And finally - here's the positive thoughts! It was indeed worth waiting for.
Terry Virgo began by drawing parallels to the 1994/95 refreshing from Toronto and this aspect of the "transferrability" of the anointing. He said;
"It was something that could be ‘caught’ or ‘transferred’. People who attended certain meetings became ‘carriers’ of a kind of ‘spiritual contagion’ which subsequently broke out elsewhere".
I must admit this is something I am learning about and owe much to Rob Rufus and Terry for this. Rob spoke in Eastbourne again about the anointing and how transferrable it is. But this isn't a "new" thing. Terry said;
"It would be true to say that this has been a mark of historic revivals. People visited the 1905 Welsh Revival for instance and, on returning home, found that God’s presence had accompanied them in an extraordinary way".
I like Terry's teaching on the "manifestations of the Spirit". It would be safe to say that it is the manifestations that cause the biggest excesses on both sides in any revival. The cynics and skeptics get turned off by them - and I would venture - scared by them. Those who embrace the revival sometimes judge the work of God on WHETHER they manifest the Spirit. Both excesses are wrong. Terry writes;
"What were often referred to as ‘manifestations of the Spirit’ (and sometimes very strange they were) were in reality not literally ‘manifestations of the Spirit’ but the different ways in which people’s bodies responded to the Spirit’s activity. Various phenomenal responses were noted when the Holy Spirit’s presence seemed to be strong. Some fell, some shook and some laughed. Some seemed to happen in an involuntary kind of way; others perhaps were imitation. The pressure to conform on these occasions can become very great".
But as Terry says - what matters not is how great or small the manifestations are or of what variety they are but;
"What influenced me most significantly was not the extraordinary physical manifestations but the extraordinary lasting change that I observed in the lives of people I knew".
It staggers me that so-called people committed to the Word of God - the Bible - seem to forget this clear and blatent fact;
"I was drawn to Acts 10 where the Apostle Peter was in a trance (!) and saw a vision (!) and heard an audible voice (!), as a result of which he followed Cornelius’s representatives who had themselves been instructed by an angel (!). Upon arrival at Cornelius’s house, Peter began to preach but was interrupted by such an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that he had to give way to his hearers who were suddenly overcome and speaking in tongues and prophesying (!)".
And HERE is the fact. HERE is what we must face;
"Virtually every feature in this extraordinary story was outside of my experience – but all were clearly Biblical".
If we are to see an increased mark of signs and wonders and miracles then there's something we must - absolutely must remember. Todd Bentley must remember it. William Branham forgot it to his peril as did many of the other healers in the 1940's and 50's;
"We often imagine that God’s gifts are proofs of holiness or marks of maturity given only to the most advanced Christians to demonstrate God’s approval of their spiritual progress. But this isn’t the case. God’s gifts aren’t rewards!".
This is why Rob Rufus's teaching on the gift of righteousness is SO absolutely vital and such an important foundation to ensure this outpouring of the Spirit doesn't wane and end like it's predecessors before it. It's a gift! It doesn't make you more holy because the holiness that we have is not our own anyway - it was imputed to us as a gift! We are accepted before God BECAUSE we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. If we start from that position, then we will be under no illusions that whatever gifts God may use in us come as GRACE not because we have earned that blessing.
Terry ends on a very similar - and indeed vital note to Janelle's thoughts when she visited Lakeland. It's ALL about the local church!
"What shall we do? We should go on preaching the gospel, praying for the sick and committing our lives to the local church where things find their right setting and safety. Some who testify to a powerful surge of blessing now in their church through contact with Lakeland, say that this is not happening to them in a vacuum, but in the context of healthy local church life where eldership oversight is clearly in place, Biblical foundations are already established and a longing to reach the lost with the gospel is already in focus. Praise God! This is how it should be".
Terry's conclusion shows the importance of experience and how older godly men can teach us so much in the wider body of Christ. I have been puzzled and intrigued as to why every time something different happens in the church such as this outpouring - there is a rush to declare oneself. Some say they are for it (I guess that's been my temptation. I've been so hungry to see God move in power for so many years - could I be in danger of accepting anything just because it's new and it's breaking the status quo that the Church is stuck in? Maybe). Some say they are against it. Some say they aren't interested in it. But Terry said;
"It seems to me that we do not have to take a stance simply dismissing what is happening as a circus or to only demonstrate alarm at the dangers that seem inherent. Nor should we naively embrace and unquestioningly accept the complete package".
I can do nothing but utter "Amen!" to his final prayer;
"For myself, I long for the power of God to be released so that Jesus might be wonderfully glorified in our generation. I often pray the prayer based on the Apostle’s plea that God would grant us boldness while He Himself stretches forth His hand and that signs and wonders are done in the name of His holy child Jesus. I shall continue to pray such prayers and long for the coming of His power and the glorifying of His name with huge respect for the local church and I believe a God-given desire to be mutually dependent and not independent. I believe God will lead us on to all that He has for us and safeguard us from danger for His great glory".