What a Ride!
Embracing God's will leads to an outpouring of His love, drawing hearts closer to Him, and bringing revival.
In 1987 John and Carol Arnott and a handful of passionate people began a little church in the west end of Toronto.
We were a part of this group. For a few years we devoted ourselves to loving, encouraging and training people for ministry. We enjoyed a caring church of about 350 people. Then in January 1994, the River of God was poured out. That is when the ride of a lifetime began for is that is still going forward today.
The River changed virtually everything we knew about running a church. It seemed that God actually wanted to run His own church; and we said yes! Miracles, signs and wonders, healings, people falling more in love with Jesus and with each other, marriages healed and pastors passionate for ministry again, the fruit we saw regularly night after night was beyond our dreams.
We saw that God was doing a sovereign work in the hearts of people, “...To bind up the broken hearted and to proclaim freedom for the captives,” just as Jesus said He would when He quoted Isaiah 61:2. We realized that God had given us wonderful teachings from John and Paula Sandford, Mark Virkler, Jack Winter and others in preparation to facilitate what He wanted to do in people’s hearts during this outpouring. We had already personally begun a process of having our hearts transformed through these teachings. In fact, our own personal “renewal” had already begun, as we realized that we had been “performing” to earn God’s approval. We had been working hard for Him, but God was showing us that He desired a love relationship with us first, and our service for him would flow out from that relationship. We had it the wrong way around. It was such a relief to be free from that burden. As we let go of our striving, God was able to do so much more.
What a Ride!
Our team began teaching on healing of the heart issues with wonderful results, thanks to an increased measure of the Lord’s presence. Ministry became so much easier as we learned to be co-laborers with the Holy Spirit, letting Him take the lead.
As we watched to see what God was doing and did what the Father told us to do, it led to a whole series of teachings on “Soaking in God’s Presence” which included “Hearing God’s Voice,” “The Importance of Forgiveness,” dealing with “Performance Orientation, ”the“ Father Heart of God,” “Intimacy with God,” the “Power of the Cross,” getting “Filled with His Presence,” “Healing,” “Passion in worship.” We have absolutely loved giving it away.
Even though we weren’t experiencing much of an obvious outward work of the Holy Spirit at first, God was doing a deep work in our hearts. Connie noticed that I was becoming more gentle and patient, even with drivers on the road – a true test. Connie was moving from having only “head knowledge” of the Lord to becoming much more sensitive to the Holy Spirit. It became evident that God was preparing very ordinary people to do extraordinary things in His mighty name.
It was clear that God wanted to pour His anointing upon all His people, and that it was quickly and easily given away. Invitations from all over the world began to pour in hungry, thirsty people asking for the River of God. Everyone on our team started to travel, and everywhere we have gone, the Holy Spirit has faithfully come in power. Many times we feel as though we only planted a tiny seed, but God caused it to grow into a mighty tree. We stand amazed at what He has done and is continuing to do through ordinary people like us.
Revivals have broken out in many of these places that we have visited, such as in Iceland.
After an impartation of the fire of God in October 2007, there were at least 200 people who accepted Jesus into their lives in just two weeks following the event. It continued to spread, and now, just a year and a half later, there are three new thriving churches as a result. One of those churches is now being pastored by a young ex-drug addict who was radically changed by the outpouring there a year and a half ago.
We also led one of the 10 teams that went to 10 different cities in India last December 2008, to teach pastors and leaders, and to impart more of the power and presence of God to them. One testimony we have received is about a 23 year old blind man who was healed when three of those pastors prayed for him as they were on the train on the way home from the school. A revival with his Hindu family began at the train station as the pastors took him home. That young man is now so on fire for God, and goes around healing the sick wherever he goes. Many other pastors in India are reporting the same kind of things as revival is breaking out as they give away the power of the kingdom of God.
It is also amazing to see how God has used past experiences for future kingdom gains.
Jeremy spent 18 years as headmaster of a Christian school, training and mentoring teachers. We are now going out training and mentoring other teachers and pastors to ‘give it away’. We are releasing them to take the Soaking in His Presence weekends and International Leader’s Schools throughout their own countries as well as into the mission fields that are around them. We continually hear testimony after testimony of surrendered changed lives as they release the love of our Heavenly Father and an increase of the manifest presence of God.
Many people have asked us if the renewal that started more than 15 years ago in Toronto has died down now. We just shake our heads, because they simply don’t understand. We see the fires that have started all over the world which are still spreading, and many centers all over the world that have become wells of living water for others to come and drink from. We feel we have moved into the next phase of revival, which is the ‘sending out’ to the world. Things aren't the same as they were at the beginning, but that is part of being in a River. The river takes new twists and turns, but it is always moving and is constantly going forward.
We are so excited about all that God is doing worldwide, and are humbled that in spite of our weakness, we are allowed a small part in it. We have travelled the globe many times over and have seen firsthand the increased hunger and passion of God’s people as they come into a deeper intimacy with Him. We have witnessed the transformation in people’s lives as God heals broken hearts and revives their spirits. Our own faith level has increased dramatically as we see the increase in the number of people that are receiving physical healing. We can’t think of a better way to spend our lives.
The level of anointing continues to rise, and with it comes a greater expectation for all that He is going to do next. Just as a roller coaster rises upwards, so does our anticipation. Then when we speed down the hill, we have the most exhilarating ride we can imagine. The ride hasn’t slowed down yet. Sometimes we feel like we’ve just begun.