I have read many similar stories, but this one exceeds them all.
I read the online edition and was blown away by the response of the Solomon Islanders to the power of the Holy Spirit. It was amazing, or should I say God-planned. Geoff has done well to not only be in so many places and seeing God at work, but also writing a book about it all. It’s as if it has all happened in a world apart, but the events in Brisbane show that it could happen in Australia also. ~ Barbara Vickridge (Perth, Australia)
Geoff Waugh’s life and ministry have influenced people all around the world. The story of his life and ministry will be of interest not only to those who know him – you will find yourself reflecting on your own journey with Jesus. Here is a personal journey with reflections that will enrich the lives of all readers. As he `looked to Jesus’ along the way he was opened up to many exciting new ventures in Australia and into countries where revival and renewal is vibrant, changing many lives. Although a biography, many others are involved. His reflections fit naturally, showing how his personal journey has relevance for others. (John Olley)
I have read many similar stories, but this one exceeds them all.
I read the online edition and was blown away by the response of the Solomon Islanders to the power of the Holy Spirit. It was amazing, or should I say God-planned. Geoff has done well to not only be in so many places and seeing God at work, but also writing a book about it all. It’s as if it has all happened in a world apart, but the events in Brisbane show that it could happen in Australia also. (Barbara Vickridge)
Book 1: Journey into Renewal and Revival
Introduction:Waugh stories – an overview
1. Beginnings: state of origin – growing up in NSW, Australia
2. Schools: green board jungle – learning and teaching
3. Ministry: to lead is to serve – theological college and pastorates
4. Mission: trails and trials – pioneering teaching in Papua New Guinea
5. Family: Waughs and rumours of Waughs – Family life in PNG and Australia
6. Search and Research: begin with A B C – exploring Israel and studies
7. Renewal: begin with doh rey me – charismatic renewal in Australia
8. Revival: begin with 1 2 3 – teaching revival leaders in many countries
A lot of key passages and exciting developments get lost in the details of this book so I have highlighted passages in this book which bring some of those key revival passages together.
From Chapter 5 – Australia: Elcho Island (1994)
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.
Many unplanned and unexpected things happened every time we went from camp to camp to meet with the people. The fellowship was held every night and more and more people gave their lives to Christ, and it went on and on until sometimes the fellowship meeting would end around about midnight. There was more singing, testimony, and ministry going on. People did not feel tired in the morning, but still went to work.
From Chapter 9 – Philippines (1995)
During the class seminars, my students reported on various signs and wonders that they had experienced in their churches. Many of them expected God to do the same things now as he did in the New Testament, but not all! “We don’t seem to have miracles in our church,” said one student, a part-time Baptist pastor and police inspector. “You could interview a pastor from a church that does,” I suggested.
So he interviewed a Pentecostal pastor about miraculous answers to prayer in their church. That student reported to the class how the Pentecostal church sent a team of young people to the local mental hospital for monthly meetings where they sang and witnessed and prayed for people. Over 40 patients attended their first meeting there, and they prayed for 26 personally, laying hands on them. A month later, when they returned for their next meeting, all those 26 patients had been discharged and sent home.
From Chapter 9 – Ghana (1995)
When we arrived in the mountain town of Suhum, it was dark. The torrential rain had cut off the electricity supply. The rain eased off a bit, so we gathered in the market square and prayed to God to guide us and to take over. Soon the rain ceased. The electricity came on. The host team began excitedly shouting that it was a miracle. “We will talk about this for years” they exclaimed with gleaming eyes. We had clear days all that week, although it was in the monsoon.
My interpreter that night didn’t know a lot of English. I think he preached his own sermon based on some phrases of mine he understood or guessed, and apparently he did well. When we invited people to respond and give their lives to Christ, they came from the surrounding darkness into the light. Some wandered over from the pub, smelling of beer. They kept the ministry team busy praying and arranging follow up with the local churches.
At that point I left the work to the locals who understood one another. I just moved around laying hands on people’s heads and praying for them, as did many others. People reported various touches of God in their lives. Some were healed. Later in the week an elderly man excitedly told how he had come to the meeting almost blind but now he could see.
Each day we held morning worship and teaching sessions for Christians in a church, hot under an iron roof on those clear, tropical sunny days. During the second morning I vividly ‘saw’ golden light fill the church and swallow up or remove blackness. At that point the African Christians became very noisy, vigorously celebrating and shouting praises to God. A fresh anointing seemed to fall on them just then.
From Chapter 9 – Toronto, Canada (1995)
Over 100,000 a year flocked there from all over the world for well over a decade. The wide diversity of people from different denominations and countries there impressed me. Love and respect for others filled the atmosphere and testimonies. We joined the crowds of over 1500 each morning and night, enjoyed the low-key sensitive worship (knowing very few of their songs), appreciated the balanced teaching, and received personal prayer.
Both of us appreciated the gracious, caring way people prayed for us, and others. No rush. No hype. No pressure. Whether we stood, or sat in a chair, or rested on the carpeted floor, those praying for us did so quietly with prayers prompted by the Holy Spirit. Those praying laid a hand on us gently, as led, and trusted the Lord to touch us. He did. Warmth and love permeated us. We returned to our hotel after the meetings aware of increased peace and deeper assurance of the Lord’s love and grace.
After returning to Brisbane I noticed that people I prayed for received strong touches from the Lord, most resting in the Spirit on the floor. We needed people to be ready to catch those who fell, to avoid them getting hurt (then needing extra healing prayer!). Some of them had visions of the Lord blessing them and others.
From Chapter 13 – Nepal (2000)
After praying on the bridge we approached the Chinese officials to get a permission to enter Tibet. The first official refused but the second one nodded approvingly, taking the four Australian passports from my hand as security, and let us go free of charge! This could happen only by the supernatural intervention of our Almighty God, Hallelujah! We had good prayer inside Tibet, especially on those individual shopkeepers whom I would grab and pray on without any resistance from them!
On 21 April all the eight of Australians and I had a trip to Gochadda in west Nepal and held a three days conference over there at Easter. While driving toward the destination I shared the Word with the driver of the private bus and during the inauguration of the conference he approached the altar and accepted Christ as his personal Saviour. On the same day a Christian brother whose hand was partially crippled for six years was touched by the Holy Spirit and healed absolutely. He was shaking in his whole body and raising his hands, even the crippled one already healed, praising the Lord with all his strength, he glorified the Lord for his greatness, Hallelujah!
Out of about 200 participants in the conference by the grace of God 100 of them were baptized in the Holy Spirit praising the Lord, singing, falling, crying, and many other actions as the Holy Spirit would prompt them to act. About ten of them testified that they had never experienced such a presence of the power and love of God. Some others testified being lifted to heavenly realms by the power of the Holy Spirit, being surrounded by the angels of the Lord in a great peace, joy, and love toward each other and being melted in the power of his presence. Many re-committed their lives to the Lord for ministry by any means through his revelation.
On the second day of the conference the trend continued as the people seemingly would fall down, repent, minister to each other in the love of Christ, enjoy the mighty touch of the Holy Spirit, singing, prophesying, weeping, laughing, hugging, and all the beauty of the Holy Spirit was manifested throughout the congregation by his grace and love. One woman of age 65 testified that she never had danced in her life in any occasion even in secret, but the Lord had told her that she should now dance to him and she was dancing praising him with all her strength. For hours this outpouring continued and the pastors of the churches were one by one testifying that they had never experienced such a presence and power of God in their whole Christian life and ministry.
Some 60 evangelists from Gorkha, Dhanding, Chitwan, Butwal declared that they were renewed in their spirits by the refreshing of the Holy Spirit and they are now going to serve the Lord in the field wherever the Holy Spirit will lead them to be fully fledged in His service. In the last day of the conference while praying together with the congregation and committing them in his hands, many prophesied that the Lord was assuring them of great changes in their ministry, life and the area. While the power of God was at work in our midst three children of 6-7 years old fell down weeping, screaming and testifying about a huge hand coming on them and touching their stomachs and healing them instantly. After the prayer all the participants got into the joy of the Holy Spirit and started dancing to the Lord, singing and praising Him for His goodness.
Before leaving Gochadda while we were having snacks in the pastor’s house a woman of high Brahmin caste came by the direction of the Lord to the place, claiming that she was prompted by a voice in her ear to go to the Christians and ask for prayer for healing of her chronic stomach pain and problems, and that is why she was there. We prayed for her and she was instantly healed and we shared the Gospel, but she stopped us saying, “I need to accept Christ as my Saviour so don’t waste time!” She accepted Jesus as her personal Saviour being lifted in spirit, and even the body as she said she didn’t feel anymore burden in her body, and spirit, Hallelujah!
On 25 April we held another conference in Nazarene Church pastored by Rinzi Lama in Kathmandu. Ten churches unitedly participated in the two days gathering where about 100 people participated. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit continued in this conference refreshing many in their spirits and bringing much re-commitment. Some cases of healing were testified. …
On 27 April we held a one day conference in Hosanna Church where the touch of the Holy Spirit was tremendous and people blessed by the Holy Spirit and his might were manifesting his power and presence in the place. While people were worshipping and praising the Lord, a prophecy came and the Lord said, “What happened to the vision given to you six years ago? You have forgotten to pray about it but I have not forgotten what I have promised to you through the vision!” I was reminded by the Holy Spirit that I had seen a vision where I was taken over the highest mountains in this country with a few of my foreign friends and some of our evangelists and as we put our step on the top of the mountain it started shaking and melting and my friends and the evangelists started disappearing, then I cried out, “Lord where are my friends?” And He said open your eyes and see, and I saw all my friends and the evangelists were scattered all over the mountains and they were coming towards me with multitudes of people behind them. I started weeping and with a feeling which words cannot explain I was thanking the Lord for His goodness, I was laughing in the Spirit for the repetition of the vision which I could see again. Hallelujah!
From Chapter 14 – USA: Pensacola
I liked the spontaneous bits best. Before Friday night’s revival service some people in the singing group of over 50 people on stage began singing free harmonies without music while they waited for the sound system to work, and we all joined in. It sounded like angels harmonizing in continual worship. Wonderful. No need for words!
Later, during the service Lindel Cooley, their worship leader, led spontaneously from the keyboard without other instruments, singing the chorus of an old hymn from his youth (and mine) – ‘Love lifted me’. All the oldies joined in, and then it went on to a verse sung from memory. It moved me deeply, from my own boyhood memories, especially as I had just then been asking the Lord for a personal touch from him.
A visitor preached, calling for faith and action. Their prayer team prayed for many hundreds at the ‘altar call’ – short and sharp, but relevant and challenging. The man who prayed briefly for me spoke about national and international ministries the Lord would open for me.
From Chapter 15 – Vanuatu (2002)
By Romulo: “The speaker was the Upper Room Church pastor, Jotham Napat who is also the Director of Meteorology in Vanuatu. The night was filled with the awesome power of the Lord and we had the Upper Room church ministry who provided music with their instruments. With our typical Pacific Island setting of bush and nature all around us, we had dances, drama, testified in an open environment, letting the wind carry the message of salvation to the bushes and the darkened areas. That worked because most of those that came to the altar call were people hiding or listening in those areas.The Lord was on the road of destiny with many people that night.”
Unusual lightning hovered around the sky and as soon as the prayer teams had finished praying with those who rushed forward at the altar call, the tropical rain pelted down on that open field.
God poured out his Spirit on many lives that night, including Jerry Waqainabete and Simon Kofe. Both of them played rugby in the popular university teams and enjoyed drinking and the nightclub scene. Both changed dramatically. Many of their friends said it would not last. It did last and led them into ministry and mission.
From Chapter 16 – Vanuatu (2003)
Significant events associated with the coming of the Gospel to South Pentecost included a martyr killed and a paramount chief’s wife returning from death.
Thomas Tumtum had been an indentured worker on cane farms in Queensland, Australia. Converted there, he returned around 1901 to his village on South Pentecost with a new young disciple from a neighbouring island. They arrived when the village was tabu (taboo) because a baby had died a few days earlier, so no one was allowed into the village. Ancient tradition dictated that anyone breaking tabu must be killed, so they were going to kill Thomas, but his friend Lulkon asked Thomas to tell them to kill him instead so that Thomas could evangelize his own people. Just before he was clubbed to death at a sacred Mele palm tree, he read John 3:16, then closed his eyes and prayed for them. Thomas became a pioneer of the church in South Pentecost, establishing Churches of Christ there.
Paramount Chief Morris Bule died at 111 on 1stJuly, 2016, the son of the highest rank paramount chief on Pentecost Island. After a wife of Chief Morris’s father died and was prepared for burial, the calico cloths around her began to move. She had returned from death and they took the grave cloths of her. She sat up and told them all to leave their pagan ways and follow the Christian way. Then she lay down and died.
Chief Morris’s son, Paramount Chief Peter, had an uncle who returned from Queensland as a Christian in the early 1900s. When he was old, after many years telling them about the Gospel, one day he called all his relatives to him, shook hands in farewell with everyone, and lay down and died immediately.
From Chapter 16 – Solomon Islands (2003)
Revival began with the Spirit moving on youth and children in village churches. They had extended worship in revival songs, many visions and revelations and lives being changed with strong love for the Lord. Children and youth began meeting daily from 5pm for hours of praise, worship and testimonies. A police officer reported reduced crimes, and said former rebels were attending daily worship and prayer meetings.
Revival continued to spread throughout the region. Revival movements brought moral change and built stronger communities in villages in the Solomon Islands including these lasting developments:
1 Higher moral standards. People involved in the revival quit crime and drunkenness, and promoted good behaviour and co-operation.
2 Christians who once kept their Christianity inside churches and meetings talked more freely about their lifestyle in the community and amongst friends.
3 Revival groups, especially youth, enjoyed working together in unity and community, including a stronger emphasis on helping others in the community.
4 Families were strengthened in the revival. Parents spent more time with their youth and children to encourage and help them, often leading them in Bible reading and family prayers.
5 Many new gifts and ministries were used by more people than before, including revelations and healing. Even children received revelations or words of knowledge about hidden magic artefacts or ginger plants related to spirit power and removed them.
6 Churches grew. Many church buildings in the Marovo Lagoon were pulled down and replaced with much large buildings to fit in the crowds. Offerings and community support increased.
7 Unity. Increasingly Christians united in reconciliation for revival meetings, prayer and service to the community. …
Children received revelations about their parent’s secret sins or the location of hidden magic artefacts or stolen property. Many children had visions of Jesus during the revival meetings. Often he would be smiling when they were worshipping and loving him, or he would show sadness when they were naughty or unkind. …
At Seghe the children and youth loved to meet every afternoon in the church near the Bible College there. The man leading these meetings had been a rascal involved in the ethnic tensions but was converted in the revival. A policeman from Seghe told me that since the revival began crime has dropped. Many former young criminals were converted and joined the youth worshipping God each afternoon. Revival continued to spread throughout the region. …
We taught in morning sessions about revival and answered questions. One mother, for example, asked about the meaning of her young son’s vision of Jesus standing with one foot in heaven and one foot on the earth. What a beautiful, powerful picture of Jesus’ claim that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him (Matthew28:8), seen in a child’s vision.
From Chapter 17 – Vanuatu: Pentecost (2004)
By Matthias: The deliverance ministry group left the college by boat and when they arrived at the Bungalows they prayed together. After they prayed together they divided into two groups.
There is one person in each of these two groups that has a gift from the Lord that the Holy Spirit reveals where the witchcraft powers are, such as bones from dead babies or stones. These witchcraft powers are always found in the ground outside the houses or sometimes in the houses. So when the Holy Spirit reveals to that person the right spot where the witchcraft power is, then they have to dig it up with a spade.
When they dug it out from the soil they prayed over it and bound the power of that witchcraft in the name of Jesus. Then they claimed the blood of Jesus in that place.
Something very important when joining the deliverance group is that everyone in the group must be fully committed to the Lord and must be strong in their faith because sometimes the witchcraft power can affect the ones that are not really committed and do not have faith.
After they finished the deliverance ministry they came together again and just gave praise to the Lord in singing and prayer. Then they closed with a Benediction.
From Chapter 19 – Vanuatu Pentecost (2004)
By Don: The night’s worship led by the law students started off as usual with singing, then spontaneously turned into a joyful party. Then Joanna Kenilorea gave a testimony about a very sad event in her family that brought the Keniloreas back to God. She was especially eloquent in her address and when finished, Geoff found that it had been so powerful that he had no more to add that night and made an immediate altar call for prayer. Almost as one, 300 high school students, teachers and others present rose from their seats and moved out into the aisle to the front of the hall. There were a couple of slow starters, but when it became apparent that Geoff could not possibly pray for each individually, even these moved up to the back of the crowd until everybody in that room had come forward. Geoff in all his years of ministry and association with renewal ministries and revival (and that was the subject of his doctorate) had never experienced anything like it. The most remarkable thing for Helen and me was we were there and part of it in such a remote and previously unknown part of our world! It was surely a night to remember.
From Chapter 21 – Vanuatu: Pentecost (2005)
Many of the older people attending these intensive teaching sessions had been involved in local revivals through many years. They understood the principles involved such as repentance, reconciliation, unity, personal and group prayer that was earnest and full of faith, and using various gifts of the Spirit. They were most familiar with words of wisdom and knowledge, discerning spirits (especially from local witchcraft), revelations, healings and deliverance.
I learned much from them, especially about the spirit world and humbly seeking God for revelation and direction. We westerners tend to jump in and organize things without really waiting patiently on God for his revelation and direction. Many westerners, including missionaries, find waiting frustrating or annoying, but local people find it normal and natural. Wait on God and move when he shows you the way. For example, you can seek the Lord about who will speak, what to say, and how to respond.We westerners often use schedules and programs instead.
“Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14)
From Chapter 22 – Kenya (2005)
Before the Kibera slum church moved into their corrugated iron shed they met in a community hall. I taught leaders there, and spoke at their Sunday service with about 30 people. We gave them real bread for communion, not just symbolic cubes. The Spirit led me to give them all the bread we had, just t loaves (not five barley buns as the boy had in Scripture).
“Can I take some home to my family?” asked one young man. That’s a hard question to answer in front of 30 hungry people.
“It’s yours. You can take some of your own communion bread home if you want to,” I answered.
Everyone then took a large handful of communion bread, and most put some in their pockets to take home later. We shared real glasses of grape juice in plastic glasses, thanking the Lord for his body and blood given for us. After my return to Australia I heard that the bread apparently multiplied, as those who took some home had enough for their families to eat. Some of them were still eating it two weeks later.
From Chapter 22 – Fiji (2005)
By Jerry:While we were praying and worshipping, the Lord told me for the first ever time to take the salt water and the land and give it back to God. And I told this brother that when we offered it to God the rain is going to fall just to confirm that God hears and accepts it according to His leading.
I told him in advance while the Lord was putting it in my heart to do it… this is the first ever time and I always heard about it when people are being led… now it has happened to me… I could not even believe it.
As soon as he brought the water and I brought the soil to signify the sacrifice, I felt the mighty presence of God with us and was like numb… and the sun was really shining up in the sky with very little clouds. This rain fell slowly upon us…. I still could not believe… my cousin was astonished and could not believe it… it happened according to the way the Lord told me and I told him. It was like a made up story.
It was the blessings of God and I told the Lord that I am waiting for His own time to rebuild the walls of my village… but the Lord already told me that He wants and has chosen me to rebuild the wall of my village like Nehemiah.
From Chapter 23 – Fiji (2006) re Tanna Island
The Director of the Department of Meteorology in Vanuatu was in Fiji for a conference and I met him there again. He is also a pastor (Pastor Jotham) at Upper Room church in Port Vila where many of the law students attended.
In May 2006 he had been on mission in Tanna Island where the Lord moved strongly on young people, especially in worship and prayer. Children and youth were anointed to write and sing new songs in the local dialects. Some children asked the pastors to ordain them as missionaries – which was new for everyone. After prayer about it, they did.
Those children are strong evangelists already, telling Bible stories in pagan villages. One 9 year old boy did that, and people began giving their lives to God in his pagan village, so he became their ‘pastor’, assisted by older Christians from other villages.
From Chapter 24 – Vanuatu (2006)
At sharing time in the Upper Room service, a nurse, Leah Waqa, told how she had been recently on duty when parents brought in their young daughter who had been badly hit in a car accident, and showed no signs of life – the heart monitor registered zero.
Leah was in the dispensary giving out medicines when she heard about the girl and she suddenly felt unusual boldness, so went to the girl and prayed for her, commanding her to live, in Jesus’ name. She prayed for almost an hour, mostly in tongues, and after an hour the monitor started beeping and the girl recovered.
The revival team, including the two of us from Australia, trekked for a week into mountain villages. We literally obeyed Luke 10 – most going with no extra shirt, no sandals, and no money. The trek began with a five-hour climb across the island to the village of Ranwas on ridges by the sea on the eastern side. Mathias led worship, and strong moves of the Spirit touched everyone. We prayed for people many times in each meeting. At one point I spat on the dirt floor, making mud to show what Jesus did once. Merilyn Wari, wife of the President of the Churches of Christ, then jumped up asking for prayer for her eyes, using the mud. Later she testified that the Lord told her to do that, and then she found she could read her small pocket Bible without glasses. So she read to us all. Meetings continued like that each night. …
Revival meetings erupted at Ponra. The Spirit just took over. Visions. Revelations. Reconciliations. Healings. People drunk in the Spirit. Many resting on the floor getting blessed in various ways. When they heard about healing through ‘mud in the eye’ at Ranwas some wanted mud packs also at Ponra!
One of the girls in the team had a vision of the village children there paddling in a pure sea, crystal clear. They were like that – so pure. Not polluted at all by TV, DVDs, videos, movies, magazines, and worldliness. Their lives were so clean and holy. Just pure love for the Lord, especially among the young. Youth often lead in revival.
The sound of angels singing filled the air about 3am. It sounded as though the village church was packed. The harmonies in high descant declared “For You are great and You do wondrous things. You are God alone” and then harmonies, without words until words again for “I will praise You O Lord my God with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name for evermore” with long, long harmonies on “forever more”. Just worship. Pure, awesome and majestic.
From Chapter 24 – Solomon Islands (2006)
Revival in the Guadalcanal Mountains had begun at the Bubunuhu Christian Community High School on Monday, July 10, 2006, on their first night back from holidays. They were filled with the Spirit and began using many spiritual gifts they had not had before. Then they took teams of students to the villages to sing, testify, and pray for people, especially youth. Many gifts of the Spirit were new to them – prophecies, healings, tongues, and revelations (such as knowing where adults hid magic artefacts).
The National Christian Youth Convention (NCYC) in the north-west of the Solomon Islands at Choiseul Island, two hours flight from Honiara, brought over 1,000 youth together from all over the Solomon Islands.
By Grant: “Most of a thousand youth came forward. Some ran to the altar, some crying! There was an amazing outpouring of the Spirit. There were so many people, Geoff and I split up and started laying hands on as many people as we could. People were falling under the power everywhere (some testified later to having visions). There were bodies all over the field (some people landing on top of each other). Then I did a general healing prayer and asked them to put their hand on the place where they had pain. After we prayed people began to come forward sharing testimonies of how the pain had left their bodies and they were completely healed! The meeting stretched on late into the night with more healing and many more people getting deep touches.
It was one of the most amazing nights. I was deeply touched and feel like I have left a part of myself in Choiseul. God did an amazing thing that night with the young people and I really believe that he is raising up some of them to be mighty leaders in revival.”
A young man who was healed that night returned to his nearby village and prayed for his sick mother and brother. Both were healed immediately. He told the whole convention about that the next morning at the meeting, adding that he had never done that before.
The delegation from Kariki islands further west, returned home the following Monday.
The next night they led a meeting where the Spirit of God moved in revival. Many were filled with the Spirit, had visions, were healed, and discovered many spiritual gifts including discerning spirits and tongues. That revival has continued, and spread.
From Chapter 25 – Solomon Islands (2007)
We held revival meetings at the Theological Seminary at Seghe in the fantastic Marovo Lagoon – 70 kilometres with hundreds of tropical bush laden islands north and west of New Georgia Island. Morning teaching sessions, personal prayers in the afternoons and night revival meetings, with worship led by the students, filled an eventful week in September 2007. That was the first time the seminary held such a week, and again we prayed for so many at each meeting, students and village people. Meetings included two village revival services in the lagoon. At the first, an afternoon meeting in the framework of a large new church building, everyone came for prayer, all 100, and 30 reported on pain leaving as we prayed for healings. Then we had a long evening meeting at Patutiva village, where revival started in Easter 2003 across the Lagoon from Seghe. That meeting went from 7pm to 1.30am with about 1,000 people! We prayed personally for hundreds after the meeting ‘closed’ at 11pm. Students told me they could hear the worship and preaching on the PA across the lagoon 1k away in the still night air, so those in bed listened that way! …
The week at Taro was the fullest of the whole trip, the most tiring, and also the most powerful so far. Worship was amazing. They brought all the United Church ministers together for the week from all surrounding islands where revival is spreading and was accelerated after the youth convention near here in Choiseul the previous December, where the tsunami hit in April. Many lay people also filled the church each morning – about 200.
Night rallies at the soccer field included the amplifiers reaching people in their houses as well. Each night I spoke and Mathias also spoke, especially challenging the youth. We prayed for hundreds, while the youth lead worship at the end of each meeting. The ministers helped but they preferred to just assist us, and people seemed to want us to pray for them. I involved the ministers in praying for people also. There was a lot of conviction and reconciliation going on.
It’s fascinating that we so often see powerful moves of God’s Spirit when all the churches and Christians unite together in worship and ministry. God blesses unity of heart and action, especially among God’s people. It always involves repentance and reconciliation.
In all these places people made strong commitments to the Lord, and healings were quick and deep. Both in Vanuatu and in the Solomon Islands the people said that they could all understand my English, even those who did not speak English, so they did not need an interpreter. Another miracle.
Saturday night was billed as a big meeting at Patuvita across the channel. This is where the revival started with children of the lagoon at Easter 2003. Geoff had previously visited this church in September 2003. The old church building has been pulled down and the foundations were being pegged out on an open ridge high above the lagoon for the new one, which will probably hold up to 1000 as the revival swells the numbers.
Again students led the worship. Most of the adults were traditional, but there were forty or so in revival ministry teams who pray for the sick, cast out spirits and evangelise. We joined the meeting by 8pm and finished at 1.30am!
Worship went for an hour. Geoff then preached for nearly an hour. In his words –
Very lively stuff. Only tiny kids went to sleep – 50 of them on pandanus leaf mats at the front. Then we prayed for people – and prayed, and prayed, and prayed and prayed, on and on and on and on! I involved the ministers (after praying for them and leaders first), and the students – and still people came for prayer – by the hundreds.
We prayed for leaders who wanted prayer first, then for their ministry teams, then for youth leaders and the youth, and then for anyone else who wanted prayer, and at about midnight Mark called all the children for prayer, so the parents woke them up and carried the babies. I guess I prayed for 30 sleeping kids in mother’s arms and for their mothers and fathers as well.
Then after midnight when the meeting “finished” about 200 remained for personal prayer, one by one. So I involved 4 students with me, and that was great on-the-job training as well as praying. We prayed about everything imaginable, including many barren wives, men whose wives were un-cooperative, women whose husbands weren’t interested, and healings galore – certainly many more than 100 healings. In every case, those with whom we prayed said that the pain was totally gone.
I doubt if I’ve ever seen so many healings, happening so quickly. At 1.30am there were still 30 people waiting for prayer, so I got desperate, and prayed for them all at once. I told them just to put their hands on the parts of their body needing healings, and I prayed for them all at once, while the students and some ministers still there laid hands on them, and I also moved quickly around to lay hands on each one.
They were all happy, and again reported healings. I wish I’d thought of that at midnight! But at least a few hundred had a chance to talk with us and be specific about their needs.
From Chapter 27 – China (2007)
I loved it there among such humble, hungry, receptive, grateful, gentle, and faith-filled believers. I was often in tears just being there, appreciating their heartfelt zeal in everything. I have rarely been so impressed anywhere. No concerts. No acting. No hype. Just bare essentials. What a big and wonderful family we belong to, and our Father is so proud of his family there, I’m sure.
I had the great honour of speaking at a house church. People arrived in ones or twos over an hour or so, and stayed for many hours. Then they left quietly in ones or twos again, just personal visitors to that host family. Food on the small kitchen table welcomed everyone, some of it brought by the visitors.
About 30 of us crowded into a simple room with very few chairs. Most sat on the thin mat coverings. They sang their own heartfelt worship songs in their own language and style, pouring out love to the Lord, sometimes with tears. The leader played a very basic guitar in a very basic way.
Everyone listened intently to the message, and gladly asked questions, all of it interpreted. There was no need for an altar call or invitation to receive prayer. Everyone wanted personal prayer. Our prayer team of three or four people prayed with each person for specific needs such as healing and with personal prophecies. That flowed strongly. I knew none of that group, but received ‘pictures’ or words of encouragement for each one, as did the others.
While prayer continued, some began slipping quietly away. Others had supper. Others stayed to worship quietly. It was a quiet night because they did not want to disturb neighbours or attract attention.
Most people in that group were new believers with no Christian background at all. They identified easily with the house churches of the New Testament, the persecution, and the miracles, because they experienced all that as well. Many unbelievers become Christians because someone prayed for their healing and the Lord healed them.
From Chapter 28 – Fiji (2008, 2009)
By Romulo (2008): “Inter-tertiary went very well at Suva Grammar School that was hosted by Fiji School of Medicine Christian Fellowship (CF). It was an awesome two nights of fellowship with God and with one another. The Pacific Students for Christ combined worship was a huge blessings for those that attended the two nights of worship. Pastor Geoff spoke on Obedience to the Holy Spirit – this being a spark to revival and power.
“Students came in droves for prayers and the worship lit up the Grammar School skies with tears, repentance, anointing and empowerment. The worship by Fiji School of Medicine students brought us closer to intimate worship with the King. It was a Pacific gathering and each and every person there was truly blessed as young people sought a closer intimate relationship with the King. We were blessed beyond words. Thank you all for the prayers, the thoughts and the giving.”
Roneil, a Fijian Indian, added, “It was all so amazing, so amazing that words can’t describe it. For me, it was obvious that the glory of God just descended upon the people during the Inter-tertiary CF. I’ve never seen an altar call that lasted for way more than an hour. I myself just couldn’t get enough of it. It was and still is so amazing. God’s anointing is just so powerful. Hallelujah to Him Who Was, Who Is and Who is to Come.”
By Romulo (2009): Two of the memorable highlights were the washing of leaders’ feet at RCCG Samabula and the worship service on Wednesday at RCCG Kiuva village. In fact I remember picking up the pastors on Sunday morning, and seeing Pastor Geoff carrying towels. I said to myself, ‘This is going to be fun.’ And fun it was.
God was teaching the church the principles of servanthood, demonstrated not just by words but by actions. It was a moving experience as Pastor Geoff on his knees started washing feet, drying them with a towel and speaking into the lives of leaders. Powerful also was the fact that Pastor Geoff’s leading was to wash the feet of leaders.
That Sunday former PM Rabuka, who heard of the Pastor’s visit, came to church for prayer. Of course, the leading for Pastor Geoff to pray for leaders meant Rabuka would get his feet washed too. One of the acts that will be embedded forever in my mind was seeing Rabuka sit on the floor, remove his coat and wash the feet of Pastor Geoff and KY Tan. He then dried their feet with his ‘favourite’ Fiji rugby coat (he played in their national rugby team). I was blown away by this act of humility, as demonstrated by Christ on his final night with the disciples before his arrest and execution.
On Wednesday night, (their last night in Suva), we were at Kiuva village in Tailevu. The powerful and angelic worship of young people and kids in Tailevu made the atmosphere one of power with a tangible presence of the Lord in the place. We saw a glimpse of revival and the power of God at work in such a simple setting. I was blessed to witness for myself the prevalent hunger in the body as lives connected with God. In all, it is purely refreshing being in the presence of God and being touched and filled by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus was wholly obedient in different ways at different times as a child, a student, a carpenter, a teaching rabbi, a healer, a sacrifice. We can obey in our different situations.
The Great Commission is a call to obey everything Jesus commanded. That’s not easy! But Jesus reminded us that he now has all authority in heaven and on earth and he is with us to the end of the age:
‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ (Matthew 28:18-20)
This book is about learning to obey Jesus as we love God who loves us totally. Jesus said, “If you love me you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15, 23). The greatest commandments of all are to love God and love others. …
We encourage Christians, especially leaders, to obey what Jesus told us to do. All Christians love to speak and sing about Jesus but we may not follow his instructions. So I wrote a mission book about how Jesus trained his followers: Jesus the Model for Short Term Supernatural Mission.It’s the first in my Great Commission Series and this is the second book in that series.
Jesus taught his followers to do what he did. He commanded them to love one another as he loved us. He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God, to heal the sick and to cast out unclean spirits. I hope this book will help you do what Jesus told us to do.
Jesus said that all the commandments could be summed up in two: loving God and loving others.
‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it:
‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 22:37-40).
Jesus described our neighbour as anyone, especially those in need. He said that we would keep his commandments because we loved him.
Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. (John 14:23)
God our loving Father expects us to believe in Jesus, his Son, to trust him and to obey his teaching and instructions.
And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment (1 John 3:23).
What is obedience?
Jesus told a parable about two sons whose father told them to work in his vineyard (Matthew 21:28-32). One son said he would go but he did not. The other son said he would not go but changed his mind and went. The one who said ‘No’ but then went was more obedient than the one who said ‘Yes’ but didn’t go. The story shows how we can repent, change our mind and obey.
Jesus’ parable of the two sons encourages us to repent, turn around, and obey even if previously we did not. Often we may feel guilty that we are not obeying Jesus fully and wholeheartedly. When we pray we may remember how we disobeyed or were half-hearted or reluctant to obey. We can repent, and obey.
Some of Jesus commands seem hard for us to obey: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you; whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me; carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; sell your possessions, and give alms; those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples (Luke 6:27-28; 9:23; 10:4; 12:33; 14:33). And that’s just a few of his instructions!
We’re not all called to be Saint Francis or Mother Teresa. But we are called to follow Jesus – and that’s a challenge. Jesus’ instructions can shape our attitudes and actions. We may live it out in different ways in different places, but his commands will always guide us as we are led by his Spirit. Jesus was wholly obedient in different ways at different times as a child, a student, a carpenter, a teaching rabbi, a healer, a sacrifice. We can obey in our different situations.
Our obedience springs from love and flows strong in God’s love. We love Him because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).
Jesus reveals himself to those who obey him in love: “The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me; and whoever [really] loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I [too] will love them and will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to them. [I will let Myself be clearly seen by them and make Myself real to them.]” (John 14:21 Amplified)
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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Each Study Guide in these Blogs refers to a paperback and eBook Study Guide for each of these seven subjects.
These Study Guides are adapted from former Distance Education materials produced by Citipointe Ministry College, the School of Ministries of Christian Heritage College in Brisbane, Australia. Now they are adapted into these books for your benefit. The current courses use different and updated materials as part of internet resources for students.
For information about current courses, contact the Principal,
Signs and wonders occur throughout the Old and New Testaments. They express the magnificent creativity and sovereignty of the Lord, described in the Bible. They are also expressions of the power, goodness, mercy, grace, compassion, and love of the Lord, and show the nature of our omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God.
Signs and wonders point to the One and True Living God, and also demonstrate that this Living God is a Personal God who is very interested in people, both individually and corporately. This same God described in the Bible is very much alive and active today just as he was then.
Our hope is that through this subject you will encounter God and be transformed in this encounter. We pray that you will be challenged and stirred up to move in faith and obedience to God who can empower you with his Holy Spirit to do what Jesus did and even greater works (John 14:12). As you learn to move in God’s power and in ways that are naturally supernatural and supernaturally natural, may you become more Christ-like in your personal life, ministry, and vocation in this world. And may you be an instrument in advancing the Kingdom of God on earth as you become filled with passion and clothed with power from on high.
We especially thank Cecilia Estillore Oliver, a medical doctor and B.Min. graduate, for her work in helping to compile and write this Study Guide. Cecilia prepared and compiled the information in this Study Guide from materials gathered and arranged by Geoff Waugh for the degree programs of Citipointe Ministry College, the School of Ministries of Christian Heritage College in Brisbane, Australia, and made available here with permission of the college. This book reproduces the content of that former Study Guide, adapted here for general use.
Much of the material is developed and adapted from the course at Fuller Theological Seminary conducted by John Wimber in 1984, titled MC510: Signs and Wonders and Church Growth, used with permission.
Reproduced from the Signs and Wonders Study Guide Appendix
A student we prayed for one morning in class went to her doctor that afternoon for a final check before having a growth removed from her womb. That afternoon her doctor could find no trace of the growth after checking with three ultrasound machines, so he cancelled the scheduled operation.
“My class at college laid hands on me and prayed for me,” she explained to her doctor. “I believe God healed me, and that’s why you can’t find the growth any more.”
“I don’t know if God healed you,” he responded. “But I do know that you don’t need an operation.”
Our class studied this Signs and Wonders subject. We usually began each class with prayer, and that day our prayer included praying for specific needs such as that woman’s health. One of those praying in class was Cecilia, a medical doctor. She prayed with strong faith, joining us in laying hands on the ‘patient’ student, knowing that God heals through prayer as well as through medicine. What rich resources we have for ministry – right there in the group.
I love hearing medical people pray for healing. They have medical skills as well as faith in God. A nurse in one of our week night meetings prayed for another lady who had severe back pain.
“L4, be healed in Jesus’ name,” the nurse commanded as she prayed with her hand on the woman’s back. It takes medical knowledge plus the revelation of a ‘word of knowledge’ to be able to pray like that. All pain immediately left the lady being prayed for. Apparently the problem was in the Lumbar 4 (L4) section of her spine.
Many people are not healed so quickly. Perhaps most are not healed so quickly in our materialistic Western society. There are many reasons for that, including our Western scepticism, lack of compassion or faith, and our sinfulness such as jealousy, competition or failing to forgive others freely as God has forgiven us.
We all can learn more together about effective ministry. That learning is enhanced and expanded rapidly when we share our experiences and learning together. The ‘teacher’ usually shares from his or her experiences, but others can do also. So the more that our ministry education fosters mutuality, the more we can learn from one another.
We call this open education, or open ministry education. It is open to everyone and everyone can be involved. It is not just for leaders. Our leaders can help us, but their main job is to equip the saints for the work of ministry for building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). We can do these things in classes, small groups, seminars, training courses and home or church groups.
Until recently I would never have dreamed that I would sit down and write a testimony for a publication like this one, nor that it would have as its principle thrust my concern with and my blessings from the charismatic renewal.
I am an Anglican Bishop who was a member of the Society of Saint Francis and is now a member of the Franciscan Order of The Divine Compassion. Very early in life I was attracted both to Holy Orders and to the character and the witness of Saint Francis.
This attraction to St Francis greatly increased during my study in Theological College. I asked my bishop whether I might be allowed to go almost at once to test my vocation in a Franciscan religious community. He rightly pointed out that I had undertaken to be ordained in the Diocese of Newcastle and to serve in that diocese for five years. He added that if I were faithful in persevering in that vocation then he would be willing to release me in due course to test this other vocation to the Religious life.
However, as the years went by, other things presented themselves which seemed right and proper to do. In every case, when I sought advice, I was urged to go forward with those things. They included overseas studies and eventually a call to the episcopate in the Diocese of Adelaide. There I was Assistant Bishop before being translated to Polynesia to the Diocesan Bishop.
. Many streams
I grew up in a Christian family. I was unable to accept the narrowly evangelical teaching which then characterized the Diocese of Sydney, that is, unable to accept it in its strict and partisan form. Nevertheless, I owe a great debt of gratitude to the teaching which I received in the Diocese of Sydney and in evangelical circles.
The narrower aspects of evangelicalism were tempered in my case by the parish in which I grew up, St John’s at Dee Why, and by the liberal attitudes of my Sunday School teachers. They had been influenced by the findings of the last century of biblical criticism and research.
Whilst a student at Moore Theological College, I was brought into touch through Christ Church St Lawrence with a third stream of influence and theological insight in Anglicanism, Anglo-Catholicism.
I am grateful to all of these. Each school of thought enriched my life and to this day leaves its mark on me. I have never doubted God, though there have been times of coldness, barrenness, and infidelity to God’s demands upon me.
I was very fortunate to find in a second hand book shop in Sydney a French book entitled (in English) The True Disciple: The Priest According to the Gospel. This book written by Father Chevrier, a 19th Century Capuchin Tertiary, had a profound influence on my life. From it I learned, among other things, a prayer which governed Father Chevrier’s life: ‘Lord, I am at your disposal’.
That prayer became, and still remains, a part of my life. It is, as I know, a dangerous prayer to pray. God has a habit of taking it at its face value.
Always there recurred the call to Franciscanism. So eventually I resigned my See of Polynesia and left to join the Society of Saint Francis. There I was enriched, very happy, and conscious of the continuing guidance and blessing of Almighty God. More recently God called me to found The Franciscan Order of the Divine Compassion.
. Renewal overseas
My first contact with the charismatic renewal was in Paris. I was staying with a young French nobleman whom I had met first at the Abbey of Our Lady at Bec Hellouin. On this later visit to Paris I had accepted his invitation to stay with him. He mentioned that he had been booked in for a weekend conference before he knew of my coming. He invited me to join him there.
The conference was a meeting of several hundreds of Roman Catholic charismatics from in and around Paris. That weekend was, I think, one of the most moving experiences of my whole life. The joy! The warmth! The wonder of it all!
I spoke to an old priest, over seventy, whom I was somewhat astonished to find there. He said to me, ‘Father, three years ago hardly any of these young people prayed. Now, look at them! If this is what the Holy Spirit is doing for them then I want to be part of it.’
He went on to say that in the beginning he had not fully understood it but that now he too was a part of that great joy.
I can shut my eyes now and I can hear and see the people, the smiles, the love. I can hear the wonderful sound of that group of people singing in tongues. I have never heard anything so moving, so beautiful, in all my life. It sounded like a gentle flock of birds taking off and it moved me deeply. It touched my heart.
Later, when I was appointed Assistant Bishop of Southwalk, I shared in an Anglican charismatic experience, or rather, an ecumenical one in an Anglican setting. A number of Anglo-Catholic parishes had been deeply influenced by the renewal. I was invited to share in a day long meeting in one of them.
People from different denominations and from different traditions within Anglicanism had come. I remember with joy the charismatic Stations of the Cross. I could not ever imagine such a thing myself. You may think, ‘What an unlikely vehicle for praising God!’ Yet it was a wonderful and profoundly moving experience filled with deep worship of our blessed Lord in his Passion, and marked with tremendous joy.
The Eucharist, with its time for prophecy and free prayer, was again a moving experience. Until then, that was novel for me. Looking back, I see how great an influence it had on my own thinking and my own changing patterns of worship. It all seemed so right and proper.
Later on, when people were invited to receive the laying on of hands, I went forward to do so. When they asked me what gift I wished to have, I replied rather cunningly as I then thought, ‘Whatever the Holy Spirit wishes to give me.’ As people laid hands upon me and prayed I was suffused with a great warmth and joy, filled with the spirit of love and an abiding peace.
I had other brief encounters with the charismatic renewal in the Diocese of Southwalk and always found them occasions of joy and love and peace. I found there was a blessing in it all which I was slowly receiving.
I knew that I was unwilling to surrender, unwilling to give a part of me. I felt, as so many bishops still do, that this was a great movement of renewal. Yes, there was something good here, but I was also saying, ‘Good Lord, don’t let it touch me!’
. Renewal in Australia
On my return to Australia, to the Friary of the Society of Saint Francis in Brisbane, I was presented very soon after my arrival with a question. Could the brothers be allowed to go to the national Roman Catholic charismatic conference in Brisbane.
I was willing that some should go, and determined to go myself in order to keep an eye on them! We mustn’t have these young men getting up to strange tricks. I wanted to know what was going on. I wanted to protect the community from any spirit of division.
Of course, I myself was deeply touched by the whole thing. The kind of charismatic experience being spoken about at this conference, deeply rooted in sacramental piety and churchly in character, was one which I found immensely attractive.
Before this conference, I had been worried by the naive fundamentalism which seems to me to afflict so many charismatics and the undue emphasis on external signs such as speaking in tongues. This emphasis, I felt, was a phenomenon which occurred when charismatic renewal was divorced from a normal churchly and sacramental life. Needless to say there was none of that at this conference.
The workshops on prayer were characterised by wonderful testimonies. Old ways of prayer had come alive for people under the influence and power of the Holy Spirit. I was struck at once by the way in which the development of the charismatic life paralleled at so many points the classical spiritual tradition about development in the life of prayer.
The shared prayer, the public meetings, and indeed the whole conference up to the last great mass, were characterised by joy – a joy made sad by the sacramental disunity which separated us at the altar.
At one of those meetings someone prophesied that the Spirit was moving powerfully among us to heal. That prophecy was followed by one from Father Michael Scanlan from America. He said it had been given to him by the Spirit that the healing was particularly for those who were afflicted with arthritic and rheumatic pain.
While we went on singing those who had these pains were simply to claim the healing. I did so and felt a remarkable surge of power. From that moment to this the pains that had afflicted me for almost twenty years have never recurred. Now that was a pretty impressive sign given to me!
A few weeks later I was staying with the Community of St Clare. A young priest who used charismatic gifts and was a friend of that community, was speaking to me. I asked him to lay hands on me because of an affliction in my ears. That too was healed. Other physical disorders remained with me. I do not see any evidence in Christian history to suggest that physical healing will always be given, nor do I believe that healing is only of the body.
I did know that still deep within me there were parts of my life which were unsurrendered, which I was keeping to myself. I also knew that some of the things which still afflicted me were related to that unwillingness to surrender.
At a national charismatic conference in Adelaide in 1976 in which many Roman Catholics shared, I made that surrender. I was healed in yet another part of my body and received a baptism of love of a most wonderful and intense kind.
For all this I give thanks to almighty God and I praise him for all he has given me. Like many others, I came to speak and indeed to pray in tongues for the first time when alone. It began in a place where many people would least expect, while I was staying with an enclosed contemplative community of nuns.
. Effects of renewal
This experience has been pre-eminently one of love and of great joy, of a calm assurance, and of a revivifying of all that I have always believed and all that I have been given. It has meant for me a new ordering of my life, a new place for holy scripture, a new sense of priorities, a deeper peace, and I believe it has made me more readily available to people, particularly those from whom I differ.
For me, this total experience grows out of my baptism, that is my baptism in water in the name of the Holy Trinity. That is the source and origin of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit and of all that has touched my life. I prefer not to speak of baptism in or by the Spirit, but rather of a being filled up with, or of having a new flow of, grace. Words, as the mystics have found in every age, are hopeless for speaking of the deepest mysteries of life.
I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit of God is at work in his church, restoring its foundations, bringing new life, new hope, new power. Anyone would be very foolish to judge this renewal simply by those who have experienced it but misunderstood it, misused it, or over-emphasised its secondary external phenomena. My deepest reservation is the frequent association of charismatics with right wing politics.
It would be sad for these reasons to stand aside from it all. We could then miss out on the promise which God offers to his church and his world through the renewal which the Holy Spirit alone can give.
My commitments and public life do not leave me many opportunities for sharing specifically in charismatic gatherings. But whenever I can, I am richly blessed. Since these earlier beginnings I have received further healings, especially through the ministry of Mary Rogers. I am conscious of how enriched my whole life and ministry have become.
I urge all who read this, and have their doubts, to look again at the passages in the New Testament which refer to the work and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Such a study can, I believe, only lead those who engage in it to see how far we have drifted from the power and the vitality of the primitive church. That power and vitality came from the gifts and the presence of the Holy Spirit recognized, sought after, and deeply desired.
May God bless all who read this and quicken in your hearts that deepened desire for the indwelling power of God the Holy Spirit. May he bless you in your life and your work and ministry.
May he use us all, whatever our theological and spiritual character, to restore to his Body the unity which is his will and his desire, for which he died, and for which he longs with an ardour beyond our comprehension.
Summaries of Revivals
from these two books by Geoff Waugh:
Flashpoints of Revival
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim
release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour
(Luke 4:18-19; Isaiah 61:1-2).
Jesus, reading from Isaiah’s prophecy, claimed its fulfilment in himself. He explained his mission as the Messiah (the Christ, the Anointed One) in terms of being empowered by the anointing of the Spirit of the Lord for his ministry. That ministry, specifically to the poor, captives, blind, and oppressed, demonstrated the liberating good news of the Lord’s favour.
That grace and favour met personal and institutional resistance. Jesus illustrated his mandate in his home synagogue with the biblical accounts of the Lord providing for the Gentile Sidon widow and the Syrian army officer. The congregation’s rage erupted into one of the many assassination attempts on Jesus’ life. His anointed ministry drove him to the cross.
The ministry of Jesus and of his church seen in the ‘revivals’ of the early church show both the powerful nature of the Spirit’s anointing and its power to confront evil.
This book emphasizes the importance of these impacts of the Holy Spirit, demonstrated biblically and also historically in revivals. It shows the importance of the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20, which declares that Jesus’ followers throughout history ‘to the end of the age’ would obey everything he taught his first disciples. They learned to serve and minister in the power of the Spirit.
Revivals show how different perspectives on Spirit movements find common ground in evangelism, ministry, and in social action.
Different Christian traditions emphasise different dimensions of being baptised in the Spirit. Rather than seeing these perspectives as mutually exclusive, they may be seen as inter-related and integrated. The evangelical emphasis on conversion, the Catholic and Episcopal emphasis on initiation, the Reformed emphasis on covenant, and the Pentecostal emphasis on charismata can be integrated in a dynamic view of Spirit baptism. These perspectives all thrown light on powerful Spirit movements in revival, like facets of a brilliant diamond.
Revival is God pouring out his Spirit on all people.
Revivals have been thoroughly described and analysed. The Christian term ‘revival’ may be traced to its earliest use in the phrase “revival of religion.”
The Oxford Association for Research in Revival, formed in 1974 through the work of revival historian J. Edwin Orr, distinguished between ‘revival’ for believers and ‘awakening’ for the community:
A spiritual awakening is a movement of the Holy Spirit bringing about a revival of New Testament Christianity in the Church of Christ and its related community. … The outpouring of the Spirit accomplishes the reviving of the Church, the awakening of the masses and the movements of uninstructed people toward the Christian faith; the revived Church, by many or by few, is moved to engage in evangelism, in teaching and in social action.
The terms ‘revival’ and ‘awakening’ have been used interchangeably in revival literature. ‘Revival’ now usually refers to local revivals of spiritual life and commitment within the church but also touching the surrounding community through conversions and social transformation. ‘Awakening’ usually refers to the more widespread influence of revivals across a large area and for a more extended period of time with considerable influence in the community and the nation.
Martin Lloyd-Jones described revival this way:
“It is an experience in the life of the Church when the Holy Spirit does an unusual work. He does that work, primarily, amongst the members of the Church; it is a reviving of the believers. You cannot revive something that has never had life, so revival, by definition, is first of all an enlivening and quickening and awakening of lethargic, sleeping, almost moribund Church members. Suddenly the power of the Spirit comes upon them and they are brought into a new and more profound awareness of the truths that they previously held intellectually, and perhaps at a deeper level too. They are humbled, they are convicted of sin, they are terrified at themselves. Many of them feel they had never been Christians. And they come to see the great salvation of God in all its glory and to feel its power. Then, as the result of their quickening and enlivening, they begin to pray. New power comes into the preaching of ministers, and the result of this is that large numbers who were previously outside the Church are converted and brought in.”
Revivals may be examined as sociological phenomena. Revivals occur within a sociological context and usually affect and change that context. The sociological discourses are relevant as significant social explanations, but they often exclude the theological dimensions of divine initiative and intervention, supernatural phenomena, and human repentance and faith. Repentance, renewal and divine intervention feature prominently in revival accounts, adding fuller dimensions to the secular sociological explanations of revival phenomena.
Furthermore, Christian revivals often include mass evangelism meetings, but revival also needs to be distinguished from the use of the term ‘revival’ for evangelistic meetings. When ‘revival’ is used for a scheduled revival meeting, such as once a week in a local church, the term is being used in a limited, narrow sense rather than in its historical meaning.
Revival refers to the Lord pouring out his Spirit on everyone.
The Bible affirms specific, identifiable and profound impacts of the Holy Spirit in the redemptive, liberating action of God in Spirit movements. Biblical terms describing charismatic impacts of the Spirit vary greatly in both the Old and New Testaments. They include the following, with these representative references:
the Spirit was given – Numbers 11:17; John 7:39;
the Spirit came upon – Judges 3:10; Acts 19:5;
the Spirit took control – Judges 6:34; 1 Samuel 11:6; 16:13;
the Spirit poured out – Joel 2:28 28; Acts 10:45;
the Spirit came down – Matthew 3:16; Luke 3:22; John 1:33;
the Spirit fell (or came down) Acts 10:44; 11:15;
the Spirit received – Acts 8:15 17; 19:2;
baptised in or with the Spirit – Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5;
filled with the Spirit – Acts 2:4; 9:17; Ephesians 5:18.
The specific nature of these charismatic impacts is significant, as is the varied nature of subsequent charismata and ministries resulting from these impacts. Luke’s narrative discourses in his gospel and the Acts emphasise the importance of the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit in the ministry of Jesus and his followers, and all the gospel accounts describe the impact of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus at his baptism and in his subsequent ministry.
The Old Testament
The unique Hebrew monotheism involved covenant relationship with God, Yahweh, as supreme. Consequently, any deviation from God’s rule required repentance and restoration in personal, communal, national and ultimately in international relationships.
Revival as repentance and return to that covenant relationship is typical of Spirit movements in the Old Testament. However, periods of covenant renewal were not necessarily times of revival, particularly where people merely conformed outwardly to the edicts of their godly rulers. Revival as an outpouring of the Spirit on everyone is foreshadowed, rather than fulfilled, in the Old Testament. The new covenant blessings involve outpourings of the Spirit in the promised messianic era.
The popular, generic biblical ‘revival’ statement is God’s promise to answer the prayers of his repentant people with the restoration of shalom in the healing of the land. This promise, given to Solomon in a night vision at the time of the dedication of the first temple, answered his public national prayer of 2 Chronicles 6 (specifically verses 26-27), with the assurance of God’s faithfulness to his covenant: “If my people who are called by my 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).
Kaiser notes the significance of 2 Chronicles 7:14, as demonstrated in repentance and reform movements during the reigns of Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah and Josiah in Judah. Although commentators refer to this passage in terms of the writer’s doctrine of retribution, it is also justified exegetically as a pattern for revival as demonstrated in Israel’s history and more completely in the messianic era of the Spirit following Pentecost.
Spirit movements in the Old Testament demonstrate God’s faithfulness to this covenant promise. Revival or reform always involved returning to theocratic rule, with the prophets as the guardians of the theocracy. Kings were accountable to God, and the true prophets spoke from God.
Where repentance occurred, often in times of crisis and need, the Spirit of the Lord intervened powerfully on the nation and on other nations with glimpses of the blessings of the promised messianic rule.
Examples of ‘revival’ in Israel’s history include movements of reform and repentance under the leadership of:
1. Jacob-Israel (Genesis 35:1 15),
2. Samuel (1 Sameul 7:1-17),
3. Asa (2 Chronicles 15:1 15),
4. Joash (2 Kings 11 12; 2 Chronicles 23 24),
5. Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:1 8; 2 Chronicles 29 31),
6. Josiah (2 Kings 22 23; 2 Chronicles 34 35),
7. Jonah (Jonah 1-4, involving Ninevah),
8. Haggai and Zechariah with Zerubbabel (Ezra 5 6)
9. Ezra with Nehemiah (Nehemiah 9:1 6; 12:44 47).
Although these are not the only occasions of repentance and reform, they were national movements of return to the covenant obligations, and they document the fulfilment of the covenant promises and obligations with typical revival phenomena. Revivals in Israel’s history included these characteristics:
1. They occurred in times of moral darkness and national depression;
2. Each began in the heart of a consecrated servant of God who became the energising power behind it;
3. Each revival rested on the Word of God, and most were the result of proclaiming God’s Word with power;
4. All resulted in a return to the worship of God;
5. Each witnessed the destruction of idols where they existed;
6. In each revival, there was a recorded separation from sin, especially destruction of idols;
7. In every revival the people returned to obeying God’s laws;
8. There was a restoration of great joy and gladness;
9. Each revival was followed by a period of national prosperity.
Revival movements in the Old Testament demonstrated God’s faithfulness to his covenant relationship, but the prophets saw such movements as harbingers of the messianic age in which the promise of shalom would be fulfilled, not merely externally upon anointed members of the covenant community, but internally by the outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord upon all people.
The New Testament
Jesus fulfilled and completed the messianic promises in himself. This included the promise of the outpouring of the Spirit. Jesus experienced the empowering of the Spirit at his baptism, which he explained in terms of being anointed for ministry (Luke 4:18-19).
The Spirit-empowered preaching and ministry of the twelve and the seventy also proclaimed and demonstrated the messianic kingdom of God. However, the disciples often failed to understand the significance of the Spirit’s liberating presence, and often showed lack of faith and vision, both before and after Pentecost.
Jesus inaugurated the new era of his new blood covenant. His church, filled with his Spirit, still fulfils his mission in the world. The cross and resurrection remain the ultimate and essential victory over evil. Authentic revival demonstrates the triumph of the cross and the presence and power of the risen Lord in his people by his Spirit.
The early church lived in revival. It saw rapid growth in the power of the Holy Spirit from the initial outburst at Pentecost. Multitudes joined the church, amid turmoil and persecution. As with Pentecost, revivals are often unexpected, sudden, revolutionary, and impact large numbers of people bringing them to repentance and faith in Jesus the Lord.
Characteristics typical of revival can be found in the widely acknowledged prototype of revival in the Pentecost account. These themes recur constantly in accounts of Spirit movements in revival. Stott notes revival characteristics in Acts 2: “Pentecost has been called – and rightly – the first ‘revival’, using this word to denote one of those altogether unusual visitations of God, in which a whole community becomes vividly aware of his immediate, overpowering presence. It may be, therefore, that not only the physical phenomena (vv 2ff), but the deep conviction of sin (v 37), the 3,000 conversions (v 41) and the widespread sense of awe (v 43) were signs of ‘revival.’”
Revivals continually display the characteristics and phenomena of the Pentecost account, including:
1 Divine sovereignty (Acts 2:1,2): God chose the day, the time, the place, the people, uniting old covenant promise with new covenant fulfilment. His Spirit came suddenly and people were overwhelmed at the Pentecost harvest festival.
2 Prayer (Acts 1:14; 2:1): The believers gathered together to pray and wait on God as instructed by the Jesus at the ascension. All revival literature emphasises the significance of united, earnest, repentant prayer in preparing the way for revival and sustaining it.
3 Unity (Acts 2:1): The disparate group meeting ‘in one accord’ included male and female, old and young, former zealot and former collaborator, most of the twelve and those who joined them. Their differences blended into the diversity of enriched unity .
4 Obedience to the Spirit (Acts 2:4): Filled with the Spirit they immediately began using gifts of the Spirit as ‘the Spirit gave utterance’.
5 Preaching (Acts 2:14): Peter preached with anointed Spirit-empowered boldness, as did the others whose words were heard in many languages.
6 Repentance (Acts 2:38-39): Large numbers were convicted and repented. They were instructed to be baptised and to expect to be filled with the Spirit and to live in Spirit-led community, and that succeeding generations should expect this also.
7 Evangelism (Acts 2:40-41, 47): The new believers witnessed through changed lives bringing others to faith in the Lord daily.
8 Charismata (Acts 2:43): The era of the Spirit inaugurated supernatural phenomena including glossolalia, signs, wonders and miracles, demonstrated powerfully among the leaders, but not limited to them.
9 Community (Acts 2:42-47): The outpouring of the Spirit brought the church into being as a charismatic, empowered community which met regularly in homes for discipleship instruction, supportive fellowship, daily informal eucharistic meals, and constant prayer.
10 Rapid church growth (Acts 2:47): Typical of revivals, The Lord added to the church those who were being saved. This eventually transformed the community of Judaistic believers into a constantly expanding community embracing all people.
That story of revival declares that “about three thousand persons were added” (Acts 2:41), “many of those who heard the word believed; and they numbered about five thousand” (Acts 4:4), “more than ever believers were added to the Lord, great numbers of both men and women” (Acts 5:14), “The word of God continued to spread; the number of the disciples increased greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7), “the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up … it increased in numbers” (Acts 9:31), “a great number became believers” (Acts 11:21), “a great many people were brought to the Lord” (Acts 11:24), “the word of God continued to advance and gain adherents” (Acts 12:24), “the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in numbers daily” (Acts 16:5).
Those early Christians lived and ministered in the power of the Spirit, facing constant opposition and persecution. They were not faultless, as the epistles indicate, but they were on fire, “people who have been turning the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). Biblical revivals and awakenings return to this normative pattern.
Luke’s narrative in Acts is a narrative of revival. Throughout history and still today, revivals continue that story.
Jesus explained his ministry in terms of being anointed by the Holy Spirit. He took his charter text from Isaiah:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me
Because he has anointed me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
(Luke 4:18-19; Isaiah 61:1-2)
He empowered his followers to do the same, in his name and authority. Our anointing for ministry stems wholly from who Jesus is – the anointed Christ, the Son of God. By his death and resurrection he conquered sin and is both Saviour and Lord.
Our ministry is the ministry of Jesus in and through us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Holy Spirit anointed Jesus, so he anoints us.
A quick look at any concordance affirms the significance of that anointing:
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him (Acts 10:38).
He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God (2 Cor. 1:21).
You have an anointing from the Holy One and you know all things (1 John 2:20).
The anointing which you have received from him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in him (1 John 2:27).
One stupid application of that teaching is that we don’t need teaching because the Holy Spirit teaches us everything.
First, John is not saying we don’t need teaching. He is teaching in his writing! The purpose of his letters includes teaching.
Jesus taught. Often. He spent three years teaching his followers.
Every preacher teaches. If all we needed was the Holy Spirit on our own, we should stop preaching and teaching.
A clue to understanding the anointing is to know God. Knowledge can teach you about God, but you may not know God. Or you may know God as a distant consultant, available for a crisis. Or you may know God as a daily point of reference. Or you may know God intimately. Or, as is most likely, your knowing God ebbs and flows with the currents of your life.
Often when we feel most overwhelmed or in need, we know God much more deeply, for then we depend on him. We come to him with deep longing and with the cry he is so quick to answer. On the other hand, when we are busy and very competent we often know God dimly, not realizing how easily we depend on our own God-given abilities rather than on God himself, and how easily we quench or grieve the Spirit.
Jesus, on the other hand, lived in the full knowledge of God – not just intellectually, but totally and intimately. He explained his relationship with God, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do … I can of myself do nothing” (John 5:19, 30). Then he said the same of our relationship with him, “Abide in me … without me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).
The anointing of God on your life is linked with how you abide in your Lord, and he in you.
This issue of the Renewal Journal gives examples of a fresh anointing touching many people now with new intimacy and grace for powerful ministry. Benny Hinn uses the life of Elisha to highlight principles for a greater anointing. Barry Chant clears away some myths about Jonathan Edwards whose sharp mind and anointed writing still impact people. I give an overview of many places and people experiencing deep encounters with God through the nineties.
Dr Geoff Waugh, founding editor of the Renewal Journal, wroteFlashpoints of Revival (2nd edition 2009) and Revival Fires (2011)which give fuller details of these impacts of the Holy Spirit in revivals.
The charismatic impacts of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament have been repeated continually in evangelical revivals. Specific examples of Spirit impacts in revival frequently occurred in the Great Awakening and evangelical revivals of the eighteenth century as in the ministries of Zinzendorf, Wesley, Whitefield, Edwards. and Brainerd; in revival movements of the nineteenth century including those associated with Finney and Moody; and in revival and charismatic movements of the twentieth century. Many historians have either overlooked or minimized these charismatic impacts of the Holy Spirit in revival.
The charismatic movement now involving over 600 million people has grown from its description by Princeton’s Henry Van Dusen in 1955 as ‘the third major force in Christendom’ to a major tradition alongside and as part of the Catholic/Orthodox and Protestant traditions. This article concludes that revival offers a paradigm in which differing denominational perspectives on charismatic Spirit movements may find common ground in evangelism, equipping of Christians for ministry, and in social reform.
Baptised in the Spirit
Jesus’ final instruction and promise concerned being baptised in the Spirit and receiving power (dunamis) to be his witnesses (Acts 1:4-8).
Does the charismatic impact of Pentecost recur? This paper affirms both the relevance and importance of specific charismatic impacts of the Holy Spirit, demonstrated biblically and historically as in evangelical revivals. It also affirms the significance of Jesus’ instruction in the ‘great commission’ that his followers throughout history ‘to the end of the age’ would obey everything he taught his first disciples including charismatic ministry such as healing, deliverance and miracles. That position disagrees with Benjamin Warfield’s “cessationist” theory (1918), popularised by notes in the Schofield Bible.
Baptism in the Spirit and charisma (gracious gift/endowment) in the New Testament find expression in the charismata described by Luke (Luke/Acts) as anointing with spiritual power (Luke 3:16-22; 4:1. 14-19; Acts 1:1-8), and by Paul as empowering for ‘body ministry’ with a diversity of spiritual gifts in the unity of the body of Christ (Romans 12:1-8; 1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4:1-16).
Different Christian traditions emphasize different dimensions of being baptised in the Spirit. Rather than regarding these perspectives or emphases as mutually exclusive, they can be regarded more comprehensively as inter-related and integrated. The evangelical emphasis on conversion (Dunn 1970), the Episcopal/Catholic emphasis on initiation (Green 1985. McDonnell & Montague 1991), the Reformed emphasis on covenant (Williams 1992), and the Pentecostal emphasis on empowering (Prince 1995) can be integrated within a dynamic paradigm of Spirit baptism. These perspectives are essential, inter-related facets of being immersed in God.
So charisma here refers to the multi-faceted impact of God’s gracious endowment in the personal and communal life of believers, especially as empowering for mission (Acts 1:8). God’s grace imparts abundant life (John 10:10). Believers are incorporated into the Spirit-empowered community in which God is faithful to every promise of the new covenant.
Just as conversion is appropriated by repentance and faith, so are Spirit-empowering and Spirit-gifting. Conversion, anointing. Empowering, and ministering in spiritual gifting may be appropriated over time, slowly, rapidly. or instantaneously. Complex variables affect that appropriation, including faith, knowledge, personality, tradition, environment (supportive or hostile), boldness, and God’s sovereignty.
Biblical terms describing charismatic impacts of the Spirit vary greatly. They include:
the Spirit was given — Numbers ll:17; John 7:39;
the Spirit came upon — Judges 3:10; Acts 19:5;
the Spirit took control — Judges 6:34; 1 Samuel 11:6; 16:13;
the Spirit poured out — Joel 2:28-28; Acts 10:45;
the Spirit came down — Matthew 3:16; Luke 3:22; John 1:33;
the Spirit fell (or came down)– Acts 10:44; 11:15;
the Spirit received — Acts 8:15-17; 19:2;
baptised in or with the Spirit — Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5;
filled with the Spirit — Acts 2:4; 9:17; Ephesians 5:18.
The specific nature of these charismatic impacts is significant, as is the varied nature of subsequent ministries resulting from these impacts.
Jesus experienced the impact of the Spirit at his baptism, which he explained in terms of anointing with power for his ministry (Luke 4:18-19). The followers of Jesus were baptised in the Spirit at Pentecost with immediate empowering for ministry (Acts 1:5; 2:1-4). producing explosive church growth. Converts from Philip’s evangelism in Samaria ‘received’ the Spirit when Peter and John laid hands on them and prayed for them (Acts 8:17). Saul of Tarsus was filled with the Spirit and healed three days after his Damascus road experience when Ananias laid hands on him and prayed for him (Acts 9:17-18), an encounter which included prayer, fasting, visions, prophecy and healing. The Gentiles in Cornelius’ home in Caesarea ‘received’ the Holy Spirit while Peter preached to them (Acts 11:44-47), with radical cross-cultural implications for mission. The Holy Spirit impacted believers in Ephesus when Paul laid hands on them and prayed for them (Acts 19:6).
These charismatic impacts of the Spirit empowered people for ministry. That ministry involved a wide range of charismata including anointed preaching and prophecy, healings and miracles, tongues and trouble.
Significant charismatic impacts of the Spirit of God have continued through history. These may have been overlooked or minimised for reasons such as these:
Many historians wrote from the perspective of the established government or church, which often opposed and suppressed charismatic movements.
Strong impacts of the Spirit constantly initiate new movements which threaten the established order, so these movements were opposed and their writings destroyed.
Charismatic movements may be regarded as heretical, and their leaders killed, as with Jesus, the early church, and throughout history.
Accounts of charismatic impacts of the Spirit have been systematically destroyed, often burned as heretical.
Excessive enthusiasmand fanaticism in charismatic movements may bring those movements into disrepute.
Leaders and adherents of charismatic movements have often been occupied with more pressing priorities than writing history. such as ensuring their own survival.
However, where such records have survived, mostly after the invention of the printing press, the charismatic impacts of God’s Spirit consistently reveal similar patterns to the biblical witness. Evangelical revivals provide evidence of these charismatic encounters. I give a brief selection here including first person accounts. They indicate the charismatic nature of impacts of the Spirit of God which became the empowering force in revival.
Wednesday. 13 August. 1727 – Herrnhut. Saxony
The Spirit of God fell on 300 refugees in Germany in 1727, mostly Moravian exiles given asylum on the estates of Nicholaus von Zinzendorf. One of them wrote that “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” (Greenfield 1927:14).
Within 25 years they sent out 100 missionaries, then by 1782 they had 175 missionaries in 27 places, and in their fist 100 years of missions sent out over 1,199 people, including 459 women, all supported by round-the-clock ‘hourly intercessions’. Both John and Charles Wesley were converted through their witness. Their English missionary magazine, Periodical Accounts, inspired William Carey. ,He threw a copy of the paper on a table at a Baptist meeting. Saying, “See what the Moravians have done! Cannot we follow their example and in obedience to our Heavenly Master go out into the world, and preach the Gospel to the heathen?” (Greenfield 1927:19).
January. 1735 – New England. America
Jonathan Edwards reported on a revival movement which developed into the Great Awakening as it spread through the communities of New England and the pioneering settlements in America. Converts to Christianity reached 50,000 out of a total of 250,000 colonists. Early in January, 1735 an unusually powerful move of God’s Spirit brought revival to Northampton, which then spread through New England in the north east of America.
And the work of conversion was carried on in a most astonishing manner, and increased more and more. Souls did, as it were, come by flocks to Jesus Christ. … Those amongst us that had formerly been converted, were greatly enlivened and renewed with fresh and extraordinary incomes of the Spirit of God; though some much more than others. according to the measure of the gift of Christ (Stacy 1842. 1989:12-13).
Monday. 1 January. 1739 – London
1739 saw astonishing expansion of revival in England. During the evening of 1st January the Wesleys and George Whitefield with 60 others. met in London for prayer and a love feast. The Spirit of God moved powerfully on them all. John Wesley described it:
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” (Idle 1986:55).
This London Pentecost contributed powerfully to revival, which spread rapidly. In February 1739 Whitefield started preaching to the Kingswood coal miners in the open fields near Bristol because many churches opposed him. accusing him and other evangelicals of ‘enthusiasm’. In February about 200 attended. By March 20,000 attended. Whitefield invited Wesley to take over then and so in April Wesley reluctantly began his famous open air preaching. which continued for 50 years.
Thursday 8 August, 1745 – Crossweeksung. America
David Brainerd, missionary to the North American Indians from 1743 to his death at 29 in 1747, tells of revival breaking out among Indians at Crossweeksung in August 1745. Concerning 8 August, 1745, he wrote, “The power of God seemed to descend on the assembly ‘like a rushing mighty wind’ and with an astonishing energy bore all down before it. I stood amazed at the influence that seized the audience almost universally and could compare it to nothing more aptly than the irresistible force of a mighty torrent … Almost all persons of all ages were bowed down with concern together and scarce was able to withstand the shock of astonishing operation” (Howard 1949:216-217).
The ‘Great Awakening’ which had begun a decade previously now impacted Indian settlements with charismatic outpourings of the Holy Spirit, producing both conversions and significant social improvement.
Sunday 25 December, 1781 – Cornwall. England
Forty years after the eighteenth century evangelical revivals began, the fires of revival had died out in many places. Concerned leaders called the church to pray. Those prayer meetings included outpourings of the Spirit in revival. On Christmas day 1781, at St. Just Church in Cornwall, at 3.00 a.m. intercessors met to sing and pray. The Spirit was poured out on them and they prayed through until 9.00 a.m. and regathered that Christmas evening. Throughout January and February the movement continued. By March 1782 they were praying until midnight as the Holy Spirit moved on them. The chapel which George Whitefield had built decades previously in Tottenham Court Road, London, had to be enlarged to seat 5,000 people, the largest church building in the world at that time. Baptist churches in North Hampton, Leicester, and the Midlands, set aside regular nights devoted to prayer for revival. Methodists and Anglicans joined them. and revival spread.
June-July, 1800 – Kentucky. America
Presbyterian James McGready organised camp meetings in Kentucky, an area nicknamed Rogues Harbour populated with fugitives from justice including murderers, horse thieves, highway robbers, and counterfeiters. On the last day of the first camp meeting, held in June with around 450 people, ‘a mighty effusion of [God’s] Spirit’ came upon the people, ‘and the floor was soon covered with the slain; their screams for mercy pierced the heavens.’ At the next camp meeting held in late July 1800 an enormous crowd of 8,000 attended, many from up to 100 miles away. McGready recalled:
“The power of God seemed to shake the whole assembly. Toward the close of the sermon, the cries of the distressed arose almost as loud as his voice. After the congregation was dismissed the solemnity increased, till the greater part of the multitude seemed engaged in the most solemn manner. No person seemed to wish to go home – hunger and sleep seemed to affect nobody – eternal things were the vast concern. Here awakening and converting work was to be found in every part of the multitude; and even some things strangely and wonderfully new to me” (Christian History. No. 23. p 25).
August, 1801 – Cane Ridge. America (Barton Stone)
Presbyterian minister Barton Stone organised similar meetings in 1801 in his area at Cane Ridge, Kentucky. A huge crowd of around 12,500 attended in over 125 wagons. At that time Lexington, the largest town in Kentucky, had less than 1,800 citizens. Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist preachers and circuit riders formed preaching teams, speaking simultaneously in different parts of the camp grounds, all aiming for conversions. Methodist James Finley, wrote:
The noise was like the roar of Niagara. The vast sea of human being seemed to be agitated as if by a storm. … At one time I saw at least five hundred swept down in a moment as if a battery of a thousand guns had been opened upon them, and then immediately followed shrieks and shouts that rent the very heavens (Pratney 1994:104).
The Rev. Moses Hoge described it:
“The careless fall down, cry out, tremble, and not infrequently are affected with convulsive twitchings … Nothing that imagination can paint. can make a stronger impression upon the mind. than one of those scenes. Sinners dropping down on every hand, shrieking, groaning, crying for mercy, convulsed; professors praying, agonizing, fainting, falling down in distress for sinners or in raptures of joy! … As to the work in general there can be no question but it is of God. The subjects of it, for the most part are deeply wounded for their sins, and can give a clear and rational account of their conversion” (Christian History. No. 23. p. 26).
These frontier revivals became a new emphasis in American revivalism. They included the ‘saw dust trail’ laid down to settle the dust or soak up wet ground over which penitents moved to the ‘altar’ at the front. Revival early in the nineteenth century not only impacted the American frontier, but also towns and especially colleges. One widespread result in America, as in England, was the formation of missionary societies to train and direct the large numbers of converts filled with missionary zeal.
Wednesday, 10 October, 1821 – Adams. America
Charles Finney had a mighty empowering by God’s Spirit on the night of his conversion on Wednesday 10 October 1821. Convicted by the Spirit that morning, he surrendered to God in the woods. That night he was filled with the Spirit:
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 (Wessel 1977:20-22).
Finney continued for the rest of his life in evangelism and revival. He founded and taught theology at Oberlin College which pioneered co-education and enrolled both blacks and whites. His Lectures on Revival were widely read and helped to fan revival in America and England.
Sunday, 22 May, 1859 – Natal. South Africa
Revival began among the Zulu and Bantu tribes in South Africa before it spilled over into the Dutch Reformed Church. Tribal people gathered in large numbers on the frontier mission stations and then took revival, African style, into their villages. On Sunday night, 22 May, the Spirit of God fell on a service of the Zulus in Natal so powerfully that they prayed all night. News spread rapidly. This revival among the Zulus of Natal on the east coast ignited missions and tribal churches. It produced deep conviction of sin, immediate repentance and conversions, extraordinary praying and vigorous evangelism.
In April 1860 at a combined missions conference of over 370 leaders of Dutch Reformed, Methodist and Presbyterian leaders meeting at Worcester, South Africa, they discussed revival. Andrew Murray Sr., moved to tears, had to stop speaking. His son, Andrew Murray Jr., now well known through his books, led in prayer so powerfully that many saw that as the beginning of revival in those churches.
October, 1871 – New York
D. L. Moody, converted in 1855, led powerful evangelistic campaigns in America and England. 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” (Moody 1900:149).
Monday, 31 October, 1904 – Loughor, Wales
Evan Roberts, a student at the Methodist Academy in Wales, experienced a deep work of the Spirit at meetings on Thursday 29 September, 1904, after Presbyterian evangelist Seth Joshua closed the 7 a.m. meeting crying out in Welsh. ‘Lord … bend us.’ Roberts agonised in prayer that day. He wrote. “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” (Evans 1969:70).
Impelled by the Spirit he returned home from college on a week’s leave and spoke nightly from 31 October to increasing crowds as the Spirit moved powerfully on them. From the following week he led teams by invitation across south Wales, sparking the Welsh Revival which reported 70,000 conversions in three months and 100,000 within a year. Crime rates and abortions dropped. Many taverns went bankrupt. Some judges had no cases to try, and police had so little to do in many towns at the height of the revival that they attended the meetings while still on duty.
Friday, 30 June, 1905 – Mukti. India
Pandita Ramabai established a compound for widows and orphan girls during severe famine in her area near Pune (Poona) just south of Bombay, and called it Mukti (Salvation). By 1901 she had 2,000 girls and women and from January 1905 she began teaching about the need for revival. Soon over 500 people met twice daily to pray for revival, mostly women and girls. Thirty of her ladies ministered in teams in the villages. They met daily to pray for the endowment of the Holy Spirit. On Thursday 29 June the Spirit moved strongly on many of the girls. On Friday, 30 June, while Ramabai taught from John 8, the Holy Spirit fell on them all suddenly with great power. Everyone there began to weep and pray aloud, crying out to be baptised with the Holy Spirit and fire. Revival spread through their mission, and into many surrounding areas. Regular school activities gave way to confession, repentance, and great joy with much praise and dancing. Many spoke in tongues (including English!), and were filled with zeal for evangelism and social care.
Saturday, 14 April, 1906 – Azusa Street. Los Angeles
Charles Paraham conducted a Bible College at Topeka, Kansas where on 1 January 1901 Agnes Ozman spoke in tongues when Parham laid hands on her and prayed for her to be baptized in the Spirit. That month Parham and half of the 34 students also spoke in tongues. Those events have been seen as the beginning of Pentecostalism in America.
William Seymour, a Negro Holiness pastor, attended Parham’s short term Bible School in Houston, Texas early in 1906, then by April was the leader of The Apostolic Faith Mission at Azusa Street, Los Angeles. Meetings began there on Easter Saturday, 14 April 1906. About 100 attended including blacks and whites. The Spirit of God moved powerfully on that little mission. Many were baptized in the Spirit with speaking in tongues, prophecies, and healings. Its centrifugal influence ignited Pentecostal mission across America and overseas.
Sunday, 4 July, 1909 – Valparaiso. Chile
Minnie Abrams, who worked at Mukti in India during the 1905 revival there, sent an account of it in 1907 to Willis Hoover, Methodist missionary in Chile. Those Methodists began praying for revival which burst on them on Sunday 4 July, resulting in their church growing from 300 to 1,000 in two months. Willis Hoover wrote:
Saturday night was an all night of prayer. during which four vain young ladies (three of them were in the choir) fell to the floor under the power of the Spirit. … From that time on the atmosphere seemed charged by the Holy Spirit, and people fell on the floor, or broke out in other tongues, or singing in the Spirit, in a way impossible in their natural condition (Frodsham 1946:177-178).
1914 – Belgian Congo. Africa
Africa has seen many powerful revivals such as the Belgian Congo outpouring with C. T. Studd in 1914. “The whole place was charged as if with an electric current. Men were falling, jumping, laughing, crying, singing, confessing and some shaking terribly,” he reported. “As I led in prayer the Spirit came down in mighty power sweeping the congregation. My whole body trembled with the power. We saw a marvellous sight, people literally filled and drunk with the Spirit” (W.E.C. 1954:12-15).
Monday, 7 March, 1921 – Lowestoft. England
Douglas Brown, a Baptist minister in South London, saw conversions in his church every Sunday for 15 years to 1921. He felt the Lord convict him about leaving his pastorate for evangelistic mission work. Although reluctant. he finally surrendered. “Then something happened,” he wrote. “I found myself in the loving embrace of Christ for ever and ever; and all power and joy and blessedness rolled in like a deluge” (Griffin 1992:17-18). After that 2 a.m. encounter, he embarked on itinerant missions commencing on 7 March in Lowestroft, East Anglia, with immediate responses in large numbers. Within eighteen months he addressed over 1700 meetings, and saw revival in his evangelistic ministry in England.
1949 – Hebrides Islands, Scotland
Following the trauma of World War II, spiritual life reached a low ebb in the Scottish Hebrides. Church leaders prayed for revival. They invited evangelist Duncan Campbell to lead meetings. At the close of his first meeting in the Presbyterian church in Barvas the travel weary preacher was invited to join an all night prayer meeting! Thirty people gathered for prayer in a nearby cottage. Duncan Campbell described it:
“God was beginning to move, the heavens were opening, we were there on our faces before God. Three o’clock in the morning came, and God swept in. About a dozen men and women lay prostrate on the floor, speechless. Something had happened; we knew that the forces of darkness were going to be driven back, and men were going to be delivered. We left the cottage at 3 a.m. to discover men and women seeking God. I walked along a country road, and found three men on their faces, crying to God for mercy. There was a light in every home, no one seemed to think of sleep” (Whittaker 1984:159).
His mission continued for five weeks. Services lasted from early morning until late at night and into the early hours of the morning. The revival spread to the neighbouring parishes from Barvas with similar scenes of repentance. prayer and preaching. People sensed the awesome presence of God everywhere.
Sunday, 26 September, 1965 – Soe. Timor
Revival burst into unprecedented power in Timor in 1965. This revival spread in the uncertain days following the attempted army coup on 30 September, 1965 in Indonesia. Four days previously a visitation from God had begun in Soe, a mountain town of about 5,000 people in Timor in the Reformed Church on Sunday 26 September. That night, as at Pentecost, people heard the sound of a tornado wind, and flames on the church building prompted police to set off the fire alarm to summon volunteer fire fighters, but the church was not burning. Many were converted that night, many filled with the Spirit including speaking in tongues, some using English who did not know English. By midnight teams of lay people had been organised to begin spreading the gospel the next day. Eventually. about 90 evangelistic teams were formed which functioned powerfully with spiritual gifts.
The Reformed Church Presbytery on Timor recorded 80,000 conversions from the first year of the revival there, half of those being former communists. They verified that 15,000 people were permanently healed in that year (Koch 1970).
A revival broke out in Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, on Tuesday 3 February, 1970. God’s Spirit moved on the regular morning chapel commencing at 10 o’clock. Students came weeping to the front to kneel in repentance. Others gave testimonies including confession of sin. They prayed and worshipped spontaneously. The staff cancelled lectures for the day as the auditorium filled with over 1,000 people. Few left for meals. By midnight over 500 still remained praying and worshipping. Several hundred committed their lives to Christ that day. By 6 a.m. next morning 75 students were still praying in the hall, and through the Wednesday it filled again as lectures were again cancelled for the day. The time was filled with praying, singing, confessions and testimonies. Almost half the student body of 1000 formed teams witnessing about the revival. In the first week after the revival began teams of students visited 16 states by invitation and saw several thousand conversions through their witnessing (Coleman 1970).
Sunday, 23 August, 1970 – Solomon Islands
Muri Thompson, a Maori evangelist from New Zealand, visited the Solomon Islands in July and August 1970 where the church had already experienced significant renewal and was praying for revival. During the last two weeks of those meetings the Holy Spirit moved even more powerfully in the meetings. On Sunday morning 23 August on the island of Malaita Muri preached powerfully, then he said, ‘If anyone wants to come forward …’ and immediately the whole congregation of 600 surged forward in repentance. Many saw visions of God, of Jesus on the cross or on his throne, of angels, or of bright light. Some spoke in tongues. Some were healed. Most came into a new experience of God with a deep awareness of the need for humility and being sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
The following Thursday, 27 August, at another village on Malaita when the 2,000 people bowed in prayer, they heard a growing sound. ‘I looked up through an opening in the leaf roof to the heavens from where the sound seemed to be coming. It grew to be roar – then it came to me: surely this is the Holy Spirit coming like a mighty rushing wind. I called the people to realize that God the Holy Spirit was about to descend upon them’ (Griffiths 1997:175). Many people involved in that impact of the Spirit sparked similar revivals throughout the Pacific (Waugh 1998:69-75).
Wednesday 14 March, 1979 – Elcho Island. Australia
Djiniyini Gondarra, Uniting Church minister in the settlement of Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island, returned from holidays on the late afternoon Missionary Aviation Fellowship flight on 14 March. 1979. Aboriginal Christians there had been praying earnestly, and met that night in his home for another prayer meeting. He reports,
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… In that same evening the word just spread like the flames of fire and reached the whole community in Galiwin’ku. Gelung [his wife] 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 (Gondarra 1991).
Teams from Elcho Island took revival movements throughout Arnhem Land, Northern Territory and Western Australia. At Warburton, then regarded as having one of the highest aboriginal crime rates in Australia, the mission team saw many converted and powerfully changed.
Sunday 15 May, 1980 – Anaheim. America
John Wimber led the evangelical Vineyard Fellowship at Anaheim from 1977. On Mother’s Day. 15 May, 1980 at the evening service a young man spoke. That night, after he gave his testimony, Lonnie asked the Holy Spirit to come and the repercussions were incredible. The Spirit of God literally knocked people to the floor and shook them silly. Many people spoke in tongues, prophesied or had visions. Then over the next few months, hundreds and hundreds of people came to Christ as the result of the witness of the individuals who were touched that night, and in the aftermath. The church saw approximately 1,700 converted to Christ in a period of about three months. This evolved into a series of opportunities, beginning in 1980, to minister around the world. Thus the Vineyard renewal ministry and the Vineyard movement were birthed (Vineyard Reflections. May/June 1994).
Thursday 14 June – Brugam, Papua New Guinea
In the Sepik lowlands of northern Papua New Guinea revival touched the South Seas Evangelical Churches at Easter 1984, sparked by Solomon Island pastors. It was characterised by repentance, confession, weeping and great joy. Stolen goods were returned or replaced, and wrongs made right. Australian missionary Ray Overend’s report includes comment on revival beginning at Brugam, the church headquarters. on 14 June:
“About 200 people surged forward. Many fell flat on their faces on the ground sobbing aloud. Some were shaking – as spiritual battles raged within. There was quite some noise… The spiritual battles and cries of contrition continued for a long time. Then one after another in a space of about three minutes everybody rose to their feet, singing spontaneously as they rose. They were free. The battle was won. Satan was bound. They had made Christ their King! Their faces looked to heaven as they sang. They were like the faces of angels. The singing was like the singing of heaven. Deafening, but sweet and reverent” (Overend 1986:36-37).
The whole curriculum and approach at the Bible School for the area changed. Instead of having traditional classes and courses, teachers would work with the school all day from prayer times early in the morning through Bible teaching followed by discussion and sharing times during the day to evening worship and ministry. The school became a community, seeking the Lord together. Christians learned to witness and minister in spiritual gifts, praying and responding to the leading of the Spirit. This included discernment of spirits, deliverance, words of knowledge, tongues, prophecy, healing and boldness in evangelism.
Thursday 4 August, 1988 – Kambaidam. Papua New Guinea
Johan van Bruggen, a missionary at the Lutheran Evangelist Training Centre at Kambaidam near Kainantu in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, reported in his circulars on the beginnings of revival which produced powerful evangelism, deliverance where whole villages publicly burned fetishes, and healings and miracles:
What were the highlights of 1988? No doubt the actual outpouring of the Holy Spirit must come first. It happened on August 4 when the Spirit fell on a group of students and staff. with individuals receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit on several occasions later on in the year. The school has never been the same again. As direct results we noticed a desire for holiness, a hunger for God’s Word which was insatiable right up till the end of the school year, and also a tremendous urge to go out and witness. Whenever they had a chance many of our students were in the villages with studies and to lead Sunday services. Prayer life deepened, and during worship services we really felt ourselves to be on holy ground. … We have been almost left speechless by what God is doing now through our students. We realize that we have been led on and are now on the threshold of a revival (Waugh 1998:96).
1988 – Madruga. Cuba
In 1988, revival broke out in a small church in Madruga, Cuba. “People would begin to weep when they entered the church,” said their pastor. More than 60 churches experienced a similar move of the Spirit among the 10 million people of Cuba. The revival produced more than 2,400 house churches. Although open evangelism is still outlawed, teenagers were joining the children and adults to witness boldly in parks, beaches, and other public places, regardless of the risk. There is a “holy and glorious restlessness” amongst the believers. said one pastor. “The once defensive mood and attitude of the church has turned into an offensive one, and Christians are committed to the vision of ‘Cuba Para Cristo!’ – Cuba for Christ!” (Open Doors, Australian Report, September 1993).
1989 – Henan and Anhul, China
The persecuted church in China lives in constant revival. This is merely a sample account.
In 1989 Henan preachers visited North Anhul province and found several thousand believers in the care of an older pastor from Shanghai. At their first night meeting with 1,000 present 30 were baptised in the icy winter. The first baptised was a lady who had convulsions if she went into water. She was healed of that and other ills, and found the water warm. A 12 year old boy deaf and dumb was baptized and spoke, “Mother, Father, the water is not cold – the water is not cold.” An aged lady nearly 90, disabled after an accident in her 20s, was completely healed in the water. By the third and fourth nights over 1,000 were baptised. A young evangelist, Enchuan, 20 years old in 1990, had been leading evangelistic teams since he was 17. He said, “When the church first sent us out to preach the Gospel, after two to three months of ministering we usually saw 20-30 converts. But now it is not 20. It is 200, 300, and often 600 or more will be converted” (Balcombe 1991).
Dennis Balcombe reported in a newsletter on 27 August 1994: “This year has seen the greatest revival in Chinese history. Some provinces have seen over 100,000 conversions during the first half of this year.
Unprecedented revival continues in China especially in house churches, in Africa especially in independent church movements, in Latin America especially in evangelical/pentecostal churches such as currently in Argentina, and in proliferating revival movements throughout the world. All of these now involve powerful charismatic impacts of the Spirit of God and increasing awareness and use of the charismata.
Renewal and evangelism increased through the nineties into the 21st century, even in the West. Focal points for renewal and revival have included Toronto in Canada, Brompton in London, Sunderland in England, and Pensacola in America. However, reports continue to multiply of renewed churches, empowered evangelism, and significant social involvement (such as crime rates significantly reduced in Sunderland and Pensacola). David Barrett’s global research indicates that pentecostal/charismatic membership has grown from small beginnings around 1900 to over 460 million by 1995, over 500 million around 2000 and now over 600 million (Synan 1997:281; Hollenweger 1998:42, Burgess & van der Maas 2002).
In Australia, the 1991 National Church Life Survey indicated that two thirds of church attenders were then involved with or sympathetic to charismatic/pentecostal Christianity. Charismatic congregations, whether denominational, independent or Pentecostal, continue to multiply, evangelize actively, and many have significant social caring programs.
These indicators suggest a massive shift in global Christianity, which increasingly acknowledges and rediscovers charisma in revival. It holds enormous promise for “the reshaping of religion in the twenty-first century” (Cox 1995). Charisma in revival offers a paradigm in which differing denominational perspectives on charismatic Spirit movements may find common ground in evangelism, equipping of Christians for ministry, and in social reform.
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Melbourne: JBCE, pp. 14-19.
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Information: Originally published as an 80 page book in 1987, and reprinted in 1990 and 1991, this personal or group study book is now enlarged to 127 pages, and greatly improved. Some new sections have been added, and each chapter now begins with a powerful example of that chapter’s theme.
Thousands of copies of the earlier version have been used for personal and group study, including its use as a small group study book. Many home groups, cell groups or student study groups have found this survey of living in the Spirit both informative and inspiring. It invites a response from the reader, whether read alone or studied in a group. If offers fresh and challenging perspectives on living in the blessing, power and anointing of the Holy Spirit, who always exalts Jesus as Lord.
Introduction: new perspectives
1. Father, Son and Holy Spirit
God is One
The Father’s heart shows God’s love
Jesus reveals God’s love
The Spirit imparts God’s love
2. Born of the Spirit
The Spirit creates
The Spirit re-creates
3. Filled with the Spirit
The Spirit in God’s people
The Spirit in Jesus
The Spirit in the early church
The Spirit in us
4. Fruit of the Spirit
The fruit of the Spirit in us personally
The fruit of the Spirit in us communally
Growth in the Spirit personally
Growth in the Spirit communally
5. Gifts of the Spirit
Power for mission
Gifts for mission
Unity for mission
Love for mission
6. Ministry in the Spirit
7. Led by the Spirit
The Spirit leads us
The Spirit leads gently
The Spirit leads personally
The Spirit leads corporately
8. The Spirit of the Lord
The Spirit of the Lord in Israel
The Spirit of the Lord in Jesus
The kingdom of God
The king: Jesus Christ is Lord
APPENDIX 1: Voices from history Tertullian, Augustine, Cyril of Jerusalem, Gregory the Great, Francis of Assisi, Walter Hilton, Thomas á Kempis, Teresa of Avila, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Thomas Goodwin, Richard Baxter, John Wesley, David du Plessis
PHOTOGRAPHS(see these on Amazon – “Look inside”) Photographs in this book show international revival teams from the South Pacific, living in the Spirit together, involved in mission in the islands and in Australia. These studies combine theological and biblical reflection with practical application. Many people have found these studies to be helpful and liberating.