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High time for a new visitation!

September 24, 2018

If you are praying for your nation to be impacted by Jesus, stories like the following will inspire you to continue to seek God's face and blessings for this world. I have an urgency within to gather information about this experience, although old, because the generation that lived it will one day be gone and perhaps the story untold. The story is linked to a previous article written by Ed Millar the minister who visited our church and missionary involved in the Argentinian Revival. 

 

This following account from my Pastor David Woodfield  (below on his 80th birthday with my sister Simone and myself) is about the church that I grew up in.

 

This experience, (although I was a 9 year old child), spoilt me for any type of religion and causes me to yearn for the power and goodness of the Spirit of God Himself to move in our congregations. Mandy Scott-Morgan

 

An account of a move of God in Selly Oak, Birmingham in 1975. This article was written for a magazine called “Life in the Spirit” in 1978 by David Woodfield. It is obviously very dated but I hope it still gives a little insight to what to us those years ago, was a wonderful visitation of God.

I constantly thank the Lord for the privilege of being involved in the work of God in these exciting days of renewal of His Spirit. The Lord is building His Church and it is so good to be involved. Perhaps the best way of conveying how I feel would be to share with you some of the things that have happened in my own ministry in the last few years. (Now forty years ago!)

My spiritual background is very much steeped in the Classical Pentecostal Tradition and from an early age I attended the local Pentecostal Church with my parents. Some 15 years ago the Lord called me into the Ministry, and I entered the work of the Elim Pentecostal Church. After Bible School I was appointed as Assistant Pastor at the City Temple Bristol followed by two pastorates, one in the Midlands, and the other in the North of England. My wife and I have been in my present church at Selly Oak, Birmingham, for just over four years.

As a young pastor I heard much about the “good old days" of revival; miracles; great crusades, and the tremendous moving of God's Spirit in the Pentecostal Church. I heard a lot but I did not seem to see a lot! I discovered that many of my colleagues felt the same way. At times it seemed as if we were simply living on our memories, and going through the motions of being Pentecostal. This was a dangerous breeding ground for cynicism. At times we cried out with Gideon "If God be with us where are all the miracles?"

I suppose you could call me a third generation Pentecostal. I had heard of the miracles of Moses and of Joshua but they had gone to Glory which left me somewhat in the wilderness as far as the miraculous was concerned. There were good times of course. Souls were saved and folks were filled with the Holy Spirit. We did our best and used all the right evangelistic techniques. In fact, we worked very hard and yet so often we toiled all night and caught nothing!

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly where things began to change. We were pastoring at Newcastle on Tyne when a young couple (now in the Ministry) were wonderfully saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. Their home was always open to people and many of their friends were Anglican and Roman Catholic. We were suddenly confronted with non-Pentecostal people, some of whom claimed to be filled with the Spirit! Some of these folks, including a young Roman Catholic priest began to turn up at our Church prayer meetings and began to share their needs and experiences with us. We also met together informally in homes for prayer and fellowship. A small link was forged but it was enough for me to see that "something was happening".

Shortly after this we moved to Selly Oak, to a thriving Church with a great background of evangelistic endeavour. Over the years, numbers had grown until on most Sundays the Church was full, and most weeks there were decisions for Christ. After some months the Lord began to speak to me very specifically concerning my own life and ministry. It was the sort of Church that almost ran itself; an easy situation in which to get complacent. By now I was hearing of the renewal going on in so many areas, both in Birmingham and throughout the country. I became thirsty for it to happen to us. I shared my burden with the Church, and we began to seek the Lord in a specific way. We commenced late night prayer meetings especially to seek God for renewal: Our own Church prayer meeting began to grow. Quite spontaneously people began to be filled with the Holy Spirit—amongst them some of our Sunday School children. We sensed that something was happening. 

On one particular Sunday evening our Church was visited by an American missionary who had ministered in the Argentine for most of his life. He came to us as a Prophet in God's timing. It is a tradition that Sunday evening services are for sinners to have the Gospel preached to them! This dear brother however, in his divine ignorance stood us all up for half an hour and led us in "singing unto the Lord". I wondered what on earth the deacons would say after the meeting, or what the visitors to our service would think about it all. We had sung in the Spirit (in tongues) a few times on a Sunday morning in a sort of half-hearted self-conscious way, but this was Sunday night!

To my amazement the congregation entered in, and after a few minutes God began to break in upon us. The visitor preached for one and a half hours and told us of the revival in the Argentine. By this time the place was charged with the presence of God. When he sat down I falteringly made an appeal (I did not know what else to do) and from all over the building scores of people came to the front of the Church and wept and cried themselves back to God. It was a visitation of the Spirit. For several weeks it seemed as if God's Spirit was hovering over the building, and people kept getting right with God. I had never known such conviction of sin before.

This was followed by a renewing phase of liberty in worship and praise in our services. The set programme did not seem to exist any more. It seemed as if the Holy Spirit led the services. We found that strangers coming into this atmosphere were in the main, attracted by it and when they responded to Christ, immediately fully entered into the freedom and joy. The only folks who seemed not to like it too much were people who were used to old traditional forms of services. A few folks were led elsewhere to worship, but their places were soon taken by others. Great joy and great love were released in the Church. We suddenly really realised we were brothers and sisters in a wonderful family.

This all happened some three years ago, but still the renewal goes on. Someone has said that the second phase of renewal is much harder than the first phase. For out of the praise and the joy something very practical must emerge. It is as hard for God to break into the structures and traditions of a classic Pentecostal Church as it is for Him to move in a main-stream denominational situation. So many of our traditions and structures have over the years become legalistic and are almost held on a par with scriptural doctrine. It is easy to become entrenched in our traditions. The format of our services; the one man role of the Pastor; the almost mechanical use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit; the "we've got it all" syndrome; these and other things have to be swept away under the renewing breath of God. This can hurt and renewal is costly.

There have been times in these three years when we have been confused, and at times we have wondered what on earth God was doing. At times we have failed Him and have been afraid to follow Him, but constantly and gently He has encouraged us to trust Him and to obey Him. There have been times when we have longed for the "safety of the old traditional-sitting-in-the-boat-days."

I have observed many aspects of the out-workings of this renewal ... a new sense of freedom in congregational worship; an emphasis on love and unity within the family; a deeper sense of the Holiness of God; a greater emphasis on prayer and fasting; increased giving to the work of God; a deeper reality of the congregational use of prophecy and other gifts of the Holy Spirit; an increased sharing of the public ministry within the Church; a raising up of people from within the body with Holy Spirit given ministries; a new sense of urgency in both personal and Church evangelism; a greater faith in the realm of healing and miracles.

What is the Holy Spirit saying to the Pentecostal Church today? All I can say is that to my own particular Church He said "stop living on your memories and allow Me to move amongst you in renewal". The classical Pentecostal Movement is now some 60/70 years old. It is in the dangerous third generation phase. A time when decline can set in and the first flame of vision can die and flicker out. This generation of Pentecostals needs a new experience of the Spirit for themselves. Isaac could not live on his godly Father's experience, and third generation Jacob also needed a meeting with God for himself.

One of the things that God strongly spoke to us about was that we were to be a bridge. A bridge is a link between two separate areas. A bridge sometimes spans a gap. In the city of Birmingham over these last years there has been a wonderful moving of the Holy Spirit among many non-Pentecostal Christians. It has been a joy to meet with many Spirit filled Roman Catholic and Anglican people. A growing unity of fellowship is developing amongst us. There is a coming together of the Body of Christ. God strongly impressed upon us that we were to be open to the Charismatic Movement in this area. A bridge has a two way traffic flow, and it is good to report that flowing back from the other side of the bridge there has come a tide of blessing and of love in the Spirit. Old suspicions and barriers are being swept away by the Spirit of God.

There were seven Churches to whom the Lord spoke in the Book of Revelation. He spoke a different word to each church. What He says to you may well be quite different from what He had to say to us. The important thing is to listen, and having heard, to obey Him. - D.G. Woodfield

 

Much has changed in the world-wide church since then. Many denominations have spirit-filled members and fellowship with believers of other christian traditions. The Lord said to the Elim church in the 70s "stop living on your memories and allow Me to move amongst you in renewal". 

 

My Dave wrote a song:  'Lord remind me'

Lord remind me, or I'll forget every miracle you did for me so long ago and yet

Lord remind me, or I'll let go...
and never tell someone just whathttp://www.jeremiahtree.co.uk you've done and how you helped me so

Lord remind me...

 

We look back to remind us that The Lord wants to lead us from glory into glory... the past must be remembered but only to push us on into more glorious things.


Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

 

David Woodfield is a guest on The Jeremiah Tree Vlog Monday 1st October at 19:45 GMT  Jeremiah Tree YouTube Channel

 

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