It was June 26 1994 when the outpouring of the Holy Spirit broke out upon us in Golden Valley Church (known at that time as New Life Church Churchdown, and just planted three months earlier).
God had lovingly sent Dr Michael Brown to our churches in May 1994 to help prepare us for revival. A work began in our hearts. And there was a fresh level of hunger and desire for Revival every time people met together.
Then, not many weeks later, it was followed by Rodney Howard-Browne coming to Birmingham for a week of Revival Meetings in June, hosted by Mike Price and Woodgate Church. We were radically changed in our hearts in those meetings as we encountered the Holy Spirit’s Presence and power in a deeper way. We will never be the same.
And so, immediately after, the Presence of God opened up to us. Holy Spirit moved in fresh outpouring in GVC. There were wild manifestations and good lasting-to-this-day fruit. That revival, commonly known as the “Toronto Blessing “, shaped and defined who we are and how we see. We met the Father. We fell in love with Jesus. We experienced new levels of worship and prayer. God’s Word came more alive to us, than ever before. He kept showing up. He changed our hearts. And we were privileged to carry His Presence into the nations.
We are so incredibly grateful to God, and honour those who have walked with us in this amazing journey. Mention must be given to the late Bill Bates and his wife Alison, and the late John and Jenny Allan, fellow-pastors in the New Life Churches at the time, for their fellowship and encouragement in pressing into this revival in the beginning.
In January of this year we celebrated Toronto’s 25 years of Revival. Yesterday we celebrated our own 25 years of outpouring, in Golden Valley Church.
Awesome God! All we can say is, “More Lord!” We so love You, and honour You with all our hearts. Let’s ascend the Hill of the Lord in fresh worship and intimacy in these days. And let’s see Him move in fresh outpourings of love and power in the nations.
Our “Revival People’ evenings continue to be challenging, stimulating, and life-changing times. Each evening consists of worship, and two areas of focus: an aspect of preparing for revival or preparing for Jesus’s return, and a look at a past revival or revival leader, to see what we can glean, as yesterday’s ceilings become tomorrow’s floors.
Tonight we will be considering what it means to be a church that looks like the Father, and we will be examining the life of the great Healing Revivalist, John G. Lake.
There is no charge for these sessions, though donations can be made.
Sessions run on Tuesdays through until June 16th (apart from the second Tuesday of each month).
It’s the twenty-fist anniversary of God outpouring the FIRE of His love in Toronto, Canada! That’s an incredibly joyful and thankful thought, but it’s also a very sobering thought!
We are so thankful for this renewal which is still continuing and impacting individual lives and nations. We are so thankful that we are alive for such a time as this.We are so thankful for the way that John and Carol Arnott and the team at Catch the Fire have stewarded this move of God, with faithfulness and integrity. We are so thankful for the impact, healing, blessing, and God-encounters we have received ourselves as a result.
But it is also sobering. Where have those twenty one years gone?! This is a big chunk of life! And how much are we going to allow this revival to impact the rest of our lives?
As we reflect today on all that our God has done, may we be freshly inspired to push into more of Him. May we love and hunger after His Presence more than ever. May we find new depths of personal renewal and healing. May we carry His amazing love wherever we go. May we allow Him to take us into all the changes He wants to, laying aside our fears and resistances.There’s still so much more of Him to be found.
I pray that today is a ‘deep River’ day for you. May we find those deep places of Holy Spirit, where we have to swim.
Eze 47:5 Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through.
Once someone gave me a picture of an otter with wet fur sitting in a boat on the surface of a river. The otter was laying back with a smug look on its face. However the otter could never get around in a boat as efficiently as being in the water he was designed to navigate.
I realised then how easy it is to adopt non-Holy Spirit methods, and to think we are being successful! But we were never made for the man-made approach to the River of God! We were made to get immersed, to swim, to go with His flow. May we today jump ship in every area where we are not, or no longer, River-based! May we dive deep in the currents of the Father’s love, and allow the River of Holy Spirit to take us where He wants to go – ever deepening.
I don’t think it is without significance that on the morning of the twentieth anniversary of the “Toronto Blessing” I sat in my hotel watching Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressing the Israeli Knesset and pledging the ongoing support of his nation to Israel. Two poignant moments occurred together for Canada – honouring revival and honouring Israel. I believe the two are inextricably linked in the heart and mind of God.Continue reading “ISRAEL AND REVIVAL”
As I sit in my room in an unusually deep-freezing January in Toronto, I am thankful; very thankful. It’s the twentieth anniversary of the day the Holy Spirit came and poured Himself out in renewal and revival to a small Vineyard church near Pearson International Airport. Within weeks thousands were flocking to the nightly meetings from all over the world, with airlines putting on extra flights from the UK, just to accommodate all the Brits who wanted to go over.
And twenty years later, the phenomenon of revival continues, and countless lives globally have been changed for the better, as they have experienced God the Father’s tangible love, received revelation and healing, and entered into deeper intimacy with Jesus.
In Golden Valley Church (then known as New Life Church, Churchdown) we initially experienced this revival in 1994 as a result of Rodney Howard-Browne’s visit to Birmingham, where we hungrily queued to attend the meetings and encountered God’s amazing Presence in a new and intimate way, with much joy and laughter, tears and cries, shouting and shaking, falling and resting. We were never the same again, as Holy Spirit kept on coming. Over the following days and months, Continue reading “TORONTO BLESSING”
I have felt the Holy Spirit twisting and turning within me for a couple days regarding the 20 year anniversary of overwhelming visitation of God Almighty at an unknown church nestled next to a huge airport near Toronto.
Let me use an analogy. Also about 20 years ago most people did not have computers or access to the internet. Those who did found it very slow. And it was mostly just text, not much color or graphics, very little sound or motion. But now it is common, and even among the poorest nations somewhat available. What little we had we treasured and marvelled at in the cyber world 20-some years ago. In fact, it was through the baby internet that many of us old timers first got news that God was doing supernatural things (and extravagantly!) in our own lifetimes!
Sometimes having an abundance of something for a long time dulls us to its marvels and preciousness. God has ALWAYS been doing something supernatural with humanity and always will. But sometimes is it is relatively dry in many, maybe most places. We read about the supernatural in the Bible and in biographies of evangelists and missionaries. We longed to see something supernatural at least once before we died! But 20 years ago, everything changed. Suddenly the floodgates burst open. There had been serious leaks happening already, and some of them are direct forerunners to what began in Toronto. But Toronto impacted the WHOLE GLOBE with with too many signs, wonders, and miracles to even categorize, let alone count. And that ended up not even being the BIG thing. The BIG thing was the Heart of God, and his tender fatherly-ness, all open and exposed and lavishly poured out on us. My eyes are tearing up as I write.
I write all that to say this. A few of us have open doors to return to Toronto on January 20 and celebrate God’s unbelievable love for us there, but millions who have been touched do not have that opportunity. My heart cries out for you all over the globe, to take a bit of January 20 and passionately and reverently thank God for lavishing Himself upon humanity in our own lifetimes. Imagine the outpouring of love and gratitude arising from all over the planet, for what happened that one day in the dead of winter twenty years ago. And for what is as now as common and accessible as today’s internet. I wonder what would happen in the spirit, if such an outpouring of worship happened January 20. Will you join me?