I love the organic move of the Spirit! I have just been reading a book on the Azusa Street Revival while on holiday in France and was so struck by the wild fire, uncontrollable nature of it in the early days. It was not something you could fit into a box; it was wild, offensive, even embarassing at times. It was not something that was respectable and if you wanted to build a ministry you did not get involved in it.
I love reading the stories – before the baptism of the Spirit happened to William Seymour, Edward Lee – one of the early leaders, fell into trance at work and had a vision. He saw the Apostles Peter and John standing before him. They raised their hands to Heaven and began to shake under the power of God and speak in different toungues. He understood then how people filled with the Holy Ghost acted!
Before it moved to Azusa Street, people gathered together in the home of the ‘Asberrys’- friends of William Seymour. Seymour was sharing the testimony that Lee, after seeing the vision, had been baptised in the Spirit earlier that day. As Seymour recounted the story “the whole company was swept to the floor by some mighty power.” Everyone was baptised in the Spirit at once as it rushed through the room! The noise coming from their meetings from that point on regularly disrupted the neighbours and at one point so many people were gathered together, crammed, trying to get in the house to experience the Glory and whack, the porch actually collapsed! It is recorded as being ‘no quiet demonstration being full of noisy manifestations, shouting, screaming, singing with uncontrollable outbreaks of Joy’.
To many it seemed ridiculous. People could not understand and even misunderstood what was going on. Seymour had already been banned from one church for preaching about the Baptism of the Spirit and he was not looked on favourably by those with respectable ministries and churches around him. Yet those who experienced it, who set foot in the fire of God were transformed and the Glory there shook the world.
There is something about the manifestation of the Spirit and Fire of God that cannot be put in a tidy box!
(Its funny that at the time of the Azusa Street revival, guys were even arguing over prophecies about Earthquakes hitting California and whether it was God’s judgement or not then!!)
So after reading a book on the Azusa Street Revival it was a priveledge to walk into an event which could certainly be described as being filled with the Wild Fire, ‘no quiet demonstration, full of noisy manifestations, shouting, screaming, singing with uncontrollable outbreaks of Joy’!! It was the 5th and last Sloshfest in the UK. Such a Powerful few days – Hotel staff came in to the worship and wept because of the love of Jesus and then came back with their entire family the next day. Man this Gospel message brings liberty! There were restaurant staff falling out under the Hand of God as they served people and other hotel guests complaining because of the noise of the party and the fact that there were people staggering around the hotel drunk in the Holy Ghost!! We were not drunk as you suppose!
There was a real sense of family as people gathered from all over the world. People shook under the Power of the Holy Spirit while others danced feeling totally liberated by the Gospel message. Others sat catching up with friends they hadn’t seen in ages in the hotel bar because this is not just about ‘revival’ but Life! This isn’t about a meeting or conference but about a lifestyle liberated and radiating the Gospel.
So as Sloshfest ends what I’m excited about is continuing to see the outbreak of His Glory in Life organically – seeing it sweep through our homes, work places, Starbucks, Mcdonalds, schools, and seeing people whacked to the floor in their kitchens!! People gathering in living rooms and porches, as in the early days of the Azusa Street revival, getting blasted by the Holy Spirit, not drunk as you suppose but shaking under the Power of God while seeing it spill out into the neighbourhoods to bring transformation to communities. From the upper room of a small house 2000 years ago, through countless, moves of the Spirit down the ages, including Azusa Street, right through to your living room today! Exciting days to live! xx