Connections: Larry Martin
Nov. 23, 2014
The Importance of Pentecost
Larry Martin has given more than 45 years to gospel ministry. He has spent almost 25 years pastoring churches in Oklahoma, Texas, Florida and Tennessee. While still in his teens, Martin launched his ministry career as a traveling evangelist. He returned to evangelism from 1997 until the end of 2004. For three years he pastored in Pensacola, Fla., and then answered the call to a new missionary/evangelistic venture in early 2008. He continues in that work. Martin spoke with Ken Horn, former Pentecostal Evangel editor.
evangel: How were you saved and introduced to Pentecost?
LARRY MARTIN: My parents were introduced to Pentecost in 1947. Two female evangelists came to Comanche, Okla. They held a six-week revival, and all our family came to God; so I was raised in an Assemblies of God church.
evangel: How were you called to ministry?
MARTIN: I had no thought I would ever be a preacher. At an Assemblies of God youth camp at Turner Falls, Okla., the evangelist gave the invitation for those who were called to preach, and I just felt like God tapped me on the shoulder and said, I am talking to you. I went to the front that night and surrendered to preach.
evangel: You have a somewhat unique ministry for an evangelist. Talk about your ministry journey.
MARTIN: I started as an evangelist when I was still a teenager and traveled to several states out of Oklahoma. I went to Bible school — Southwestern Assemblies of God University — but only stayed one semester, then started preaching revivals.
The first year I was full time as an evangelist, I preached more than 300 times. I remained an evangelist for several years then pastored several churches.
While pastoring, I felt the need to finish my education and went back to school. As I became more interested in education, I started a career in Christian education. I worked at Pentecostal Church of God Bible College in Joplin, Mo., Messenger College, and then Brownsville Revival School of Ministry. When I left BRSM, I began to travel as an evangelist and have been doing that now for several years full time.
evangel: How did the topic of Pentecost become such a lynchpin in your ministry?
MARTIN: I have a primary interest in history. It’s just natural that I love revival. I was touched by God in revival. I was healed when I was just born, in revival, and all through my life revival has been important to me.
evangel: What would you say is the health of the Pentecostal Movement today?
MARTIN: Around the world the Pentecostal Movement is healthy, and it’s growing. I think in the U.S. we are in need of revival. I don’t mean that to sound critical or negative, because I know we have some great churches and we’re growing. But a lot of our churches could really use a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
evangel: What are we praying for when we pray for revival?
MARTIN: Revival is a big word. It’s really hard to contain in just a few statements. Some people think revival is just evangelism. Revival is far more than that. In fact, you can have a revival almost separate from evangelism where the church that was cold is restored. Revival is what jolts the church back to life. Out of that flow baptisms in the Holy Spirit, healings, and salvations.
evangel: For readers who may not be familiar with Pentecost, what do they need to know about it?
MARTIN: One word is fire. Pentecostal revival is more than just emotion; it is the fire of God at work purging our lives, cleansing us. Another word that describes revival is repentance. You can’t have revival without repentance. If there is a little repentance in the church, there will be a little revival. If there is a great deal of repentance, there will be a great deal of revival. Revival cleanses the church through repentance and brings the fire of God. It brings the power of God in manifestations of the Spirit that aren’t experienced in ordinary times.
evangel: For readers who think I want that for my church or my city, what would you recommend to them?
MARTIN: The key to revival is 2 Chronicles 7:14 where the Lord said, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (NIV).
The great prayer for revival is not “God, revive me.” It is “God, bend me.” When we are bent and broken and we humble ourselves before the Lord in prayer, then God comes and cleanses us. When we are devoid of our pride, God’s ready to move for us. God said, “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground” (Isaiah 44:3). If you are hungry, God can answer you with a spiritual awakening.
evangel: You were asked if there was a person who stood out to you in the Pentecostal revival, and you answered William Seymour. Tell us why William Seymour is so important.
MARTIN: William Seymour is my greatest hero of the faith because of his pure and holy life. He was a man of deep integrity and humility. He lived his life for God. One of the last things he said was, “I love my Jesus so.”
evangel: Tell us about your new project, Pentecostal Gold.
MARTIN: I am digitizing old sermons by classic Pentecostal preachers and putting them on the Web so people can access them for free. I have added many of the leaders of the Assemblies of God, many of the great evangelists. I don’t receive anything from it except the joy of sharing the gospel with people. (See www.pentecostalgold.com.)
evangel: Anything else?
MARTIN: I’m just praying with the readers of the Evangel that God will send a mighty Holy Spirit revival to America. We stand in need of revival, and I join with everyone praying that God will revive us.