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I could hardly believe my eyes. As the minister walked onto the platform, the lights were flashing and the smoke was rolling off of the platform. It was quite the entrance. Thousands of people were standing and applauding as the pastor made his way to the pulpit.

I believe we should give honor to our leaders and especially to our fathers of the faith. There has been way too much disrespect and dishonor in recent years. However, when they fired up the smoke machines backstage, I felt this was a little over the top for a church service.

The Bible tells us that when they were dedicating the Temple, the Shekinah glory of God filled the temple with smoke. The presence of God was so powerful that the priests had trouble standing up. It’s sad when we resort to producing artificial glory because we don’t expect the true manifestation of the glory of God to be present.

At the turn of the century the glory of God was manifested at the Azusa Street Revival. For over three years the visible, tangible manifestation of the glory cloud was present in the building. I have  read the testimonies of many of the children who were there during that revival. All of their stories tell of the same events: young men and women seeking God and God revealing Himself. There were no flashing lights or smoke machines at the Azusa Street Revival.

One hundred years ago circuit riders were traveling across the United States stopping at every community and preaching the Word of God. Great revivals took place and people of all social standing were coming to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. In one community a meeting place was set up in a field by one man. After a few days only a handful of people were coming to hear him teach the Word. But he didn’t give up. He continued to teach and within weeks hundreds were attending his meetings.

One evening a farmer showed up with his shotgun. He was drunk and angry because his wife and daughter had been coming to the meetings. Everything got quiet as the farmer approached the area where the minister was speaking. With his shotgun in his hand, he yelled at the minister, but the man of God had no fear. He pointed at the man and said with a voice of authority, “I rebuke you, in the name of Jesus, and I command you to lay down that shotgun.” The man dropped to his knees, sobbed, and immediately received Jesus as his Lord. The town drunk with the violent temper became a strong leader in the church after the circuit rider left town.

Jesus said you shall receive witnessing power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. In order to witness and bring the world to Jesus, we need three things. We need personal salvation, the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit. When we boldly live holy lives, full of power and joy, the world will want what we have. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit draws all men to the Father.

So here’s my point. The modern church can create programs and events that touch the senses of man, but it’s only the Holy Spirit that can turn the heart of a man toward Jesus. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I am not against Christian rallies, concerts, special events and programs that will introduce people to the house of God and make them feel like they are not excluded or condemned. However, to replace the manifested presence of the glory of God with manmade substitutes is admitting that we do not expect a true manifestation of His glory. Jesus told Martha that if she could believe, she would see the glory of God.

I want to see the ax head float, the 5000 fed from a lunch sack, the apostles walking on the water, the sick healed by a touch of the hand, and life exist in the presence of death. Technology can mesmerize and tantalize and bring the level of excitement to a feverish level, but only the power of God will raise the dead.

We live in a world of artificial substitutes, but I am on a new quest from this day forward. I’m pressing in for the real thing.

Scriptural References:
Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.
(3 John 1:11)

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.
(John 6:44)

Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”
(John 11:40)

Copyright © Larry Ollison Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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