Posts from the ‘Memories’ Category

Oct 28 2010

A Personal Reflection on John’s Faith

This is the third and final post of my father’s recollections of John Robert Stevens. Here are the first and second posts.

My dad spoke about one of his personal experiences that showed him that John was a man of God.

I read through the Bible when I first came into Haiku Chapel on Maui. I read it cover to cover several times. I would read something that God would make alive by revelation, and more often than not, the next thing I heard from John—whether by tape or teaching manuals—I would see him talking about the exact revelation I had seen from the Scriptures. There was confirmation after confirmation in my own heart toward John and his integrity in the Word.

I know John’s teachings enough to know that this is something he respected in my father, that he had his own relationship with God, and that’s why he was able to recognize the voice of the Lord from John.

My father continued, talking about how John mentored people and saw ministries trained through hands-on experience.

He brought a lot of us young 20-somethings into Christ’s fold. He turned us loose and had a total faith that we could do what God wanted us to do. That was a whole different way of moving than the seminary route. There was faith to produce God’s outcome.

John opened the doors for people’s ministries. It’s not as if we had training or theological backgrounds. What we had was faith, and his covering. He was willing to trust God in sending people out. Jesus sent His disciples two-by-two and instructed them. The disciples hadn’t gone through any training, Jesus just sent them out with faith and authority and covering.

There’s a Scripture about being all things to all men. That is the mark of an apostolic ministry. He was able to minister to people where they were, and trust God to move on it. He trusted God that there would be a resulting response to his faith.

Gary Hargrave has told me personally that there was a time when John Robert Stevens’ ministry was growing very fast. He had more churches than experienced pastors to lead them. So, as my father described, John had to have a faith that God would be the provision and lead the young ministries. My father was one such ministry, pastoring Grace Chapel of South Gate, and Grace Chapel of Honolulu. I’ve had many people come up to me and tell me how much my father blessed them and changed their lives. Some have even said that he saved their lives. If it weren’t for John Stevens and his faith in God, none of that would have happened!

I want to thank my father for sharing his experiences. He is my hero and I love him very much.

 

Sep 29 2010

The Realm of Spirit

This is the second installment of posts based on an interview I did with my father about John Robert Stevens.

One of the things my father talked about was how John opened the realm of spirit as an important reality for the Christian:

I came from a background of an awareness that there was a lot more to this existence than just the physical expression. And the Christianity that I had known had pretty much ignored that fact. John knew there was a spiritual world. And he was able to function in both worlds—a world of theology and doctrine, as well as another world of gifts and the moving of the Holy Spirit.

This is so important. Just tonight in service at Grace Chapel of Honolulu, I talked about the realm of spirit and how Christ expects His believers to be active in the spirit realm. Christ says that His Kingdom is not of this world, and that we need to seek first the Kingdom (John 18:36; Matthew 6:33). The only way to seek the Kingdom is by doing so in the spirit, simply because it exists in the realm of spirit. We can do this because our spirits have come alive with Christ, we are seated with Christ in the heavenly places. (Romans 8:10; I Peter 3:18; Ephesians 2:6).

Stevens’ stance was that we can’t just know about God. We have to have real experiences with Him. And as it says in the Scriptures, God is a spirit, and anyone who wants to worship Him must worship in the spirit (John 4:24). John was instrumental in opening up these concepts to Grace Chapel of Honolulu, and to the entire Living Word Fellowship. It is because Stevens was willing to say that the Bible is not just a theory, but an absolute reality, that I am able to learn how to function in the realm of spirit. Christ brought our spirits to life for a purpose, and that purpose isn’t to just wait around to go to heaven.

My father continued:

There’s more to Christianity than going to church, sitting in a pew, and singing a hymn. There’s another dimension because God is Spirit, and John was very relatable in opening that up somehow, and making what I knew to be true, and opening up the Scriptures to reveal the truth.

This is the John Robert Stevens who changed my father’s life.

This is the John Robert Stevens who inspires me to seek first the Kingdom.

 

Sep 28 2010

John’s Relationship With God

I recently spent some time in Los Angeles, and had a chance to talk to my father about his recollections of John Robert Stevens. This will be part one of a series of posts about topics from that conversation.

One of the things my father said concerning John is that “he had a relationship with God that was palpable.” I love this turn of phrase. The way my father described it is that when you were around John you could feel the connection he had with God emanating from Him. John spent time with God. He didn’t just talk about God, or study God; he waited on the Lord, prayed, and put everything else on hold in order to cultivate a true relationship with Him. My father continued in this vein:

It was impressive to watch him move in the Spirit, but that’s not all he did. He was personable and relatable and Scripturally sound. It was always evident that John had a love for God and a love for the people. That’s what drove him. He had an anointing and a commission.

The combination of all these facets of John’s personality is what draws me to his teachings. It’s not just the fact that he was so important to my parents, or that he founded the church that I pastor. When I hear him speak in a recorded sermon, I can feel his love for God. It was so simple, but so foundational. And instead of just having a love for God in his heart, he actually did something about it and ministered it to the people around him.

Once again, we hit this bottom-line description that what drove John Robert Stevens was his love for God and his love for the people. So cool.

I will try to write more from this conversation soon.

 

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.

 

May 30 2010

Memory: John Robert Stevens’ Ministry to Ed Van Dyke

Ed Van Dyke—one of the elders at Grace Chapel of Honolulu—just emailed me this memory of John Robert Stevens:

In the late 60’s/early 70’s, John Stevens came up to Seattle from L.A. and ministered to the local church there (Maranatha Chapel) several times and ministered to all of us. Between my 6th and 7th grade, John ministered to me and said that I had a cloud over my perception and that he would remove it for me.

Prior to this ministry, I was the most average kid in all my school classes. Teachers would know when to move the class forward when I finally got the subject!

After the ministry, I got straight “A’s” (maybe 6 “B’s” total) from the 7th grade through the 12th grade. Everyone in the church there (including me) knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the Lord had moved through John and changed a little boy’s life forever.

I have always known that what John did for my life was not an end in itself and that I would be able to minister to people and set them free as I had experienced. I am responsible—and privileged—to impart what I have received.

Ed Van Dyke