My family and I recently returned from Pensacola, Florida, where we attended the Brownsville revival. Since Father’s day, 1995, over a million and a half people have felt drawn and come from the fifty states and all over the world just like I did. I consider myself tremendously blessed to have a wife and four children that would rather go to church for a four day vacation than to the beach. Even though we were only 15 minutes away from some of the most beautiful beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, we never saw them. We were up at five o’clock each day so we could get in line by six AM for the seven PM service. That’s the only way we could be assured of getting a seat in the front of the sanctuary. Anyone arriving after 10AM is likely to end up in one of the campus overflow areas where they can watch the service on big-screen TV. I know it’s hard for most people to believe, but well over eighteen hundred of us waited patiently in line, listening to tapes, reading, singing and talking about our Savior for up to twelve hours. This has happened every Wednesday through Saturday for over two years. We arrived Tuesday, eagerly participating in the evening prayer meeting with over 1,400 other visitors from all over the world. Wednesday, while waiting in line, my two daughters acquired the names and the E-mail addresses of believers from 38 different states and 10 countries. Thursday was another day of blessings and a historical repeat of Azusa Street.
Now, after participating in a historically significant move of God in His Church, my entire family becomes very frustrated with anyone who flippantly says “God is everywhere, you don’t have to go to Pensacola to experience Him.” I find it interesting that I’ve never personally heard anyone say that after they’ve been there. Although our God is omnipresent, He’s moving and demonstrating His power and glory in the manner He has chosen, unbridled by man’s tradition and ritual, through the Brownsville body.
When you assemble over two thousand Christians that are hungry for more of God and unashamedly worship Him and praise Him, miraculous things happen. I’ve now witnessed a thousand people respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many of them, weeping, inched their way down to the front of the church before any altar call was ever given. Many RAN! There was no timid begging for them to raise their hands while heads were bowed and eyes were closed, then coaxing them down to the altar. They were commanded to come and get down on their knees in the presence of an awesome and mighty God to ask for His forgiveness. Minutes later, both the lost and the backsliders packed the entire altar area as well as the aisles – almost to the back doors of the church!
I saw hundreds of young people on their knees, sobbing at the altar. In a matter of seconds, their countenances were dramatically changed. The faces of these snotty, arrogant teenagers were converted to those of little children with tears streaming down their faces. Cigarettes, condoms, and drug paraphernalia were thrown away under the direction of the Holy Spirit. These people will never be the same again.
Nor will I. I can’t talk about my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ without tears welling up in my eyes. Over the past three months, I’ve read several books about the Welsh revival, Azusa Street, Smith Wigglesworth, John Dowie and others. Although the events detailed in those books were indeed awesome and historically authenticated, I found it impossible to really comprehend their magnitude. Now I’ve experienced God’s awesome presence, power and glory first hand. I’ve experienced a real-life personal demonstration of who He is and what He can do. He is the great I AM! Now I know and FEEL what my Jesus expects of me and I desperately want the same thing.
Three weeks ago, I was able to go to Blockbuster video and, while carefully avoiding the “R” rated filth, rent a “PG” movie. Last week, I accompanied my son who wanted to rent a video game. It will be my last visit. As I walked up and down several aisles, I literally felt as though I was walking along the edge of the pits of hell. I actually became nauseous, experiencing a tremendous burden for all of the lost who were eagerly examining the worldly garbage on the shelves. Tears started to well up in my eyes. How easily they were being deceived and led astray.
My visit to Pensacola showed me that even though the media would have us believe to the contrary, there are many more white hot Christians out there than we ever imagined. Holiness and serving Him are now locked in as my primary goals in life. I also have to say that although I attend a wonderful church where God operates in the body of believers 24/7, it is no match for the awesome power and glory of God being manifested in Brownsville. Christians and those who just think they’re Christians as well as the churches they attend vary in temperature. Some are as cold as the ice cubes hanging from the pulpit, some sputter between warm and hot like a wet candle, and others resemble Bunsen burners. I strongly recommend that you take the time to personally experience God’s awesome power and glory in one of the Atomic Hydrogen torches.
One of my favorite T-shirts for sale at Brownsville states:
“Been There, Done That
Will Never Be The Same.”
I couldn’t say it better!