Momentum (Christ – centred, Spirit – empowered, Mission – focused)
The year was 1901, the audience was a group of African missionaries, and the speaker was Andrew Murray. He cleared his throat and boldly declared, “The key to the missionary problem is missionaries!”
He went on to say, “They believe in the presence of the Spirit of God but they lack the encounter. There never should be a missionary ministry that is not full of the presence of the Lord” (Hartley, God on Fire)
These words ought to convict us and inspire us. John the Baptist declared, “[Jesus] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). In his book God on Fire, Fred Hartley writes, “God promises to saturate or submerge us in the Holy Spirit and in the fire of God’s manifest presence. He wants every area of our lives and every cell of our body dripping with His presence and fully under His influence.”
It was this kind of radical surrender that marked the risk and sacrifice of the early Alliance leaders. They were men and women who engaged in ministry that was full of the Presence of the Lord. They were people of the Presence.
As I reflect on the past few years, I am convinced that it is this “return to the presence” that is our number one priority.
I am writing this upon the return of a ten-day speaking engagement in Peru and Argentina. My heart was filled with awe as I watched the Spirit of God permeate our Latin American leaders. I saw the beginning stages of revival, a deep embracing of the Presence of Jesus.
The first few days in Peru were very challenging. I spoke in one of our largest Alliance churches in Peru, but the senior pastor was unsure of my topic. I spoke with passion on the work of the Holy Spirit and the need to experience the Presence of God in our lives. I was surprised to notice that he was less than enthusiastic. After the service, he questioned me and then implied that the Alliance church in Peru is more reserved than the Alliance in Canada!
He cautioned me that if I were to speak on the Holy Spirit, I needed to be careful. My heart was heavy, but my passion for this message was unrelenting. I spoke three more times, specifically to the pastors of our Peruvian churches. I boldly invited them into “more,” into a deeper embrace of the presence of God.
On the third day, Heaven broke through. I gave a call for leaders to come forward to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and everyone came forward. Tears, wailing, and pleas for God’s filling flooded the room. It was God on the move! Even the pastor who had cautioned me slowly made his way forward.
Afterward, he spoke with me and thanked me for coming. He admitted that this was the message that was desperately needed in Peru. This is desperately needed in Canada! We must be people of the presence or else we will be powerless.
We must not allow our fear of false fire to make us comfortable with no fire. God forbid! We need the manifest Presence of Jesus in our movement. Christmas Evans, a dynamic revivalist, declared, “Revival is God bending down to the dying embers of a fire just about to go out and breathing into it until it bursts into flame.”
Our practice must match our theology. It is time to burst into flame again!
Please find the original version in C&MA website