Azusa Now is the latest in big meetings done by Lou Engle and other in the prayer movement. I love Lou, Mike Bickle and Bill Johnson. However, I think these meetings have outlasted their effectiveness and might actually be a hindrance to the very thing they want to bring: revival.
I was in Washington DC when Lou Engle gathered 400,000 people to fast and pray for the 2000 elections. It was truly mind blowing. Out of that, came six more major prayer meetings across America. I was at all of them. It was a huge cultural shift that took place. It has its’ season and it was over. Finished and done!
However, like anything in the Charismatic church, we can’t let something be done. If we think we can milk it the dead cow a little more, we will. That is why they called everyone to Nashville in 2007. It was a great experience but it was largely a failure. Nothing major came out of it, no real change and there was no hints of revival anywhere in America.
As much as I respect Lou, I know how he thinks. He could not stand there was not a major prayer rally somewhere. He is not happy if people are not crying out for revival. He wants what happened in DC to be a daily experience. I know that. Azusa Now was his best attempt to raise the dead cow from the dead.
One of the big pushes for The Call in Washington DC was “come and pray. No speakers will be named. No worship leaders will be announced. Come for Jesus only.” That was what we all signed up for. I was on staff at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City at the time. Alot of us went to DC for one reason: we wanted to be there to support Lou when no one came! We were blown away when hundreds of thousands were on the lawn to pray with us.
Azusa Now was very different. It was leaders making big announcements saying, “I am coming to Azusa Now. I hope to see you there.” If you follow leaders on Facebook or Twitter; you knew the whole list of leaders that were speaking, praying and leading worship. It was not like The Call DC; it was a glorified conference.
Revival is to nameless and faceless, not well marketed and organized. Revival is when a miracle breaks out in a side room of a church and by next week, the corn field outside of town is packed with people from 100 miles around crying out to God in repentance. Real revival is when the child molesters are getting delivered and people who have been on LSD for decades are set free. If you do not have dramatic stories of deliverance; I question if you have revival. You might have church but not revival.
Stadium Christianity is about when a student prays for another in a classroom, the whole class falls on their face crying out for the presence of God. In a few minutes, the whole building is being taken by the glory of the Lord. By the afternoon, classes are called off and the whole student body is in the chapel in intercession. At the evening, the field around it is packed with random people and the gospel is preached with power and authority. No marketing. No promotions. No planning. It is pure organic growth.
Some might take and think I am against the meeting. Hardly. There is alot of good that will come out of it. People were encouraged. People were prayed for. People were called to the mission field. Many will feed off that for a very long time. I still remember the revival meeting on August 4, 1998 when the Holy Spirit branded me by fire at the Brownsville Revival. I know that many people received that branding at the Azusa Now.
The bigger problem here is we do not seem to understand that we are largely in adultery in North America. We want an Event based revival. We love the Conference mentality and live for that next big meeting in hope that will be “the one.” It is idolatry. The early church did not have that. They had a lifestyle based revival.
We do not want to really live in revival if we are to honest. We want something we can look forward to and get our “revival fix.” Living revival would cost us too much. That is why we loved Azusa Now.
We all know the story from Acts 5. The couple lied to the Apostles and because the Apostles had so much anointing, they died on the spot, right? I think you are missing alot of the story if you do not look deeper.
They were not keeping money back for selfish reasons. They was not saying, “Let’s keep 20%, go invest it and then we can retire early with a nice portfolio.” It was not like that at all.
What they are saying is more like this, “What if this revival thing does not work out? We do not want to be without anything to fall back on. We need to have a nest to reach for if things go south.” It was not that they didn’t want revival; they just was very double minded about it. They had one foot in and one foot out.
People who change the world do it when they have committed to the point that there is no backing out, no reservation, no other option. They are there crying for revival when the prayer meeting is over. Smith Wigglesworth crying out for the presence of God for 10 days straight. A.A. Allen spend all day in a closet tarrying. They knew the Holy Spirit and couldn’t do anything with Him.
It is easy to cry out for revival with 50,000 people praying for revival. It is easy to say “I will die for Christ” in a meeting of 1,000 other people saying the same thing. It is not that easy when you are crying out in your closet or look at a AK-47 in the hands of ISIS in front of you. This is where the having a lifestyle of revival happens. This is where the rubber meets the road!