Final Decade, 20th Century 1996
October 20—Houston, Texas – Richard Heard
Richard Heard led the Christian Tabernacle in Houston in growth from 250 to 3,000 members. On Sunday, October 20, 1996, a move of God exploded in the church and dramatically affected it.
During the previous year the church had placed a strong emphasis on knowing Christ intimately. That August of 1996 Hector Giminez from Argentina ministered there with great power and many significant healings. Awareness of the presence and glory of the Lord increased during October, especially with the ministry of an evangelist friend of Richard, Tommy Tenny, who was also to speak the morning of October
20th. Richard was preparing to welcome him and had just read about God’s promise of revival from Second Chronicles 7:14, when God’s power hit the place—even splitting the Plexiglas pulpit.
21st. He spoke about it by telephone in November 1996 with Norman Pope of New Wine Ministries in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, who put the transcript of the discussion on the Awakening e-mail. The following is an edited selection of Richard Heard’s comments.
I felt the presence of the Lord come on me so powerfully I grabbed the podium, the pulpit, to keep from falling, and that was a mistake. Instantly I was hurled a number of feet in a different direction, and the people said it was like someone just threw me across the platform. The pulpit fell over that I had been holding for support, and I was out for an hour and a half. … I could not move. And I saw a manifestation of the glory of God…. There were thick clouds, dark clouds, edged in golden white and the clouds would—there would be bursts of light that would come through that, that would just go through me absolutely like electricity. … There was literally a pulsating feeling of —as though I was being fanned by the presence of the glory of God. … There were angelic manifestations that surrounded the glory and I didn’t know how long I was out. They said later that I was there for an hour and a half.
In the meanwhile, all across the building people, they tell me, were falling under the presence of God. That’s not something that has happened much in our church, but people were stretched out everywhere. … We have three services on Sunday and people would enter the hallways that lead to the foyer and then into the auditorium and they would enter the hallways and begin to weep. There was such a glory of God and they would come into the foyer and not stop—they would just go straight to the altar—people stretched out everywhere. … There were all kinds of angelic visitations that people had experienced. And we’ve got professional people in our church— doctors, professors, their bodies were strewn everywhere.
When I felt the glory of God lift, I tried to get up and couldn’t. It was as though every electrical mechanism in my body had short-circuited. I couldn’t make my hands or my feet respond to what I was trying to tell them to do. It was as though I was paralyzed.… And we had one service that day, and the service literally never ended—it went all the way through the day until 2:00 that morning. It had started at 8:30, and we decided to have church the next night, and I didn’t want to be presumptuous, but we went on a nightly basis on that order, just announcing one night at a time, and as we got deeper into the week I could begin to see that God was doing something that was probably going to be more extended….
There have been numerous healings. The evangelist didn’t speak at all that Sunday. In fact, the entire week he spoke maybe twenty minutes. There’s been a really deep call of God to repentance. People come in and they just fall on their faces….
We had a great choir. We’re a multi-ethnic congregation. A Brooklyn Tabernacle kind of sound, if you’re familiar with that. Great worship and praise. Sunday morning there wasn’t a choir member standing on the platform. They were all scattered like logs all over the platform. And we go in—[musicians] begin to play, to lead us into the presence of the Lord, and they play very softly. Because of our background, usually our worship is very strong, very dynamic, a lot of energy. Not any more. It’s like you’re afraid to even lift your voice.
Like they—even the notes on the piano they want to play very gently and then the Lord sweeps in. Five nights last week I wasn’t even able to receive an offering. So—I mean, when He begins to move there’s not one thing you can do. You just get out of the way and let Him work….
We’ve cancelled everything that we had planned. We have a lot of outside activities. We have 122 ministries within the church that have helped our church to grow, and these ministries were primarily either for getting people here or holding people once they’ve converted. … I was telling our staff—they were asking, “Are we going to have Christmas musicals and childrens’ pageants ever?” And we do a big passion play every year that brings in thousands and thousands of people. And I asked them, “Why do we do all of this?” and they said, “Well, we want people to come here so they can encounter God.” I said, “Look at what’s happening. We’ve got people storming in here that we’ve never seen, never heard of, never talked to. And God’s doing it in a way that is so far superior to what we could do that whatever we’ve got going on. We’re cancelling everything,” and that’s literally what we’ve done. … And there hasn’t been a single objection. That’s what amazes me.
I think that this is probably going to end up—whatever this season is that the Holy Spirit is bringing us through in terms of our commitment to Him and the deep searching of our own hearts, it has the feeling at this point like it’s going to—like it’s building toward even a greater evangelistic outpouring….
There’s a big difference in renewal and revival. I had the same skepticism of the laughter. I was raised in a classical Pentecostal background. I saw that from time to time, but the latest thing—I just—something inside of me just had a difficult time with it. And [in our church, after this visitation] there are people that are laughing like crazy now, and, I mean, all of this stuff I said that I had reservations about and didn’t particularly care to see—I mean it’s just as though God has said, “This is My Church. It’s not yours.” And I see the reality of it now. I think it’s going to end up turning strongly evangelistic. It has that feeling and a lot of people are coming and being saved each night. There are many being saved, and there’s not even really an altar call made that distinguishes between people that are already saved— that just need renewal and those that need conversion [because] it’s just so intense right now.
A year later people were still being converted, often 30–40 a week. Richard Herd commented that everywhere in the church the carpet is stained with the tears of people touched by God and repenting.
These kind of reports are beginning to multiply across America and around the world as the power of God moves upon His repentant people who seek Him above all else. Revival visitations ignite millions of people in the world today. Amid growing darkness, the light shines. The cross is still the
power of God for salvation to all who believe. The risen Lord empowers His people with His Spirit, which was His final promise: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnessess to Me…to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NKJ).
- Historian Richard Riss gathered many reports of current revivals in his article, “A History of the Worldwide Awakening of 1992–1995.” He has kindly given permission to use his material, the full text of which is published on the Internet. Much of this chapter is drawn from that material.
© Geoff Waugh. Used by permission.