Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Where Are We Going? - Joel News 546



100 years after Azusa Street: where are we going?


100 years after Azusa Street: where are we going?

Exactly 100 years ago, in April 1906, the Holy Spirit fell on a ragtag group of black, white, and Hispanic Christians who had gathered in the rundown Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles. They sang with fervor, testified of God's sanctifying power and spoke in tongues. This now-famous revival, led by an unknown black preacher named William Seymour, was a defining moment in the history of Christianity.

Pentecostalism has now spread to every continent and in some cases is fueling the most staggering church growth on the planet. Yet at the same time many sectors of the movement have become musty, stale and painfully

"Let's resist nostalgia," warns Charisma editor J. Lee Grady. "As we approach the 100th anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival, we must shift into the new things God is doing. The cloud of God's presence does not stay in one place too long. He is always moving forward. He wants to reach every generation. We might have to kill our sacred cows, tear down the old monuments and have some funerals. As wonderful as the past was, we can't live there."

In the April issue of Charisma Magazine, a collector's edition that celebrates the Azusa Street Revival, Grady sums up a few of the 'new things' God is doing:

1. He's shifting us from buildings to the organic church. Almost all
ministry encounters in the book of Acts took place outside of religious
buildings. Yet we still hang on to the outdated idea that God wants to live
inside a brick-and-mortar temple. He wants to dwell among His people! Many
of the people we are called to reach will never go near our buildings
(which, by the way, sit empty most of the week). We must take Christ to the
marketplace through home churches, workplace Bible studies, campus
ministries, street meetings - and into cyberspace.

2. He's shifting us from pulpits to people. The believers at Azusa Street celebrated the fact that God can use anybody - regardless of class or
religious pedigree. But we quickly fell back into the old mind-set that
requires a vast chasm between clergy and laity. Every member of the church is a minister.

3. He's shifting us from racism to reconciliation. As much as we talk about our heritage of racial integration, the truth is painful: We are still too
separated. (And it's not just white folks who harbor racist attitudes.) Jesus is serious about having a church that reflects the rainbow colors of heaven. We must think multi-culturally. And we must sit at the feet of ethnically diverse leaders - including those from the developing world - and adjust our outdated Western paradigms.

4. He's shifting us from male-dominated to egalitarian. We must allow full participation of women in ministry, and make room for their leadership
gifts. We will never fulfill the Great Commission if we don't empower and
equip the female half of the church that has been marginalized and neglected.

5. He's shifting us from hidden sin to healthy holiness. We have
congregations full of people who are not whole. A large percentage of Christians struggle continually with addictions, bitterness, life-crippling belief systems, wounds from dysfunctional families and even occultism. We must become bondage breakers. We need another holiness movement - but this time it must focus on the heart rather than on a dress code, and it must lead people to an encounter with the Father's love rather than into paralyzing legalism.

6. He's shifting us from human ability to supernatural power. We
Pentecostals claim to believe in miracles, but we have little to show for it. Has our faith dried up? God wants us to rediscover New Testament, book of Acts-style Christianity. And that won't happen until we rediscover book of Acts-style prayer.

7. He's shifting us from poverty to prosperity. I'm not talking about a message that tells every Christian to expect a Lexus in his garage, or that
causes preachers to chase after watches, yachts and Botox injections. We must dispense with that foolishness. But we must also reject the Pentecostal poverty mentality of the past so that we can have the faith to fund world evangelism. God wants to give us billions of dollars to feed the poor, plant churches, build hospitals and transform nations.

8. He's shifting us from escapism to conquest. So many of us have viewed the future with pessimism. We've been wimps rather than warriors. We
thought everything was getting worse, as if Jesus simply wants us to 'hold
on' until the rapture. God is calling us to adapt a triumphant view of
history. The Bible says we win. We need to start acting like it.

Source: www.charismanow.com
Centennial: www.azusastreet100.net



Joel News International is a leading e-zine on what God is doing worldwide in the area of prayer, church growth and revival. We offer a keen selection of encouraging news reports, challenging developments and quality resources from over 100 reliable sources in six continents. Joel News is a great help and time-saver for thousands of active Christians in over 120 nations.

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At 4/13/2006 02:53:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

God is not the author of any man's sin, but even by that which men do from bad principles. God serves his own purposes and glorifies his own name; and he is righteous in that wherein men are unrighteous.

If we aim at the applause of men, and make their praise our highest end, we are upon a false bottom.

For those that are heedless, it is to be feared, are graceless; for, where there is a good principle in the heart, it will make men cautious and circumspect, desirous to please God and jealous of doing any thing to offend him.

We have reason to fear that when Jehu (2 King 10, NIV) took no heed himself to walk in God's law the people were generally as careless as he, (both in their devotions and in their conversations.

Lastly, the conclusion of Jehu's reign, v. 34-36. Notice is taken, in general, of his might; but, because he took no heed to serve God, the memorials of his mighty enterprises and achievements are justly buried in oblivion.

At 4/15/2006 07:58:00 PM , Anonymous Lauren said...

I'm not sure if you know about this but just in case here is a link that I think you would be interested in. www.collegiateimpact.com/institute

At 4/18/2006 01:06:00 AM , Anonymous Eunice said...

I would have to disagree with number 7. Believing in God doesn't guarantee prosperity in our lives, nor does our prosperity indicate our level of spiritual-ness, or holiness, or even the measure of God's love for us... crap happens to all of us, even the best of us... Lastly, I don't think God needs our material possessions for His will to be done... it's his message that needs to be heard... not more churches, hospitals, or other material goods...

At 4/20/2006 05:03:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Artical Jaeson!

I agree with each point and also agree that NOW is the time to enter into a victorious and overcoming mindset that will use all things to minister Christ to all nations. Poverty is worthless to those who can not feed their families or provide for others. Prospertity is empty if it does not glorify Christ or replaces devotion to Him and trust in Him. All things exist for one thing only, to glorify Christ!

Finally, I am more excited about the present outpouring of His Spirit today and in our generation than in what has ever come before! Granted, previous outpourings were glorious and encourage, inspire and EMPOWER God's people, but revival and outpouring must be sought afresh in every Generation! We all have a part to play and a barn to tarry in like Seymore. We also need to seek God like our forefather's holding fast to their testimony while paying the price ourselves. God's nature is exponential, and the coming outpouring will surpass previous moves in glory, and power. This will also call for a greater death to self and a deeper digging into the wells of revival then ever before. It will all be worth it, as the earth will soon testify to heaven's reality as His glory falls. We must not settle for anything less. Heaven must come to earth!!

At 4/26/2006 09:57:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont' know what this person means when he asserts God is shifting things from "male-dominated" to "egalitarian." People are trying to interpret things differently like it is okay for women to teach and have authority over men, or that elders can be women. but just because this is popular in the church today, does it make it mean that *God* is doing it? I realize you are coming from a tradition that brought us Aimee Semple mcPherson, so I may be speaking to deaf ears...but you weigh things in light of Scripture not cultural trends and what's popular.

At 5/03/2006 07:43:00 PM , Blogger Christine said...

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