Pastor Steve Gray preached a message on Friday night that made me long for the earlier days of my walk with God. You see, I became a Christian through a revival of holiness that rocked the campuses across America in the 70s and 80s. Bob & Rose Weiner who founded the movement were former Campus Crusade for Christ leaders. Bob was actually a former Assemblies of God pastor and his wife Rose was in Campus Crusade for Christ.
After Pastor Steve preached that message, I went up for prayer and felt a ball of fire consume me. I was overwhelmed by His holiness and conviction. I remember giving up common activities that normal 18-year-olds would do for the sake of the kingdom. I gave them up not because someone told me to. I didn’t participate because I wanted to be different.
The day after I became a Christian, I was preaching open-air on campus. I asked all of my professors if I could make an announcement. I proceeded to share my testimony of what happend the night before and invited all of the students to my church. One student responded and became a strong member of the church.
After that service at World Revival Church, I disclosed for the first time to my teenage sons, Chris and Alex Haywood, that I didn’t attend a movie theater or date for 9 years. Yes, you heard that right. I didn’t go to a movie theater or date for 9 years. I’m not saying that going to the movie theater or dating is wrong. Please hear me, it was a season in my life when I wanted to make a statement with my life of how important He was to me. So I didn’t participate in the stuff that a lot of people my age at the time were doing – going to movies and dating.
After 9 years, Maranatha Campus Ministries disbanded and a group of leaders formed Every Nation for Christ. Maranatha Campus Ministries was attacked in the media and I remember people making fun of me, writing expletives with my name on the school elevator. I remember TV news reporters attending our church. After the onslaught of criticism, I wanted to disappear and blend in. I was made to feel ashamed for setting myself apart for that season for God’s use only. Now don’t get me wrong, Maranatha made some mistakes but I had a strong foundation of the word of God and faith set in me during those years.
I moved to Orlando Florida and started attending a seeker-sensitive church. I stood out like sore thumb among Christians. I started dating, going to movies and occasionally to bars because I wanted to fit in with Christians. During a gathering of single girls at the church, we talked about our dating life. The conversation turned to more intimate matters and I was the only one in the room who had not slept around. I felt like a freak among Christians.
Strangely enough, I never felt one time like I was deprived during those years or was missing out. I was too busy leading Bible studies, being a mentor and working in the ministry. I was swept into a revival of holiness that set the pace for the rest of my walk with God.
Now I long for that revival of holiness again, where people long for His presence and they are willing to give up their own comfortable carnality. We sing a song at World Revival Church that I remember singing on my patio in Hawaii over 20 years ago. That song still makes me cry today because of His presence that has stayed with me all these years.
I pray that my kids will be the preachers, the singers the ones that usher in this revival of holiness in years to come. I pray when they face persecution that they don’t try to blend in but they will stand up for what they believe in. And I never want anyone to feel ashamed of how they are being set apart for God’s use only like I was made to feel ashamed of the standard I had when I was a young girl. Please get the Friday night message on holiness. You can download it at WorldRevivalChurch.com.