Last year I read a biography that rocked my world…
…It was all I talked about with friends and family. Ask them. They’ll tell you! The biography is “Sister Aimee: The Life of Aimee Semple McPherson” by Daniel Mark Epstein. Hers is a remarkable story on many levels. Here was a twenty-something mom who threw off the comforts of home, packed her two children, and set off to evangelize America at a time when women could not even vote or drive a car. A woman preacher was unheard-of and in some quarters even unthinkable. She stepped out in faith and God rewarded her with one of the most powerful, far reaching ministries in church history.
Amy was an evangelist at heart, but God decided to show up whenever she prayed, and tens of thousands were healed through her ministry. Reporters and medical associations showed up at her meetings as skeptics and left as believers. Her passion for God, her love for people and the undeniable fruit of her ministry is what propelled her to be a household name and a legend in her own time. This woman was a Titan of the faith.
Why was I so affected by reading this biography?
First, it unlocked a part of my family history that I had been aware of by not really fully informed about. Both of my parents came to Christ through the ministry of Sister Aimee. They attended her church in southern California in the 30’s and early 40’s. My mom, herself an MK grew up near Angeles Temple. Her parents had been medical missionaries and settled in Southern California right around the time McPherson arrived to build Angeles Temple, her church that was located at the doorstep of Hollywood and only a matter of blocks from Azusa Street. My dad attended LIFE Bible College and actually served as youth pastor at Angeles Temple in the early 40’s!
Call me crazy now, but when I was younger I was so taken up with serving God the way I knew how that my curiosity about this “Sister Aimee” my parents told me about was at a minimal. Now I wish I had my parents back so I could pick their brains again and again and again!
I was also impacted because reading this biography stirred something in my heart to see God move IN ME and IN MY GENERATION with a fresh wave of revival.
Last month I had the opportunity to go to Redding, California and hang out with some friends who attend Bethel Church, pastored by Bill Johnson. Besides leading a congregation that is on the leading edge of revival thinking, he also has a penchant for revival history. He feels, rightly so, that honoring “God’s Generals” who led past revivals is an important element of fostering a revival culture. “If we will honor those who have walked faithfully before the Lord in the past,” he says, “then in that honor he will give us access to their anointing.”
He released a book this year, “Defining Moments: God-Encounters With Ordinary People Who Changed the World” in which he he highlights the lives of an impressive line-up of revivalists—men and women who made a significant impact on their generation. He is also in the process of building a museum called “House of Generals” dedicated to honoring them.
Hanging Out With Bill Johnson’s Mom
I was privileged to spend half a day with Bill’s mother simply because my host and friend, Bulgarian orphan-turned-missionary invited me into the circle. When I attended church on Sunday morning, I sat in the 2nd row, right next to Bill’s Mom and just behind Bill. It was pretty cool. It was awesome feel thing upward draft of a holy wind at my back from hundreds of completely dialed in worshipers all over the sanctuary that morning.
I came back for the evening service and went forward to receive prayer for my back condition that has been plaguing me since I injured it in my early 20’s. A sweet old lady laid hands on me, prayed, and waited in silence for about a minute before looking up and saying “There. It’s done!.” I left the church feeling somewhat better. By the next morning I felt completely better. My back was healed. I have not visited my chiropractor since. I am sure he is wondering what happened to me! I really must visit him sometime to fill him in!
The Adventure Continues
A few days after returning from Redding I was told of a man who was interested in coming to Laredo Stepping Stone for a visit. He wanted to help with the grounds and had an interest in moving to Laredo and was wondering if, while in transition, he could hang out at the Stepping Stone for awhile. The man’s name is Eric Johnson. He is not related to Bill Johnson in the flesh, but he has the same revival DNA. And he runs with the same crowd Bill runs with: people like Randy Clark, Heidi Baker and others. He told me that revival is beginning to break out in Mexico and that teams from IRIS Global (Heidi Baker) and others who have the same passion for revival would like to use the Stepping Stone as a place to stay and launch out from as they come and go into Mexico and Central America. Of course, I say YES!! Are you kidding me? I have a feeling the adventure is just beginning. I will keep you posted!