’s power, Like “streams of living water” bring refreshing newness to first time recipients, refilling for established believers—transforming barren places from deadness to vital blessing as God’s grace rivers to the world via spiritually functional believers (Ezekiel 47; John 7:37-39; Isaiah 44:3, 4).
The 20th Century’s significance is not in its phenomena but its people!
The astounding statistical increases in the global Christian Church are not touted as a boast of human achievement but as a gift of divine grace. Just as seasons of refreshing have been experienced throughout the centuries, the century just traversed has been another—but by every indicator, possibly the one ushering us to the last moments of our world as we know it. The Apostle Peter said,
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoke by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. Acts 10:19-21
Both a promise and a portent beckon us to hear that call again—the promise of “Last Days Outpouring” (Acts 2:17-18) and the portent of The End (Acts 2:19-21). The message is clear—repentance, that is a respondent heart and willing mind, open the way for God to make each of us—you and me—a vital part of this “moment” to which we have all been brought.
The Holy Spirit’s decade-to-decade workings in the Church have highlighted divine values—pointing us toward those things that call for our availability to His divine ways. We have been brought to this moment:
- Which uniquely invites us to say, “Come, Holy Spirit—I am open to the Savior’s salvation’s forgiveness and to Your overflowing fullness,”
- Which faces us with the Spirit’s summons to permit Him to capacitate us with power by reason of a passionate quest, not passive questionings;
- Which seeks to draw us past self-righteous distancing from revival by using human failure seen there as our excuse for apathy and criticism;
- Which echoes Jesus’ call to each of us, “receive the Holy Spirit—and you shall receive power after He has come upon you!” (John 20:21; Acts 1:8);
- Which demands we face-up with honesty to the fact that “tongues” are not trivia, but a Bible-based spiritual resource to be prayerfully employed;
- Which urges the Church to rise beyond any residue of entrenched male chauvinism regarding public spokespersons and leaders in its ranks;
- Which promises the healing presence of God as an accompanying grace from God to empower believers to touch with power and compassion;
- Which teaches us to balance passion with discernment, walking wisely in paths that unite God’s Word of Truth with His Spirit’s works of power;
- Which defines “charismatic” in the Bible’s way, refining our perspective to open to God’s purpose, means, and methods for empowering us today;
- Which submits to Jesus’ primary desire for each of us—to make every one of us disciples who not only know His Word, but who receive His directive to do His works—drawing upon His TRUTH which sets us and others free, and His POWER which will enable us as ordinary people to serve and ministry with extraordinary abilities—filled and flowing, alive in Christ and loving the world in the same way He did.
It wasn’t the twentieth century, it was the first. And at a moment when the Church looked feeble in some places, impure in others, and generally weakened by Her dependence on human ways, works and wisdom, Jesus made a personal appearance to one man exiled to a remote island. To this day, the Revelation which John relayed from Jesus’ own lips stands as a holy watchword: “Behold I come quickly!”
But marching that word of anticipation, Jesus speaks seven times saying, “He that has ears to hear—Listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the churches!” In short, any thought about the second coming must be preceded by our sensitivity to His Word about the Spirit’s coming—and continuance among us! By our Lord’s own emphasis, our steadfast hearing, opening to and obeying the Holy Spirit is the Church’s only hope for vitality, fiery devotion, purity, faithfulness and fruitfulness.
That’s the objective of our having studied the past century, and our quest to summarize the lessons of that century have not been an afterthought to each span of year, but to provide forethought and provoke ready hearts that respond to the Spirit’s voice as He seeks to overflow and lead us to effective ministry today.
It is “unto that” that we have been brought “unto now.” Carpe diem!!