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John Robert Stevens and Azusa Street

June 14th, 2011

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.


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