In June 1995, if you had asked me to define what revival was, I would have described it as a few nights of extended meetings, 3 or 4…..a week at most. My definition would include special guest singers and musicians, as well as a guest speaker commonly known as an “Evangelist.” So when revival came to the seaside city of Pensacola Florida on Father’s Day 1995, I had no real reference to what we were about to experience.
God came down on Father’s Day 1995 to a church called Brownsville Assembly of God, where John Kilpatrick had been Senior Pastor for about 14 years. In an instant, everything I knew about revival changed! That first service started at 10 AM and lasted until 5 PM with just an hour of turnaround time to start the evening service at 6 PM. The 6 PM service didn’t end until about 2 AM the next morning. Father’s Day was so powerful that we decided to come back the next evening and then the next, and the next… So we continued, night by night, for months.
The meetings were unpredictable, laced with powerful preaching by Evangelist Steve Hill (who was slated to preach only on Father’s Day) and times of the tangible glory and power of God. Steve remained the nightly speaker for the next five years! I led the worship, and John Kilpatrick pastored a church now in the white hot fire of revival.
The first people to be touched by this move of God were the wonderful people of Brownsville Assembly. They were some of God’s choicest people who gave up their seats and parking spaces as people increasingly began to come from everywhere imaginable as well as some places we never imagined. The family of Brownsville Assembly in 1995 will forever be pressed in my memory. They were so welcoming and hungry for God. Some rarely missed a meeting, putting their lives and personal priorities on hold during this initial visitation of God. We all came night after night to see what God would do next… who would He save, who would change forever in His glory? The unpredictable, glorious chaos that I now know as revival had come! Oh those days!!!
I watched this outpouring from across my keyboard…the best seat in the house! I saw people from every race and possible background being broken and changed in the presence of God Almighty. Testimonies of salvation, healing and deliverance were daily occurrences. The beautiful, weighty presence of Jesus covered us every night. I will never be the same and there will never be a day that my heart doesn’t cry out, “Lord, do it again!”
As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of this visitation, I want to thank first and foremost, God. Thank You for coming so suddenly to an unlikely location, and thank You for setting me there to witness your mighty power! Thank you to John Kilpatrick, who did what I’ve never seen any Pastor do. John Kilpatrick gave up his pulpit to an Evangelist for five years and operated in a less visible role, a role that many good men would not have played. Thank you to Steve and Jeri Hill, who gave everything and then some to call in the harvest of souls for the sake of Christ. Steve, who has now gone on to his eternal reward, walked behind the pulpit every night with a power repentance sermon which he delivered in tears as he plead for the souls of men and women. I wish to include the staff of Brownsville Assembly who bore the weight of the unpredictability which a move of God of this magnitude entails. From our Youth Pastor, Richard Crisco, Children’s Pastor, Vane Lane, office staff, Ushers, Custodians, Audio / Video Team, and Parking Lot Attendants, all were fully engaged giving hearts, soul and energy – all of you were amazing!! Even if I failed to mention you, I appreciate all that you gave for revival.
The worship team and musicians as well as the choir were on point every night. You all were host to the greatest guest of all…God Himself!! My love and appreciation will never cease to all that these people gave as an offering and fragrance to our Wonderful Savior!!! You are all amazing, relentless, glory hogs. 🙂
As we look back, let us be humbled that God allowed us to experience and Host his glory, and remain thankful for the way He changed us. I live in constant acknowledgement of this great outpouring, as well as having a deep hunger for more. Those of you who were eyewitnesses, hold on to what God did in you so long ago and stir up the hunger for more! There is more… MORE LORD!!!!
Stay on Fire!
Photos courtesy of Cathy Wood.