Archive for June, 2011

Jun 27 2011

Forget all the condemnation that you have gone through and repent for not believing God’s Word that He really loves you (Romans 8:37–39), and that He is caring for you (I Peter 5:7). Believe that you have done what He wanted you to do. If there is something you really need to repent for, then get down and repent for it and get it out of the way and go on with God. But do not languish in unbelief, because it does not do any good. It does not work anything for righteousness (Romans 4:3; James 2:23). It does not do anything for the Kingdom; it just makes you wallow in your own self-pity. You can waste a lot of time in this way.

  • John Robert Stevens, "The End of False Guilt" 1981
    John Robert Stevens, "The End of False Guilt" 1981
    Excerpt from the This Week "The End of False Guilt" by John Robert Stevens, Copyright © 1981 by The Living Word, a California non profit Corporation. Used by permission.

 

Jun 14 2011

John Robert Stevens and Azusa Street

Last wednesday, Gary Hargrave spoke a message titled “Pentecost: This is That.” The title comes from Acts 2:15, when Peter explains that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was the fulfillment of what Joel had spoken of 700-800 years prior, saying “this is that which Joel spoke of.” The main point of the message was that we should have a passionate hunger to see the fulfillment of God’s promises in our generation—right here, right now—just as those believers experienced on that day of Pentecost.

Gary’s message got me thinking about the brief mention I had made in an earlier post about the legacy of John Robert Stevens stretching at least as far back as the outpouring of the Spirit at Azusa Street in the early 1900’s. The moving of God at Azusa Street was characterized by the receiving of the Holy Spirit, visible manifestations of the Father’s presence, healings, and various miracles. Those who were a part of the Azusa Street outpouring experienced a fulfillment of God’s promises, and it was initiated by their intense seeking of the Lord. Stevens wrote about this:

When we look at what happened at the barn-like building on Azusa Street where the Spirit of the Lord fell in Los Angeles, we see an amazing picture of people who sought God. The emptying out took place—the heart-searching, the seeking, the tarrying before the Lord.*

The people who experienced the reality of God’s presence being manifest in this earth at Azusa Street saw a fulfillment because they were desperately seeking it with all their heart. There is a simple clarity in the fact that those who seek the Lord find Him. The Scriptures state this in very plain language: “…you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29). This was the reason Stevens constantly taught that believers needed to wait on the Lord and seek Him on their own. The hunger that initiates His appearing goes beyond church and beyond services – it is a lifestyle of seeking Him.

This is the core principle behind the events at Azusa Street, and it is the core principle behind the meetings with God that we have—or do not have—today.

  • *John Robert Stevens, "Why Do People Change Churches?" 1980
    *John Robert Stevens, "Why Do People Change Churches?" 1980
    Excerpt from the This Week "Why Do People Change Churches?" by John Robert Stevens, Copyright © 1980 by The Living Word, a California non profit Corporation. Used by permission.

 

Jun 7 2011

The Legacy of John Robert Stevens

John Robert Stevens passed away on June 4, 1983.

A few days ago, I was thinking about Stevens on the anniversary of his passing, and I realized that there is a difference between talking about legacy and talking about history. A legacy intimates that there is something real that can be passed down from generation to generation. A history, on the other hand, is just a knowledge of past events.

I believe that John Robert Stevens left behind a legacy, which can be seen, felt, touched.

Personally, I know that I stand in Stevens’ legacy. My father received great things from God through Stevens. And I believe that I continue to receive great things from God through my father, through Gary Hargrave, and through the Word that John Robert Stevens left behind. That’s a legacy, not a history.

I searched in Stevens’ messages for that word legacy. That’s how I found the previous quote I posted, in which John discusses the legacy of victory that we have in Jesus Christ. I love the use of that word here, because the authors of the Bible—and therefore, God Himself—seem to place a great emphasis on legacy. The entire New Testament opens with the genealogy of Jesus!

There is something tangible in the concept of a legacy. Jesus Christ lived on this earth and changed the entire history of this universe by his decisions and actions. How incredible is it to think that Jesus includes us in that legacy! If all we have is a history of Jesus, that knowledge does nothing to spur us to live our lives differently. If we see the legacy of Jesus, then we feel a first-hand inclusion into a different reality that He opened up for us to walk into. As II Corinthians 5:17 tells us: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” That’s an experience of legacy, not history.

And in following the example of Jesus, there are many men and women of God who have left us a legacy. Hebrews 11 is known as “the roll call of faith,” because it lists all the ones who left a legacy of believing God and His Word. There are also great men and women in the history of the Church who have left us a legacy of wisdom and understanding. These are the ones who created the spiritual realities that we stand in today. They are also the ones who left us some legacy items which are true problems, but that’s a different topic!

If we choose to open our eyes, the proof of the tangibility of legacy is all around us. This is very different than history.

So in reflecting upon the death of one great man of God, John Robert Stevens, I cannot help but sit in awe of the things I’ve inherited through his legacy. This even connects me to the ones whose legacy Stevens drew upon in his lifetime, including those who ushered in the outpouring at Azusa Street.

If all we have is a history, then we lack the true impact of the lives of those who built what we stand in today. However, if our eyes are opened to see a legacy, then we carry the purpose and effectiveness of those— like Stevens—who followed God’s voice in their lives and created the ongoing fulfillments that culminate in the Kingdom of our Heavenly Father.

And now excuse me while I figure out how to change the name of this blog…

 

Jun 6 2011

No defeat is valid, nor can it reach you, when your spirit is right and you maintain that the victory of the Lord Jesus Christ is yours absolutely. It was given to you. It is yours. It is your authority. It is your legacy. It belongs to you. It is an endowment of the grace of God that rests upon your life. No one can take it away from you unless, in your spirit, you voluntarily open the door to defeat.

  • John Robert Stevens, "He is Willing and Able," 1976
    John Robert Stevens, "He is Willing and Able," 1976
    Excerpt from the book "He is Willing and Able" by John Robert Stevens, Copyright © 1976 by John Robert Stevens & The Living Word, a California non profit Corporation. Used by permission.