312 Azusa Street Los Angeles, California was a humble mission church that became baptized with a Holy Ghost fire. But the building wasn’t as humble as the man God placed to birth the Pentecostal Church.
What kind of man does God use to start a revival? Is there something different from this preacher to that preacher?
Notice the Man
William J. Seymour was the oldest son of former slaves. He was born in Centerville, Louisiana. Even as a boy William loved reading his Bible. He moved to Cincinnati and started his theological education while expecting God was going to send a great revival before the return of Jesus.
It’s important to note what made William different was not just his love for the Word of God. But William actually believed the Lord would send a revival, and the Lord was coming—soon!
This burned in belief made William move to Houston and attend Charles Parham’s Bible School.
Parham believed that the white race was superior but he allowed William to sit in the hallway and listen to his lectures through the slightly cracked door.
William took what he learned and made his way to Los Angeles to preach.
Notice the Message
When Pastor Seymour spoke he believed heavily in Acts 2. The emphasis on the Holy Ghost with a baptism of speaking in tongues was prevalent through his preaching. It wasn’t just that William was preaching this, he was different in his stand for God’s Word.
Charles Parham believed in speaking in tongues and healing. But Parham believed in segregation.
William preached that the real outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost was the spread of the love of God that led 3,000 to be saved from every nation. Pastor Seymour strongly believed in racial reconciliation.
In 1906, when black men were still being hanged, William led an interracial worship service with no preference for any color. He even said, “The blood of Jesus washed the color line away.”
“The blood of Jesus washed the color line away.”
That’s still the message we need today. A message of love and reconciliation that the Spirit of God move through our churches and start a revival of love and unity.
This inspired Seymour to have a purpose unlike many others.
Notice the Mission
The Azusa Street mission became a church of healing and hope. The people believed in spreading the Gospel. They were evangelistic in their approach and intentional on seeing new people born again.
Whatever God chooses to use to spread the Gospel should help all of us understand that is still the mission of the church.
William believed this and people began to pour into the 40 x 60 feet, flat roofed building to hear how the Holy Spirit wanted to fill them and use them on mission for God.
The Los Angels Times sent a reporter to give an account of what was going on. He called the worshipers a “new sect of fanatics,” and Seymour an “old exhorter.” He mocked the speaking tongues as “weird babel of tongues.”
The article was published on the same day as the great earthquake in San Francisco. People learned there was a church where people believed in the soon return of the Lord.
The Revival spread!
Notice the Movement
As you research this man of God you need to know that the Azusa Street revival is unlike any other in the last 100 years. Speaking in tongues was a primary teaching but in many instances those tongues were people of other nations hearing the Word in their own language.
Today our Pentecostal brothers and sisters are reading the Gospel because of William Seymour.
They number over half a billion people. The Church of God in Christ, the Assemblies of God, Apostolic Church, Four Square Church of God, and several other “full gospel” churches are all here because of William Seymour’s preaching.
To think that God would move through a man that the world would limit because of the color of his skin.
But isn’t that just like God?
Keep Looking Up!
Heaven is closer than you think.
May God bless your day.
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