The Apostle Paul lamented that there were many teachers, but not many fathers (see I Corinthians 4:15).
A spiritual father does more than just teach: he reproduces in others what he has received. There was an essence to the Pentecostal Revival from the beginning that compelled everyone not to merely learn about the Lord, but to know Him through personal experience. When it was learned that the greatest demonstrations of the Spirit’s power usually came in the darkest, neediest places, many were compelled to go on mission trips just to witness the power of God. This added great strength and depth to the new movement, awakening the entire church to the needs of the nations and inspiring her to ignite the fire throughout the world.
Pentecostal children grew up continually hearing from missionaries the testimonies of God’s power. Because such esteem was given to them—missionaries often became these courageous men and women—many of the children of the early Pentecostal pioneers grew up to be missionaries so that they could be close to the wonderful activities of the Spirit. Others became pastors and evangelists who founded new churches and ministries all around the world. Many of them are now leaders of Pentecostal churches and denominations, each one a vast treasure house filled with stories of the glory of God.
These men and women of God walked with Him, learning His ways and how to be hosts of His Holy Spirit. They grew up believing that the Book of Acts was not just a history book, but a living guide for normal church life, and many of their own stories read like a modern-day Book of Acts as they earned their place as elders of the church.
We do not see in order to believe, but we believe in order to see. Because it is basic Pentecostal theology that God is the same today as He was yesterday, and that He does everything today that He did in Scripture, true Pentecostals believe and witness His present-day work.
Many Pentecostals will begin to wonder where they have gone wrong if they are not witnessing regular demonstrations of the power of God. To them it is blasphemy to think that God was an author who wrote just one book and then retired. They must have a living relationship with a living God, and so they do see His great works.
This was the experience at Azusa Street. Believers were in constant awe at the works of God in their midst. People would not eat or sleep—sometimes for days at a time—because they were so caught up in the presence of the Lord. Like the manna that came from heaven, each day they expected a fresh experience with the Lord. Faith built on faith until the humble little mission really had become a window of heaven.
At any given time, the Azusa Street Mission would be packed with such a diversity of people that some considered this almost as much of a marvel as the extraordinary miracles that were taking place. Although the revival began with a few black men and women in a little home group, soon most of those who came were white. In one meeting, more than twenty nationalities were counted.
Fine ladies could be found lying prostrate on the floor next to domestic servants and washerwomen. Prominent churchmen and high government officials sat next to hoboes. No one seemed to care. They all had one thing in common—they came to receive the Holy Spirit of God.
When we see through the Lord’s eyes, we will not know each other after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
The more that we are able to see with the eyes of the Spirit, the closer we will come to the Lord’s ultimate purpose for His church—to be a house of prayer for all nations.