As most of you may know, our family was touched powerfully in 1995 at a conference in Kelowna, BC. Because of what happened and how dramatically it affected us, I became a student of past and present revivals. As the years passed, I began to collect and pour over as much information as I could find of firsthand accounts of those who had found themselves in the middle of an incredible spiritual experience as we had found ourselves. I will admit that I still have more questions than answers but I have gained a measure of understanding into these moves of the Holy Spirit that I would like to share with you.
To really begin to understand these outpourings of the Holy Spirit we should look at the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts beginning in the second chapter. If we are going to validate any present or past moves of God then the day of Pentecost should be the measuring rod that all moves of the Holy Spirit are measured. Whether you term the move a renewal, revival or a reformation, you will find that at the heart of each of these occurrences is the Holy Spirit coming in a supernatural manner touching the hearts of people in a very significant and often radical way.
When I first gave my heart to Jesus it was in an Evangelical Church so naturally I struggled with the concept of the need for a further baptism of the Holy Spirit. They taught me that I already had the Holy Spirit in me when I accepted Jesus into my life so there was no need for more of what I already had. It is true that we are filled with the Holy Spirit when we accept Jesus into our lives. Jesus in Acts 1:5 speaks of waiting for a special act that was to take place when he said, “For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus told the 120 to wait in Jerusalem for the gift the Father has promised, Acts 1:4. After waiting many days, the day of Pentecost arrived and with it the promised gift. I know many who would never travel to a place where a revival is taking place, stating that the Holy Spirit knows where they live and if God wanted them to be touched He could easily find them. It is clear that in the beginning Jesus told the 120 to wait in Jerusalem and stay together in prayer. They did not know the day or hour when the Holy Spirit would come but they met in prayer and waited giving us two very important ingredients, prayer and waiting, to our receiving the promised ‘gift’.
Another point I would like to interject here is that I have come to agree with theologians that in each case where the Holy Spirit came upon the believers in the book of Acts they then spoke in tongues. The question then becomes can you speak in tongues and not be baptized with the Holy Spirit and can you be filled with the Holy Spirit and not speak in tongues? I would say there are exceptions but in all of the cases in the scriptures where the gift of the Holy Spirit came they then spoke in tongues. Because we live in a ‘McDonald’s/Burger King’ mentality that wants things ‘our way, right away’ we have a tendency to get the cart before the horse and think that if we get a person to speak in tongues it follows that he is filled with the Holy Spirit. The scriptures however clearly show us that the baptism of the Holy Spirit came first followed by tongues. The problem is we have little patience to wait or tarry as our old Pentecostal friends would call it ‘till’ the promised gift comes.
The word ‘tarry’ is an interesting word that the old-time Pentecostals would use in reference to their ‘waiting’ for the promised Holy Spirit. In Webster’s Dictionary, it means to, ‘linger in expectation, to abide or stay in or at a place.’ Obviously, Jesus told the disciples to stay in the upper room and wait for the gift. I have read hundreds of accounts of people from all over the world who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I found that not all of them had to wait or tarry for the promised gift. Some never even asked for it but came to scoff at what was taking place and yet received the baptism. Others who deeply desired it would often have to wait and pray for days if not months for the gift. Most of us would probably fall somewhere between these two extremes.
I have seen much in the past twenty-two years in the way of supernatural manifestations but I have found that the end result to our being baptized by the Holy Spirit is so we are endued with power from on high. The importance of a Christian receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an integral part of the Christian experience and should never be dependent upon whether or not you want to speak in tongues or not. The ‘gift of the father’ may not be tongues, tongues may come as a result of the gift but so may the other gifts. Acts 10:38 tells us, “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power,…” Those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior, have received the Holy Spirit, but the Baptism of the Holy Spirit anoints them with power which has at its core the evangelization of the world. Which is evident by Peter’s message that resulted in three thousand souls being converted.
Throughout history there have been three elements that have been characteristically present in all revivals, from Pentecost to this present date. The first being ‘prayer’, it would seem that you can have revival without churches, ministers or preaching but not without prayer. The second is the ‘outpouring of the Holy Spirit’, making our prayers effective while highlighting truths found in the word of God. The third is found in the supernatural ‘conviction of sin’ on both the saved and unsaved.
The question then becomes what does this power look like? In the accounts that I have read the power is revealed to us through the revelation of the depth of love that our Father has for us which becomes manifested through our outward love for mankind. Those baptized with the promised Holy Spirit went into the world, making disciples of Jesus Christ. Giving their lives so that others may experience the joy set before them.
It seems like so many people are waiting for the next revival to come. Yet for over 2000 years there has seemingly been an uninterrupted stream of revival taking place somewhere around the world. At the heart of every revival is the Holy Spirit being poured out upon those who seek and wait. If you want the promised Holy Spirit do not sit idly by but be proactive in your waiting; desire, pray, hunger and thirst after the Holy Spirit till He comes and touches you. The question has always been, is it our prayers that touch the heart of God that brings revival or is it God that touches our hearts that causes us to pray for revival. Whichever one it is they are so closely entwined as to be one.
Our prayer for you today is that you become so hungry, so thirsty that it will consume your waking and sleeping.