7 Takeaways from Azusa Now 2016 (The Call)

110 Years after the original Azusa Street Revival broke out, an estimated 100,000 believers of multiple denominations met at the Los Angeles Coliseum to seek once again for revival.

I had the pleasure of attending (how great it is to only live one hour away from such a historic event!) and getting wrecked out of my mind by the Holy Spirit.

Here are a few of my initial takeaways from attending the event on Saturday.

(Note: I opted to publish this post as soon as possible, but I have left out many pictures and may choose to insert notes to remind me of how best to update the post after I get a chance to sleep and edit later on.)

1. Ponchos are amazing!

Okay, for one thing — this isn’t really that important. For another, you probably already knew this.

It was a bit inconsistent today. It was dry. Then it was rainy. Then it was dry again. Then El Niño struck suddenly. Then it was dry. Then it sprinkled.

The point: these ponchos were lifesavers for a hundred thousand people!! And if you looked around the coliseum, it looked like a Where’s Waldo picture, with the many different colored ponchos spanning the place.

2. Miraculous healings are commonplace in the Body of Christ.

I remember when I first went to a Jesus Culture weekend three years ago. I met prophetic people that “read my mail” (ie. told me things about myself they could not have possibly known), personally healed or participated in the healing of three people (had only attempted healing one other person [thankfully successfully!] before that weekend), and watched testimony after testimony of people getting healed, one after the other. Hundreds. Dozens at least.

That changed my life forever. I never knew before that God operated supernaturally through His people and so significantly. Never again could I ever do “regular” church and be able to look myself in the mirror, and call myself a true follower of Jesus.

The Call provided us once again with more of the same but in a much larger proportion — thousands and thousands of healings: deaf ears being opened, people standing up out of wheelchairs, cancerous tumors and symptoms miraculously dissolving.

On a personal note, I’ve noticed that my own healing ratio (rate of people healed per number of people prayed for) has been increasing. It seems to me that God is moving more and more accurately and powerfully in healing miracles.

God is good, no?

3. God knows us specifically and cares more about our desires than we do.

If you’ve never heard of a man named Shawn Bolz, look him up on YouTube. He is well known for being particularly gifted in specific and accurate words of knowledge and prophecy. I have trouble believing that even skeptics could watch any one of these videos and not come to believe at the very least that Bolz has a supernatural gift (whether or not they attribute it to God or not is a completely different story!).

I watched him — without any prior knowledge of the parties or details involved — call out from the stage first and last names, street addresses, specific dates and locations, not only to confirm that God specifically knows all about us, but that He has a plan for to bless our lives. His prophetic words to these people and their obvious reception of them confirmed what we should already know if we have a healthy perspective of God — that He is more interested in our desires and our passions than we are. That He is good and that He loves us and cares about every little detail in our lives.

4. We are ONE in the Spirit.

I heard an old song today that I used to sing as a little boy in Catholic Church that turned out to be crazy prophetic, given what I understand now about God and the Kingdom. “We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord… and we pray that all unity will one day be restored… and they’ll know we are Christians by our love..”

Wrecked me. Absolutely wrecked me.

The conference today was mainly about unity in the Body of Christ. I unfortunately wasn’t there for the morning sessions, but I was told there was an acknowledgement of division between different denominations and that we, as a Body, have decided to come together, despite having different beliefs to be unified for the cause for Christ.

Once upon a time, this song was written, praying that one day all unity would one day be restored. It’s not our doctrine or our works or our giftings that show we are believers in Jesus. It is our love.

I wasn’t willing to admit this to myself until today, but the truth is, I’ve been getting to be a little bit disenfranchised and cynical of the church. Without going too much into detail, let’s just say I’ve gotten very sick of religious manipulation masquerading as the movement birthed by Jesus Christ and his first disciples over 2000 years ago and it makes me want to violently split from those who seek to do so.

Today, however, God spoke to me. In His own words to me, He said, “I redeem all things.” It doesn’t matter if I believe differently than I did as a young Catholic. We are the same in Christ. Those people we disagree with are our family, whether we like it or not. If we can’t agree, the least we can do is love each other. Amen.

5. We work synergistically as a Body.

I hope a video gets put up soon of at least part of the message on synergy because there’s no way I will be able to do it justice in a few short sentences. I’ll be sure to add it in if I see one.

Last night, I couldn’t sleep, so I was reading and watching various media like the insomniac I can be sometimes. I came across a verse that stuck out to me (and I’m paraphrasing): one can stand against a thousand, but two can stand against 10,000. As I was thinking about this same verse today, the speaker mentioned the same Scripture (It’s Deuteronomy 32:30, by the way. Also good to look at are Joshua 23:10).

I came away with a reminder of an important, but often neglected, fact — that prayers live on even after people die. Just as we can touch and agree with othersin prayer, so too can we partner with these prayers and declarations made by those who have come before us, even if they have died and gone to Heaven. (Check out Hebrews 11 and look up videos on the cloud of witnesses if you are interested in knowing more.)

6. We are truly outside time and space.

They were playing classic, Christian music that originated decades ago and showing slideshows of pictures on the big screen of various revivals / movements (ie. the Jesus Movement). I couldn’t help looking at the pictures and feeling at the same time like I was physically there in the heavenlies. I immediately felt at one with the Spirit regarding those time periods, and if it doesn’t sound too crazy, I felt like I was momentarily transported there to feel what the Holy Spirit was doing during those moments. I felt like we got to relive the same vibe that was released decades and decades ago.

And it struck me that every movement — over and over and over — God showed up and provided that generation with everything they needed to get on the same page as the mandate of the Kingdom of God. We have example after example of what was made possible by seeking God and having the faith to do and believe what He said to do and believe.

Taken a bit further, I believe we literally have access to every revival known to history because we have the same Spirit living inside of us that authored them. We can literally pray and agree with the prayers released by the men and women of God. It builds a good case as to the importance of studying the history of the Church..

And if it isn’t too scary or weird to consider, it potentially opens the possibility of partnering with the future Church and praying through the breakthroughs that they can see in retrospect. After seeing all the miracles done in Jesus’s name, I wouldn’t shut out that possibility.

(I could write an entire post on this, but as a disclaimer, whenever I share a really out-there idea, I am first brainstorming. However, I am also seriously and prayerfully considering moving forward on the radical idea if I get the green light from God.

What is important is balancing our approach with sound doctrine (but not overanalyze it) based on Scripture, being guided by the Spirit of God, and doing it from a lens of love. It is very helpful to have a multitude of counselors to help us test everything, holding fast to what is good, and throwing out what doesn’t resonate.)

7. Everything is going to be okay.

 

I’ve been going through a tough season. One of the most trying seasons of my life. I feel like I have been constantly having to take my thoughts captive, constantly seeking God, constantly needing to be loved by my brothers and sisters.

I noticed today that I was at total peace the entire time I was in that coliseum. When we come together and worship God, when we see what is truly important in the scope of the entire globe’s population, in the scope of eternity, all of our cares and worries matter little by comparison.

It doesn’t mean our problems will all magically disappear tomorrow. But when we seek Him and pay attention to what He is doing, it magnifies His goodness so much that the other “facts” in our life just aren’t important. When we’re on mission with the Kingdom, it matters little that we tend to be worried or anxious about something in our personal lives.

A few things I know for sure. God is good. He is still on the throne. We are seated in heavenly places with Him. And He cares about us more than we could ever care about ourselves — everything is going to be okay.

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