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WHAT HAPPENED SINCE AZUSA STREET


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WHAT HAPPENED SINCE AZUSA STREET

In British Columbia in 1946 the “Sacrifice of praise” began to be offered in prayer services by a particular grouping of fellowships. It was predicated on the principle that whosoever offers praise makes a way for God to work. It should be remembered that the Second World War had barely finished. Many nations had to deal with the consequences of its appalling devastation. Millions of people had died. Young men and women had taken up arms and given their lives, and millions more were maimed. The nations were still in mourning as they sort to recover from the nightmare. A number of Churches under the leading of the Lord began to pray in earnest and offer the sacrifice of praise to Him. This mood undoubtedly set the tone for what happened in North Battleford.

The Latter Rain outpouring commenced in 1948 at a summer camp when the Lord began to bring revelation through prophecy with particular regard to the doctrine of impartation through the laying on of hands. It was a powerful supernatural visitation that would eventually impact the whole church of God.

Although certain unscrupulous men saw an opportunity to make a fast buck and pollute what God was doing, other men and women of integrity stayed in Latter Rain, and saw it come through to some maturity. It never did realize it’s full potential at that time, but eventually it would cross every religious barrier. “Pastor’s Pen,” written by the late Pastor Reg Layzell is in the opinion of many the finest historical evaluation of that visitation. The truth that came through that visitation was to eventually bless the church worldwide. It was denounced officially by Ern Williams General Superintendent of the A.O.G. at their annual conference in Springfield Missouri 1949, but this ruling was not accepted by a large number of delegates. In spite of the attitude of officialdom many members embraced the principles of the visitation. The other well-established Pentecostal movements at large also resisted it. Had that not been the case the visitation would have no doubt had an even greater impact than it did.

Next Tent evangelists began to appear. Oral Roberts, William Branham, A. A. Allen, Valdez, W. V. Grant, T. L. Osborn, with many others criss-crossed America, (some ventured overseas) as people began to flock to their crusades. They prospered under the hand of God, and kept completely free from denominational interference.

Tommy Hicks was such a one whom God sent in the early 50s to Argentina. There he found favour with President Peron via a healing miracle. As a result he was given Atlanta Stadium in Buenos Aries for a crusade. He held meetings there for several months that resulted in multiplied thousands being saved and multitudes healed. All public transport to the crusade attendees was made free of charge courtesy of the President.
While staying in the home of Demos Shakarian after he returned Tommy prophesied over Demos that God was going to use him to start a worldwide movement led by laymen. As a result the FGBMFI was born. I heard Tommy Hicks when he came to Wellington in 1958.

My right hand and good friend Bob Horton went to the US to see Demos Shakarian and returned to NZ with a charter to start the movement here. Bob was eventually responsible for establishing FGBMFI chapters in every major town in the country.

In the 1960’s the charismatic movement began in earnest

The Pentecostal visitation of 1906 and the Latter Rain movement in 1948 touched only the periphery of the church, but there was not a denomination that wasn’t shaken to the core by the Charismatic movement. God virtually bypassed the sectarian attitude within the Pentecostal camp and took the experience to the mainline denominations much to the annoyance and bewilderment of all but a few of their leaders. It was the word of the Lord coming again to give those in churches a second chance.

While in South Africa Smith-Wigglesworth prophesied over David Du Plessis’ and told him God wanted him to take the Pentecostal message worldwide to the main line denominations including Pope John the head of the Catholic Church in Rome. When the Pentecostal leaders of Great Britain asked David why he was going to the historic Churches he exclaimed, “Because it’s more exciting to raise the dead than to heal the sick”. He was one of the few Pentecostal ministers to believe the Baptism in the Holy Spirit was for the whole church.
David Du Plessis played a major role in the Charismatic visitation in spite of having to face stern opposition from within Pentecost.

The Jesus revolution

In the early sixties a visitation of unprecedented significance began that would eventually impact the youth of the entire western civilization. The Jesus revolution as it became known as commenced on the West Coast of the United States among the Hippies (the flower people). As it spread it began to challenge the staid and formal religious institutions of the Protestant faith.

They were the “Rock Culture” who protested with their music and their lifestyles against the legacy of a society that had given them the cold war and its very real threat of nuclear annihilation. The sixties were the most explosive decade to that time in any century of human history. The Korean War, the Cuban crisis and the Vietnam War came as the nations lurched from crisis to crisis with the real possibility of global conflict. This generation wanted no part of it and so they protested. Some students lost their lives for their convictions at the hands of the US National Guard.
Kent State Shooting Aftermath:

Rising opposition to the U.S. action in Vietnam led to several domestic confrontations between civilians, (most often demonstrating students) and peacekeeping troops. National Guard troops stunned the nation as they shot into a crowd of protesters during a demonstration at Ohio’s Kent State University, killing four students and wounding nine. In the late 1960s and early '70s, the war in South East Asia was opposed by millions of individuals around the world. In the U.S. activities of the anti-war movement such as marches, demonstrations, and letter-writing campaigns inevitably had an effect. (By mid-1973, U.S. combat forces were no longer there).

In the midst of all that was going on, the youth of the nation started to experiment with psychedelic drugs as they began to walk away from the values of a society that could offer little hope because they saw it had no answers. And so they commenced to cast off restraint, and rebel against a society that demanded that they not only take their place in it, but fight for it also. They fled the draft for the Vietnam War to Canada, Sweden and other countries by the thousands. This seeking and searching generation began to experience an outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God that was more than most churches could handle. They began to worship with musical instruments that been thought unsuitable to praise God with. They expressed their love for Jesus with some of the most enduring and beautiful songs that have ever been written. They were fervent and real in their earnest endeavours to share Christ with all and everyone they could. Still the organized church and in particular the Pentecostals, (true to form) fought what God was doing rather than humbly seeking what they might learn. One rare exception was Chuck Smith in Costa Mesa California. Calvary Chapel became a haven for these young people.This great theme of restoration draws us on relentlessly as it weaves its way historically from past, to present, to future, like a golden thread through the Word of God. Throughout scripture from Genesis to Revelation the Holy Spirit is continually bringing this glorious theme to our attention.

The Jesus movement followed closely on the heels of the Charismatic visitation. Tens of thousands of young people were getting saved and filled with the Spirit. In Stadiums around the US crowds of 50,000 young people were not uncommon. This visitation that started on the West Coast of the US soon spilled over into the youth of the western nations of the world. Pentecostal brethren found it very hard to accept the fact that these “Jesus freaks” were really saved; yet alone receiving the Holy Ghost as they had. It was Peter’s experience at the household of Cornelius all over again. (Acts 10:44-45).

After organized Pentecost finished ridiculing and resisting this visitation (some went as far as refusing to allow these young people into their churches until they had a wash and dressed more conventionally, but when that didn’t work) they set out to absorb and control it, which to a large degree they were unsuccessful. Organized Pentecost believed they were the guardians of present truth and that these young people ought to be coming and joining their churches where they could be taught. These new Christians were looked upon with suspicion; some even doubted they were saved. Oh how the pendulum swings, just look at whose been doing all the weird stuff since then?

What happened is history. New kinds of churches began to spring up that were less judgmental and more accommodating than the intolerant and inflexible Pentecostals. I know this is true because as Chairman for some years of the Pentecostal Ministers Fraternal in Auckland, New Zealand I saw what went on.

Visitation always brings confrontation. We seem to fight what we don’t understand, instead of humbly looking to see what we can learn. Many Pentecostal pastors did not want these young people in their churches unless they conformed to an acceptable standard, and they in turn obliged by not showing up. In a very short time a new movement was born as churches began to spring up with a very untraditional liturgy; like Chuck Smith founder of Calvary Chapel which soon had scores of Churches which became a haven for ex hippies.

Then John Wimber moved out of Calvary Chapel and started the Vineyard movement. Here they promoted the gifts of the Spirit and the world of spiritual warfare, but for personal reasons John showed no desire to become a part of the Charismatic or Pentecostal church at large but operated outside these camps. The Pentecostal movement worldwide still hadn’t woken up to the fact that they no longer had a corner on the market. While Pentecostals fought among themselves hungry people without their assistance were finding the Lord in new expressions.

This is only a very brief sketch of what I experienced during those years in my journey. Others from different backgrounds could add much by what they have experienced. During this period Missionary endeavours came strongly to the fore, Ywam being a notable one. TV ministries appeared, Calvary Chapels, and Vineyards flourished. The discipleship Movement, Cell church, House Church, seeker friendly, purpose driven, not forgetting the Toronto blessing and its offshoots. The bulk of these movements gathered large followings quickly, only to scatter just as quickly, leaving behind the faithful residue to sink with the ship.

In the 70s for several years Alexander Park Raceway was hired for a week in February for Crusades. Many gathered to hear the Gospel preached night after night by preachers from around the world. Some 600 came forward to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit the night Pat Boone preached to 15,000.

In New Zealand we were busily involved in doing our thing; and aping whatever came out of America.

In hindsight we can see that nothing man initiates has any permanence. Looking back we can see that many times when the Spirit moved there was no teaching priest to give direction and intelligence to what was happening, so blissfully we keep repeating the same mistakes.

2 Chronicles 15:3. "For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law; but when in their trouble they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them.

I WILL RESTORE

This great theme of restoration draws us on relentlessly as it weaves its way historically from past, to present, to future, like a golden thread through the Word of God. Throughout scripture from Genesis to Revelation the Holy Spirit is continually bringing this glorious theme to our attention.

Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise his heel.”

Here is a prophet bringing hope to the first man Adam in the midst of the paradise from which he is about to be banished. That Prophet is none other than God Almighty. This is the first prophecy in the Bible. Part has been fulfilled; much has yet to be fulfilled. God’s eternal purpose is to restore. The fall never took God by surprise; the instant that Adam fell the plan of God continued to unfold. He will restore to the earthman Adam all that he lost, through the spiritual man Christ and it wont stop there.

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard," nor has it entered into the heart of man, "the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."

Isaiah 42:22 “But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivers; for a spoil, and none says Restore.” This scripture not only shows God’s heart cry, but also illustrates the prison houses in which God has seen His people dwelling in down to the present time.

In Acts 3: 19-21 We are told the mouth of all His holy Prophets have spoken out about restoration since time began.

Acts 3:19-22“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive Until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.” Until is a time frame word.

Acts 2:34-35 “For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he said himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool.”

Some things that the Lord is restoring;
  1. His ultimate purpose; Ephesians 5:27.
  2. The Doctrine of Christ; Hebrews 6:1-3.3
  3. All things spoken by the mouth of all His prophets Acts 3:19-21
  4. The years that the locust has eaten; Joel 2:25-27.
  5. Those that have been driven away Ezekiel 34:4.
  6. Paths to dwell in; Isaiah 58:12.

The strength of any renewal is the foundation upon which it stands. “Where do we go from here”?

 

 

 
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Shaun Kearney
en engape!