John and Carol Arnott are the Founding Pastors and Presidents of Catch the Fire (formerly known as the Toronto...
I am hungry for God. I long to know Him, to be close to Him and to dwell in His presence. I long to know Him more now than I ever have in my entire life. He is so faithful, so loving, so full of grace, and I simply can’t imagine life without Him. Carol and I have been so overwhelmed by His grace and the abundant blessing He has poured out in our lives and in our church. With each passing day, we are left amazed yet wanting more.
Hunger is where it all began for us. We had experienced a taste of revival through various ministries over the years. The seeds of desire were planted deep in our hearts. We were deeply touched by the ministries of Kathryn Kuhlman, Benny Hinn, John Wimber, Claudio Freidzon, and Randy Clark, who was deeply touched by John Wimber and Rodney Howard-Browne.
With each encounter our hunger for a deeper relationship with Him grew.
We saw in each of these ministries the potential for more of His presence in our lives, and we thought to ourselves, “Oh Lord, won’t you please do this in us, won’t you please do this in our church!” Little did we know that our dreams of seeing God move in a special way would be fulfilled so dramatically. He exploded among us in January of 1994 exceeding our expectations abundantly above all we could ask or think.
In the time leading up to this outpouring, Carol and I had decided to give our mornings to the Lord in worship and prayer simply spending time with Him. It was during this time that God met us in a very special way and began to stir our desire for intimacy with Him. These mornings were very precious to us because we realized that God was building our relationship with Him for the days to come. We had lost our close intimacy with the Lord through busyness and routine, and during this season, we rediscovered our first love passion for Jesus.
As our hunger continued to grow we decided to visit Claudio Freidzon’s church in Argentina because we had heard God was moving there in a mighty way. We didn’t know what to expect but went in the hope that we might receive something. Again God met us in a powerful way and a mighty anointing was released in our lives. It wasn’t until later that we realized the degree to which we had been touched. I believe we caught a transferable blessing on that trip which caused a glorious explosion and the outbreak of the Holy Spirit in Toronto later when Randy Clark came to us in January of 1994.
In one sense we were poised and ready for what came. Our ministry team of 50 was well trained and healed of life’s hurts. Several churches planted from our congregation also had ministry teams and worship teams who quickly came along side with the help that we desperately needed. Yet in another way, we were completely unprepared for what hit us. We were overwhelmed by the power and magnitude of what the Holy Spirit was doing among us, night after night after night.
People often ask us “What did you do to cause this?” The only thing we did was hunger for Him. Yes, we were hungry for God and actively seeking after Him, hoping for the very thing that came. And yet, when the Holy Spirit began to move we knew it was totally by His grace and not the result of anything we had done. Even our hunger and desire for Him came by His grace. The best thing we ever did was simply say yes to Him. “Lord, have your way in us. We love you and want to walk in obedience to your word.”
The presence of God that came was contagious and transferable. It took me a while to realize this, but as visitors ‘soaked’ in the presence of God, He would go home with them; and they found that by sharing the simplest things with their churches and friends, the same fire would fall again. It quickly spread across Canada, the USA and to England, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, and many other nations. Multiplied thousands of pastors and leaders were touched and transformed, not to mention the countless visitors. In the last 9 years close to 4 million people have attended our meetings.
The Holy Spirit has deposited His powerful influence into hundreds of thousands of Christian people all over the world just from our Toronto meetings alone. Then there are other centers of revival like Brownsville, Smithton, and Sunderland, England where there are hundreds of thousands, even millions more! And it continues to this day. I have seen people come, receive prayer, and then go home, only to find that God has put something in them that suddenly turns their whole lives upside down.
That is what leaven does. Leaven or yeast, is that living substance that once it is put in the bread dough, causes the dough to expand. Air pockets caused by the interaction of the yeast with the flour and moisture causes the dough to expand until the dough rises and is ready for baking. In Matthew 13:33, Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.” Christ wants all of it leavened. Slowly and secretly the Kingdom of God expands this way all around the world by work of the Holy Spirit. And the ‘dough’ is rising. His presence is becoming more and more available to the whole world and is there for the asking. Are you hungry for this bread? I trust you are! This is how the knowledge of the Lord will fill all the earth.
So now we are beginning our 10th year of nightly renewal meetings with an amazing 9 years of testimonies and changed lives behind us. As senior pastors of TACF, Carol and I must ask, where is it all going? What does God have in store for us around the next corner? We have received many prophetic words that much more is coming and that the next wave will be even greater. I believe, like the scripture says, that it has not even entered our hearts what God has prepared for those who love Him.
Our hope is that revival will increase in such a way that the culture around us will awaken to the good news of Christ and that millions will be saved. We not only want to see people saved but also see them get connected to a local church, discipled, healed and released into the fullness of their callings. We want to continue Christ-centered preaching and see powerful outpourings of the Holy Spirit with miraculous signs and wonders. We are looking for spectacular healings for hopeless wheelchair cases and people on deathbeds to be miraculously raised up. This is what Jesus called “greater works.” (John 14:12)
We have seen and heard so many wonderful things already, but I believe it is only the beginning.
If there is one thing I have learned in the last 9 years, it is that God is an excellent God, always advancing and increasing. He wants the “more” even more than we do. He wants to see His power manifested through healings, signs and wonders even more than we do. But He is waiting on us and giving us time to enjoy and assimilate the grace that He has already poured out; time to build character in our lives, so that in strength and maturity, we may carry what He has for us next and not burn out.
So how do we prepare for more without losing or diminishing this wonderful River of His presence that we have been enjoying for the last 9 years? Do you remember where we started? Hungry and humble, staying in the place of being desperate for Him. It’s not the result of self-effort. And the minute we think we can somehow earn it or deserve it by what we’ve done, we’ve stepped out of grace, back into works and run the risk of missing it altogether.
God is looking for those who will abide in Him, the true Vine.
Only in Him do we have life and produce fruit that will last and be multiplied (John 15:4, 5, 7, 8). He is always calling us closer, and desperately longs to give us life that we can only find in Him. May the Father be glorified as we bear much fruit and watch it be multiplied again and again! So receive your “Holy Ghost leaven injection” deep within your soul. Then fasten your seatbelt and get ready for the best days of your life.
This archived article was written by John Arnott for release in Jan, 2003. Circumstances and situations may have changed regarding the author, locations and ministries. This content may therefore be outdated or misinformed.
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