Assemblies of God SearchSite GuideStoreContact Us

Daily Boost

  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...




1960s – 2000s

1960s

What God is Doing at the Teen-age Evangelism Center in New York City

For many, the 1960s will always be remembered as a decade of moral turbulence. A young Assemblies of God minister obediently responded to God’s prompting to rescue a generation threatened by violence, drug abuse and the breakdown of societal standards.

In founding Teen Challenge, David Wilkerson helped create an opportunity for redemption in some of America’s most resistant urban environments. His first-person report on the ministry’s early successes appeared in the Dec. 31, 1961, issue of The Pentecostal Evangel.

By David Wilkerson
Teen-age evangelism missionary ?in New York


Students from three Pentecostal Bible colleges spent the past summer reaching young gangsters and drug addicts for Christ.

Over sixteen students from Central Bible Institute, Springfield, Mo., Lee College, Cleveland, Tenn., and Eastern Pentecostal Bible College, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, collaborated with the regular Teen-Age Evangelism staff in conducting one of the most successful evangelistic invasions ever witnessed in the great city of New York.

These dedicated young workers did personal evangelistic work six or eight hours each day on the street and held mass street rallies. Over three thousand young people responded for salvation during the summer! Many nights as many as 150 youth knelt on the streets to accept the Lord. Drug addicts burned their sniff rags; others destroyed their “works” (needles, etc.); and still other gang members quit the gang and started preaching the gospel.

Working hand in hand with these students were converted gang members and debs [female gang members] who live at the Teen Challenge Center. These are homeless and friendless youth who are being rehabilitated. All stood ready to be living sacrifices for Christ. As each one left for the street work, he prayed, “Lord, if anyone has to be killed today, let it be me first.”

One night it nearly happened. A bystander was brutally stabbed and murdered in front of the workers. As he lay dying on the street with a cut throat and a pierced stomach, our workers were made to realize more than ever that street evangelism is a ministry close to the gate of hell.

We have waited until now to give a report on this great summer ministry because we wanted to evaluate how lasting the results would be. We rejoice in a glorious report of the keeping power of Christ in the midst of the worst possible living conditions. Two young gang converts are now in Bible school. Two converted girl gang leaders have joined an Assemblies of God church and are filled with the Spirit. Our workers are finding numbers of young people who have quit smoking, drinking, and running with gangs and who are now attending a Bible-believing church. After only eight weeks they are growing stronger in the Lord and are becoming witnesses to the power of the Lord to keep young people on fire under all conditions.

Dedicated staff members of Teen Challenge Center are now preparing for a unique ministry among adolescent drug addicts. The Center is fully equipped to handle and care for twenty-five addicts. A competent nurse, praying workers, and converted addicts stand ready to undertake this challenging ministry. Our work in the field of narcotics is gripping the imagination of prison officials, hospital staffs, and businessmen. We are introducing a “new dimension” in the cure of narcotics. This is the “power of the Holy Spirit.” As the work grows and expands, the needs are many. We covet the prayers of believers everywhere.

 

1970s

Besides serving as the official voice for the Assemblies of God and reporting on key events within the Fellowship, the Pentecostal Evangel offers readers a wealth of resources for personal Bible study and spiritual growth. Stanley M. Horton, leading Assemblies of God educator, has received numerous honors in his long ministry, including a biography penned by Lois E. Olena of Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, where Horton is distinguished professor emeritus of Bible and theology.

Horton has left a rich legacy of writings within the Evangel’s pages, in his many volumes of Assemblies of God Sunday School curriculum, and in numerous books on theology — including the internationally recognized Pentecostal masterwork, What the Bible Says About the Holy Spirit. This Hebrew word study by Horton appeared in the July 20, 1975, Pentecostal Evangel.

I Shall Not Want

Another word study from the Hebrew

By Stanley M. Horton

Recently when the congregation was singing the chorus “He’s All I Need,” I found myself singing under my breath in Hebrew, “He is all I want.” (Literally, He is the All I delight in.)

Then I began to wonder if this thought might be related to Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”

I was well aware that “want” in Psalm 23:1 has nothing to do with our wants in the sense of our desires. The basic meaning of the Hebrew word (haser) is “to be lacking,” and it usually speaks of something missing that is needed.

I traced the word and made some interesting discoveries. For example, when Abraham asked God if He would spare Sodom for the sake of 50 righteous, God answered He would. Then Abraham proceeded to say, “Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous. ... ”

Often the word speaks of lacking food, water, or oil (Proverbs 13:25; Ezekiel 4:17; Ecclesiastes 9:8). “The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want [be lacking of] any good thing [every good]” (Psalm 34:10).

The Israelites for 40 years in the wilderness did not lack anything (Deuteronomy 2:7; Nehemiah 9:21), and they journeyed to a land where they would not lack (Deuteronomy 8:9). This does not mean, however, that there would never be poverty in the land. Some would indeed be in need. Israelites were encouraged to lend the poor brother what he lacked (Deuteronomy 15:8). Nor would those who gave to the poor suffer for it. In fact, they would not lack (Proverbs 28:27).

Some things are worse than the lack of money or food, however. Those greedy, self-centered souls who are determined to be rich at any cost will find that poverty (a lack) comes upon them — a lack of things money cannot buy (Proverbs 28:22).

No lack is worse than the lack of wisdom (including both good sense and spiritual insight in the inmost heart and mind). In the Bible those lacking it are called fools because they show themselves to be fools (Ecclesiastes 10:3).

The word for want in the sense of “be lacking” is also used of the waters of the Flood going down, diminishing, decreasing (Genesis 8:3) and of the widow’s oil which did not fail (1 Kings 17:14,16; where it parallels the barrel of meal which did not waste, or waste away, whose supply could not be exhausted).

What they needed was always there.

The supplying of Elijah’s needs through the widow’s oil and meal focused attention on the One who supplied the need. Likewise, the attention of Psalm 23:1 and of the entire Psalm is on the Lord.

The Lord is our Shepherd. Because He is the faithful, covenant-keeping, personal God that He is, He will see to it that we do not lack anything we really need.

Sometimes this means a table set before us in the presence of enemies. Sometimes it means deep darkness, even the shadow of death. But His rod and His staff let us know He is always there.

In the end we realize that He is the All that we need. Then our desire, our delight, focuses on Him, and He is also the All we really want.


1980s

Thomas F. Zimmerman was the longest-serving general superintendent in the history of the Assemblies of God (1959-85), and led the Fellowship through nearly three decades of international growth. Zimmerman’s rousing sermons energized General Council services in host cities across the United States.

The following excerpt from the Oct. 2, 1983, Pentecostal Evangel highlights Zimmerman’s message to delegates at the 1983 General Council in Anaheim, Calif.

His sermon was telecast nationally by the Trinity Broadcasting Network, CBN, and the PTL Network.

Absolute Certainty in a Time of Uncertainty

By Thomas F. Zimmerman

No one reaches any level of maturity without learning that life is made up of constant changes. Some changes indicate irreversible deterioration has taken place and things are not as good as they once were. Other changes indicate anything man makes is imperfect, and for this reason it requires constant improvement.

The people of this world are constantly searching for something dependable — something which will not be forever changing. But this search will never be successful until they accept Jesus Christ. How thankful we can be that Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, and today, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8).

There are many aspects of the immutability of Christ, but three should be especially meaningful for us today.


THE SALVATION CHRIST PROVIDES IS UNCHANGING.

Before the time of Christ, sacrifices for sin were offered daily (Exodus 29:38,39). The writer to the Hebrews indicated there were no perfect sacrifices which could take away sin (Hebrews 10:11). Every offering was presented in anticipation of the time when the Perfect Sacrifice would come.

With this background, how wonderful it is to turn to the Word of God and read: “But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26).

This means that the only salvation man will ever need is the one provided by Jesus Christ. This salvation will never deteriorate. This salvation can never be improved. It is perfect!

On the cross Jesus became our substitute. Where we should have died, He died. By a miracle of divine grace, our guilt was transferred to Jesus and His righteousness is reckoned to our account.

Paul stated it clearly in 2 Corinthians 5:21: “For he [God] hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Because the salvation Christ provides is perfect, the believer can say: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

Every person who accepts Jesus as Lord and Saviour can know beyond the shadow of a doubt that his sins are forgiven. He can have complete peace because of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.


THE INTERCESSION CHRIST OFFERS FOR BELIEVERS IS UNCHANGING.

One of the great encouraging verses of the Bible is Hebrews 7:25: “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

Two great truths surface here.

The first is that Jesus Christ is able to save to the uttermost all who come to God by Him. He is able to save from the power of sin and Satan, from the plague of personality problems, and from the problems of sickness. He is able to save completely from all that mankind needs saving from.

The Christian life is not intended to be one of defeat, but of victory. But sometimes we forget there can be no victory unless there is a conflict. Victory presupposes a problem. In this world we will suffer tribulation, but God’s Word also promises we will be more than conquerors through Jesus Christ.

Some seem to think the believer should isolate himself from the world in order to live triumphantly. But this is contrary to the very intent of our Lord’s praying in John 17. In praying for His disciples He said: “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil [one]” (John 17:15).

The second great truth of Hebrews 7:25 is that Jesus ever lives to make intercession for us. His ministry of intercession did not cease with His death on the cross. He lives, and He ever continues to make intercession.

In every generation, including our own, He has saved believers to the uttermost because of His unceasing ministry of intercession.


THE PROMISE OF CHRIST'S RETURN IS UNCHANGING.

Never have Paul’s words been more true than today: “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now ... waiting for ... the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:22,23).

Man has demonstrated in every generation that he cannot create a perfect society. Because of the perversity of human nature, terrible misery and suffering exist worldwide. How the whole creation longs for the consummation of God’s redemptive program. We know that only the return of Christ will bring an end to the world’s miseries.

Thank God the time is coming when our Lord will reign in righteousness throughout the world. But in the meantime, our efforts as Spirit-filled Christians to meet human need at every level must continue throughout the world. And while at times the task seems impossible, we do not become discouraged.

Believing the promise of Christ’s return is not an escape mechanism for believers. It does not contribute to listlessness and indolence as some have charged. Faith in the Second Coming is one of the Christian’s greatest inspirations to be all that Christians should be and to do all that God wants us to do.

Jesus is coming again, and God’s people everywhere are eagerly longing for that day. But can you imagine how Jesus himself is looking forward to that moment when He shall return? The longest any of us have waited for the day of His appearing might be 70, 80, or 90 years. But Jesus has been looking forward to that moment for about 2,000 years! What a day that will be for our Lord and ourselves!


CONCLUSION

Today when the world is filled with instability and uncertainty, thank God there is something absolutely certain: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.”

The salvation He provides is unchanging.

The intercession He offers for believers is unchanging.

The promise of His return is unchanging.

But this wonderful truth brings encouragement only to those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. It is those on the Lord’s side who are on the winning side.

Jesus is going to win. If we want to be on the winning side, we will accept Christ as Saviour and crown Him King of our lives today.


1990s

The Pentecostal Evangel provides a voice for Assemblies of God leadership to communicate the key doctrines of the Fellowship and to encourage constituents. General Superintendent George O. Wood has authored several hundred commentary columns in the Evangel on Psalms, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Gospel of Mark.

The late James K. Bridges served as general treasurer of the Assemblies of God from 1993-2008. Bridges was an unstinting champion of sound Pentecostal doctrine and genuine revival. He  wrote the following article on revival for the Feb. 11, 1990, Pentecostal Evangel while he served as superintendent of the North Texas District and as Southwest Decade of Harvest regional coordinator.

Bridges’ ministry with the Decade of Harvest reflects another key partnership between the Evangel and the Fellowship during an unprecedented campaign for worldwide evangelism.

What Revival Means

By James K. Bridges

The Assemblies of God was born in the fires of revival — a revival brought about by prayer, fasting, witnessing, living in the power of the Holy Spirit, and obeying the Word of God.

The Decade of Harvest now gives us opportunity to reexamine ourselves and see that these initial ingredients are still among us.

Charles G. Finney, the lawyer turned evangelist and college president, in his Revival Lectures defined revival as a “new beginning of obedience to God.” Finney believed it was the sovereign act of God’s grace.

Ministering during the Civil War era, Finney believed that had American churches been obedient to God, had the people been living in revival, they could have helped the nation avert the devastation of war. Unfortunately the church provided no solution. Finney stated, “Upon the question of slavery, the church was too late in her testimony to avoid war.”   

What influence could today’s churches have upon our decaying republic if all were living in revival fires? What influence could we have had upon our Supreme Court concerning its decision [on Roe v. Wade], which has led to the slaughter of 20 million unborn babies? Could churches turn the nation back to God and rid our land of abortion, pornography, sexual perversion, drugs, racial hatred, crime, murder, and suicide?    

Revival means intervention — God steps in and shows mercy to mankind.

The prophet Habakkuk cried, “O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2).

Time can take its toll. Spiritual stagnation occurs when we allow the sacred to become commonplace. If the church is not vigilant, it can lose its vision, zeal, and love for the truth. At times like this we need God to step in and bring revival.

Revival means enlightenment. “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Ephesians 5:14). Revival brings an awakening to the things of God. It is a translation from darkness to light and from death to life.

Matthew records when Jesus came into the region of Zebulun and Naphtali that “the people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light” (Matthew 4:16, NASV). Revival enlightens, and we are able to see the truth as it is revealed in Jesus Christ.

Revival means refreshing. The apostle Peter gave insight into this meaning when he said, “Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19, NASV). Refreshing is experienced when the burden of sin is removed and the soul is set free. When the Spirit is outpoured in revival fashion, as Isaiah declared, this is the rest and the refreshing (Isaiah 28:12).

Revival also means rejoicing. The Psalmist requested: “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee” (Psalm 85:6). True joy and happiness come from the reviving power of God. Fun issues from entertainment, but joy comes from revival. One is of the flesh; the other, of the Spirit.

The apostle Paul taught that the product of a Spirit-filled life is “singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). A sign of revival is rejoicing in the Lord.

Revival further means reconstruction. It comes when we tear down and destroy what is unacceptable to God and reconstruct that which He approves.

The prophet Hosea proclaimed, “Break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you” (Hosea 10:12).

Fallow ground is plowed ground left as a field of clods not suited to produce a harvest. It must be rebroken in order to use.

Revival will bring the rain of righteousness and break up the fallow ground in today’s church. Then the ground must be plowed again. But first we must seek the Lord, pray, and fast. We must not plow the hard clods until they have been softened by the rain of righteousness.

Revival means enlargement — for the church corporately and for the believer individually.

David acknowledged, “I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place” (Psalm 118:5; see also Psalms 4:1; 18:18; 31:8). The enemy wants to box us in by fear, but the Lord will enlarge us.

When prophesying about the children of the new covenant, Isaiah predicted that the children of the free woman (an allegory concerning the covenant of grace) would be many more than the children of the covenant of law. Hence, he cried: “Enlarge the place of your tent; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; Lengthen your cords, and strengthen your pegs” (Isaiah 54:2, NASV). God’s last-day revival will enlarge the church.

Let’s prepare for this enlargement. Let’s believe God for 1 million prayer partners, 5 million souls born into the Kingdom, 20,000 new ministers thrust into the harvest fields, 5,000 new churches planted to His glory, and a fresh infilling of the Holy Ghost for each one in our Fellowship.



2000s

Ralph W. Harris, a prolific Assemblies of God communicator, was editor of the Sunday School Curriculum and Literature Department for the Assemblies of God and later editor of The Complete Biblical Library published by Gospel Publishing House. While leading Christ’s Ambassadors (which became National Youth Ministries) in 1944, Harris proposed a ministry plan that found expression as Speed the Light, through which more than $250 million has been raised by young people for world missions.

In the following article — originally published in the Jan. 9, 2000, Pentecostal Evangel — Harris reflected on the 20th century as a century of Pentecost and invited readers to view the 21st century through a similar lens.     

Pentecost Foreshadowed 100 Years Ago

By Ralph W. Harris


Four spiritual giants of the late 19th century anticipated and hoped for the Pentecostal revival which swept around the world in the 20th century.

For 30 years, 3,500 newspapers published DeWitt Talmage’s sermons weekly. In 1890, Talmage challenged believers with the opportunities before them in a published message entitled, “The Last Decade of the Century.” He wrote, “The 19th century is departing. After a few more steps, it will be gone into the eternities.” He said that often throughout history the closing decades of centuries have been marked by unusual developments and achievements. “I am glad [the new century] is not to come immediately, for we need a new baptism of the Holy Ghost to prepare for it.”

This remarkable statement was made some 10 years before the outpouring at Topeka, Kan., which launched the Pentecostal revival.

Also significant is a statement by S.D. Gordon in his book, Quiet Talks About Jesus, copyrighted 1906 — the year the Azusa Street revival began in Los Angeles.

Gordon, writing about the tongue’s power, said, “The tongue is the index of man’s whole being. Through his tongue his whole being is revealed. There is no stronger indication of mastery over one’s powers than in control of the tongue. ...

“The first evidence of God’s touch in the remaking of man on that memorable Pentecost day was upon his tongue,” he concluded.

F.B. Meyer wrote, in the introduction for A.J. Gordon’s The Ministry of the Spirit, of the need for “a revival of pure and undefiled religion in the churches, and such marvelous results through them in the world that the age would close with a worldwide Pentecost. And there are many symptoms abroad that this also is in the purpose of God. Nothing else can meet the deepest needs and yearnings of our time.”

Andrew Murray wrote a preamble to the chapter on “The Enduement of the Spirit”: “To the disciples, the baptism of the Spirit was very distinctly not His first bestowal for regeneration, but the definite communication of His presence in power of their glorified Lord. Just as there was a twofold operation of the one Spirit in the Old and New Testaments, of which the state of the disciples before and after Pentecost was the striking illustration, so there may be, and in the great majority of Christians is, a corresponding difference of experience. ...

“When once the distinct recognition of what the indwelling of the Spirit was meant to bring is brought home to the soul, and it is ready to give up all to be made partaker of it, the believer may ask and expect what may be termed a baptism of the Spirit. Praying to the Father in accordance to the two prayers in Ephesians and coming to Jesus in the renewed surrender of faith and obedience, he may receive such an inflow of the Holy Spirit as shall consciously lift him to a different level from the one on which he has hitherto lived.”

In these early days of 2000, each of us needs to answer the questions that were being asked at the beginning of the Pentecostal century: Am I as fully yielded to God as I once was? If not, what will I do about it?

Email your comments to pe@ag.org.