‘Stay Humble and Walk Holy’
If I had to condense everything in this article into two words it would be these. Humble and Holy. At the end of May/beginning of June the leadership team of the Gate in Reading had planned for a local church mission. They’d planned well in my humble opinion (being one of them). We were as ready as we could be to receive Tommie Zito and his team from American Awakening.
We knew that they loved evangelism, we knew that they had a script that they used (to which there were varying levels of concern/amusement/head scratching). We had also had one of our team Sue and a young leader from the church Katie travel all the way to Anchorage in Alaska to join Tommie and his team in mission for a week to ‘check him out’. Sue has since said to us she wasn’t sure how to explain to us what might be about to happen, we don’t really have a recent reference for it in this country.
On the Saturday before the mission began the Gate Leadership team and the American Awakening team had some time to fellowship together. The Gate Team shared that there was probably a group of about 30 people that would be comfortable being out on the streets and that some of the children and young people might be ‘up for it’. Our beloved leader Yinka Oyekan says that success would have looked like 50 responses for Jesus with the Gate successfully following up 10 of these…
Now a couple of months later and just over 2000 people have prayed on the streets to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Our most recent stats from our follow up co-ordinator say that The Gate has been successfully able to follow up just over 30% of a sample of 120 people. Over 800 people have been trained to go out and proclaim the Gospel.
I mean that’s all just a little bit mad isn’t it? That’s not our cultural experience of evangelism in 2016. That stuff happens in Africa or South America, not here.
In the book of Acts we read that 120 people had stayed together in Jerusalem because Jesus had asked them to. They were humble, not returning to the lives that they had before Jesus had shown up. Some of them had to be humbled, a certain man named Peter being chief amongst these. They’d stayed on the faith that Jesus had told them that He must go back to Heaven so that his Father could send the Holy Spirit. I wonder sometimes if we read 2000 years of experience of the Holy Spirits ministry on the earth into this passage in Acts 2, like these guys that were gathered knew what was about to hit them. They didn’t, they couldn’t of because it had never happened before. The ministry of the Spirit under the Old Covenant was that people were anointed for certain tasks at certain times. It was certainly possible that grace and blessing would rub off, think about the blessing that was on Laban because he had Jacob living with him. This was upgraded when Jesus empowered the 12 and then the 72 to go out and proclaim the kingdom but the Holy Spirit was on Jesus not the disciples.
No I suspect that Peter, James, John and the rest of them had no idea what was about to hit them that morning. They were about to get Holy; really, really Holy. That day as the Holy Spirit came 120 people got filled and they carried on being filled. They were so filled that they turned an entire city upside down, followed by the region, followed by other nations.
Based on this should we have expected what has happened in Reading and what we believe is about to happen across the nation and into Europe?
Maybe we should, maybe we shouldn’t. I’m not sure God minds that much because He did it anyway. What is clear is that he’s been setting this up for a long time. In Nigeria several years ago God spoke to Yinka clearly about connecting with the strength of the American churches. This led to the relationship with Michael Maiden in Phoenix and the amazing ministry we have received over the past number of years and subsequently led to Tommie Zito and team arriving in the UK. Here and now God has decided that this is the time and we are the people that He wants to pour out His Spirit afresh upon and it’s for a purpose. The same purpose that He had on that day in Jerusalem. To turn the world upside down, to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and that if people want to go to Heaven and avoid Hell they need to receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour into their lives.
Did we deserve this? No. Are we worthy of it? No. But the Bible tells us that anyway. The Gate and particularly Yinka Oyekan our pastor has a responsibility to steward this well, so please pray for us.
I think what God has found in us are a group of people that are hungry for Him and have been ever since we experienced the renewal back in 2008. Over the last few years I know that many of us have become convicted that this living in renewal has to be for more than just feeling all warm and gooey in the Glory (although please Jesus do not let that stop!) Over the past few weeks God has poured out His Spirit and suddenly changing the world, winning precious souls for Jesus has become much more important than it was over a month ago. One of the most significant factors in what has happened is that God’s people came together for 30 consecutive days and cried out to Him and got filled.
For me Father keeps reminding me that a Holy moment has happened in the nation. Many people as I understand it have been praying for this moment for a really long time. I am convinced that in all we are about to enter into we must make it a priority to continue to cultivate in our lives a vessel that Father is pleased to continue to fill with His Glory that we might pour out to those that don’t yet know Him. We must be as Jesus as Paul writes in Philippians 2 and learn to walk in even greater humility. We must understand that our identity as Peter writes it in his first letter, is as royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.
Stay humble, walk Holy.
Author: Gareth Owen