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It's Happening: A Generation Is Crying Out and Heaven Is Responding
by William McDowell
Learn More | Meet William McDowell
When He Walked Into The Room
At the sound of Mary 's greeting, Elizabeth 's child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary ... "When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said."
- —Luke 1:41-45
I write down many of the things the Lord has done in our midst, just for the sake of memory. One day as I was writing some things down, the presence of the Lord began to fill the room. I was overwhelmed, and unable to keep my composure as I thought about all I have seen. What is happening in this season is precious. God is giving us a moment, an opportunity, an invitation to experience and encounter Him—to go all in. The Lord wants to do something greater than anything we 've experienced before. Can you imagine what would happen if we gave Him room to do it?
I have been on a search for something nearly my entire life. I grew up in church. I was the kid who played church at home. At first, it was the music that kept me interested because I was a very musical child. I still am very musical. In fact, most people first encountered my ministry through my worship leading. The music was so good at my church that I actually didn 't want to go to children 's church when I was a little kid.In those days children 's church was basically something to keep us occupied until we got old enough for the adult service. That was where it was happening. Back then gospel recording artist Donald Lawrence was our minister of music. If you are familiar with his ministry, then you can see why I wanted to be with the adults.
By the time I was nine or ten years old, it wasn 't only the music that kept my attention. I also stated listening to the messages. I started to feel as if there was more to this church thing than good music. You may wonder how a ten-year-old would think like this, but it was the Holy Spirit planting a seed in my spirit. I had no frame of reference to know there was something more. I just knew there was.
When I was ten years old, my mother went ona business trip to Los Angeles and came back filled with the Holy Spirit. She visited Crenshaw Christian Center and was exposed to things we had never experienced. We were Baptist, and supernatural stuff such as healing, the gifts of the Spirit, and signs and wonders wasn 't really discussed at our church. Now, don 't get me wrong; the gospel was preached, and people were getting saved. But there is more to our spiritual existence, and even at ten years old I was getting hungry for it.
The next time my mother went to California, she took me with her. It was my spring break, and we had a full intinerary—Disneyland, Knott 's Berry Farm, Universal Studios, and some other must-see places. We had great fun. But she also made sure to take me to the church where she had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I saw things I had neven seen before. I heard things I had never heard before. I saw people encounter God and become weak and unable to stand because of the weight of His presence—what some believers call being "slain in the Spirit." On one side of the room people were being prayed for, and on the other side of the room people were falling down because they could feel what was happening on the other side of the room. You can imagine that as a ten-year-old I was scared to death.
I heard people speaking and singing in other languages and in unknown tongues. That scared me too, but I wanted it.
Then someone said, "We 're going to pray for healing, so if you 're sick in your body, come up." At that time I dealt with really bad asthma. I had even been hospitalized once. My mother, who served on the board of the American Lung Association of Southwest Ohio, had been putting all her efforts into finding a cure for it. So she said, "Go up there. Go."
But after all I had seen at the church that day—people falling out for what I thought was no reason—I thought, "No way." Then I saw that she was crying. Through her tears she said, "I believe that if you 'll hust go, you 'll be healed." Literally weeping, she pleaded again, "Please. Go."
Understand that this was happening in the 1980s, before Christian TV was as widespread as it is today, so not many people were exposed to this kind of thing. This was unfamiliar territory for me.
It was a midweek service. I remember going up for prayer, but I don 't actually remeber what happened after that. I do know this: I don 't suffer from asthma anymore. We went back on Sunday, and I had to go to children 's church there because they didn 't allow children in the main service. However, I was filled with the Holy Spirit in their children 's church. After spending one week in California and attending two church services, I had experienced the presence of God in a brand-new way, and I was marked for life. Since that time when I was ten, I have not been the same.
Becoming a God Chaser
Two years later we found ourselves in a church where there was a full-on outpouring of the Holy Spirit. People would stand outside in line for more than an hour in sub-zero temperatures, waiting to get in. Why? Because God was there. But after a while people became comfortable and complacent. If we aren 't intentional, we can easily lose our awe of God and set up camp in the land of comfort. Whenever this happens, whenever we take the move of God for granted, things will change. Eventually our church went back to normal. But the hunger and fire in me continued to burn.
Several years later a pastor and mentor of mine came up to me and said, "Hey, why don 't you read this book?" He was holding a copy of The God Chasers by Tommy Tenney. The message and testimonies in that book moved me from saying, "I want that," to being obsessed with possessing the kingdom. I longed to know and be known by God and to pursue Him until I expereinced Him in a profound and tangible way. He was who I wanted.
I 've had moments in my life when I 've seen God move, but they were fleeting. I 've been in services where His presence was intense, but eventually things returned to normal, as if the amazing service didn 't even happen. I 've been at restaurants where a simple conversation turned into a deep awareness of God 's presence because He sat down in the booth with us. But the people in those restaurants went back to normal, and their fire seemed to be extinguished. I 've been with friends, preparing to eat a meal, and the blessing turned into a God encounter that left us all on the floor before God. As a worship leader, I 've led worship during times when no one knew what to say or do because we all were arrested by the presence of God. I 've also seen moments like those dishonored because something else was on a program.
Have you experienced what I 'm talking about? If so, do you still cry out? Do you still burn for God? Do you still want Him more than anything? I know I do.
I have never lost my cry. We planted our church with this cry. We want to see a move of God. We want to see it grow beyond the seven hundred to eight hundred people who gather together in a corner warehouse. We want to see it spread of our city, state, nation, and world. God is moving powerfully among us. He is moving in you. Do you want more?
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