I can remember the first time that I felt the presence of the Lord in a meeting that corporately swept through the room. Before I tell you about that, I want to share with you how the hunger of the Lord struck me. It was May of 1993 and I was sitting int he balcony on a Sunday morning. Service was normal for now and the worship was good as always. Then the pastor got up and started to talk about the revival he had visited in Lakeland. As he did, some of the people began to get touched by the Spirit of God. Me, I just watched with amazement, but I felt nothing. The first thought I had was one that many have. Why is God not touching me? After I got over my own offense with the Lord, I decided to pray and talk to the Lord about it. That is when He taught me about hunger. So for the next several months I was on my face before the Lord from about 12 midnight to 5 in the morning several times a week. I cried out to the Lord for His touch and waited upon Him.
Then that day came. It was October 31, 1993. A young South-African named Rodney Howard-Browne came to our church to start a 30 day stretch of meetings that were going to change my life, and the lives of many forever. My wonderful wife of 5 years was in the back row, practicing her breathing as she was in labor with our first son. No alarm yet, but he would enter the world the next evening. I was ushering up in the front row and hanging on the minister’s every word. As the music started and the people engaged, we could tell the Spirit was moving. I have to admit to you, I had no idea what I was supposed to do. I knew for the first time in my life, I was in the glory and had no way of communicating this to anyone. As Rodney walked around with purpose in every step, calling people out and dragging them out of their seats, I was in awe of a Father that would visit His people so wonderfully. It was totally holy and yet, at the same time chaotic. People were laughing and falling over themselves. Rodney then finally came over to me and laid his hands on me. The fire of God shot through me. For the next month I was in over thirty of the meetings. Serving and walking with him as he pulled people out and gave them a touch from heaven.
I watched as thousands were filled with new wine and fresh oil. They were touched and empowered. They had a new sense of the closeness to their God like never before. Many people were changed forever, some walked away not wanting anything to do with it. That was amazing to me. How could they just walk away from this wonderful presence of God? What was so scary that they felt they had to leave? Some doubted its origin and others openly rebuked it. Families left for other places of worship, never to look back. However, for the most part, millions of people would be swept up in the presence of God for the next 20 years or so. For me, I have never left the revival. I decided that I would always be a person of His presence, not in word only , but in power. For years I have introduced people to the present of the Lord. I personally refuse to do life without Him. I am so glad I don’t.
I can remember this one time, while in a Nashville hotel. I was up there conducting some home meetings and brought some people with me. There were about eight people in the hotel and another 15 that lived there. We were waiting for some to arrive at the hotel. I was in my room with several other men, when I decided to put on some music and worship. We had such a powerful meeting the night before I just wanted to take some time to spend with the lover of my soul. As we sat there I made this statement. “Father, I don’t want to wait for tonight to be with you again.” The response from Him was overwhelming. “I don’t either He said.” As soon as I heard this, the other three men in the room were rocked and fell to the ground under the power of the Holy Spirit. So loud was the commotion that the girls in the next room heard it and came to see what happened. They were a part of our group and as they walked in, the power of God hit them and down they went. Soon the others arrived and one by one they all found it impossible to stand in the presence of God.
The presence of God has become a catch phrase for a lot of people. Everyone says it and some have no clue what it is like. I still watch people get so uncomfortable when He manifest Himself. At the same time, there is no greater joy for me then to see our Father God have the opportunity to touch His people without the hindrance of time or programs. I often feel that my job is to lead the people to water…..and then throw them in the river. If they like it they will stay, if they can climb out so be it, but it will get on you. My desire for you is that right where you are, you take a moment and let Him touch you. Make the presence of God you goal. Be addicted to His presence. You will find that you will be positioned for His purpose. Have a wonderful day.