2017 - Aglow's 50th Anniversary
You may think it is a bit early for me to be thinking about Aglow’s 50 Year Anniversary, which will be celebrated in 2017 at our Global Conference. However, with that awesome occasion only months away, those of us at the Aglow Headquarters have been thinking and planning for some time already!
The number 50 is the number connected with the Holy Spirit and His work. When I think of the incredible work of the Holy Spirit, that began in 1967 in the lives of women and continues today with men now walking alongside us, I am brought to tears. Only God could have wrought such a work, such a ministry, such a movement in the earth that has stood the test of time.
It has been said of Aglow that, “It is the greatest Apostolic gig in the earth.” It has also been said that, “Aglow has been brought forth out of nothing!” Aglow has not copied other ministries, organizations, or trends.
Truly, we have simply endeavored to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit at every turn. We have continued through cultural changes, the feminist movement, economic downturns, world crisis, crisis in the church, shifting times; and ever changing mindsets and agendas that have challenged God’s people the world over. Only God and the powerful work of His Holy Spirit, could cause a movement initiated by Him, to not only continue, but to grow and to become more fervent and alive with each passing decade. Holy Spirit we honor You!
Aglow was birthed out of the Charismatic Renewal of the mid 1960’s and 70’s. Father Dennis Bennett, the author of “Nine O’Clock in the Morning,” and father of the awakening of the Spirit, was a friend and neighbor. I remember listening to this brilliant, charismatic man sharing so enthusiastically about the experience that forever changed his life. As the Rector of an Episcopalian rectory in Southern California, his eyes were opened to the powerful truth of this piece of our inheritance as believers. It was a truth that would explode onto our awareness and lives, touching not only individual lives, but invading mainline denominations, breathing new life into many.
As one who was raised in a mainline denomination, my testimony is much like many of yours. I can’t remember a time when I was not a believer in Jesus Christ. And yet, when I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, everything changed. Everything that was true, everything that I had believed about the Gospel, things I had read in His Word, and even prayer, came alive to me in a way that is difficult to describe. And, it has never changed.
I am so grateful for the Holy Spirit. I thank Him over and over for His Presence in my life. I thank Him for His ongoing work within me to upgrade, to challenge and change me, and to lead me in the way everlasting.
For these 49, and soon to be 50 years, we have held to this primary tenet of our Statement of Faith related to the importance of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. It is crucial to the life of the believer.
Recently, I was again reading the scriptures in Acts related to the importance of this experience. It is underscored time and again throughout the Book of Acts. It was a central experience of the people of God in the Bible.
While in Rome this past January for the Aglow European Leaders Gathering, Asher Intrater spoke about the Holy Spirit. He began by reading Acts 1:4,
Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the fulfillment of the Promise of the Father, which you have heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit in a few days.
Asher went on to speak about the fact that,
When Yeshua said this, it was a little more than 40 days after the resurrection, and about a week before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This was the third of a series of three events. They all happened on Biblical holidays. The first one was the crucifixion of Yeshua, the Messiah, which took place on Passover. This was the appointed moment in history where God would solve the problem of human sin.
Just a few days later, on another holiday called the Omer, which is the waving of the first offering, Yeshua rose from the dead. This was the one moment in all of history that God appointed to solve once and for all the problem of human death.
40 days after the resurrection, as Jesus was teaching about the Kingdom of God, He noted that in order for the Kingdom of God to come, something special had to happen. He told the disciples that He was going to rise and go to Heaven and God would pour out His Spirit upon them. You will be baptized in the Holy Spirit and filled with His power and His fire.
So, on Passover, Jesus solved the problem of human sin. On His resurrection from the dead, He solved the problem of human death. And with the outpouring of His Holy Spirit, God fulfilled human destiny!
With the baptism of the Holy Spirit the human race came into a place of destiny, a place of glory, a place of being filled with the Spirit of God, of having God’s glory and His fire in us and upon us.
This was a central experience of the people of God in the Bible. There is no other solution. This is God’s way. There is no political power, nor military power, nor intellectual power that can resolve either personal or world issues. Only the power of the Holy Spirit can change people’s hearts, and resolve the massive issues facing our world today.
As Aglow draws near to the 50th Year Anniversary, my prayer as the President of this incredible ministry is that we continue to walk forward into our future with a fresh anointing, a fresh experience of the Holy Spirit, a renewed sense of our destiny and a boldness for God that causes all in our pathway to say, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too!” Acts 17:6
And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the Word of God with boldness. Acts 4:31