Time to Lose Control Part Two


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 history was unfolding right before William J.Seymour’s eyes.

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         In my short life as a Christian I have been a part of White Non-Denominational Independent Churches. In addition, I have been a part of Baptist Full Gospel Black Churches, White Baptist Churches, White Assemblies of God Churches, Multi-Cultural Assemblies of God Churches, Mostly Hispanic Pentecostal Churches and Multi-Cultural Churches in general. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but all of them have something in common, after a while, they continued doing the same thing Sunday after Sunday.

 

I asked the Lord about the purpose for the Sunday gatherings and the Lord did answer that question for me. I was a former Kickboxer, so I suppose that was the reason why the Lord spoke to me in those terms as He answered to me that the church was like Spiritual Gym. That did it for me, as I clearly understood. As a fighter, we cannot survive in the ring without training in the gym. However, as time went by, I also understood that the training must prepare us for the kind of sport we are involved with. Baseball players train differently compared to football players; basketball players different than boxers, runners, etc. So the question for me was: Am I receiving the proper training? The Apostle Paul actually speaks about “fighting the good fight and about finishing the race.” Paul made reference to two sports to help us understand the spiritual principle behind it; fighting and running!

 

I believe that The Azusa Street Revival, through its leader Bishop William J. Seymour, gives us the most recent example of what can happen when we let God have His Way. The Azusa Street Revival lasted three and a half years; great miracles took place there as whole arms and legs grew out of people; the smoke of the glory of God was literally visible to the point that the Fire Department was called. As firefighters walked into the building they quickly discovered that the only fire there was indeed the Fire of God. Now, I have heard about other revivals; yet, what make this one so special?

 

  1. The Azusa Revival was conceived out of the heart of a man that was at the end of the road as a minister. After graduating from seminary he was hired and fired from a church for his views on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Unemployed and with no place to go, this man started using that extra time to pray and read the Word. Soon, others joined in and it grew so much that they needed to move to a larger building.
  2. A black man led the Azusa Revival. Bishop William J. Seymour was a black man and the son of slaves. The revival started in 1906 during a time where blacks did not have the freedom they have now.
  3. The Azusa Street Revival was multicultural; it brought Whites, Blacks, Hispanic and many other nationalities together. These people expressed love for one another; they were truly a family that fellowshipped together.
  4. When they finally moved to a building, it was not the nicest building; as a matter fact, it was an ugly building at 312 Azusa Street, contrary to the emphasis on building structures we see today.
  5. There was not a lot of emphasis on the name of the ministry. Even as the ministry was called Apostolic Faith, to this day, the revival is known for the name of the street where the revival meetings were held.
  6. Even as brother Seymour was the obvious leader, the services were not known for the one-man show we see today. People had the freedom to speak, testify, etc. It seemed out of control, but brother Seymour knew how to confront, in a loving manner, those that wanted to do things in the flesh. Many said of Bishop Seymour “he was the most humble man they ever saw.”
  7. “They had meetings three times a day; seven days a week for three and a half years and the services never looked the same.” God, the Creator, was allowed to move freely. Not the common Sunday Service Routines we see today!
  8. There was no advertisement, but people came.  Tithes and offerings were not collected, but people gave.
  9. Brother Seymour acted like the facilitator and learned more than many of us are wiling to admit today, to flow with the Holy Spirit and stay out of the way of the Divine.
  10.  Bishop Seymour stayed in prayer during the services; he would place his head inside two shoeboxes and pray. He acted as if he did not know what to do and he really did not, but he knew where to go for guidance.
  11. There were no handouts of sermon outlines; nobody knew what God was going to speak or through whom the message was going to come. Nevertheless, they knew God was going to speak.
  12. Lives were radically transformed.

 

There is so much more I can say about this revival; so much that excites me. It’s as if what I always dreamed about concerning what the church should look like is found in this revival.

 

To know more about this revival please check the following resources:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azusa_Street_Revival

http://www.azusastreet.org/WilliamJSeymour.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0FWL50-G0M

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XH_OCSbtG4&feature=relmfu

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrwxCV1eCNw&feature=related

 

 

To be Continued…

 

 

Time to Lose Control Part One


I was born again on April 26, 1997, three days away from turning twenty-nine years old. I did not grow up in the church and did not know any born-again believers in my family. I can look back in the history of both, my father’s and my mother’s family and find not one man of God.

 

I was born again while serving as a Group Home Supervisor for the Jacksonville Youth Sanctuary. The Executive Director was a mighty man of God by the name of Doug Berrenguer; to this day, I still have a great relationship with him as I consider Doug a great friend and mentor. Doug called me one day just to ask how I was doing; while on the phone with him I started crying. God was already dealing with my heart. Doug prayed for me over the phone and gave me a track “The Four Spiritual Laws.” He also gave me some other information and told me to take a couple of days off from work. For the first time in my life I was excited to read anything about God. On April 26, 1997 at around 6PM in my house on 10560 Beverly Nalle Road in Jacksonville, Florida. I prayed the “Sinner’s Prayer” that was recorded on that track and gave my life to the Lord. I felt a fire that did not hurt me; I felt a love that I have never felt before. It was simply amazing.

 

From there on, the first church I visited after being born-again was First Coast Christian Center, an Assemblies of God Church located on the North Side of the city. That was also Doug’s home church. I guess I went there for him. I was, at the time, the only black person there; but can honestly say that I received nothing but love from that congregation. A few months after that, the Lord moved me to The Father’s House International, a bilingual, nondenominational and multi-cultural church where the Spirit of God was moving mightily. The Pastor was Presbyter Jose Bosque, a former Baptist Minister who was filled with the Holy Ghost and radically changed; to this day he’s still serving the Lord in many ways. It was there that I started growing up as a Christian and it was there that I started hearing about this thing we like to call, revival.

 

While at The Father’s House I served as a Deacon, later an Elder, Prison Minister, Worship Team member, Young Adult Pastor, etc. After The Father’s House I opened ministries and became the Senior Pastor of a church in Winton, North Carolina where I served for about three years. I still consider myself a young Christian as I was born again just fifteen years ago.

 

I say all of these things to convey that it is curious to me that I never cared about doing personal studies on revival. I heard about some revivals, some that took place recently, even in Florida; I watched some videos, heard some sermons, but the topic never really burning in my heart until just a couple of days ago. I felt like the Lord directed me to take a look at “The Azusa Street Revival.” My wife had a video with basic information about what took place at 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California. I know this revival was real; I know it with all of my heart, because of the impact the study of this revival alone is causing in my life.

I believe that from the very beginning of my short life as a Christian, even as the Lord changed many things in my life, even as I love God’s people, as I started reaching out to the lost souls, as I serve God with great excitement, as I started reading the Bible and praying; I started questioning: What is the purpose of coming to church Sunday after Sunday? When I started reading the Word and learning about God’s creative power I could not see how that was being reflected in our gatherings. Even as I was a part of a Pentecostal Church first and then a very charismatic non-denominational church, I was not able to find purpose in doing basically the same thing Sunday after Sunday. Something did not match!

 

To be Continued….