Selections edited from A New Way of Living, Nos. 67, 68, June – October, 1993, the magazine of the Christian Outreach Centres. Manifestations like those described here occurred in revivals throughout history, including Pentecost.
First God has to shake up the church and then
He uses these people to shake up the world.
One could have been forgiven for thinking they had just walked into a huge wine tasting event, where someone forgot to tell the samplers to stop. But the wine these people were imbibing didn’t come from any earthly vineyard. This was pure Holy Spirit vintage wine.
People were everywhere some standing, some sitting, some stretched out on the floor. It looked more like pandemonium than regular church.
What prompted every church meeting to run at least one hour overtime as the crowd continued in praise and worship?
Put simply, the Holy Spirit was doing something different. Although the phenomenon was so new and unique, to those caught in its flow it seemed so natural.
When the fires of Pentecost fell in Acts 2 not only did the 120 begin speaking in other tongues, but obviously they were very affected in a physical sense.
The sceptics of the day who witnessed the event were saying, ‘They’re drunk. These followers of Jesus are drunk.’ From this we can safely deduce that the 120 were staggering, laughing, dancing, linking arms and singing. In other words, they were generally having a good time in the Lord, who had just visited them in a mighty manifestation.
So it was in the week beginning 2 May, 1993, at Christian Outreach Centre, Brisbane.
Some staggered drunkenly, others had fits of laughter, others lay prostrate on the floor, still more were on their knees while others joined hands in an impromptu dance. Others, although showing no physical signs, praised the Lord anyway, at the same time trying to take it all in.
People who had never prayed publicly for others moved among the crowd and laid hands on those present.
‘When we first saw it in New Zealand early in April we were sceptical,’ said Nance Miers, wife of Christian Outreach Centre International President, Pastor Neil Miers. ‘I’ve seen the Holy Spirit move like this here and there over the years. But this was different. In the past it seemed to have affected a few individuals, but this time it was a corporate thing.’
Neil Miers himself was physically affected, along with several other senior COC pastors, early in this Holy Ghost phenomenon. Later he viewed the series of events objectively.
‘It started in New Zealand and then broke out in New Guinea, and now it’s here. If I know the Holy Ghost, it will break out across the world wherever people are truly seeking revival. ‘For the moment this is what God is saying to do, and we’re doing it. It’s that simple.’
But despite the informal nature of the events, Pastor Miers, adopting his shepherd role, was careful to monitor the situation.
‘There are some who are going overboard with it; just like when someone gets drunk on earthly wine for the first time. The next time it happens they’ll understand it a little better.’
God is doing many things. He’s loosening up the church. He’s working deep repentance in certain individuals, and healing deep hurts in others.
Just like the outpouring in Acts, it was the public ministry that followed which really changed the world. First God has to shake up the church and then He uses these people to shake up the world.
Splashes of this revival have touched people’s lives throughout the Christian Outreach Centre movement around the nation and the world.
Students who usually spend lunch times playing football or talking with friends lined the door of the chapel waiting for praise and worship sessions to begin.
Chaplain at COC College, Mansfield, Koula Konstantinos, said that compulsory chapel times which normally lasted 30 minutes were extending to two hours. The voluntary chapel times at lunch times were consistently attended by 50 to 60 students.
‘Students go back to class drunk, some just crying with the Holy Spirit doing work in their lives,’ she said. ‘I have been told by one primary teacher that the behaviour has changed in the actual class room. We’ve had recommitments, baptisms in the Holy Spirit, habits being broken off their lives. I just see real excitement.’
Koula said the peer pressure which normally quenches a student’s desire to reach out to God was being reversed. Many students wanted to forego other subjects in favour of having chapel all day. She said entire classes are responding to altar calls for recommitments to Jesus.
It could be a children’s worker’s dream! What do you do when most of your class at children’s church is lying on the floor for up to 1 1/2 hours under the power of God?
Phil Radnedge, superintendent of Redcliffe COC’s children’s church, said some of the happenings on Sunday mornings over the past few months defy logic, but he welcomed it as a true move of the Holy Spirit.
‘On a number of occasions our senior section (grades 47) has been completely overcome by joy,’ he said. ‘Normally shy and selfconscious children have laughed uncontrollably for hours at a time as they danced and jumped from one end of the classroom to the other.’
Phil said that even though the outward manifestations were exciting to see, it is the work that God is doing within the children which is vital. As one of his children explained, ‘God is making me bigger inside so I can love Him more.’
One confused parent approached Phil wondering why her once shy, introverted little boy had become confident and assertive virtually overnight.
‘It has been my privilege to see lives radically transformed since this move of God began,’ Phil said. ‘Parents are speaking of children who can’t put their Bibles down; other children are praying more now than at any other time in their life. These children have developed a great hunger for God.’
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Innisfail COC was just as tangible in the Teen Church and Children’s Church meetings as it was in the adults.
One young boy who comes from a broken marriage was prayed for at the Teen Church meeting. Up until then he had been very hardhearted, but after the meeting his mum commented that she had a new son. He even gave her a kiss for the first time when she picked him up from high school on Monday.
Another teenager got on the drums and played the most powerful solo. The teen leader turned to the boy’s sister and commented, ‘This must be the Holy Spirit.’
The girl replied, ‘I should know. I’ve heard him practice and he can’t play like this.’
Others laughed, some wept, some danced, some just lay on the floor and could not get up. Some looked a little drunk and started singing, ‘We’re not drunk as you suppose, we’re just filled with the Holy Ghost!’
But the teen’s leader, Charlie Dalla Vecchia, noticed the greatest wonder: ‘No one wanted to stop when it came to go home now that’s a miracle!’ he said.
Port Macquarie, N.S.W.
Pastor Alan Deeks reported:
On Sunday 16 May our morning meeting started as usual at 9 am
The similarity to any other meeting ended there. People were caught up in a powerful move of the Holy Spirit that had some crying deep tears as God moved upon them, and others were laughing and falling around as if they were drunk.
We were unable to fit in a time of communion and certainly no preaching was necessary as the Holy Spirit continued to move. Apart from the few who had to leave, nobody left at the usual ending time for meetings.
A teenage girl had to be carried from the meeting. Several have had to be helped from the church by other people.
A similar experience occurred again that night, but with a greater emphasis on repentance and crying to God for souls.
The following week the numbers at our midweek prayer meetings doubled, and a great sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit was experienced by those praying.
People no longer seemed to be concerned at the length of the meetings, and we have gone way overtime now on almost every occasion since the first Holy Ghost meeting. People are reluctant to leave in case they miss something.
There is a fresh expectancy in meetings and in people’s lives, and a sense of excitement of what God is doing.
Taree, N. S. W.
As the people of Taree COC prepared for three days of intensive prayer and fasting in early May, they were unaware of what was about to happen.
Pastor Ron Jones returned from a District Chairman’s Camp in Brisbane and shared about the new move of the Holy Spirit. The supernatural power of God was unleashed. People came from surrounding towns to be part of the action.
During the three days of prayer and fasting the church doors were open 24 hours a day. One family from out of town slept over so they did not miss what God was doing. This encouraged other people to sleep over as well.
People prayed around the clock, many becoming involved in intercession for lost souls. Deep travail and groanings were heard, similar to natural childbirth.
At many times over the three days laughter broke out, sometimes with as many as 200 people involved. Many were ‘slain’ supernaturally in the Spirit and rested in God’s power for hours on end. Many wept uncontrollably. Others were prayed for on the floor and set free from demonic oppression. Several couples, on the brink of despair and certain divorce, had their marriages restored.
Pastor Ron Jones said that as word spread, people from surrounding districts such as Forster, came to have a look. He said many caught the outpouring of the Spirit and took it back to their respective churches.
‘Many of the local interested visitors were supernaturally touched. Whether the talk was good or bad around town, it certainly reaped a crop of hungry people and those thirsty for the things of the Spirit,’ he said.
‘We have had prechurch prayer meetings where everyone present was drunk in the Holy Ghost, church meetings where the power of God fell so dramatically that people were slain in the Spirit in the back row of the church with no one laying hands on them.
‘The past weeks have caused great revival among the people,’said Ron. ‘Enthusiasm and spontaneity overflow in each meeting and we have had an enormous interest shown in church by increased numbers of youth as well as adults.’
Newcastle, N. S.W.
Glenn and Jayne Wilson, youth leaders at Newcastle COC, were among the first to experience the Holy Spirit’s outpouring there. For the first time in five years Glenn found himself ‘slain’ under the anointing. He said that as well as finding a total peace flooding his soul, a burning desire for God was also reignited that night.
Another man experienced a supernatural boldness which sprung from his new relationship with the Holy Spirit.
‘Before this new move of the Holy Spirit I used to pray for people reluctantly, and then apologise straight away for my shortcomings,’ he said. ‘Talk about lacking confidence! Since receiving this new anointing, I find that the Holy Spirit stirs up inside me so strongly that I just have to pray for people or lay hands on them. The Holy Spirit can give you a love for people that will empower you for sure!’
Several women have explained that they have been released from deep hurts which they had harboured for years.
Another lady found herself sharing Jesus with people with an ease and desire which she thought she could never know. ‘I can’t help myself,’ she said. ‘A new boldness and a heart for people who do not know the Lord seems to continue to grow inside me.’
Families are also being restored. One man, Allen, spent nearly an hour at the first night of revival on the floor of the Newcastle Centre, weeping and repenting before God until a tremendous sense of freedom and joy flooded his spirit.
‘I have been yearning for a deeper relationship with my wife and children for many months, even though there was nothing lacking in our marriage,’ he said. ‘That night, however, the Holy Spirit gave me such a love for my Heavenly Dad that I couldn’t get enough. Within minutes the Holy Spirit had made my love for God my number one priority and shown me that my wife and kids needed to be second. I told this to my family and peace just flooded our relationship. By putting the Lord first, He has blessed our family so much.’
A spokesperson for the Newcastle Centre said that the church, as a family, was also being renewed. She said there was a new sense of unity and freshness being imparted by the Holy Spirit.
‘There is genuine repentance,’ she said.
Many visions and prophecies have been shared. The prayer meetings are both exciting and powerful, and we’re all getting a desire for God and a burden for our city.’
Passion seems to be the number one word on people’s lips at Hornsby COC since the new move of God started, according to spokesman Begin Markham.
Begin said there had been an undeniable change in people’s attitudes and they now attended meetings out of a strong desire to meet with God, rather than to perform a duty.
‘There is a desire to be full constantly with the Holy Ghost,’ he said. ‘After the tears, laughter and crying out to God, the fruit remaining is a passion for God Himself not the spectacular, but a hunger for the presence of God and a passion to dive into the Word of God.
Comments from other people at Hornsby COC include:
* During a prayer meeting I was crying out for souls, and my heart turned to my 16 year old son who was in prison. I had never cried for someone else so much before. When I arrived home from that meeting, the telephone was ringing, and it was my son. There was an urgency in his voice. He wanted to start his life from scratch and was fed up with drugs and alcohol, which were responsible for his detention. God has moved powerfully. My son has been released early and is back at school, and came to church last week to ask God for help!
* One night I had a terrific Bible study prepared for the home cell which I lead but I felt the Holy Ghost ask me to share about passion. Tears came from my eyes as I heard what God was saying through me and I remember thinking, ‘This is bigger than me!’ By the end of the meeting I had repented of ridiculous attitudes, but the meeting did not end there, for me. It continued until midafternoon the following day. It was easy to give over sinful attitudes and the like, and God gave me more of the Holy Ghost in return. The Lord did some terrific surgery, and I have been free ever since.
* God showed me a vision of myself walking through a fire, holding the Word of God in my hand. Everything around me was being consumed by the fire, except the Word of God. I came through the fire, and the only thing which remained was the Word of God in my hand. I have a greater passion to serve God, and a greater fear of God in my life. I know that I will never be alone again the Holy Spirit is my close friend and is always there. As I felt the Holy Ghost’s love for the lost I was totally broken on the ground in tears.
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
On 9 May, Canberra COC hosted a guest singer. As she began a song about the prodigal son, the Centre’s pastor, Len Russell, started to sob loudly.
Afterwards he got up and shared with the congregation. People responded to the altar call where the power of the Holy Spirit came and people were slain and filled with laughter.
One man was so drunk in the Spirit that he had to be driven home. He was still drunk two days later and still laughing in the Spirit.
The ladies’ prayer and Bible study group was completely taken over by the Holy Spirit. A lady was so drunk that her husband had to leave work to drive her home. Other ladies had to sober up to drive and pick their children up from schools.
There have been visions of castles, moats, and draw bridges with rusty chains, referring to the lives of Christians bound up by habits or sin. As these areas have been surrendered to God, and after much weeping, conquering these areas became easy.
Caroline, a lady who has had constant back pain since a car accident five years ago, is now free of all discomfort and was filled with holy laughter.
Marcus was a 10 year old with a major supply of shyness and according to his mother Linda, he hardly spoke a word even at home.
But it seems God has done such a work inside Marcus that he is now displaying a totally new personality to his family and friends.
‘He even prays for me!’ said Linda. ‘If I say that I’ve got a headache, he’ll come up to me and start praying fullon, loud, faith prayers. It has carried over into other areas of the home. He is being very helpful and cooperative and very open he doesn’t mind just talking and sharing.’
The transformation in Marcus started at a Victorian COC Youth Convention in June where Stewart Moncrieff was a guest speaker, and continued later at Warrnambool COC.
Pastor of the Warrnambool Centre, Charlie Bartkus, said he was as surprised as the family at the dramatic change.
Apart from clapping, dancing and laying on the ground laughing, Marcus was displaying a boldness which defied explanation. All this from a 10 year old boy who never clapped or smiled in church before, and who avoided looking other people in the eye.
Pastor Louise Swan wrote:
In Melbourne, the outpouring of the Spirit began on Mother’s Day, 9 May. From the outset amazing manifestations of the Spirit began to happen.
A young man, normally very ‘with it’ and ‘together’ fell under the power of the Spirit and began to laugh uncontrollably for three and a half hours. The next month he spent most of the time either staggering around with a stunned look on his face or slain in the Spirit for most of each evening. Often periods of the same laughter overwhelm him. Normally a rather aggressive driver, he drove home from church all the way at 40 km/h and gave way to everything.
Much emotional healing is taking place as some onceconservative people are being transformed through laughter.
One young girl fell to the floor as my husband Barry and I prayed for her release from excruciating back pain. After about a minute of agonising pain and tears she began to laugh, and spent the next hour and a half laughing and free of all back pain.
One young married man fell under the power of the Spirit and lay on the floor for over three hours. He has been totally transformed by the experience.
A lady walked in the front door after a meeting at Melbourne had begun, stood back doubtfully and decided that the church had finally gone ‘too far’. No one came near her, but the Holy Spirit hit her and she crumpled to the floor, laughing uncontrollably.
A Chinese lady, who had watched sceptically through one of the first revival meetings, asked us to pray for her at the next meeting but did not want hands laid on her. She had decided that if it was God, He would have to show her. We began to pray (no hands!) and within half a minute she had crumpled over from the waist in laughter, and then dropped to the floor laughing and crying at the same time. She lay prostrate on the floor for a half an hour repenting of her unbelief, and then got up and testified to everybody of her experience.
One young girl, whose mother had died the previous year, spent an entire evening sobbing with grief on the floor. The next meeting saw her filled with Holy Ghost laughter and she laughed for hours. Her face was totally transformed, as also were her emotions. She went home from the meeting and wrote an anointed song about the outpouring of the Spirit. It has blessed hundreds already.
Many have had visions while under the power of the Spirit or while in prayer. These have included visions of the lost in their hopeless state, visions of hell, visions of revival in all nations, visions of dramatic healings, of bodies coming back to life.
Sometimes people lying together, slain in the Spirit, have had combined visions where all have been watching the same happenings. Each has emphatically confirmed what the other was saying and continued the description.
Marriages have been miraculously restored and many other relationships are being healed. One couple was about to separate and also leave the ministry. The miracle of restoration has to be seen to be believed! They are more in love with one another now than they have ever been, and it happened almost overnight as the Spirit fell on them.
New songs are flowing out of the revival. These have ignited fresh passion for God in the hearts of the people.
Perth, Western Australia
Church services in Perth Christian Outreach Centre no longer hold a routine format, but rather the Spirit is leading and the power of God is having a dynamic effect.
It was Mother’s Day when revival began moving in a way that no one had seen or expected before. Some people began to laugh while others wept. Since then meetings have been held most nights of the week with people hungry for more of God.
People’s hearts and attitudes have and are being changed. Conversations are about the Lord, no one really seeming to care for the everyday events and cares of life. People have been set free from habits such as smoking.
Visions and dreams have been experienced by many people. God’s Spirit has moved, changing people in a sovereign way.
Busselton, Western Australia
The fire of God is also sweeping across the city and country areas of Western Australia. Pastor Helen McInnes from Busselton Christian Outreach Centre said, ‘People have been inwardly healed and delivered. We have not had to counsel, but instead the presence of God has come and is moving. He is greatly purifying and cleansing.’
The main result has been that people are seeking God. God is revealing his glory, and revelation is coming to people about the true meaning of obedience and surrender.
Even though there are outward manifestations, it is the internal work that is eternal. Best of all, this is just the beginning.
Manifestations of the Spirit
Here is a guide for those people who are wondering what the fuss is all about.
1. A passion for God
Men and women are yearning for more of God Himself (Psalm 42:12) and for His Word (Job 23:12). There is an eagerness among people to gather with other Christians (Psalm 69:9) and to pray (Acts 12:5). Much of this prayer is intercession for souls. There is much travailing and prevailing (Galatians 4:19).
People are turning away from sin and dead works and turning to God (Acts 20:21, 2 Cor. 7:910).
3. Restoration of relationships, renewed love
A new unity is sweeping groups of people. Broken relationships are being restored through humility and an openness to the needs of others (Galatians 5:22, Isaiah 58:12).
4. Overwhelming joy
People touched by the Spirit are genuinely happy (Acts 8:8). There is singing (Ephesians 5:1819), dancing (2 Sam. 6:14), shouting (Psalm 5:11) and clapping (Pslam 47:1). Laughter is sometimes uncontrollable (Pslam 126:6).
5. Inexplicable peace
People are finding God’s peace as the Holy Spirit sets them free from grief, confusion, stress, anger, frustrations, hurts and other bondages (Isaiah 53:3, Malachi 4:2, Luke 9:11).
6. Dreams, visions and prophecy
Just as the prophet Joel foretold (Joel 2:28) when the Spirit is poured out many will see revelations with their spiritual eyes (Acts 2:17). Prophecy and other gifts of the Spirit are common occurrence (Acts 2:1718).
Some people are receiving healing in their minds and their bodies (Isaiah 53:3, Malachi 4:2, Luke 9:11).
Selfconsciousness is being swallowed up by a holy boldness (Acts 4:31). People are finding that sharing the Gospel is easier than before.
Some are receiving from the Holy Spirit clearer guidance with respect to their ministry, their work, their families and other areas of their lives (Proverbs 3:56).
10. People slain in the Spirit
Even the sceptics are finding themselves on the floor at prayer meetings, sometimes for hours (Revelation 1:17).
There have been tears of joy and thankfulness and repentance (Psalm 136:56).
12. Drunkenness (in various stages), daze, stupor
Men and women of undoubted character have been seen staggering around as drunk people as they have come under the influence of the Holy Spirit (Jeremiah 23:9, Acts 2:13, 15). People have seemed to switch off mentally and physically as God reveals things to them in the Spirit (Numbers 24:4 and Acts 10:10).
Since these reports have been gathered, similar phenomena are being reported world wide, including reports associated with the ministries of Benny Hinn, Rodney Howard-Browne, the ‘Toronto Blessing’ and refreshing and revitalising of churches in many lands.
(c) Renewal Journal #3 (94:1), Brisbane, Australia, pp. 65-74.
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