We charismatics have been blessed with a season of spiritual refreshing during the last seven years. Some say it came to the United States from South Africa. Others say it blew north from Argentina like some kind of Latin hurricane. Others say it swept down from Canada after the Toronto Blessing erupted in 1994. For many of us it didn't hit until the next year when an outbreak of revivalist fervor at a Pentecostal church in Florida made national headlines. Those lively meetings at Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola spread a fire that transformed cold, traditional churches all over the country--from western Michigan to the Pacific Northwest to tiny towns like Smithton, Missouri.
Many of us became addicted to the revival experience. We read Tommy Tenney's The God Chasers and became rabid pursuers of the Holy Spirit's presence. We broke free from personal bondage after reading T.D. Jakes' books. Some of us went to revival meetings three and four nights a week, desperate for a touch from God. We ran to the altar countless times, seeking one more divine encounter.
We soaked in the anointing. We saturated ourselves in the glory. We saw heavenly gold dust on the pews, felt oil running from our hands or smelled the fragrance of the Lord. We fell to the floor, overcome by His power. We trembled, shook, shouted and danced as we celebrated our own personal Pentecost.
It was wonderful. It was necessary. It burned the religiosity out of us. But guess what? We can't make this place of refreshing our home. In fact, if we stay there we will miss God's ultimate destination.
The early church had their upper room experience. They felt the rushing wind of the Spirit and saw mighty tongues of fire. But after they were empowered they moved into the streets. Their passion prompted them to preach. They took what they received and gave it away. They left the 99 sheep and went after the lost. They knew the fire wasn't for them to toy with. It was fuel for their mission.
If a revival is to truly impact a generation, it must transition into evangelism. It can't be contained, bottled up or hidden in a building with doors and stained glass. It is not for the chosen few. The anointing is for the multitudes.
Many of us are addicted to the charismatic euphoria of yesterday, not realizing that God has moved on. We are stuck in a time warp, struggling to shift from the refreshing of 1994 to the revival of 2001--a movement that is destined to impact unbelievers on a scale we can't imagine.
It's time to get off the floor. How many times do we need to be slain in the Spirit before we will begin sharing the gospel with our neighbors and co-workers? How many more doses of the anointing do we need before we will go out into the harvest where the Lord is waiting to demonstrate His power? How many prophecies do you need to receive before you will believe you are called to minister?
Please stop hiding inside the church. God knows the lost aren't going to come in that uninviting building, so He has already gone outside to look for them. So should we.
For the month of August we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of Charisma. As a special offer, you can get 40 issues of Charisma magazine for only $40!