Before I go back to the story, I just have to tell about part of my day. I spent the afternoon with an Outreach team from Bethel Atlanta at “the Safe House” in downtown Atlanta. We went around woodruff and Hurt parks talking to anyone we could talk to, mostly homeless men and women. We invited them over to the Safe House on Ellis street, and we cooked about 280 hamburgers. We fed them, talked with them, played games with them and also got to pray for them. We had a foot washing station where they could get their feet washed and a new pair of socks. I was there for about three hours. It was a blessing to see Jesus at work on the streets of Atlanta. I know that I will be going back many times this year. This is a great ministry and it is great to be able to help out. Now back to the story.
As my memory serves ne, the second night went a little smother, but not much. Worship wa so good, and the preaching was better. The ministry time was unbelievable. I did get prayer, and so did Julia. Neither of us had any thing “weird” happen to us. I just remember a deep sense of God’s peace spread all over me. We were supposed to stay for another night, but the girls really wanted to go home early, and I could tell that Julia was ready too. Normally in this situation I would agree, and we would just leave to go back to Atlanta a day early. We had to fly standby anyway, and it was always better to try early incase you didn’t make it. But I really felt in my spirit that there was so much more for me here in Toronto. I was so afraid that if I left, I would really miss it. Later I realized how right I was. Often it takes at least three nights for someone who first comes into a move of the Spirit to be able to receive. You are like a sponge that is totally dry. When the sponge is so dry, that the first time water is poured onto it, the water just runs off. Then the next time, a little is soaked up and the sponge becomes more pliable. The next time, the sponge is able to soak up all the water that it can possibly receive. We found out that this is how it is many times in revival.
Anyway, Julia was not very happy we were staying and neither were the girls. If I remember correctly, they stayed back at the hotel on the third night when Julia and I went to the service. I was desperate. I know that it was my last night, and I felt that I hadn’t received what it was I came to get. All night during the worship and the preaching, I was just crying out to God for more of Him. I had to have more. As ministry time started, I made my way to as close to the front of the room as possible. I don’t even remember where Julia was. I was so desperate; I forgot about her and was just concentrating on Him. I cam remember standing there just asking God to either fill me up and give me all He had for me, or just kill me right there in the spot. I really didn’t want to go on without all that He had for me.
I really don’t know how long I stood there but it was a long while. A couple of teams had prayed for me, but I was still there waiting. I had my eyes closed, and then I began to see a lion. It was coming closer and I could tell that it was the Lion of Judah. As it came close to me, it began to roar over me. I think that I began shaking violently. The next thing I remember, I was down on the floor shaking uncontrollably. Then I found myself roaring at the top of my lungs. I don’t know how long this went on. I remember Carol Arnott bending over me holding my legs asking for a double portion, and I remember feeling waves of electricity coursing through my body. I was in terrible pain, I was embarrassed, but it felt sl good that I didn’t want to stop. I felt the Holy Spirit say to me that this was what I came for, and just to go with it and receive. I was probably on the ground for close to an hour befre I got the strength or the will power to move. During that time I know that God was doing some major work in my life. As I look back, I have never been the same again. His love was so real and fresh. My love for others was intensified so much. I was just so refreshed and yet so tired. I had forgotten all about Julia. When I got up, I went looking for her. I really wanted to share with her what had happened.
Remember the old saying “Houston, we have a problem”? Well, we had a big problem. Julia wasn’t near me, but she heard me. Imagine hearing your spouse, whom you thought was very sane, roaring to the top of their lungs in a room with over 400 people. Then she watched and waited while I shook, roared and shook some more. For over an hour, she had been waiting for me to “come to my senses”. While I wanted to share my excitement and joy worth her, all she could say was I’m glad the girls couldn’t hear you. So it was very quiet on the way back to the hotel. Remember, I’m the one that always jumps first and thinks later and Julia was the one that would process and then jump. Normally we always wound up jumping together, but not this time. The rest of the summer was very tense. I was trying to help bring her along, and she was having to study and process all that had happened.
What I didn’t say was that all this stuff was transferable. Pretty soon there were meetings all over the world. The English took it back to Britain. An Anglican church in London, Holy Trinity Brompton, started having renewal meetings. In fact an Evangelist named Steve Hill went there and then went to Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola Fl and the renewal broke out there also. Julia and I never got to Brownsville although some of our friends did. The Holy Spirit is so funny. Toronto’s main manifestation was laughter and refreshing while in Brownsville it was repentance and tears. It was the same God, same Spirit, but different emphasis.
That summer was one of the few times in our married life when Julia and I were not on the same page spiritually. Our love was so strong however that we both worked hard to get back on the same page. We talked, studied together, met with others to discuss all that had happened. Bu the fall, we were together again. I hadn’t pushed Julia, but let her travel at her on pace and she had caught up with me. We were now able to run together. And run we did. Things were beginning to heat up in Atlanta.