Archive for June, 2010

Jun 26 2010

I have certain things in my life that I want God to do, but for only one basic reason: I want the perfect will of the Lord to come forth in the ministry that He wants to flow through me.

  • John Robert Stevens, "Authority," 1982
    John Robert Stevens, "Authority," 1982
    Excerpt from the This Week "Authority" by John Robert Stevens, Copyright © 1982 by The Living Word, a California non profit Corporation. Used by permission.

 

Jun 22 2010

Thoughts on John’s Youth

I was thinking about the quote that I just posted, and how foundational those early years must have been for John Robert Stevens. Having that experience of the Lord healing him at such a young age, as well as having experiences with the Holy Spirit day-by-day, truly became a definition of how he lived his entire life. From that time, he never stopped seeking God. It’s difficult for me to imagine having services every night throughout the winter, especially considered how cold it gets in Iowa! But that could hardly have been an obstacle for someone who had as much spiritual hunger as John had.

I imagine the time of the “holy rollers” and the “storefront religion” to be like the Wild West equivalent in the process of God restoring His Church. In the Early Church, miraculous experiences with God were normal, and to see that John Robert Stevens had his formative years in an atmosphere where God’s presence was a reality truly reveals the roots of a man who sparked meetings with God for thousands of people. I think this is something that drove John Stevens: to see everyone know the Lord that He knew, not as a theory, but in the same tangible reality that he experienced since the time of his youth.

 

Jun 20 2010

I’m going to tell you something and I want you to listen carefully. I came into the Lord as a kid with the Lord healing me of infections in both ears. My life was saved; it was a wonderful thing. The first thing I ever knew was the old-fashioned tabernacles and the sawdust floor and all the red-hot potbellied stoves; we went through a winter of services every night. It was marvelous. Those were days when God met me and I found my heart reaching into Him. I can remember visiting a little tent meeting outside of town, and they were really holy rollers….

I was in that thing, carefully seeking the Lord, because I saw God in it: a little kid seeking God in that, because I loved Him and I wanted to serve Him. And I watched those other people do it; they’d all go home with sawdust in their hair. I can remember those days in which God began to open up a whole frontier. It was called “storefront religion,” because churches would not receive it, but they would rent a store building and they would preach the Word of the Lord.

  • John Robert Stevens, "The Sin of Not Loving Him More," 1982
    John Robert Stevens, "The Sin of Not Loving Him More," 1982
    Excerpt from the This Week "The Sin of Not Loving Him More" by John Robert Stevens, Copyright © 1982 by The Living Word, a California non profit Corporation. Used by permission.

 

Jun 4 2010

On the Anniversary of John Steven’s Passing

Today is June 4th, the anniversary of the passing of John Robert Stevens. I don’t believe it’s a day of sadness, but a day of honoring.

In observance of his passing, I thought I should share something that Peneila Rand, a member of my church, wrote about his funeral—which occurred a day after her third birthday. Although so young, her memory of that day is very vivid.

The following morning was cold and dreary. I wasn’t sure why everyone was so upset. The day before we were all happy and celebrating my birthday, but today seemed so gloomy. The soft sound of music rolled over low hills of grass. I sat on my dad’s broad shoulders as we followed the solemn throng of people, eyes soaked with tears. The vans were parked in a horseshoe around the cemetery. A pine crate, containing John’s beautiful coffin, sat on the ground in front of the grave adorned with an enormous bouquet of Fall flowers. Many people came to sing songs and worship. My dad lifted me off his shoulders and cradled me softly in his arms as Marilyn approached the microphone to say a few comforting words.

“Thank you all for coming. I couldn’t have faced this alone. There will come a day when He will wipe every tear from our eyes [Isaiah 25:8]. So take a Kleenex and dry your eyes and throw them into the grave.” I remember burying my face in my dad’s chest wondering why everyone was throwing trash in John’s grave! Not having a Kleenex to throw in myself, I dug a gum wrapper out of DeDe’s purse. Clutching the wrapper in one hand and my dad’s finger in the other, I bravely walked up to the edge of the deep hole. Damp Kleenexes covered the bottom like a delicate blanket. My pudgy hand let go and the green wrapper fell into the grave.

For many years I wouldn’t mention this day. I distinctly remember it, but I had told myself it was a dream.

What Marilyn did at the funeral was an act of faith in God. One of the best ways to honor someone is to continue what they began in life, and John was a man who lived a life of faith in the scriptural promises of God.

One of John’s greatest legacies is the volume of messages and teachings that he produced during his lifetime. He was prolific in both quantity and quality. My experience is that John’s ministry continues today; he ministers through the Word of God that he spoke and wrote. In this way, what God did—and does—through John Robert Stevens cannot be contained by death.