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It was the early 70s. The Beatles, public demonstrations and disorder, gas shortage lines1, and the Vietnam War were in full swing. It was the “sign of the times.” It was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius and long beautiful hair.

The Jesus Revolution

PLAY: Hair by The Cowsills
https://youtu.be/0xaK4nf_Oug?si=sdwVRiN0iJLKvQzD

In 1971, the Jesus Revolution was Time magazine’s featured front cover.  It was a period in history of soul searching, of looking inward. We were trying to figure out who and what we were, and where we were going as a human race.

In January of ‘72, I became a believer in Jesus Christ during the Jesus Movement. The ‘turn on, tune in, drop out’ counterculture was discovering a new way to live as many “long beautiful hair, shining, gleaming, steaming, flaxen, waxen … shoulder length or longer”2 haired hippies began to embrace the gospel. I was now “getting high on Jesus,” “Peace and Love.”  And hey, what about “God is groovy” and “Smile God loves you”? They were slogans all part of the vibrant scene.

On my college campus, I made friends with a charismatic group of Jesus People who believed in miracles, signs and wonders, faith healing, and powerful works of the Holy Spirit. Many testified to having supernatural experiences similar to those recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. I wanted what they had. And so, I began attending a church that operated in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

At first, my faith to believe in miracles was … well, let’s just say, challenged because the church I used to attend taught the cessationist belief that miracles, signs, and wonders ceased with the apostles.

MY FAITH IS CHALLENGED

Eddie Smith, an evangelist faith healer from England, was coming to Kearny, New Jersey to lead a weekend healing revival service. While I had heard of faith healers like Smith Wigglesworth, Oral Roberts, and Kathryn Kuhlman, this would be my first opportunity to witness a faith healer in person. I had heard that their ministries were often accompanied by numerous claims of divine healing. Now, I might get to see one.

I wondered: Do miraculous healings still happen today? Is the kingdom of God now in its fullness, meaning that all the gifts of the Holy Spirit are available today and not just when we are resurrected with new bodies? Perhaps these questions would be put to bed after this weekend. No more questioning. proof that miracles, signs, and wonders are indeed for today!

I asked my younger brother, Jamie, if he would like to come along.

“Hey Jamie, how about attending a revival meeting tomorrow evening? It’s supposed to be a healing service.

“Huh. Do you really think someone is going to get healed?” his voice conveyed both wonder and skepticism.

“Yeah, maybe,” I said. It might be fun to go check it out. What do you think?

Jamie replied, “Yeah. I’ll go with you! It sounds interesting. I’ve never heard of anything like this before.”

So, the two of us, on a Friday evening, hopped in my Bright Orange 1974 Volkswagen Beetle and drove to the church where the revival was happening. If you weren’t looking for it, it was easy to pass by. The small suburban white clapboard church on Elm Street had no parking and was nestled between houses just 20 to 25 feet apart on a tree-lined street, resulting in it blending in with the other houses. The church was neither attractive nor spacious, although it comfortably accommodated a small congregation of people just under a hundred. There were no ornate stain-glassed windows, church bells, or an inviting entranceway or vestibule as many might be accustomed to. It was plain to look at on the outside, but on the inside, something extraordinary was about to happen.

My brother and I entered under the aluminum awning behind other attendees where a man warmly greeted us. “Welcome. Glad you could come. We have a good crowd tonight, so if you need help getting seated, someone will be glad to help you find seats.”  We acknowledged his greeting and then went inside.

From what I observed, the room was nearly packed to overflowing, with mostly college-age attendees. We were fortunate to find a couple of seats on the end of a pew about eight rows back from the front, where I could stretch out my long legs into the aisle.

There was a buzz of excitement in the air with some engaged in lively conversation while others sat in quiet expectation, all eagerly awaiting the start of the service. Shortly, thereafter, the pastor of the small church on Elm Street quieted the room and opened with prayer and singing before introducing Eddie Smith.

Eddie Smith kicked things off by telling a classic British humor joke. “Who here has a crick in their neck?” he quipped. A guy in the audience stood up unabashedly and acknowledged the invitation. “Well,” Eddie Smith replied with a sly smile, “will you please ask your wife to approach the altar?”  Sounds like Smith was trying to get to the hidden source of this guy’s “pain in the neck.”

In a shift to a more serious tone, Eddie Smith transitioned by inviting the Holy Spirit’s presence, setting the stage for miracles to unfold. Eddie Smith was a heavyset man with an authoritative presence. As I looked on curiously, he confidently invited members of the audience to come forward for healing and prophesied words of knowledge to those present.  A word of knowledge is when someone knows something about another person that God reveals to them, information that the giver of the word wouldn’t have known otherwise.

“Who here is suffering from one leg being shorter than the other?” he inquired. Unequal leg length is a condition where the legs are either different lengths or appear to be different lengths because of misalignment. “Won’t you please come forward? The Lord wants to heal you,” he proclaimed.

As he made his way to the front of the room, the man’s stride was marked by an abnormal gait. “What is your name, son?” Smith asked. “It’s Tom,” he murmured softly. Eddie Smith reassured him, noticing that he was visibly uncomfortable. “So, how long have you had this condition, Tom? “Since birth,” he replied. “Well, good news, Tom, Jesus loves you and wants to heal you tonight.” “Is that okay?” Tom nodded affirmatively, indicating a yes.

Smith invited him to take a seat and stretch out both legs so that he could assess his condition. As he began calling on Jesus to heal him, there was an expectancy in the room that something miraculous was about to happen.

To the amazement of everyone present, the shorter leg began to elongate until it matched the length of the other. The room erupted in loud shouts of praise and raising of hands. Many more healings also occurred throughout the night, leaving me inspired by what I had witnessed. This made me want to come back the next evening. What miracles would God do again on Saturday?  I looked forward to coming back.

The second evening of meetings was once again filled to capacity. You could just feel the excitement and anticipation. Much the same as the previous night, Eddie Smith shared words of knowledge for those in attendance who needed healing, and once more, many were miraculously healed.

Amidst the fervor, I heard him ask, “Who here has plantar warts?”  I was stunned, shocked in disbelief. How could he possibly know that I suffered from this condition? 

Plantar warts are small growths that usually appear on the heels or other weight-bearing areas of your feet that can cause extreme pain.  It was true that I suffered from them, but I thought Eddie Smith couldn’t mean me. I reasoned it must be someone else. And so, I did not respond, nor did anyone else answer the invitation to go forward for plantar warts. When no one responded, Eddie Smith continued inviting others to come forward for various healings.

Why didn’t I go forward? I didn’t like being the center of attention, but I believe it was mostly to deflect disappointment if I was not healed.

Later that evening, Eddie Smith again extended the invitation to someone with Plantar warts to come forward. Nothing. Crickets. No one moved. Deep inside I knew the invitation was for me, but I still didn’t respond.  “Nope! Can’t do it. No way!”

FINAL INVITATION

As the evening drew to a close, Eddie Smith extended one final call to anyone with plantar warts. “This is the 3rd and last time I will make this invitation to someone here with plantar warts. The Lord wants to heal you. Won’t you please come forward?” Eddie Smith asked, pausing momentarily for someone to respond. “That’s you, bro. You have to go up,” my brother Jamie nudged me, insisting. Stubbornly refusing to move,  Jamie then got this brilliant idea to push me out of my pew. Before I knew it, I stood frozen like a deer caught in headlights, attracting everyone’s attention. It was too late for me to retreat, so, I nervously approached Eddie Smith.

Just as he had done with others before, Eddie Smith kindly reassured me of God’s love and His desire to bring healing to me. Standing there, Eddie Smith laid hands on me and called on all of heaven and the Name of Jesus to heal me from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet.

While some prayers are beautifully elaborate and grandiose, invoking the vastness of God’s grace and wisdom, like: “O Divine Creator, in the vast expanse of Your boundless grace and infinite wisdom, we humbly gather before Your presence. As we stand in awe of the majesty of Your creation, we bow our heads in reverence and gratitude and beseech Thee, should it be Your will …,” Eddie Smith’s prayer was instead commanding and authoritative: “In Jesus’ Name, plantar warts, leave right now! GO! In the Name of Jesus, be healed!”And that was it—just simple and direct. There was no reservation or doubt in his voice, only complete and unwavering faith that I would be healed.

What was I feeling? To be honest, I felt nothing short of nothing. Crazy, huh? I didn’t fall to the floor and start to shake and roll. I didn’t feel a surge of electricity go through me or tingling in my extremities. My eyes didn’t flutter, nor did I hear God speak audibly or even in a small still voice to my spirit. I felt nothing. I heard nothing. Absolutely, NOTHING!   But what I did feel was self-conscious about being the focus of everyone’s attention, so I moved rather quickly back to my seat after Eddie Smith finished praying for me. Phew! That was embarrassing.

When I got home that night, I went straight to my room to get ready for bed. As was my usual routine, I sat on the edge of my bed and began to remove my socks. As my hand brushed against the bottom of my foot, I was stunned. I was completely taken by surprise. Miraculously, the bottom of my foot felt smooth and without blemish. God had completely healed me of plantar warts! Remarkably, to this day, they have never returned!

MULTIPLE FAITHS AT WORK

Matthew 17:20 highlights the enormous power even a tiny amount of faith can have in overcoming obstacles and achieving miraculous outcomes according to God’s will. It states, “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

God works in miraculous ways despite our inadequacies and little faith. Did I believe in healing for myself?  I wasn’t sure.  That day, if my brother and I had not exhibited even a tiny amount of faith, we might not have attended.  But, we did!

It took my brother’s small mustard seed of faith to push me and encourage me to move from my seat so that I might experience more of God.

It took Eddie Smith’s great faith to command, with the authority he had in Jesus’ Name, “Be healed!” 

Sometimes it is also through God’s prophetic word and others’ testimonies of personal healing that move us to greater faith to believe.

Ultimately, however, it was because Eddie Smith heard the Father’s heart for me. It was because of the Father’s tender kindness, His grace, His compassion, and His constant love for me that He wanted to demonstrate.

Has this whet your appetite to hear more?  I want to create in you a hunger to desire more Holy Spirit just as it did for me.

Just as the disciples were empowered to do the things that Christ did, so are we empowered.  John 14:12-14 is a wonderful verse that we must believe is for TODAY – “I tell you this timeless truth: The person who follows me in faith, believing in me, will do the same mighty miracles that I do—even greater miracles than these because I go to be with my Father! For I will do whatever you ask me to do when you ask me in my name. And that is how the Son will show what the Father is really like and bring glory to him.  Ask me anything in my name, and I will do it for you!”

God desires not only to save us but also to empower and commission us to do the things Jesus did. It is God’s will for you to grow in faith. He wants to bring healing to both your body and your soul. Take a moment now, close your eyes, sit quietly, and open your heart to receive the love that the Father and Jesus have for you, beloved.

Copyright 2024 by Bill Hutzel
Edited by Peggy Castorri Hutzel

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FOOTNOTE
1 America Out of Gas – A Lesson in Patience by Bill Hutzel, 2016
2 “Hair” by the Cowsills, 1969

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2 Comments

  1. Bill, this brings back memories for me as well. I was saved in 1970 during early days of the Jesus Revolution and the Charismatic outpouring. I grew up in Fort Lauderdale Florida, where 5 pillars in the Charismatic renewal moved to the area and submitted their lives to each other as a demonstration of unity to the body of Christ. These 5 men were Bob Mumford, Derek Prince, Charles Simpson, Earn Baxter, and Don Basham, and became one of the epi-centers of the charismatic Renewal. A magazine was developed, produced and edited by Bob Sutton called New Wine magazine. Bob is still my pastor to this day. A tape lending library was run by Ed Raitte who sent tapes throughout the world disseminating the teachings of the 5 teachers, which became known as the now word of what the Holy Spirit wanted to emphasize. The lending library was part of the Holy Spirit Teaching Mission which put on conferences in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami Beach and later became known as Christian Growth Ministries.
    I was invited to one of these conferences on Miami Beach. The atmosphere was nothing short of electric and the presence of God was so palatable you could cut it with a knife. God was pouring His spirit out on all flesh. Every denomination was represented from Catholics charismatics to Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodists, and non denominational all in the unity and commonality of the Holy Spirit. there were no titles in those days. People were merely called by their first names. There were no father so in so or pastor this, or apostle or prophet. All the walls were down that divide us. Miracles were happening everywhere, the blind see, the lame walk, the prisoners set free and delivered. Leg lengthening was a common experience, but the most amazing thing was that anyone and everyone could do acts of miracles and were.
    Away from the conferences, there were house churches meeting every night of the week. These meeting were standing room, or sitting room only. We were all so hungry for the word of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
    When Lonnie Frisbie left California, he came to Ft. Lauderdale to work on his marriage and be descipled by Bob Mumford. Hey moved into a small rental house owned by Derek Prince right next door to me. Mumford had invited 7 successful young men in ministry to come for a disciple training period of which Lonnie was one of them. Mumford’s ministry had always been about maturity and spiritual growth. Something that was desperately needed, as you had so many young people trying to shepherd the flock of young people being saved by the hundreds of thousands.
    Around the year 2000 Dutch sheets had an open vision where he saw a move of God coming where the stadiums were all filled with young people. In January of this year we saw what may possibly be the beginning of this when 55,000 high school and college age kids pack out the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta for the 2024 Passion conference. I believe we are about to see a new Jesus revolution coming. will we be ready for it this time?

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