Leafing through my cookbooks full of holiday recipes, I see page after colorful page of scrumptious delights that I can almost smell and taste beckoning me into the kitchen. I can’t help noticing all the plump breads carefully smeared with gooey icing and crunchy pecans. I usually avoid these because I don’t like waiting for the dough to rise, so I often opt for the Q and D quick breads that don’t take so much time. God is preparing a feast, too. Only He, being the Ancient of Days with eternity on His hands, has time to wait.
If you had walked into just about any church in the western world in 1994, you would not have smelled any “bread rising,” just business as usual. Man was clearly doing the baking. We mixed the ingredients for our services with care, but somehow they lacked the secret ingredient that made the difference. Then in January of 1994, God started baking. He selected a “kitchen” in Toronto, Canada and set to work. The same God who created the heavens and earth with a word, released His secret ingredient into all that we were doing, the all-powerful leaven of the Kingdom of Heaven.
By the next day, the effect was being felt in communities around Toronto. Within five months British Airways had to put on extra flights to accommodate the flow of seekers making their way from Great Britain. It took me eleven months to “smell” that wonderful something that was cooking in Toronto. By the time I arrived at my first service, people were there from Africa, Europe, Scandinavia, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, India, Eastern Europe, Central and South America. Now over nine years later, the leaven is still working. People continue to flow to Toronto seeking to be influenced by the presence of God. Recently, I was talking with John Arnott. He said, “Even if we pulled out now, which we would never do, it’s too late. We could not stop the effect of the Holy Spirit...”
Beyond affecting the flow of seekers coming to Toronto, there are places full of people who have never been here that have been affected by what the Holy Spirit has done here. All over the world, people have either a positive or negative reaction. Why? Something is happening that demands a reaction. People who have never been to a single meeting in Toronto feel they must formulate an opinion about it.
As you read this issue, I pray that you will be in awe as I am of the far-reaching effect that the release of God’s presence in Toronto has had in the world. In this issue, John Arnott talks about how the Holy Spirit’s influence began in his and Carol’s lives with that God-initiated hunger for more of Him that now infects almost everyone who comes in the door. You will read the testimony of a pastor from Norway who has been coming here since ’94 whose church is being recently revolutionized by the outpouring. An American missionary who now lives in Norway will share how the fire he received in Toronto is spreading even to prisons in Russia. A pastor’s wife from rural North Carolina who came with her husband in ’94 speaks for the thousands of pastors who may have never met anyone here but whose lives and churches have been permanently affected. In fact, the leaven of the Kingdom is so powerful that we have put a warning label on this magazine: IT’S TOO LATE. YOU’RE BEING INFECTED BY THE LOVE OF GOD.
Originally Published January/February 2003 Editor Melinda Fish