The Church is moving into a glorious time of change and growth. Our spiritual fathers left us a solid structure on which to build, both for our present and for future generations.
Approximately every 50 years or so, God shines his light onto a new facet of his plans for “Operation Man.” In addition, he places a new emphasis on the gifts necessary to bring his plan to fruition for each age. Although his gifts are the same and will never change, history reveals that Christians in every generation brush the dirt off of buried truth bringing it to the light as God uses it to demonstrate his power.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit, tongues, and the manifestation of certain gifts were sporadically acknowledged throughout the centuries. Most of the early church fathers had some level of this experience at least once in their lifetime, even though they didn’t fully understand it. Many of them lived their entire life and ministry from the power and sweet memory of this one unique experience or moment with God.
We can see as far back as the 19th-Century how the early holiness movement and the Keswick “Higher Life” movement ushered in an unprecedented time of revival. The first known person to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues was a woman named Agnes Ozman on January 1, 1901. She was a student in Topeka, Kansas. From Kansas, the Holy Spirit worked at Azusa Street in California for years. Today’s Pentecostal movement began from these roots. Our founders started the Pentecostal Church of God in 1919.
During the 1940’s, the Pentecostal Church of God more than doubled in size, increasing in churches, ministers, and constituents. The middle of the 20th-Century was an important time of renewal for the church. The large ministries of that period operated in the gift of healing. People like Oral Roberts and Kathryn Kuhlman lead the church into a new era of growth and prosperity. Healing was the expected result of faith and prayer.
Many of the churches and movements that grew so prosperously in the decade of the forties and fifties have reached a point of escalating decline in the latter part of the 20th-Century.
Today we’re in a new century and a new era. God wants to do a new thing in our generation just like he has done in preceding ages. He is sweeping the dirt off hidden truths for our generation. He is moving through churches and bringing in the sweet fragrance of life. God is raising up leaders with vision. He is looking for mature, seasoned, capable men and women who hear his voice and know his Spirit through a deep, intimate, personal relationship.
The Holy Spirit is breathing a new spirit of revival into the church. Like the pastors and ministers in the forties, today’s minister must seek the face of God and become sensitive to the moving of his Spirit. We can’t expect him to bless our stale, outdated, outmoded programs. People are looking for something with life and excitement. They won’t stay long in a church that has the stench of death.
We’re living in one of the greatest times the church has ever known. These are the last days. You and I are hand picked vessels God is using to bring life to his church as we anticipate and work for his soon return. I hope you feel as exhilarated and as honored I as do.