One of the great heroines of the faith in American church history is Sister Aimee Semple McPherson. Her dramatic, illustrated sermons throughout the 1920s and 30s opened the eyes of many people to the truths of the gospel. She became a great healing evangelist and media pioneer, being one of the first Christians to use radio to preach the gospel.
At the beginning of March, I travelled to Los Angeles to participate in the Women on the Frontlines Global Conference, held at Angelus Temple—the megachurch founded by Sister Aimee.
The night before the conference started, we met to pray. Standing on that great platform was the fulfillment of prayers I had prayed with a few friends around the year 2000 when we did a Women of Destiny meeting at Pastor Jack Hayford's Church on The Way.
At that time, so many years ago, we had been preparing for the meeting when, all of a sudden, I said, "Does anyone know where Angelus Temple is?" One of the ladies said, "Yes," and I said, "Let's go!" So off we went!
As we went into the sanctuary, we noticed a small group of women who were obviously having a prayer meeting. When we walked down the aisle, one of the women stood up and proclaimed, "The generals have arrived!"
They had just been asking God to visit Angelus Temple once again, and two of the woman had been part of Sister Aimee's ministry as youths. They recognized me and felt God was giving a confirmation that He was going to pour out His Spirit once again. I have to admit it was both an exciting and humbling experience.
We went to the platform to pray and looked out at the large sanctuary with its double balconies. The stained glass windows were beautiful, and a soft glow from the morning sun backlit them. Angels were painted on the walls, as if standing guard, waiting for our generation to step up to the plate.
I began to decree and agree with the prayers of many others who were asking God to open up the wells of healing, media, justice, children's revivals, and influence, when much to my surprise, Sister Aimee's pulpit started rising up from underneath the platform! Someone had pushed the button controlling it from backstage, and it perfectly coincided with the decree.
We stood in awe as women leaders, struck by the thought that God would, indeed, raise up a generation with courage and fortitude, who would minister under the power of God to reach the world for Christ.
This recent trip was the first time in 15 years that I have been back. Matthew Barnett now pastors the Angelus Dream Center, which has been fully restored, and a group of some of the leading women in ministry of our time were stepping onto the pages of history.
The next few days, heaven came to earth! The voices of the women thundered Jake Hamilton's song, The Anthem: "I am royalty, I have destiny, I have been set free, I’m gonna shake history!"
As I stood to preach, I told the story of a little girl named Uldine Utley who was saved in Fresno, California, under Sister Aimee's preaching. At age eleven, she became a child evangelist. By the time she was fourteen, she did a meeting in Madison Square Gardens with fourteen thousand in attendance.
It was at that meeting that a young student from China was saved. He was so radically impacted that his school had him committed to an insane asylum for six months until friends intervened to get him back to China. This man, John Sung, became the Billy Graham of China, and hundreds of thousands came to know the Lord under his ministry.
Isn't God amazing? God used Sister Aimee to preach, and a little child was saved who became a child evangelist, who preached to John Sung.
As I meditated about Aimee's life, all of a sudden, I had a precious connection with this full circle. Aimee began her ministry in China with the love of her life, Robert, who died young without seemingly making any measurable impact on the mission field. However, God never forgets a seed sown! Years later, the tears that Aimee shed over her beloved watered a future revival of massive proportions as John Sung stood upon her shoulders through the preaching of a young teen-aged girl.
We left Angelus Temple rejoicing after planting seeds into the next Women on the Frontlines who would stand upon our shoulders and shape history.
There is one additional note to this story that is very sweet! The Sunday following the conference, I preached at Radiance International, the 24/7 House of Prayer right on the Sunset Strip in the West Hollywood club district, led by Jonathan and Sharon Ngai.
At the end of the message, in which I shared the above story, Jonathan stood up and shared that his great-grandfather was saved in China under the preaching of John Sung! Jonathan stands upon the shoulders of the one who was brought to Christ as the results of the fruit of Sister Aimee's ministry! Now, every day, young actors and actresses, producers, musicians, and screenwriters are gathering to worship God.
Unless a seed falls to the ground, it doesn't bear fruit. There is a great cloud of witnesses that I am sure is looking over the balcony of heaven, and they are, no doubt, rejoicing to see this great and glorious day!