Nepal: Deaf-mute boy miraculously healed by Jesus.
The boy who could not read, is now studying the Word of God. The boy who could not hear, is listening to teachings and growing in his faith. The boy who could not talk, is now proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ among those who have never heard.
In Nepal, a majoriy Hindu country in the Himalayas with 266 unreached people groups, Christians form only 1% of the population.
In 2017, the Nepali government passed a law that effectively outlaws conversion to Christianity, evangelization, and harming ‘religious sentiment.’ But the more governments try to hinder the growth of the church, the faster it seems to grow, often with miracles. Take the story of 18 year old Tilak, a deaf-mute teenager.
One day Pastor Biju, a church planter affiliated with The Timothy Initiative, stopped to pray with him. As the pastor prayed for deliverance and healing he witnessed a bewildered look on Tilak’s face. Something amazing happened to the deaf-mute boy. Tears streamed down his face, as he discovered that he could hear and speak for the first time in his life. A miraculous healing had just taken place.
Tilak rushed to his mother, who heaved sobs of joy and relief. Her boy was healed, and it was all because of Jesus. The entire family surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ that day.
Tilak and his family became eager to learn more about the God, so they began attending the very first church planted among their people. Now Tilak’s voice was able to join others in worship. As he listened to the teachings of Jesus, he was awed by the miracle that he could hear and understand what was shared.
Then a third miracle happened in Tilak’s life. When he opened God’s Word, he instantly was able to read, without any prior instruction. The symbols on the pages of Scripture came alive and he was given his own Bible to take home.
Tilak, the boy who could not read, is now studying the Word of God. Tilak, the boy who could not hear, is listening to teachings and growing in his faith. Tilak, the boy who could not talk, is now proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ among those who have never heard.
Source: The Timothy Initiative. Joel News, # 1115 , February 25, 2019
North America has hosted many great revivals over the last few centuries. Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield led the First Great Awakening in the colonial United States in the 1730s and 1740s. In the early 1800s, the Cane Ridge Revival in Kentucky kicked off the Second Great Awakening. People came from around the world to witness the Holy Spirit’s power at Azusa Street Revival of 1906. And in the 1990s, thousands flocked to the Toronto Blessing and the Brownsville Revival.
Now, mere miles from the site of the original Cane Ridge Revival, seeds are being planted for the next great move of God—and maybe even a Third Great Awakening. Earlier this year, traveling evangelist Rick Curry visited Mt. Carmel Christian Church in Paris, Kentucky. The church was founded in 1818 by a man denounced by his former church for attending the original Cane Ridge revival. Curry was invited to preach at Mt. Carmel’s 200th-anniversary celebration, which happened to fall on Pentecost Sunday. During his message, revival broke out and hasn’t subsided since.
But this Kentucky city isn’t the only one experiencing revival. In fact, it’s just one example of an insatiable hunger for God’s presence breaking out in cities and towns across America.
At New Life Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, pastor Mike Fehlauer says an incredible move of God has taken place since he and his staff decided to “get out of God’s way and give the Holy Spirit room to work.” Since June, New Life has seen more than 300 baptisms, numerous salvations, and physical and emotional healings and deliverance.
Christ Fellowship Church in Dawsonville, Georgia, has experienced revival since February under lead pastor Todd Smith. This charismatic church of 350 people has witnessed more than 865 baptisms. Smith says people have travelled hundreds—even thousands—of miles just to “walk into the baptismal waters and feel the presence of the Lord.” As a result, many have been miraculously healed and delivered from addictions and emotional scars.
Even the U.S. military base at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, is feeling the Spirit’s fire. The Baptist Press reports that chaplains have seen “an incredible hunger for God,” with nearly 2,000 soldiers giving their lives to Christ since March. In Greeneville, Tennessee, a tent revival led by evangelist D.R. Harrison has lasted over five months and led to hundreds of salvations.
Pat Schatzline, an Assemblies of God minister and travelling evangelist who has studied revivals and written books on the need for spiritual renewal, says these revivals show the church is on the cusp of breakthrough.
“It is the embryonic stages of the Third Great Awakening,” Schatzline says. “… I believe that with all my heart.”
Baptisms in Georgia
The Dawsonville revival began when God gave Schatzline a vision of a mysterious pastor. Schatzline didn’t know who the man was, but he could see he was wracked with despair, sitting alone in a dark room. Hundreds of miles away, pastor Smith was doing just that, crying out to God and looking for a sign that he should continue to lead Christ Fellowship Church.
“If You don’t move, I’m done,” Smith said.
Smith got his sign when Schatzline reached out through a mutual friend. Schatzline gave Smith a message: God is coming to Christ Fellowship Church, and He is going to restore the promise He gave you eight years ago.
Then Smith received a prophetic vision of his own. He saw the church’s baptistry—the baptism pool was full, and a strip of fire appeared on top of the water. Shortly after, Smith says, God “sat down in our building and rocked our world.” Christ Fellowship hasn’t been the same since, attracting visitors from South Carolina, Minnesota and even California.
“The presence of God and the outpouring of the Holy Ghost have just erupted here,” Smith says.
Prior to the revival, Christ Fellowship conducted only a handful of baptisms each month. But since February, more than 40 people often experience water baptism in a single service, pushing the services well past midnight. One Sunday night, 114 people were baptized. Such high numbers of baptisms didn’t start immediately. But Smith says they quickly multiplied as the power of God manifested and people hungered for healing.
“The fame of his name and what He was doing in those waters began to spread,” Smith says. “When we would give the invitation, you would see 30 or 40 people run to the front to get baptized. The power of God was violent in the water. People would thrash around. Fire confronts what is going on in their lives. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen. And it has nothing to do with us as a church or any personalities involved. It’s simply God’s presence and His power.”
Some are calling the meetings a “baptism revival,” a term Don Allen, lead pastor of The Church at War Hill, says he’s never heard before. But after preaching several times at Christ Fellowship, Allen’s seen it for himself.
In the baptismal waters, numerous individuals have been healed of longtime physical ailments. Smith says the church is careful to record and follow up on them with health-care professionals so as not to minimize God’s glory.
One example is Amanda Boan, an 11-year-old who shunned foot surgery to remove an extra bone in her foot that caused her foot to twist to the side, leaving her with great pain and a limited ability to run. Boan was baptized during a Sunday-night service and continued to believe for her healing. At a service soon afterward, Boan went up to the altar and experienced instant healing: “It was like my foot was tight and then it was loosened.”
She could place her foot flat on the floor and run around the church without pain. Doctors confirmed she no longer needed surgery.
Amy Ransom also received healing. For almost three decades, Ransom suffered debilitating migraine headaches that also affected her financially due to the out-of-pocket medication costs. During a Sunday-night service, Ransom knew after fasting and praying she had been healed.
“I have gone from having daily migraines for 28 years to none,” Ransom says.
And Donna Posey, a longtime Christ Fellowship member, says God healed her of bone loss in her mouth during the second revival service in February. The condition had lingered for years, and because she didn’t have enough bone to support her dentures, implant surgery was her only option. After fervent prayer for the affected area, Posey visited her dentist, who confirmed 30 percent bone gain in her mouth. Posey says her dentist “looked at my X-ray and asked me if I believed in miracles.”
But healings and deliverance aren’t all this move of God has produced. It has had a profound spiritual effect on other churches in the region.
“We’re watching people from all faiths come here and receive what the Holy Spirit has for them,” Allen says. “Not only are we seeing salvations and miracles, but we’re seeing reconciliation among the churches here, the body of Christ really working together. You are literally seeing the miracle of unity. Our church has seen renewed prayer exponentially. Our people are now interceding for Todd’s church and for others. It’s amazing.”
Renewal in Kentucky
After the Cane Ridge Revival sparked the Second Great Awakening, revival spread across the American frontier. Now Mt. Carmel Christian Church has become the site of a new revival.
After Curry preached at Mt. Carmel’s 200th anniversary celebration, he says, the altars were filled at the conclusion of the first service in May. The meetings became so popular they had to be moved to a bigger facility, nearby River of Life Ministries in Paris, and the house is packed three nights a week.
“As worship filled the old sanctuary, we heard a remarkable sound,” Curry says. “It sounded as if every person in the sanctuary started simultaneously stomping their feet on the old wooden floors. I felt quickened in my spirit that it was the sound of the Lord coming upon the land. The sound of jubilant breakthrough resonated from the hearts of the people in that service, and it was as though we all knew revival was being birthed.”
Ministers from throughout Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Oklahoma and New Jersey have reportedly visited the revival in Paris.
“We have seen hundreds, a thousand come to the altar,” Curry says. “People have been saved, delivered and many are returning to the Lord, surrendering their yielding hearts. We have seen many miracles and healings that are really stunning in this stage of the revival. We have seen pastors and leaders repenting, weeping and laughing in an outpouring of the refreshing.”
Repentance in Texas
Fehlauer says Jesus has always been the focus of New Life Church’s kingdom purpose. The multi-campus church grew from 650 to nearly 3,000 members since he took over as lead pastor in 2011.
But he admits something had been missing from the South Texas church’s services.
“I believe that Jesus has always been at the centre of what we’ve done, but I think our bandwidth was too narrow as far as the anointing and the presence of God is concerned,” Fehlauer says. “We weren’t giving Him time or enough room to do what He really wants to do here. God directed me to preach about the presence of the Lord and the hunger for Him. It’s His words, not mine, and I would say unequivocally that one of the biggest reasons we’re seeing this is that these people are hungry for more than the status quo. Since we started this, the presence of the Holy Spirit has been thick, and the expectancy for God to move has been very strong.”
At the first meeting, Fehlauer says more than 100 people responded to the altar call for repentance and salvation, and 10 people were baptized. The next week, another 100-plus people came forward. Soon after, many individuals expressed to church staff their desire to be baptized.
“Most of these people who come to our church are new Christians, and they don’t have any point of reference for any of this,” Fehlauer says. “But these people are spontaneously running to the altar because they’re desperate for everything God has for them. I’m talking about real Acts 2:38 repentance, when Peter said to repent and be baptized and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. People addicted to pornography and some to drugs have come to ask for forgiveness, and they have experienced deliverance and healing. We’ve had men come clean about adulterous affairs. It’s inspiring to see them repent of the hurt they’ve caused others.”
Fehlauer recalled the testimony of one woman from another church in Corpus Christi who visited New Life this summer. After one service, she approached a wife of one of the pastors. She told the pastor’s wife she had visited a couple of Brownsville Revival meetings in Pensacola, Florida, in 1995. The woman said she hadn’t experienced the Holy Spirit’s presence like that again—until now.
New Life’s executive pastor, Dan Goodson, 59, lived through the Jesus Movement in the 1970s. He also spent 12 years as the COO at Joyce Meyer Ministries and several years as the executive pastor at Destiny Church in St. Louis. But he says he’s never seen a hunger for Christ like the one New Life is experiencing.
“It’s really incredible how authentic this is. It’s not man-made,” Goodson says. “People are coming to the altar and just laying their burdens down. We’ve had people come to the altar, and they don’t know why they’re even coming because they’re unsaved. They’re wanting to get water-baptized because they are hungry for something they’ve never had. That’s how heavy the Holy Spirit has been in our services.”
Third Great Awakening
Schatzline, who has preached multiple services at Dawsonville, says what’s happening in Georgia, Texas and Kentucky is “a sovereign move of God.”
“Unfortunately, many churches have learned structure, systems and ambience,” Schatzline says. “They remove one-third of the Trinity—the Holy Spirit—and one-third from 100 is 66.6. That is the spirit of the Antichrist. What I think these pockets of revival are proving is that God is going to do things differently than many people think. It’s happening on the backroads and not the crossroads. It may sound like an odd term, but I feel like God is kissing the faithful—the ones who are pressed in, the ones who still believe. Those are people who have stuck to the core values of fasting, prayer and preaching the cross, and the results are now visibly manifesting in these churches.”
Allen agrees with Schatzline’s assessment of revival.
“I have personally begun to study the significant movements of the Great Awakenings,” Allen says. “When prayer increases and people repent to God and each other, that’s when the Spirit moves and great things happen.”
Curry says he has little doubt that a Third Great Awakening is on the horizon.
“I truly believe this is the seedbed of awakening,” Curry says. “I believe America’s greatest awakening lies ahead of us and not behind us. I believe that transforming revival will come to this nation soon.”
Shawn A. Akers is a content development editor for Charisma Media.
God’s Surprises summarises revival events in 20 countries. It’s a brief summary of information in my books Journey into Mission (most detail) and Journey into Ministry and Mission (condensed autobiography).
“Can I take some bread home?” asked a tattooed young man at our communion service in the slums of Nairobi in Kenya, East Africa. God’s Spirit had prompted me to buy a few loaves of bread, bottles of drink and plastic glasses for the congregation.
We shared real drink and two loaves of bread together among 30 people in their corrugated iron shed where I was the guest preacher.
“It’s your bread,” I answered. “You decide.” He quickly shoved a handful of bread into his pocket. Then most of the others did the same. Two weeks later, Frank, the young pastor, emailed me: “I’ve visited the slum homes of those people and they are still eating that bread. It’s still fresh.” Apparently God multiplied it.
Frank and his wife Linda then offered free bread and drink each Saturday for hungry, skinny slum people, usually catering for about 50 people. Sometimes many more turned up but they always had plenty. Apparently God kept multiplying it as needed.
A young pastor in Ghana in West Africa invited me to hold meetings there. So I arrived with three others from Brisbane during our college break in July, forgetting it was monsoon time in Ghana. We flew into a deluge of rain on the Monday. Our hosts planned night meetings in the market from Tuesday, with morning teaching in a local church.
“Can we hold the night rallies in the church?” I suggested.
“Oh, no,” they said. “Only church people go there. Meetings in the market attract the crowds.”
“What about the rain?” I asked.
“God sent you, so he’ll do something,” they responded, full of faith.
We drove for over an hour in pouring rain from Accra, the capital, to the town of Suhum in the hills for our first meeting on Tuesday night. The heavy rain had flooded the power station there so the whole town was in darkness. We prayed earnestly, asking God to take over.
Within 15 minutes the rain stopped, the town lit up with power, and we began. Those excited Africans sang and danced for over two hours, attracting hundreds to the service. All that week we had clear skies and large crowds. Church teams prayed for hundreds of people. Many were saved. Many were healed. One man testified, “I came to this meeting blind, but while you were singing I found I could see.”
Heavy monsoon rains began again the day after our meetings ended.
A friend of mine worked with the United Nations in Nepal. He loved to help and support pastors and leaders there. We visited him many times and I spoke at pastors and leaders meetings in Kathmandu, in West Nepal and in East Nepal. Some of those pastors walked for two or three days across the high ranges just to attend.
Their churches are saturated in prayer. I prayed in their “Power House”, the upstairs prayer rooms of their church in Kathmandu. Those small upper rooms, open 24 hours a day, had many people going there to fast and pray, sometimes for many days.
We saw God’s Spirit move beautifully and powerfully in those meetings. Many were filled with the Spirit and healed. I heard a young man from one of their church bands praying eloquently in beautiful English – but he cannot speak English. They pray for one another with strong faith, expecting God to save, heal, deliver and anoint them.
The dedication of those Christians impressed me. Most of them have been imprisoned for their faith many times. One young pastor conducted a Christian wedding which infuriated relatives so they complained to the police and he spent a month in prison for disturbing the peace. Our host had been severely beaten while in prison. Two young evangelists were shot to death when we were there. They had returned from Bible College in India and were accused of spying. God gives those Christians amazing peace and joy amid the persecution, just as in the Book of The Acts.
Our team visited Grace Bible College in New Delhi founded by Dr Paul Pilai. Paul had stayed in our home in Brisbane when he visited Australia. He was converted after a young Christian girl prayed for his healing while he was very ill in hospital and he recovered miraculously.
He told us how his students and teams started new churches in villages and towns. They often faced angry opposition. One fanatical group burned their meeting tent and attacked them, hitting them with clubs, trying to kill them. They broke Paul’s arm and burned the tent. Suddenly some handsome Indian men surrounded Paul’s team and miraculously moved them away to a safe place nearby. The team could see their burning tent in the distance. Those angels told Paul that God would send him back there. A few years later they were invited back and started a church there in a home.
Grace Bible College, the largest in India with around 600 students, trains people to evangelize and plant churches, especially among unreached peoples. Their graduates often face persecution and some have been martyrs. What a humbling privilege it was to pray with the staff there and speak to the crowded hall full of such committed students.
I taught on revival at a seminary in Manilla in the sweltering heat of the Philippines. An assignment I gave my M.Th. students was to report on revival and miracles. One pastor, who was also a police inspector, reported that a church he visited sent groups of young people to sing and speak at hospitals and nursing homes.
One of those teams held monthly meetings in a mental hospital. The staff said that their patients may not understand much, but those patients did enjoy the singing. Over 40 came to the first meeting. The team offered to pray for anyone who would like prayer. They prayed personally for 26 people. The next month when the team returned, all those 26 had been discharged and sent home.
I visited China with a student from college. His parents worked there. The woman pastor-evangelist of a house church invited us to her church in a high-rise unit. The young man who met us at the gate could speak English.
He feared that the security guard might ask awkward questions, but as we walked in around 7pm, the guard had his back to us, talking to someone else. When we left after midnight, the guard was gone, probably sleeping.
Around 30 people sat on the floor and sang softly in worship. We spoke and then found that no one would leave until we had prayed for them personally. That took a while! They were happy to slip away one-by-one, just as they had come. Most were new Christians who believed because a Christian prayed for their healing. They believed in prayer and miracles just as in the Book of The Acts. Their simple, strong faith and humility moved and challenged me deeply.
We visited Elcho Island in the north where revival broke out and spread through Aboriginal communities all across northern Australia. We invited a team from Elcho Island for a Pentecost weekend in Brisbane. Two dozen came! They told us about the revival and prayed for people after each meeting that weekend, just sitting on the carpeted platform floor, aboriginal style.
That revival began after aborigines on Elcho Island prayed desperately for revival amid increasing crime, drink and drugs. The night their pastor, Djiniyini Gondarra (photo), returned from a holiday they met for Bible Study and prayer in his home. God’s Spirit fell on them as they united for the closing prayer. That prayer and ministry went all night. People were filled with the Spirit, discovered many spiritual gifts, and saw healings and reconciliations. Everywhere their teams went they saw God moving on the people in local revivals.
South Pacific Islands
Many revival movements have swept the South Pacific islands. I saw some. God’s Spirit fell on the Law School of the University of the South Pacific just after Easter 2002. The Law School is in Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu. Many law students were saved and transformed at their open-air rally.
Those committed students went on missions to other South Pacific nations and to Australia. Now they are lawyers and leaders. A president of their Christian Fellowship became a Member of Parliament in Fiji.
Some of those teams came with me to Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. God has been moving there in unusual ways for a hundred years. Vanuatu people first evangelized the island, one becoming a martyr. A wife of the highest ranking chief returned to life after she died and told them that she had seen God and they should leave their heathen ways and become Christians. Many revival teams have served God there in local revivals. Large numbers repent, are filled with the Spirit, and receive many spiritual gifts including revelations, words of knowledge about hidden magic or sins, and deliverance and healings.
God poured out his Spirit on children and youth in the Western Solomon Islands from Easter 2003. They loved to sing and pray daily in the church after school. God gave them visions, revelations, words of knowledge about hidden sins and bad relationships and they received many other spiritual gifts such as healings and speaking and singing what God revealed.
God revealed to a young boy the name of a man who stole a chain saw from the timber mill. A church member had been wrongly accused of that crime and sacked. He was reinstated after the man who stole it was confronted and confessed.
A mother asked me what it meant when her young boy had a vision of Jesus with one foot in heaven and one foot on the earth. I immediately remembered Matthew 28:18 – All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
We saw God touch around 1,000 youths at a National Christian Youth Convention in 2006. One night at the convention they responded, running to the front of the open-air meeting. For half-an-hour their worship team sang “He is Lord” while we prayed for them. They fell like dominoes. Many testified to healings, visions and revelations. One young man returned to his village that night and found his mother ill, so laid hands on her and prayed for her. She was healed. His brother then asked for prayer and he too was healed. The young man had never done that before. A whole group from the Kariki Islands, further west, saw revival begin in their islands on their return. God moved powerfully in every meeting they held and in their personal prayers.
I discovered that we Westerners are often too busy to pray, too worldly to listen to God, too proud to repent, and too unbelieving to see revival. We Christians – called by the name of Christ – need to take God’s promise seriously:
If my people who are called by name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
You can do that right now – at your computer or with your phone. You could take time right now to pray and seek God, to pray and obey.
Mark gives a vigorous, concise account of Jesus. The narrative moves swiftly. A brief prologue leads immediately into Jesus’ ministry as he appears proclaiming and demonstrating the kingdom of God. Kingdom life fills the pages.
Central to that drama is the cross. Mark has been described as a passion narrative with an introduction. Jesus is introduced as the Son of God in the first verse. Chapters 1‑8 reveal the mystery of the Son of God seen in Jesus’ three year ministry based in Galilee.
Then the drama shifts in chapter 8 with Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. Jesus immediately predicts his death and prepares his disciples for it (8:31; 9:30‑31; 10:32‑34). The Messiah must sacrifice his life. The way of the Son of Man is the way of the cross. Chapters 11‑16 describe that final week in Jerusalem.
This book follows the story of Jesus using lectionary readings from the year of Mark (Year B). The readings include passages from other gospels as well, especially John.
Relational Bible studies
These relational Bible studies help you explore and live kingdom life: to love God with your whole being and to love others. At best, our love for God and for one another is but a small reflection of God’s love for us. These studies can help that love to grow. Choose the sections most suitable to you or your group.
You can use this book for both personal and group study:
Personal study, which may be in preparation for a group session or just for your own interest, will involve reading the Bible passages and thinking about the questions for yourself. You may want to keep a note book or journal of your insights or discoveries. If these readings are used in your church on Sundays you may want to reflect on the study after the Sunday and also read the next study in preparation for the following Sunday. You may have a friend, or friends, with whom you would like to discuss some of the issues, and these studies give you plenty of ideas for doing that as well.
Group study involves you with others. These studies invite you to relate together at the beginning, to respond to the Bible material in personal ways and to reflect on its meaning in your own lives and circumstances.
The studies help you share your ideas and discoveries as you study the Bible together. These relational studies invite you to interact at both a content and a personal level. You can share your pilgrimage with others. You journey together. You support and encourage one another.
The New International Version as well as the Revised Standard Version were used in writing these studies, so it will be helpful for group leaders to refer to those in preparing for each study. Any versions of the Bible can be used with the studies, of course, and comparison of different translations and study notes often adds helpful insights.
Your group will be able to move more freely through each study if you all read the passages at home first. That will make you familiar with the Bible material so that you can then interact on it together in the group. The gospel reading is the focus. The other readings are referred to during the study and can be included that way.
A rough time guide for each study would be to allow about 15 minutes for the Relate section, about 30 minutes for the Respond section and another 15 minutes for the Reflect section. Sometimes you will go longer than that, especially at the end. Allow adequate time to conclude in prayer together or in other appropriate ways.
If you have a group of more than five or six people, you will usually gain more from these studies by working in small sub‑groups of about three to five. This can be done in many ways. One good way is to begin in the whole group for the Relate section, read the scripture together in the whole group, and then move into small sub‑groups for the rest of the study.
Sometimes you may want to start in small sub‑groups of two or three, then study the Response section together in the whole group, and finish by following the Reflect section in smaller groups.
History and current experience are full of examples of people being filled with the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit. Jesus was filled with the Spirit at his baptism. The disciples were at Pentecost. The Samaritans were when Peter and John prayed for them. Paul was when Ananias prayed for him in Damascus. Cornelius and his household were while Peter was preaching. Believers in Ephesus were when Paul prayed for them. It still happens.
Here are some examples from history. Most of these are reproduced here from my books Flashpoints of Revival and Revival Fires.
Nicholas Zinzendorf and the Moravians in Saxony, Germany
No one present could tell exactly what happened on the Wednesday morning of the specially called communion service. The glory of the Lord came upon them so powerfully that they hardly knew if they were on earth or in heaven. The Spirit of God moved powerfully on those three hundred refugees in Saxony in 1727. One of their historians wrote:
[Church history] “abounds in records of special outpourings of the Holy Ghost, and verily the thirteenth of August, 1727, was a day of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We saw the hand of God and his wonders, and we were all under the cloud of our fathers baptized with their Spirit. The Holy Ghost came upon us and in those days great signs and wonders took place in our midst. From that time scarcely a day passed but what we beheld his almighty workings amongst us. A great hunger after the Word of God took possession of us so that we had to have three services every day, at 5.0 and 7.30 a.m. and 9.0 p.m. Every one desired above everything else that the Holy Spirit might have full control. Self‑love and self‑will, as well as all disobedience, disappeared and an overwhelming flood of grace swept us all out into the great ocean of Divine Love.”[i]
John and Charles Wesley and George Whitefield in London, England
John Wesley found strong motivation for evangelism at a conversion experience at the age of 35 while hearing Martin Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans read at a meeting in Aldersgate Street, London. “About a quarter before nine while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed, I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given to me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.” From then on he resolved “to Promote as far as I am able vital Practical religion and by the grace of God to beget, preserve, and increase the life of God in the souls of men.”
He told how he and others including his brother Charles and George Whitefield with about 60 people were touched by God at a love feast in Fetter Lane, London: “About three in the morning, as we were continuing instant in prayer, the power of God came mightily upon us, insomuch that many cried out for exceeding joy, and many fell to the ground. As soon as we were recovered a little from that awe and amazement at the presence of his majesty, we broke out with one voice, ‘We praise Thee, O God, we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.’”[ii]
Charles Finney in Adams, North America
Charles Finney (1792-1875) became well known in revivals in the nineteenth century. A keen sportsman and young lawyer, he had a mighty empowering by God’s Spirit on the night of his conversion on Wednesday 10 October 1821. That morning the Holy Spirit convicted him on his way to work. So he spent the morning in the woods near his small town of Adams in New York State, praying. There he surrendered fully to God. He walked to his law office that afternoon profoundly changed and in the afternoon assisted his employer Squire Wright to set up a new office. That night he was filled with the Spirit. He describes that momentous night in his autobiography:
“By evening we had the books and furniture adjusted, and I made a good fire in an open fireplace, hoping to spend the evening alone. Just at dark Squire W‑‑, seeing that everything was adjusted, told me good night and went to his home. I had accompanied him to the door, and as I closed the door and turned around my heart seemed to be liquid within me. All my feelings seemed to rise and flow out and the thought of my heart was, “I want to pour my whole soul out to God.” The rising of my soul was so great that I rushed into the room back of the front office to pray.
“There was no fire and no light in this back room; nevertheless it appeared to me as if it were perfectly light. As I went in and shut the door after me, it seemed to me as if I met the Lord Jesus Christ face to face. It seemed to me that I saw him as I would see any other man. He said nothing, but looked at me in such a manner as to break me right down at his feet. It seemed to me a reality that he stood before me, and I fell down at his feet and poured out my soul to him. I wept aloud like a child and made such confession as I could with my choked words. It seemed to me that I bathed his feet with my tears, and yet I had no distinct impression that I touched him.
“I must have continued in this state for a good while, but my mind was too much absorbed with the interview to remember anything that I said. As soon as my mind became calm enough I returned to the front office and found that the fire I had made of large wood was nearly burned out. But as I turned and was about to take a seat by the fire, I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Spirit. Without any expectation of it, without ever having the thought in my mind that there was any such thing for me, without any memory of ever hearing the thing mentioned by any person in the world, the Holy Spirit descended upon me in a manner that seemed to go through me, body and soul. I could feel the impression, like a wave of electricity, going through and through me. Indeed it seemed to come in waves of liquid love, for I could not express it in any other way. It seemed like the very breath of God. I can remember distinctly that it seemed to fan me, like immense wings.
“No words can express the wonderful love that was spread abroad in my heart. I wept aloud with joy and love. I literally bellowed out the unspeakable overflow of my heart. These waves came over me, and over me, and over me, one after another, until I remember crying out, “I shall die if these waves continue to pass over me.” I said, “Lord, I cannot bear any more,” yet I had no fear of death.
That night a member of the church choir which Finney led called in at his office, amazed to find the former sceptic in a “state of loud weeping” and unable to talk to him for some time. That young friend left and soon returned with an elder from the church who was usually serious and rarely laughed. “When he came in,” Finney observed, “I was very much in the state in which I was when the young man went out to call him. He asked me how I felt and I began to tell him. Instead of saying anything he fell into a most spasmodic laughter. It seemed as if it was impossible for him to keep from laughing from the very bottom of his heart.”[iii]
Dwight Lyman Moody in New York, North America
D. L. Moody (1837-1899), converted in 1855, later led powerful evangelistic campaigns in America and England. Two women in his church prayed constantly that he would be filled with the Spirit, and his yearning for God continued to increase. While visiting New York in 1871 to raise funds for churches and orphanages destroyed in the Chicago fire of October that year, in which his home, church sanctuary and the YMCA buildings were destroyed, he had a deep encounter with God. He wrote:
“I was crying all the time God would fill me with his Spirit. Well, one day in the city of New York ‑ oh, what a day! ‑ I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it; it is almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years. I can only say that God revealed Himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask him to stay his hand. I went to preaching again. The sermons were not different; I did not present any new truths; and yet hundreds were converted. I would not be placed back where I was before that blessed experience for all the world ‑ it would be as the small dust of the balance.”[iv]
On a visit to Britain he heard Henry Varley say, “The world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him.” He resolved to be that man.
Evan Roberts in Loughor, Wales
Born in Loughor in Glamorgan, between Swansea and Llanelly, Evan Roberts (1878-1951) was an exemplary school pupil. At twelve he began working in the mine with his father. He founded a Sunday school for the children of miners, and decided to become a preacher. Constantly he read the Bible, even in the mine. He published poems in the Cardiff Times under the pseudonym of Bwlchydd, learned shorthand, and taught himself to be a blacksmith. He describes his encounters with the Spirit as follows:
“One Friday evening that spring (1904), as I was praying at my bedside before going to bed, I was taken up into a great expanse – without time or space. It was communion with God. Up to that time I had only had a God who was far off. That evening I was afraid, but that fear has never come back. I trembled so violently that the bed shook, and my brother was awakened and took hold of me, thinking I was ill.
“After this experience I woke each night about one o’clock in the morning. It was the more strange, as usually I slept like a log and no noise in my room was enough to wake me. From one o’clock I was taken up into communion with God for about four hours. What it was I cannot tell you, except that it was of God. About five o’clock I was again allowed to sleep until about nine o’clock. I was then taken up again and carried away in the same experience as in the early hours of the morning, until about midday or one o’clock.
“At home they questioned me, and asked why I got up so late … but these things are too holy to speak of. This experience went on for about three months.[v]
He entered the Calvanistic Methodist Academy at Newcasle Emlyn in mid‑September 1904. He was convinced revival would touch all Wales and eventually he led a small band all over the country praying and preaching.
Students from the Academy, including Evan Roberts and his room-mate Sidney Evans, attended the meetings of Presbyterian evangelist, Seth Joshua’s meetings in Blaenannerch. There on Thursday 29 September, Seth Joshua closed the 7am meeting before breakfast crying out in Welsh, “Lord … bend us.” Evan Roberts remembered, “It was the Spirit that put the emphasis for me on ‘Bend us.’ ‘That is what you need,’ said the Spirit to me. And as I went out I prayed, O Lord, bend me.”[vi] During the 9am. meeting, Evan Roberts eventually prayed aloud after others had prayed. He knelt with his arms over the seat in front, bathed in perspiration as he agonised in prayer. He regarded that encounter with the Spirit as crucial in launching him into his revival ministry which began one month later.
Djiniyini Gondarra in Elcho Island, Australia
The Lord poured out the Holy Spirit on Elcho Island in northern Australia on Thursday, 14 March, 1979. Djiniyini Gondarra was then the Uniting Church minister in the town of Galiwin’ku at the south of the island. He had been away on holidays to Sydney and Brisbane, returning on the late afternoon Missionary Aviation Fellowship flight.
He was travel weary and just wanted to unpack and get to bed early. Many of the people, however, had been praying for months, and especially every day while he had been away, so they wanted to have prayer and Bible study with him in his home. This is his account of that Pentecost among Australian Aborigines in the Arnhem Land churches across the north of Australia:
“After the evening dinner, we called our friends to come and join us in the Bible Class meeting. We just sang some hymns and choruses translated into Gupapuynu and into Djambarrpuynu. There were only seven or eight people who were involved or came to the Bible Class meeting, and many of our friends didn’t turn up. We didn’t get worried about it.
“I began to talk to them that this was God’s will for us to get together this evening because God had planned this meeting through them so that we will see something of his great love which will be poured out on each one of them. I said a word of thanks to those few faithful Christians who had been praying for renewal in our church, and I shared with them that I too had been praying for the revival or the renewal for this church and for the whole of Arnhem Land churches, because to our heavenly Father everything is possible. He can do mighty things in our churches throughout our great land.
“These were some of the words of challenge I gave to those of my beloved brothers and sisters. Gelung, my wife, also shared something of her experience of the power and miracles that she felt deep down in her heart when she was about to die in Darwin Hospital delivering our fourth child. It was God’s power that brought the healing and the wholeness in her body.
“I then asked the group to hold each other’s hands and I began to pray for the people and for the church, that God would pour out his Holy Spirit to bring healing and renewal to the hearts of men and women, and to the children.
“Suddenly we began to feel God’s Spirit moving in our hearts and the whole form of our prayer suddenly changed and everybody began to pray in the Spirit and in harmony. And there was a great noise going on in the room and we began to ask one another what was going on.
“Some of us said that God had now visited us and once again established his kingdom among his people who have been bound for so long by the power of evil. Now the Lord is setting his church free and bringing us into the freedom of happiness and into reconciliation and to restoration.
“In that same evening the word just spread like the flames of fire and reached the whole community in Galiwin’ku. Gelung and I couldn’t sleep at all that night because people were just coming for the ministry, bringing the sick to be prayed for, for healing. Others came to bring their problems. Even a husband and wife came to bring their marriage problem, so the Lord touched them and healed their marriage.
“Next morning the Galiwin’ku Community once again became the new community. The love of Jesus was being shared and many expressions of forgiveness were taking place in the families and in the tribes. Wherever I went I could hear people singing and humming Christian choruses and hymns! Before then I would have expected to hear only fighting and swearing and many other troublesome things that would hurt your feelings and make you feel sad. …
“There was a great revival that swept further west. I would describe these experiences like a wild bush fire burning from one side of Australia to the other side of our great land. The experience of revival in Arnhem Land is still active in many of our Aboriginal parishes and the churches.
“We would like to share these experiences in many white churches where doors are closed to the power of the Holy Spirit. It has always been my humble prayer that the whole of Australian Christians, both black and white, will one day be touched by this great and mighty power of the living God.”[vii]
These testimonies all show how God continues to pour out His Spirit.
Endnotes [i] John Greenfield, 1927, Power from on High, Christian Literature Crusade (Reprint), p. 14. [ii] Idle, C ed., 1986, The Journal of John Wesley, Lion, pages 46, 55. [iii] Helen Wessel, 1977, The Autobiography of Charles Finney. Bethany, pages 20-22. [iv] W R Moody, 1900, The Life of D. L. Moody, Revell, p. 149. [v] Walter Hollenweger, 1972, The Pentecostals, Augsburg, pages 179-180. [vi] Eifion Evans, 1969, The Welsh Revival of 1904, Evangelical Press, page 70. [vii] Djiniyini Gondarra, 1991, Let My People Go, UCA, pages 14-19; also 1993, Renewal Journal, No. 1.
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Dr Rodney and Adonica Howard-Brown are pastors and revival evangelists.
Critics focus on the rip-roaring style of his revivalist “camp meetings”, but this US-based South African evangelist says all he’s interested in is God touching people’s lives.
The Holy Spirit wants to touch the lives of real people.
I don’t spend much time wondering about God’s ability
to do what he said he could do. I just trust him.
On previous visits to Australia, Rodney Howard-Browne has attracted both crowds and controversy. But vigorous debate about his methods and the “phenomena” seen at his meetings has not kept thousands away. … The US-based South African evangelist spoke with Rob Buckingham about spiritual power, the simplicity of faith, and how it feels to be surprised by God.
Buckingham: Things took off for you number of years ago. Can you tell us what took place at that time?
Howard-Browne: We’d moved to America in December ‘87 and travelled wherever the doors opened. One pastor in upstate New York asked us to have two meetings a day and invited the whole congregation. So in April 1989 we went to [a town called] Clifton Park to a church with about 250 members.
I was amazed to see people so hungry for the things of God. On the Monday morning 60 people came to the morning service. This was amazing, especially in America at that time – there had been some major set backs with different major ministries crumbling, and people were disillusioned. Next day we had 100 people at the service – nearly a third of the church coming out on a Tuesday morning!
While I was teaching, just like I normally do, the praises of God just filled the room, and people started falling out of their seats. It looked like someone was sitting in the balcony and shooting people with an invisible gun. Some were crying, some were laughing, others were rolling on the floor. It took a little getting used to.
The presence of God literally filled that place. We saw an outbreak of a revival that now, this April, is nine years old. It’s gone around the world, touched the lives of millions of people, an it hasn’t subsided or stopped. It’s been a great adventure.
Buckingham: What are your reflections now on what took place back then?
Howard-Browne: I see it as an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It’s not like we weren’t expecting it. We were crying out to God to come and move; we just didn’t know how or when it was going to happen. So when it happened the way it did it totally took us by surprise.
Buckingham: Is there any change in what took place then compared to what’s happening now?
Howard-Browne: It’s just multiplied many times over. In the beginning it was 100 people and now it’s thousands. Whether we’ve been in China or Japan, Holland, Germany, Russia or the islands of the sea, it’s the same. People are the same and they have the same needs. The Holy Spirit wants to touch the lives of real people. There are many religions in the world, but religions will leave you empty because it’s man’s vain attempt to reach God. But Christianity is God reaching man through the person of Jesus Christ.
Buckingham: There are reports of physical healings at your meetings. Do these happen in every country?
Howard-Browne: It happens everywhere. We look at it this way. When people come to a meeting where the Holy Spirit is moving, whatever their needs are God will touch them at that point. Healing is just one of these. People come with cancer, arthritis, different diseases, and the presence of god touches them. Some are healed in their seat without even having hands laid on them, and it’s only later they find out that they’ve been healed.
Dolly, a little Alaskan native lady, came to our meetings in a wheelchair. She’d had arthritis for 18 years, the last five confined to a wheelchair and the final two years bedridden. She came as a last resort, asking God to please touch her. We laid hands on her, but we didn’t really pray that she’s be able to get out of the wheelchair, just that she’d get some joy and that God would touch her. I said, “Lady, what do you want to do?” She responded, “I want to get out of this chair.” So I said, “Well then, go ahead.” Then she climbed out of the chair and walked around the building and was totally healed of crippling arthritis. This happened back in 1991 and we’ve seen her subsequently. She’s still totally healed with no trace of arthritis in her body.
Buckingham: That’s physical healing. What about emotional healing? People can carry a lot of baggage around inside.
Howard-Browne: There are many examples. One is about a woman in North Dakota who was raped by a so-called friend. She contracted two venereal diseases, the worst the doctor said he’d seen. He told her that she’d never be able to have children.
This woman came to the meeting pretty traumatized – this had only happened weeks before. The power of God touched her, she fell on the floor and as she was lying there she felt like there was a fireman standing over her with a big fire hose washing her clean. For about two-and-a-half hours she felt this water washing her clean. When she got up she could remember the rape but it was like it happened to somebody else. God had totally removed the hurt from her. When she went back to the doctor there was no trace of the diseases. That was over five years ago. Today she’s married to one of the pastors of the church. They’ve had children with nothing wrong.
Buckingham: What about other stories?
Howard-Browne: An executive-type lady came to a meeting with a lot of deep hurt in her heart. About 20 years ago she’d had an abortion, and every time she was around things of God she felt guilty and condemned with thoughts like “God’s never going to bless you because of what you did.”
We prayed for her and she was overcome, lying there filled with joy. Laughing hysterically. Later she told us it was as if she was taken up to heaven to see a little girl dancing around, with Jesus standing to the side. The little girl said, “Look Jesus, Mummy’s laughing”. When that happened, she said it felt like a hand reached down inside her and pulled out all the hurt. When she got up from the floor she didn’t feel guilty any more. She knew that God had forgiven her and everything was all right.
Buckingham: Are these incidents isolated events?
Howard-Browne: No. People are healed from depression, a lot from fear, even from wanting to commit suicide. There’s so much pressure on people today. People feel like they can’t make it. So they come to the meetings. God touches them and sets them free. It’s wonderful to see.
Buckingham: Australians are quite different from Americans, and you minister in America a lot. How do you respond to that difference in your meetings when you come to Australia?
Howard-Browne: Because I’m a South African, I think it’s probably easier for me to respond than it would be for an American. I find the Aussies very direct, which I like. There’s no airs or graces, nobody’s pretending. I think maybe that’s why we’ve had such a great response in Australia.
Buckingham: You travel extensively around the world. That must be draining on you. How do you handle the pace?
Howard-Browne: Actually, I find the travel exhilarating, so that by the time I get to a new place I’m refreshed. We travel 46 weeks of the year, and it’s awesome to see people’s lives touched and changed. That’s the thing that’s refreshing. When we get tired, we try to take a break for two or three days.
Buckingham: Rodney, how do you describe your own relationship with God?
Howard-Browne: I would describe my relationship as very, very simple. I don’t understand some people when they always want to complicate God. I just see him as God – nothing is impossible to him. I have a very childlike faith that God honours his word. I don’t spend much time arguing about it or wondering about his ability to do what he said he could do. I just trust him.
Buckingham: How does your relationship with God impact your life personally?
Howard-Browne: Well, because nothing is impossible for him, I always want to believe him for big things. When you think that he made the heavens and the earth, then everything we come up with after that is really so small. I just think sometimes people make everything so difficult when there’s nothing too hard for God.
Buckingham: What about your relationship with others? How does your faith impact that?
Howard-Browne: I want God to do for them what he’s done for me. I’m not anything special or different. I’m just an ordinary person. But I know that if he can do great things for me, he can do great things for them.
Buckingham: How does your faith impact your care for the world around you?
Howard-Browne: When I see a need, my wife has to calm me down; she says, “You can’t do everything.” God leads you into areas where you can minister effectively to touch the needs of people. We all want to reach out and feed the poor or help those less fortunate than we are, yet because I’m busy doing what I’m doing, I can’t do it. So I try to find other ministries and get behind them. I don’t have to do what they’re doing: I just finance and support them.
Buckingham: What can people expect at your meetings this year?
Howard-Browne: Pretty much like two years ago, we’re going to focus on he person of Jesus – people being touched by the Lord and coming back to their “first love”.
Buckingham: What do you mean by “first love”?
Howard-Browne: “First love” is the love you have when you first give your life to Christ – the joy that you’ve just met him, that he’s set you free from sin, that all the guilt and condemnation is gone. It’s like a young guy and a girl; when they first fall in love, they’re just beside themselves.
It’s so easy as a child of God to get caught up in the daily grind, trying to please God, caught up in rituals and traditions. You end up losing that joy and peace. Revival is about people falling in love with Jesus all over again.
Anything can happen when people come back to their first love.
This is an edited version of an interview conducted by Rob Buckingham for use in On Being ALIVE and his weekly radio program “Rob Buckingham and Friends”. It was originally broadcast on 3MP on 29 March, 1998.
Reprinted with permission from On Being ALIVE Magazine, No. 4, May 1998, pages 30-34.
(c) 2011, 2nd edition. Reproduction allowed with copyright included in text.
Introduction Scripture speaks of the Church as a body, a living organism that is to manifest the life of Christ from within. To accomplish that God has so designed the body with many individual members who are equipped with unique gifts which have specific functions. A proper understanding and use of spiritual gifts by each member of the body is essential if the body (the church) is to grow to maturity. ‘There is one body and one Spirit … But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gifts. And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the equipment of the saints, for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ.’ (Paul)
Body ministry grows as we use our spiritual gifts. So it is important to know how our spiritual gifts apply to our lives and ministry. This book can help you learn how to discover and to exercise your spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts can be studied in many different ways. This study is a brief summary of the various gifts of the Spirit, not as boxes or categories, but as currents in the wind of the Spirit and currents in the river of God.
The studies cover: The manifold grace of God – speaking and serving gifts (1 Peter 4:10-11). Motivational gifts from God our Father (Romans 12:4-8). Ministry gifts from Christ Jesus (Ephesians 4:11). Manifestations of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:8-10).
Body Ministry – in One Body Each passage on the gifts of the Spirit stresses that we are one body in Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12‑13; Romans 12:4‑5; Ephesians 4:4). The whole context of Paul’s teaching on the gifts of the Spirit is one of unity with diversity; unity in community; one body with many parts functioning in harmony. Paul repeats many themes in the three key passages in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4:
One body: The church is the one body of Christ on earth (1 Corinthians 12:12‑27; Romans 12:4‑5; Ephesians 4:4‑6).
Gracious gifts: They are given, not earned and not achieved (1 Corinthians 12:1, 4, 6, 8‑11; Romans 12:6; Ephesians 4:7‑8, 11).
All Christians have gifts: There are no exceptions; and each gift is important (l Corinthians 12:7; Romans 12:6; Ephesians 4:7).
Gifts differ: Value our differences; we need each other (1 Corinthians 12:4‑7; Romans 12:4‑6; Ephesians 4:7 8).
Unity: They function in unity and promote unity (1 Corinthians 12:12‑13, 25; Romans 12:4‑5; Ephesians 4:3, 13, 16).
Maturity: Spiritual gifts build up the body in maturity (1 Corinthians 12:7; Romans 12:9‑21; Ephesians 4:12‑15).
Love: Love is the top priority; gifts must be used in love (1 Corinthians 13; Romans 12:9‑10; Ephesians 4:4, 15‑16).
The book Body Ministry explores this in detail with many current examples. * Jesus’ Example and Command The cover photo and design portray Jesus’ example and command: Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. …So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. (John 13:3-5, 12-17)
* A valuable book for personal study and for use in small groups.