Lindell Cooley wrote as the worship leader at Brownsville Assemblies of God in Pensacola, America, a church in revival since 18 June 1995. This article is from his book A Touch of Glory (Revival Press, 1997).
True revival comes
when God descends
in His glory
One of the most important things I can tell you is that true revival comes when God descends upon man in His glory. That’s it. There is no formula or religious dogma to memorize and implement at your church. There is no “12‑Step Revival Plan in a Can” that you can purchase at some expensive church growth seminar. Extraordinary things happen when the Extraordinary God shows up among ordinary people who long for more of Him. That is a summary of what happened at Brownsville Assembly of God on Father’s Day in June of 1995.
When I moved my mountain of boxes to Pensacola, Florida, and began to lead worship there, I quickly realized that I had come to an ordinary Assemblies of God church. Pastor John Kilpatrick was a wonderful pastor and a skilled teacher of the Word, but he struggled with the same problems every other pastor has to deal with. He worried about motivating and training workers, finding time to handle his counselling load, and balancing his roles as administrator, family man, and spiritual leader of the flock. He worried about the welfare of the sheep in his care, and he was fervently praying for revival. It was a church that wanted more because it didn’t have it yet.
I inherited a great worship team and a talented group of musicians, but like anyone else I struggled with rehearsal schedules, motivation problems, and the constant need to learn new songs and resuscitate the old ones. The congregation was a normal mix of young, old, and in‑betweens, representing almost every musical taste you could think of. In the midst of the normal challenges, we desperately wanted to see revival spark in our services and we were frustrated. Brownsville Assembly of God was like most of the medium‑sized Pentecostal and Charismatic churches scattered across America. We wanted something that we didn’t have, and we were pressing in by faith to see it come to pass.
I was scheduled to return to the Ukraine for a short missions trip in June, but before I left I began to teach the worship team, the choir, and the music team some Vineyard worship choruses. I had done away with most of the hard‑driving, lively praise songs I favoured before. I didn’t want to do anything that smacked of hype or emotional manipulation. I just wanted to go directly into worship and bypass praise altogether. The congregation seemed to enjoy some of the choruses and was indifferent to others. Something was still missing.
I went to the Ukraine in June of 1995 to help conduct a short choir tour and planned to return the week after Father’s Day. I was getting ready to leave the Ukraine when revival came “suddenly” to the Brownsville congregation on Sunday, June 18th. At the end of the Father’s Day service, the visiting evangelist named Stephen Hill gave an altar call. He had just delivered a normal sermon during a normal Sunday service, but everything changed when the Spirit of God suddenly descended on the congregation.
Many people who were present, including Pastor Kilpatrick, literally felt a wind sweep through the sanctuary during the visitation. A thousand people rushed to the altar that day to confess their sins, repent, and commit themselves to the Lord without hesitation or compromise. At this writing, the revival has continued week after week for two years and 125,000 souls have been added to the Kingdom by conservative count. The Lord continues to visit us with ever‑increasing power and glory month after month.
I flew into John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on Tuesday the 20th after reluctantly bidding my beloved Ukranian friends good‑bye. I found a phone and immediately called Pastor Kilpatrick.
“Hey, John what’s going on?”
“Lindell, It has happened!”
“What has happened?”
“Revival is here.”
I had waited to her those words for a long time.
My heart leapt in my chest because I knew it had to be real or the man on the other end of the line wouldn’t say it like that. I wanted to get back to Pensacola just that much quicker, but I knew I couldn’t make it until Wednesday. During the flight from New York to Florida, my mind kept taking me back to those “gentle laid‑back moments in God’s presence” that I had embraced since April.
When I arrived, John and Brenda Kilpatrick picked me up at the airport, and he began to share with me what God was doing. It sounded wonderful, but I was very tired, and felt disconnected. I didn’t realize it then, but that disconnected feeling would stay with me for about two weeks. There was no doubt that God was in the house, but I was having trouble entering in. I ran headlong into a major disappointment because I was expecting “Toronto”.
Breaking Old Dislikes
First there was this Stephen Hill character. I had never met him before the Wednesday night service after Father’s Day, but this evangelist seemed to be just a little “too hyped” for me. Pastor Kilpatrick assured me that he was okay and said that he had known Steve for years. My daydreams of a ‘gentle’ move of the Holy Spirit that morning were jolted back to reality by Stephen Hill, a dynamo with an unquenchable passion for souls. He was far from gentle. I thought he came across like a speeding freight train that first night.
He had us sing one chorus for 30 minutes straight at a clip of 90 miles an hour, and I felt like I had stepped back into my old Pentecostal roots again. All the wonderful things that the Lord had done for me suddenly seemed to disappear and my own heathenistic self came out again. I thought, I am not going to do this! Sorry, but I’ve been there, done that. I don’t want to do this! I want that gentle sweetness that I had.
After the service I was pretty hard on Steve Hill once we were alone. I said, “Steve, I am not going to get up there and do all that hype stuff. If you want it, then get someone else to do it, because I’m not doing it.” Frankly, I had a rotten attitude. Do you know what Steve did? He totally disarmed me with his answer. He said, “Well, brother, that’s all right. Whatever you want to do.” I had to repent to him shortly after that because I was so mean to him. He could have been angry with me but he wasn’t. The battles in my heart would continue for a while, but we were on the way to becoming close friends with one heart.
I knew that my reaction to Steve was rooted in my dislike for the old pattern of wanting to be worked up by powerful music. After my breaking in April, I was so moved by the revelation of just loving the Lord that I could be moved to worship at any time by the slightest breath of the Spirit. All I have to do is say from my heart, “Lord God, all You want is my worship. All You want is my attention. You are like a Father to me.” I don’t need a lengthy time of praise to crank my flesh up to speed. At the mere mention of His name I am ready to fall to my knees and worship. He has touched me so deeply that I must respond.
I didn’t realize it, but God was also out to break my deep‑seated desire to be somebody important. (Everyone I’ve ever known has had this desire too.) I was just floating along on a cloud of simply loving Jesus and hungering after the Lord, but there was some hidden poison still lurking in my heart and God wanted it out.
It was the glory of God that finally destroyed the yoke around my neck. Before God touched me, I always thought that God had called me to a greater grace and a higher calling than to just be somebody’s “flunky musician.” I thank God for His mercy and grace in forgiving my arrogance.
Just when I was convinced that God wasn’t doing anything in me, He brought all my wrong motives to the surface. In the first few weeks of the revival, any time Stephen or Pastor Kilpatrick would interrupt one of my songs or stop the worship service to say something, I would be totally offended. I wouldn’t say anything or change my actions, but in my spirit I was offended. My face might have been smiling but my heart and head were shouting, “Doggone you, get away from the microphone. I don’t interrupt your sermons, do I? Now stay out of my hair ‑ I’m trying to lead worship here.” (I am not interested in being “politically correct” in this book; my goal is to speak the truth in love so that you and others can avoid the mistakes I made and move directly into God’s best.)
It was wrong, but I felt like these godly men were invading my territory. Musicians seem to have an old link to lucifer the first rebellious worship leader ‑ they have a pride that is never satisfied. They jealously guard what is “theirs” and then wonder why they don’t have what the pastor or evangelist has too.
God would be using me mightily in worship, and then this “old ugly” would come out. Right then and there, in the middle of an anointed Brownsville Revival service, I would feel my hidden spiritual pride, piety, and ego rise to the surface. I’d catch myself thinking, I’ve been in this thing a long time, and here is some old drug addict [Stephen Hill] preaching a sermon. Dear God, he just said he got saved in 1975! I was rolling on the floor and speaking tongues in 1975. Why, I’ve been in church all my life and never veered from the path! (Sounds like the older brother of the Prodigal son, doesn’t it?)
God never let me get away with it. He would just zap me and say, “Stop it. If you want Me, humble yourself.” Yes, you thought you had that jealousy under control, but I brought that out to show you that you don’t. Repent of it, and let it go.”
One of the greatest joys of working with Pastor John Kilpatrick and Stephen Hill is the fact that they are transparent. They prefer direct communication. I told Pastor John one night after service, “You know, God has brought out some really ugly stuff in me, and I’ve had to repent.” I don’t think he was surprised, but I do know he was pleased.
When the Spirit’s work was complete in the area of my calling and self‑worth in Christ (He has so much more to do in me), I had a totally different attitude. Now any time those brothers need to say something or interrupt for any reason, I think, ‘That’s fine, brother. I trust your judgement. Go ahead and do anything you want to do. If you want to prophesy, if you want to stop me in the middle of my favourite song, that’s fine.’ Yes, the musician in me will still occasionally grumble a little bit when I’m interrupted, but now I have a tolerance for it. I just tell myself, Oh well, what is the big deal? The guy is trying to follow the Lord here. Relax.
Pastor Kilpatrick, Stephen Hill, and I have great confidence in one another today. We trust each other. We’ve cried and wept in each other’s arms, and we are soldiers. We’ve been in the fox hole together, we’ve watched out for each other’s back, so all of the small differences and irritations just don’t bother us now.
New Things ‑ Even in Revival
Once my eyes were opened to the incredible work God was doing in me those first two weeks of revival, I became content. I realized, for the first time in my life, that I wasn’t “somebody’s” piano player ‑ I was God’s piano player. (My mother had been saying it for decades, but I guess I just wasn’t listening close enough.) If that was what God wanted me to do for the rest of my life, than praise His name; I would be content. I had to pass that hurdle before the other gifts within me could be released to grow. If I had failed to pass that test, my selfish ambitions would have tainted all the other gifts and callings in my life.
Very early in the revival we began to notice some supernatural occurrences in the worship service that let us know God was personally involved in this revival ‑ even in areas not related to the hundreds of souls won each night and the filled altars. I looked in my personal journal and found an entry dated August 17, 1995 (about two months after the revival began.) This is what I wrote down after I got home that night:
August 17, 1995
The service tonight seemed to be pretty average until the very end. As I was about to leave, I talked with Richard Crisco, the youth pastor, and he questioned me about a particular worship chorus we had sung toward the end of the service. It was an ad lib thing that just came out of the air. He wanted to know how I was able to cue the sound track tape to come in as precisely as it did. I told him there was no tape, it was just me and the keyboard ‑ there weren’t even any singers, but he didn’t believe me. He said that he had heard at least three voices and several instruments.
As Richard spoke, I remembered that I too had heard a third voice singing a beautiful counter melody, but was so caught up in the presence of the Lord that I didn’t see who was singing, or who it might be. I knew I was singing, and I assumed it was Jeff Oettle [one of the worship singers at the time] or someone who had felt inspired and grabbed the mike to join in.
As Richard talked, I remembered two things: First, the third voice was exceptionally clear, and the counter melody sounded rehearsed. Second, when we had finished singing, I went to sit by Pastor John who was a little lost in the Spirit (in other words, he was out like he always is), and he told me in slurred speech, “That new chorus you just did was wonderful. Could you do it again tomorrow night?”
Later on, Benny Johnson (the sound guy) and Van Lane (the children’s pastor) told me that they had heard it too. They were at the sound board, and were trying to find out what channel the third voice was on. [It wasn’t going through the sound board at all!]
My conclusion, that the third voice was definitely not of this world, wow.
Later that week I asked Jeff Oettle, “Were you singing with me?”
“No, but I was standing on stage.”
Then I asked him, “Did anybody else sing with me?”
I already knew the answer ‑ no.
All this happened during a Thursday night service, and I remember that the entire worship team was exhausted because early in the revival we used to sing for hours at the end. Somewhere close to midnight the band started to really sound bad and the singers were nearly out of it, so I dismissed them so they could get some rest. I punched in a piano program with a breathy sound on my electronic keyboard, and I just started playing a chord with a monastic Gregorian chant style.
I clearly remember hearing a backup voice and a third voice come in that was singing a perfect counter melody to my song, except that it wasn’t repeating what I was saying ‑ that would have been impossible anyway. I was making it up as I went. Yet this voice was singing at the same time I was singing in perfect counter melody with an incredibly clear voice.
I was making up the melody and words as I went and the other voices were singing right along with me while putting in these little moves in their melodies. I was kind of thinking, “That’s cool, whoever that is.”
Two girls from Puerto Rico who had backgrounds in witchcraft came to the revival that night. When I started singing this song, hundreds of people were still being prayed for at the altars, and it is normally pretty loud. When I started to sing, “Ha‑ha‑hallelujah…” accompanied only by the keyboard, everything became totally quiet. The song (with the heavenly voices) was so impressive that everyone stopped to listen. This went on for probably two or three minutes. (Everybody I questioned that night heard it.)
When I stopped singing, one of the Puerto Rican girls sitting to my far right released a blood‑curdling scream and I thought, How rude of you to interrupt. But it was almost as though a demon had left. The girl told one of the intercessors who was working with her that she had tried to get deliverance from the witchcraft that she had practiced for years, and she’d never been really free of it. Once the angels started singing, that demon left her, and that was that.
It Comes Full Circle
Once I allowed my insecurities and religious pride to be broken, God began to speak into my life again through prophecy. A prophet named Michael Ratcliff prophesied in the revival in 1995 that the Lord was giving me an anointing of “imperialism”. At the beginning of the prophecy he said that I had laid down the anointing to speak the Word because I felt it was inappropriate, but that God was commanding me to open my mouth, and that I would be used as a spearhead to pierce the darkness.
He said that when I or my music went to Taiwan or mainland China, God would give me eight different currencies to work with, and that He would begin to bless me financially. I was to give and be free with it, and the people would be touched, as well as the officials.
He also said God would give me a song that would be sung around the world, and that the Lord was giving me a ministry to heal marriages. The song would be about the Lord and His love for the union of marriage. Some of the marriages healed through the song would be the marriages of heads of state in many countries and I would sing and speak the Word of the Lord to them.
Ruth Heflin prophesied early in 1966 that because I had embraced the harvest, the Lord would make my path flat. I should take no thought, and I should not worry about the things that others do, because God would provide all that I needed ‑ houses, food, and clothing. She also said that the Lord would move me from harvest to harvest. Anywhere in the world that there is a harvest, I would have a portion of it. The Lord said that there was a generation that would follow me, though they’re incomplete, but the Lord would raise them up, and they would follow.
These prophecies closed a prophetic circle in my life by fully confirming the prophecies spoken over me long ago. Some of them have come to pass already and others are in process. Since they were in full agreement with what God had already put on my heart, I embraced them with joy. From time to time I remind the Lord about His promises to me and stand on His faithfulness. As a young man not yet in his 40’s, I am hardly old enough to publish an autobiography of my life, but I am obligated of the Lord to share some of the lessons I’ve learned along the path of obedience.
For reasons known only to God, I have catapulted to a place of national and international exposure, and I am well aware that thousands of leaders and would‑be leaders are watching me. I am writing this book from the things that I know and have experienced, and I will leave other subjects to those better qualified than I. …
The glory of God has fallen on Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida, and it has also fallen in significant measure in Toronto, Ontario and at Holy Trinity Brompton Anglican Church in London, England. At this writing literally thousands of reports are flooding the offices of Brownsville Assembly testifying that God’s glory is falling all across the globe. …
If you have abandoned the old landmarks that God established in your life years ago, then it is time for you to hurry back to those landmarks. Clear away the brush and debris that hide them and once again cherish the word of the Lord over your life. Protect those things that are holy and cleanse those things that are unclean.
Used with permission from A Touch of Glory by Lindell Cooley (Revival Press, Destiny Image, 1997), Chapter 8, pages 119‑132.
(c) 2011, 2nd edition. Reproduction allowed with copyright included in text.
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