Last weekend, my wife and I helped lead a retreat for ministers in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. I knew most of the couples who were joining us, but I was surprised to learn that one of the attendees was Sally Fesperman, a leader (with her late husband, Jay) during the early days of the charismatic renewal of the 1960s and 1970s.
Sally is 88, but she is as bright-eyed and energetic as any 20-something I know. She loves to talk about her relationship with Jesus, and she shared many stories about the early days of renewal when thousands of Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians and Presbyterians were discovering the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Sally brought back so many memories of the mid-1970s, when I was filled with the Spirit as a teenager.
While in the mountains God spoke to me from Isaiah 35 about another wave of the Holy Spirit that is coming soon. He told me, from verse 6: “Waters will break forth in the wilderness.” I have never been more convinced that God is going to refresh us again with a sudden outpouring of His presence and power. I was so excited about this promise that I asked Sally on Friday morning to pray over us, and to prophetically pass the torch of renewal to the younger generation.
I wept when Sally prayed over us because I am desperate to see revival. However, by Saturday I was sobered by the responsibility of receiving this torch of renewal. That’s because I know that when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the American church more than 40 years ago, we mishandled this precious gift. FULL REPORT