John Stumbo Video Blog No. 29
December 12, 2015
President John Stumbo asks David Hearn, president of The Alliance in Canada, to respond to the question, “What do you see the Spirit of God doing in the Alliance family?”
Good to be with you today. I want to thank those of you, as churches and pastors, who have already led the way in participating in the Year-End Offering. That’s huge for CAMA (Compassion and Mercy Associates) and the Great Commission Fund. At this time of year, it’s so significant for us, so thank you for your participation in that.
I’m excited for the 2000-plus students that are already signed up for LIFE conference in Kansas City, Missouri, July 2016. Converging on that city with a powerful time with God, I trust. Momentum is the theme—seizing the moments of our lives as God transforms us. On the main stage, you are allowing some old guys like me. Francis Chan always has a great word for the Alliance family. Tim Meier—I am excited to have him sharing. And some 20-somethings like Micah Bournes and Jefferson Bethke will bring the Word. Dozens of seminars, 15,000 hours of community service planned as we want to invest in the city, a 5K that I’m starting to train for. I hope to beat somebody. Thousands will beat me probably, but I’m excited to participate in that. And mostly, the anticipation of what the Spirit of God wants to do among us.
Right now I am at a conference for our Latin-American teams—both from U.S. and Canada serving in 17 different countries across Latin America. We have been hearing some great stories of God at work, and we have had some good R&R. There have been some seminar-training kinds of experiences and then sitting under the teaching of the Word of God and having some chance to just soak in that, respond to what the Spirit of God is saying to us. And David Hearn is here at the same conference—president of the Canadian Alliance—who has become a personal friend. He’s one year ahead of me in the presidency. I have kind of been drafting behind him in some ways as we become peers in regular conversation with each other, and I asked David to take a few minutes to just respond to the question, what do you see the Spirit of God doing in the Alliance family?
Fred Hartley in one of his books, John, makes a very interesting statement. He says that whenever God chooses to manifest His presence, He’s never arbitrary. He’s never careless. He always prepares His people in advance. And so, part of God’s prevenient preparation is to create in people a holy hunger followed by a desire to pray. But not just normal praying. I’m talking about deep, heart, desperate praying for a fresh encounter with God.
As I have been traveling across Canada, I am seeing this emerging holy hunger in our people. I’m seeing this incredible prayer movement where people are desperate for a fresh anointing of God’s Spirit upon their lives.
One of the verses that sort of frames my world these days is Matthew 3:11, where John speaking of Jesus says that the One who comes after him is the One who will baptize you. Speaking of Jesus now, the One who will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire. In other words, He will actually ignite the Kingdom of God in you. He will birth a fire in you, the Holy Spirit in you, that will literally transform you from the inside out. This is what I’m seeing emerging, and it makes me as a leader in Canada incredibly optimistic as I look toward the future.
I am convinced that God is doing a new thing in The Christian and Missionary Alliance, that we are experiencing a new wind of the Spirit, a new breath of God in our churches.
A couple of examples of this, probably in the last few months, John, I have seen more of the supernatural power of God than I have in all of my years of ministry prior to this. I was speaking in one of our churches in Canada not long ago, and I was preaching out of Acts 3 where Peter and John encounter the man who has been crippled since birth, and he is by the Gate Beautiful. You know the story well. As they look at this man, and he is begging for sustenance, and basically Peter said to him, “Silver and gold we do not have, but what we do have we give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
And I sort of made this comment, and I said, “Oh, I wish I would have been there. I wish I could have seen that.” Little did I know that in the congregation, as I actually said the word “walk,” a woman who had been crippled in that congregation was instantly healed, and she knew it. There was a sense of God’s pervasive healing presence in her life, and she actually stood up and walked to the back of the church and began to test out this healing. At the end of the service I gave an altar call, and she came forward, and she brought her crutch with her. I remember her kneeling beside me, and then all of a sudden she got up and walked away without her crutch.
I’m a pretty sensitive guy. I looked down, and I saw the crutch, and I thought, Oh, no! She’s forgotten her crutch! I stood up, and I went over to her, and I said, “You left this at the altar.” She looked at me and said, “Exactly. God healed me today, and I left the crutch at the altar as a sign of God’s phenomenal supernatural healing power.”
I remember watching this couple as they left the church, and the husband literally has the crutch over his shoulder, and it was like this glorious trophy to the power of God’s supernatural touch. I long for that to be normative in The Christian and Missionary Alliance, where all over the altars of our churches in Canada, the U.S., and around the world, we’ll see crutches. Not just literal crutches but crutches of broken emotions that have been healed, broken relationships that have been restored, wayward sons and daughters who have come home to their families. This is a time when we are desperate for renewal.
On another occasion, I was speaking at one of our churches again, and I gave an opportunity to respond. People were a little nervous; they didn’t quite know what to do. Of course I’m speaking about the baptism of the Spirit, unapologetically so, calling people to experience the deeper life. My great concern for us is that we have a phenomenal theology of the Holy Spirit, and yet we have a very truncated experience of the Holy Spirit.
So a few people were kind of nervously coming forward, and the worship team had begun to sing, and they had sort of a little worship choir. There was one of the individuals who was sort of a stalwart in the church. He had been a pillar of the church. As I watched him try to sing, he was overcome with emotion, and he began to cry uncontrollably. John, I have never seen this before. He literally ran out of the choir. He ran down off the platform, and he fell on his face before me. He began to cry out, “I am desperate for Jesus.” And then it seemed like the gateway was opened. People began to move, and people began to come. For the next hour, person after person was just longing for a fresh encounter with Jesus.
That’s us. That’s The Christian and Missionary Alliance. And as we have a great vision to reach the nations of the world, we will never do it through better strategies. We will never do it through more effective methods. We will not even be able to do it through a more compelling vision. It is going to be men and women full of the Holy Spirit and fire that will enable us to reach the nations of the world.
So, John, what do I see in Canada? I see something that I have longed for, for years: the wind of the Spirit, the breath of Jesus breathing on His church and saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” It’s not a Canadian anointing; it’s not a U.S. anointing. It’s like an “us” anointing, and I just feels there’s this seamless, beautiful presence of Jesus that is locking us together and that is actually reframing what I believe the future is going to look like.
Somehow, maybe we are modeling a new kind of transparency, a new kind of authenticity, a new kind of dynamic unity that is really larger than us. It’s actually global in its intention. These last couple of days that we have sort of been together with our teams, what I’ve noticed is that there has been an absolute seamlessness in the way in which we have been together. Like, there has been no awkwardness. There has been no sort of, “Ah, you’re the Americans,” or “you’re the Canadians.” No, that has not even been in the room once. It has been like we are family, and we are experiencing together a fresh anointing of God’s Spirit upon this Alliance family.
There is just such a joy, but I would say more than that, there is a fresh energy that comes with that. There is something inspiring that is going on, and it is in the intangibles. I mean, we can look around and say, “Yeah, we’re getting to enjoy each other’s company. We’re worshiping together. We’re hearing God’s Word communicated together.” Those are all the tangibles, but there is something mystical. There is something that is actually locking us together at a very deep level of heart touching heart. And I would maybe frame it this way: there is an authenticity. But there is another word I would use. It is we are really safe with each other. And it sounds like, “Authenticity and safe? What does that got to do with global mission?” Everything! Because I think somehow in the context of God-inspired, God-filled community, we’re expressing the dynamic of the trinity. It’s Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in this dynamic dance of love that actually is the gift of grace that needs to go to the nations. So I think what we are experiencing in this little opportunity to be together as the Latin-American family, is really profound. It’s really Trinitarian; it’s really global.
And just being so transparent with you, John, getting to serve with you and your leadership over our church in the United States, leading with such humility, leading with such passion, and leading with such openness to the Spirit has just been like fresh wind on my spirit. I mean, every time we get to talk on the phone, it’s so wonderful because we don’t talk about leadership stuff. We don’t talk about those kinds of things. They’re important to us, but what’s really more important to us is soul conversations. I want to know how the breath of God is touching you, John, and you are faithful to ask me, “Oh, David, how is the breath of God touching you?” Because we want to lead and we want to model what it means to be men who are known to be full of the Holy Spirit, men of fire, men of passion, men who are desperate to see the nations of the world come to Jesus.
Thank you, my friend David. Thank you, Alliance family, for wanting to be the kind of people that is listening to and responding to what the Spirit is saying to us and who He is making us to be and where He is sending us. Let’s continue this listening journey together.