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TONGUES OF FIRE

Sunday, January 27, 2019, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom

 

 

 I have been reading, Winds of God by Howard A Goss. He was part of the ministry team during the Pentecostal Outpouring.  He was saved at the Galena revival in 1903.   For the 21st Century Church, these faithful Christians paid the cost in prayer, suffering, beatings, and deprivation. They were willing to go hungry, to be cold, uncomfortable, insecure and become the butt of jokes and pranks; to suffer losses and to be deprived of rest, of home and loved ones. By faith they were thrown on a cold and unfriendly world without money and often without a place to lay their heads.

 

Just before the turn of the 20th century, the church world had all been impressed by God of the importance of the approaching new century.  Everyone was stirred.  Everyone seemed sure that some strange thing, some phenomenon, would undoubtedly take place as the new century dawned.

 

The press was writing about this great expectation by the Christian Community.  People everywhere were waiting in anticipation.  What might one expect of a brand new century?  What changes might it bring?  This was a momentous evening for the entire Christian world!

 

In one of the large rooms of a great house in Topeka, Kansas, known as “The Old Stone Mansion,” blazing chandeliers lit up a scene of worship…of adoration…of devotion!  People knelt, or sat quietly about the room.  They had been praying for three weeks.  Three glorious weeks in which Heaven seemed to stoop down and touch the earth…in which the Son of God had walked among them and opened to them the Scriptures!  He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire!”

 

How was one to know?  Was there to be a sign? Could so important a manifestation of the presence of God take place without one scarcely knowing it? 

 

Soon over the assembled company there came the passing of the Divine Breath!  A woman began to quiver slightly…like the rhythmic quivering of a leaf rippled by the wind…beautifully, forcefully, distinctly there tripped from her lips ecstatic utterances which soon became a language…unintelligible to the kneeling company…but without doubt a language!  Acts 2 and 4!  Could it be possible?

 

Rising to investigate the phenomenon further, they beheld a blue flame like fire playing about her head, as she gladly and joyfully yielded herself completely to the Holy Spirit of God.

 

 

“…There are angels that have facets in their faces and have blue fire coming from their heads.  These are able to compress themselves as thin as a sheet of paper and pass over a congregation to release fire from Heaven.  If you are ever in a service where one comes, you will be eternally changed by the passion he releases” (Kat Kerr – Revealing Heaven II)

 

Truly God had done something!  Although the many little groups of watchers scattered over the country saw it not.  God had ordained that as the next few decades slowly passed, the whole world would hear of what He had done on that New Year’s Day at the turn of the 20th century.

 

In October 1900, Charles F. Parham rented “The Old Stone Mansion” to set up a school known as the “College of Bethel.”  There were 40 people who were older—returned missionaries, and a few elderly saints… “A company who had been stirred alike by the signs of the times and unknowingly had been chosen by the Lord for this very purpose.”

 

Reverend Parham had been stirred over the doctrine of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, but he found few Christians who agreed on one special evidence.  Some held that the “laying on of hands” was the correct way to receive Him; some thought that Sanctification was the seal, some claimed it “by faith”; but none claimed any certain evidence as its major witness.

 

Reverend Parham believed there was a power, judging from God’s promises which the church in general had not yet received.  It was to this search of Scriptures that the College of Bethel dedicated itself.

 

Momentous events started taking place and God’s Spirit was hovering over them in preparation for a divine manifestation of His Presence.

 

This little group of called-out-ones decided they themselves must first have the true Baptism of the Holy Ghost.  One night a congregation of about seventy-five saints met for the evening service.  Miss Agnes N. Ozman, a returned missionary requested them to lay hands upon her as an act of dedication and pray for her to receive the Pentecostal fullness promised to all “believers.”

 

After a few sentences of prayer, she quietly began speaking in Chinese.  She could not speak or write English for three days.  She could only speak Chinese.  Copies of this writing were published in various daily newspapers.  Those who watched said when the glory of God fell, it played like a halo of light about her face and head.

 

For three more days the college sat in God’s presence and waited upon the LORD.  They prayed through to where they knew that He was coming in power, and then they waited for him, “lost in wonder, love and praise.”  On the night of January 3, 1901, simultaneously, during a public service, twelve ordained ministers of various faiths also received the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues, while a Heavenly brightness, above any natural light, filled the room…Tongues of fire sat upon their heads.  The ministers sang in unison, “Jesus, Lover of my soul” in at least six different languages.  The listeners heard the sound of angelic voices.

 

Day after day student after student was caught up into the glory and scripturally sealed with the Holy Ghost, “speaking with other tongues.”

 

In the fall of 1903, Rev. Parham conducted what is now known as the great Galena revival, the second ever to be held by Pentecostal people.  The writer of our story, Rev. Howard A. Goss was saved; but he had not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues.

 

In the summer of 1905, Reverend Parham took a band of twenty-four workers to Houston, Texas to open a work.  Howard Goss joined this group with 22 others after receiving the “call” at a camp meeting in Columbus, Kansas.  They preached their first service at a few hours lay over in Alvin, Texas.  There was a revival in Orchard Texas where a big ranch owner, Brother Ayler backed the work in Orchard.   Their second meeting took place in Houston, Texas at “Bryan Hall.”  There were remarkable healings.  One was a lawyer’s wife, a Mrs. Denlaney. 

 

Another revival was convened in “Caledonia Hall” on Texas Avenue near Main Street in Houston.

 

An African-American woman named Lucy Farrow, who was a cook at the School had a burden for Los Angeles.  The ministry paid her expenses to go to L.A.   She started a prayer meeting.  A Baptist preacher from Houston was selected to go to L.A. to help her.  His name, William Seymour.  The Los Angeles Outpouring of April 1906 was already under way.  Brother Seymour became a prominent leader in the Azusa Street Revival.

 

And the story for the next decade continues of a mighty outpouring, healings, miracles and wondrous works of God.  Tongues and “gift of tongues” in many languages were confirmed.

 

Several deeply consecrated, faithful saints consecrating heaven-propelled prayers on one locality, brought results.  Rarely could one evangelist go into a new field alone and turn the community upside down for God.  It took the prayers and dedication of a team or “band” as they were called.

 

Consistently there had to be unity.  Anyone who could not keep the unity of the Spirit with every other member of his band was either given a railroad ticket and sent home, or perhaps given another chance in a different band.  But no disunity could be allowed.  The power of God would not fall upon such a condition.  “We often saw it happen that when there was disagreement no one could be prayed through at the service.  Meetings would be locked tight, finances would fail, and the heavens turn to brass.

 

Husbands and wives sometimes failed through lack of harmony, accord, or unity with each other.  Prayers would go unanswered until they acquired unity.  Once all was clear, the heavens would open again, the power of God would fall upon the seekers once more, and all would be well… It can be said the movement was born, grew and flourished on the Bible formula, obedience, faith, fasting, and prevailing prayer.”

 

On one occasion instead of the usual liberty, everything was bound.  For three days no new converts came forward.  No one prayed through.  Liberty was gone.  Everything was at a standstill.  The leader and his wife examined their own hearts.  As far as they knew, there was nothing wrong anywhere.  The workers with them seemed to know of nothing.  They knew the LORD was displeased, but where to find the trouble?  They had to start fasting and praying to discover the hindrance.

 

On the third night as they neared home, the leader glimpsed two of the young workers, a girl and a boy, who had come home ahead of them, standing and talking under a light in the back hall.  With the glimpse came the knowledge of what was wrong.  He went in and asked them if they “were sweet on each other” (the current expression then), and they confessed it.  A harmless little flirtation we would call it today, but it successfully cut off God’s power because they had not only broken their agreement, but were putting “self” first.  Each worker who went out had to agree to “no courting on the field.”  When anyone broke this agreement they were automatically removed.  God is a God of principle and honor.  They had voluntarily given their word.  God had a right to expect them to live up to it.

 

After both young people had sought God’s forgiveness, the boy was sent back to Headquarters the next day, and that night God’s power came down again as before.

 

The Godly love of people whom God had joined together in the Spirit of marriage did not hinder a meeting at all.  In revival it could be told which relationships had God’s approval and which was only a flirtation by whether God honored it or not, by letting His power fall as usual.

 

To become a shirker, a deserter, or to be indolent was anathema (excommunication).  “No man having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”  Anyone who deserted his post for any reason other than complete physical inability to carry on, was disgraced, and almost never found his place again in God’s work. 

 

If they attempted a comeback, evidently something fundamental in themselves seemed to prevent them from succeeding permanently.  Many easily discouraged people felt the call of God and over the years have gone into the work.  But when the going got rough, or became monotonous, they found excuses for themselves, and returned home, never to attempt the work again.  Some lost touch with God entirely, and were thought of as failures for both time and eternity.

 

The joy of enduring for Jesus’ sake a little of what He endured for us and of “triumphing” everywhere so that Christ became “the odor of a sweet smell” was so great, so satisfying that nothing else could take its place.  Truly, He made ou lives “a constant pageant of triumph in Christ, diffusing the perfume of His knowledge everywhere” by us, and liberating despairing souls from Satan’s bondage.  How I thank God for the small part I was allowed to play in this great Last Day move of God and for all the great souls, both men and women, who played their part nobly and well, and who gladly and happily bore the brunt of the fighting.

 

Since all sin, slight disobediences, procrastinations were gone, there was no friction within our beings, so we could see clearly, judge wisely, plan capably, and execute efficiently.  Of course, we didn’t realize this then, but looking back, and also judging by results, it seems so.  We could follow the Lord’s lead without hindrance.  Be that as it may, when fused into a whole, each one of us slipped into and held the position where he was needed most, without jealousy, rivalry, envy, or without any other of the “works of the flesh” which  never fail to hinder success.

 

No wonder the devil hated the, for in God’s hands they were invincible, and wrought great destruction in Satan’s ranks.

 

Those bands were conducted in the strictest possible manner.  If there was a married couple in the band or an elderly woman, they usually acted as chaperons, becoming responsible to God and to the State Overseer for the conduct of us all.

 

The personal holiness, the purity of principle and motive demanded of each of us was so great comparatively speaking, that many onlookers believed we were either insane over religion, or drunk on some glorious dream.

 

Requests for everything—our health, our clothing, and our food, meal by meal—were routed through Heaven back to us.  All of us kept well.  A place to live, a place to preach, transportation problems, words with which to grip and move an audience toward God—all these things had the same routing and the same fulfillment.

 

Perhaps the LORD will again grace our nation with a mighty Wind and Fire to redeem the soul of our nation from the dark hand of the antichrist, abortion, socialism, judicial tyranny, sexual perversion, degradation of womanhood, sex trafficking, drugs, alcohol abuse and many other unclean spirits in our land.

 

When we yield ourselves fully to God’s resident here on earth, the Holy Ghost take sup His abode in each one of us.  He raises the miracle standard of the Kingdom of God, to which we are now a citizen and stands fully ready by day or by night to further God’s plans in this earth.

 

Thy kingdom come!  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

 

It has been committed to only us-creatures of both time and Eternity – to bring this about.  God has entrusted it to us.  Let no man fall short of his privilege to glorify God.

 

There was much debate and confusion during this revival as to the “evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.”  Brother Parham’s adopted the belief that the “evidence is speaking in tongues.”  This is still preached in most Pentecostal churches today.

 

Our writer, wrote this:

 

“The gift of love, it seems to me, is the most necessary accompaniment which the Spirit freely confers.  The power to love God supremely, unselfishly, wholly to lay down our lives day after day for others, as Jesus did, was graciously granted to us, along with the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.  Love being both a gift from God, and a fruit of the Spirit as well.”

 

 

2 Jn. 3:  God our Father and Jesus Christ, his Son, will release to us overflowing grace, mercy, and peace, filled with true love.   (PT)

 

John says keeping the commandments of the New Testament is proof of genuine love. (2 John: 6). 

 

The Baptism of the  Holy Spirit came easy to me; just as speaking in tongues and the gifts of the Spirit came easy.  Through visitation of the Wind of God, the Holy Spirit permeated every cell, muscle, organ, tendon, ligament and bone of my body.   Oh yes, the LORD took me through a breaking and death of my carnal soul; but I never had to pay the cost these dear saints paid.

 

Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church

www.eastgateministries.co

Scripture from Passion Translation and K.J.V. – I entered into the labors of The Winds of God by Howard A Goss.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of Rev. Goss.   


 
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