During my years as a follower of
Jesus Christ I have experienced a
variety of what the church calls 'revival' or 'renewal'. Revival
tends to happen when Christians become dull and lethargic and
eventually come to the realization that "there must be more".
When Christians begin to seek God for 'more' He eventually responds by
answering their prayers. Some pray for more money or more
spiritual power, and all they get is money or power. Others are
so desperate that they pray for whatever God wants to give them, and
they tend to get more than they bargained for!
I became a real Christian in the
mid-1970s during what is often called
'the charismatic renewal'. It was a time when God was restoring
the truth about the baptism in the Holy Spirit to His people who
attended what are often referred to as 'mainline denominational
churches'. Some people received this renewal or revival of truth,
but most did not.
Then on January 20, 1994, there was
an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in
a little Vineyard church which met in several rooms in the terminal at
the Toronto, Canada, International Airport. The 'Toronto Revival'
began as a restoration of the experience of God the Father's love, and
the motto of that congregation was and still is "Walking In The Love Of
God and Giving It Away To Toronto And The World".
I first experienced this new
outpouring of Father's love in a little
church in Toledo, Ohio. Many of the leaders and members of that
church had been to Toronto to experience for themselves what was being
reported worldwide by the secular news media. They 'brought it
back' to Toledo, and I received a paradigm shift in my life and my
relationship with God in July, 1995.
I have visited the Toronto Airport
Christian Fellowship - as that
little Vineyard church came to be known after they received what some
of us call 'the left foot of fellowship' from the parent denomination
over a controversy centered on unusual manifestations of the Holy
Spirit. It seemed that some people made 'animal noises' after
being prayed for, and the denomination thought that such animal noises
could certainly not be manifestations of the Holy Spirit! But let
me tell you a story on this subject.....
In 1996 I traveled to the Toronto
Revival, arrived at the church on a
Friday evening, and attended the Friday evening conference
meeting. I understand that the capacity of the building is about
6,500, and it was full. During the prayer time when the church
prayer team members pray for people to receive 'more of the Lord' they
ask people wanting prayer to line up side by side to wait for a prayer
team member and an usher to pray for each person. I was standing
next to a college-aged young man. The prayer team member who was
praying for our line of people arrived in our vicinity, prayed for this
young man standing next to me, he was 'melted down' by the love of God,
and was laid on his back on the carpeted floor of the church
facility. I was prayed for next, also was melted down by Father's
love, and was laid by the usher down next to the young man on the
carpet. That young man began to roar like a lion - but not just
any lion. He sounded to me like the lion from the Wizard of
Oz. It was such a gentle roar, and then he would laugh and laugh
for about a minute, and then roar again! All the people around
this young man joined him in his laughter after each of his gentle
roaring 'animal noises'. Eventually, later that night when
everyone who wanted prayer had been prayed for, that we all got up off
of the carpet, packed up our belongings and returned to our
hotels. As I was standing in line to exit the church I chatted
with the young man who had been roaring like the lion from the Wizard
of Oz. I asked him what God had done in his life, and this is
what he told me. He said, "Before tonight I was so shy that I
would not have been able to carry on a conversation with you. But
tonight the Lion of The Tribe of Judah gave me some of His boldness,
and I am free from my shyness, and I am able to talk with you!"
I can put up with that kind of animal
noises. Can you?
PS: I later found an
interesting passage in the Bible about a man
acting like an animal:
4:1-37 King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and
languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you! It
has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High
God has done for me. How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders!
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from
generation to generation.
I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace.
I saw a dream that made me afraid. As I lay in bed the fancies and the
visions of my head alarmed me. So I made a decree that all the wise men
of Babylon should be brought before me, that they might make known to
me the interpretation of the dream. Then the magicians, the enchanters,
the Chaldeans, and the astrologers came in, and I told them the dream,
but they could not make known to me its interpretation.
At last Daniel came in before me—he who was named Belteshazzar after
the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods—and I
told him the dream, saying, "O Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians,
because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no
mystery is too difficult for you, tell me the visions of my dream that
I saw and their interpretation.
The visions of my head as I lay in bed were these: I saw, and behold, a
tree in the midst of the earth, and its height was great. The tree grew
and became strong, and its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to
the end of the whole earth. Its leaves were beautiful and its fruit
abundant, and in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found
shade under it, and the birds of the heavens lived in its branches, and
all flesh was fed from it. "I saw in the visions of my head as I lay in
bed, and behold, a watcher, a holy one, came down from heaven. He
proclaimed aloud and said thus: 'Chop down the tree and lop off its
branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts
flee from under it and the birds from its branches. But leave the stump
of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, amid
the tender grass of the field. Let him be wet with the dew of heaven.
Let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth. Let
his mind be changed from a man's, and let a beast's mind be given to
him; and let seven periods of time pass over him. The sentence is by
the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones,
to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the
kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the
lowliest of men.' This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, saw. And you, O
Belteshazzar, tell me the interpretation, because all the wise men of
my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation, but you
are able, for the spirit of the holy gods is in you."
Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was dismayed for a while, and
his thoughts alarmed him. The king answered and said, "Belteshazzar,
let not the dream or the interpretation alarm you." Belteshazzar
answered and said, "My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you
and its interpretation for your enemies!
"The tree you saw, which grew and became strong, so that its top
reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth,
whose leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which was
food for all, under which beasts of the field found shade, and in whose
branches the birds of the heavens lived—it is you, O king, who have
grown and become strong. Your greatness has grown and reaches to
heaven, and your dominion to the ends of the earth. And because the
king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying,
'Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump of its roots in
the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, in the tender grass of
the field, and let him be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his
portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven periods of time
pass over him,' this is the interpretation, O king: It is a decree of
the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king, that you shall be
driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of
the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be
wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over
you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and
gives it to whom he will. And as it was commanded to leave the stump of
the roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be confirmed for you from the
time that you know that Heaven rules. Therefore, O king, let my counsel
be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness,
and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may
perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity."
All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he
was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king
answered and said, "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my
mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?"
While the words were still in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from
heaven, "O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has
departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your
dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made
to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you,
until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it
to whom he will."
Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was
driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet
with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles' feathers,
and his nails were like birds' claws. At the end of the days I,
Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me,
and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives
forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom
endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth
are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the
host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can
stay his hand or say to him, "What have you done?" At the same time my
reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and
splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I
was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to
Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven,
for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk
in pride he is able to humble.