Fire in the Valley
‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses’ (Acts 1:8).
Easter primes us with the oil of healing anointing; Pentecost ignites us like a torch. We burned last week in So. Cal.’s San Gabriel Valley, a foretaste of the incendiary season ahead. I share this with you as to invoke your prayers and to catch something of what I believe will be a template of advances to come.
CA will always be our home: her excesses seared us and her Church healed us. She may well be an immoral desert but her streams of merciful, dynamic ministry are mightier still. Consider the Azusa Street revival that raged from 1906-1915 in Los Angeles; modern Pentecostalism sprung from its flames and took on many forms, including Calvary Chapel, source of the ‘Jesus people’ movement in the late sixties and forging the Vineyard, Harvest Rock, IHOP, Bethel, and more.
Last December Marco and I presented our first, nearly impromptu Radical Wholeness gathering at the Pasadena House of Prayer; Covid raged, Gov. Newsom shut down the state (again) but courageous PIHOP Cheryl Allen hosted us anyway. It sparked in Cheryl and team—and Marco and I--to start rallying churches in the San Gabriel Valley to unite and burn together as a community of healing for the sexually broken.
We have witnessed the solid witness of ‘radical wholeness’ in Living Waters groups throughout So. Cal. but we need a fresh fireplace with plenty of oil. A generation awaits--overexposed to toxic elements and in need of shelter and medicine and tools for healing. How else will they discover the radical wholeness Jesus won for them unless they secure grounding in a Spirit-filled, humane community?
Last week, we rallied that community at our second Radical Wholeness gathering at PIHOP. The DSM team burned before a standing room only crowd and cast a glow of Jesus’ transformative power. It was bracing and consoling. ‘Our Gospel came to them not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit, and with deep conviction’ (1 Thess. 1:5). Like St. Paul, ‘we did not shrink back from proclaiming the entire plan of God’ for the sexually broken (Acts 20:27). Fiery, insightful witnesses of radical wholeness: we need to burn brighter in a day when our president heralds the ‘justice’ of splitting off the body from biology.
Indebted to the free churches of So. Cal., we draw from the rock-solid foundations of the historic Church. I have drawn strength from fasting and praying for marriage (Prop. 8, 2008) and for the freedom to change sexual identity (SB 2943, 2018) at San Gabriel Mission, the center of the San Gabriel Valley and the oldest standing, still functioning church in So. Cal. (It was founded by St. Junipero Serra in 1771.)
Catholic moral theology undergirds our ‘radical wholeness’ efforts, and we are grateful to PIHOP for its open-armed welcome of Catholics in its 24/7 prayer strategy. Assistant Bishop David G. O’Connell who presides over the San Gabriel Valley closed our gathering at PIHOP. He is on fire, as gentle as he is impassioned for healing. United with the Catholic Church and fueled by a host of free church friends, we at DSM will light a fire in the Valley that won’t go out until Jesus returns.
‘I trust God for strength. Even if I die on the way, let us never give up. Let us always work out our salvation with fear and trembling. With burning love and zeal, let us seek the salvation of our neighbors.’ St. Junipero Serra