Sunday, May 10, 2020

40th Anniversary of the Mother’s Day Outpouring


Worship service at Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda
held at the Canyon High School gym.

Although I have written other pieces on this topic, this one has a little more background on some of the events surrounding and leading up to my own experience with being filled with the Holy Spirit, which took place at what was called then Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda. Some of what happened with me is covered in Roger Sachs’ recent books on Lonnie Frisbee. I am giving a little more in-depth personal account from my own perspective:

The Mother’s Day Outpouring of the Holy Spirit that took place when Lonnie Frisbee shared his testimony and ministered at Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda, turned into a full-blown revival.

Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda, which held its services in the Canyon High School gymnasium in Yorba Linda, was pastored by John Wimber. It was some years later when it changed its name to Anaheim Vineyard. Wimber had invited Lonnie Frisbee to share his testimony, which turned out to be on Mother’s Day. Lonnie had been one of the main early evangelists in the Jesus People Revival and he preached regularly at evangelistic services held at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa for years, where many people were saved, and back in the day, also often included people being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Sometime along Lonnie’s second stint at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, he met and connected with John Wimber. Lonnie had left some time ago to Florida to try and mend his marriage, and then came back later and was on staff again at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa for a second time. Wimber and Frisbee met at a Calvary Chapel conference in Lake Arrowhead and he later invited Lonnie to share his testimony at Calvary Chapel church in Yorba Linda.

Mother’s Day

Lonnie shared his humorous testimony laden with stories of the Jesus People days and anecdotes of himself learning to operate in the Holy Spirit. This included some of his missteps like trying to heal a guy with a neck brace in a restaurant bathroom who ran out screaming, as well as how he had a deerskin cape with a picture of Jesus on it that he would throw on top of people when they got slain in the Spirit. When he finished, he invited the Holy Spirit to come and a very powerful outpouring of the Spirit ensued. Many people fell over, some on top of one another, some began speaking in tongues, including some of those who didn’t even believe in tongues.

The Spirit of God was poured out in radical and raw power and knocked some over to the ground, a dogpile of young people fell near the front inundated by the power of the Spirit, and one of them ended up on top of a microphone crying out in tongues over the amplification system, which seemed to cause a reverberation of the Spirit’s power throughout the meeting. An all-out radical outpouring of the Holy Ghost took over. Wimber, who had no idea what was happening, was completely perplexed and in his own words “fit to be tied.”

After such a wild service, Wimber was at first angry, but as he began to pray and examine the Bible that night, he came to the conclusion that, Lord, maybe this is from you. In the middle of the night he received a call from Tom Stipe, a fellow Calvary Pastor who had a word from God for him. Stipe called him and told Wimber that he had been kept awake all night long with this word from God for him: “John, the Lord says ‘This is of Me.’ ” When John then explained to him what happened in the service that Sunday, Tom told him this activity was common in the Jesus People Revival.

With the word from God confirming this was of the Lord and a fresh examination of the Scriptures, Wimber had what in the lingua of Fuller Theological Seminary is called “a complete paradigm shift.” Basically, an ability to see things he had overlooked or ignored before, in a completely new and fresh way. He saw that the Scriptures were laden with the power of God moving from Jesus’ whole ministry to the Book of Acts and on and on. John Wimber, to his credit, decided to move forward with what God had just done. He wouldn’t just allow, or tolerate, the occasional work of the Holy Spirit. He saw that the Scriptures actually commanded God’s people to be filled and the gifts to be in operation.

A Continued Outpouring

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit continued on from that point as a regular thing at Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda and many were filled and baptized with God’s power. That Mother’s Day outpouring sparked a revival that continued on at full throttle. The church in Yorba Linda tripled in size over that next year and many, many people began to get saved, filled, healed, delivered as well as experiencing the outpouring and fullness of the Spirit in their own lives.

I also got baptized in the Holy Spirit in this revival season that followed sometime after the Mother’s Day Outpouring. My own experience, and what led up to getting baptized in the Holy Spirit at Canyon High School back in that time, follows.

Events in My Life Leading Up to Being Filled

I was occasionally attending some Bible studies at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, as well as in the Newport Beach area that were linked with Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, around this time.

I had been around Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa for some years now, after ending up there through a divine appointment and would go to stuff mostly when I had time as well as transportation that worked. Transportation was an ongoing issue for me back then. I had traded a surfboard for my first beater of a car, which was before I was even old enough to have a license. My parents had gotten divorced and I had to fend for myself and needed transportation. That crazy car had these dysfunctional broken seats that swiveled around like an office chair. It didn’t take long to fall apart and a small crash finally finished that thing off and it was out of commission.

I saved up some money from various jobs like working at a car wash and washing dishes at a restaurant. I eventually bought a Volkswagen Squareback, which was cool because it was like a little station wagon and I could put my surfboard in the back. This Volkswagen had its own problems too. Sometimes it wouldn’t start and had to be push started and other times the lights wouldn’t go on. Being a young teen, I was willing to take some risks, so after driving to the beach from the inland tracts, I would sometimes have to round up some other surfers to help me push start that car to get it going again.

So, after getting out of the water from a surf session, if I had time, and the car would cooperate, I would occasionally go to an evening service during the week at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa or a Bible Study in Newport at a home connected with Calvary, depending on what night it was.

I preferred the home studies because they had food a lot of the times and there wasn’t much food at home ever since my parents divorced. I would also occasionally check out these Afterglow meetings at Calvary. (An afterglow was a meeting after the Bible Studies where people could have time to share a word, or a revelation, or get prayed for, etc.) I would go sometimes just out of curiosity to see what was happening, people would pray out loud in strange languages that I thought were like some kind of African language or something—I didn’t know why they did this since there were no Africans there—I didn’t realize back then that people were speaking in tongues. These afterglows are where I first encountered Lonnie Frisbee; I would see him around Calvary Costa Mesa at other things as well.

An Introduction to the Holy Spirit

I got an introduction and taste of the power of the Holy Spirit at a separate meeting one evening up in the city of Orange. A friend just happened to bring me to this meeting, which was quite unusual. The chairs were all facing each other in a circle and someone dimmed the lights before we began. That’s weird, I thought, how are we gonna see to read the Bible? Then they started this seemingly endless singing…forever. I was used to like three or four songs at Calvary Chapel Bible studies…this was going on forever and I was getting bored. Out of boredom I finally joined in with the singing, thinking it would help pass the time, but inside I was praying it would just end soon….please!!! I usually just waited out the singing part at Calvary.

I was hoping this endless singing would soon be over and was just waiting things out when I saw that hippie dude from the afterglows at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, Lonnie Frisbee, come into the meeting. He was floating around the back of the room and walked around behind a few people, placed his hands on them and prayed for them. He then came up behind me and laid his hands on my head and started praying over me. I suddenly felt a heavenly warmth come flowing through my body, in a very unique and unusual way. I had never experienced anything like this before! I did feel the love of Jesus from time to time after I got saved, but this now was on a whole different level. I spent the rest of the time in the meeting just thinking about what had just happened.

When we were finished and hanging around outside, I told this girl I knew: “Hey, something wild just happened in there. I felt a strange warmth come over me. It happened when that hippie guy who came into the meeting late came over and prayed for me.” She laughed at me saying, “Don’t you know anything about the Holy Spirit, where have you been?” Then she added, “Yeah, and that’s Lonnie Frisbee. Everywhere he goes radical things seem to happen!” I was definitely intrigued by it all.

Shortly after this, I was at a Bible study in Newport Beach. After the study, we were all hanging out in the kitchen eating some food, when I heard some of the older adults talking over in a corner. They all had looks of concern on their faces as they discussed the recent going ons up at Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda. One guy’s voice was getting louder as he exclaimed, “I heard Lonnie Frisbee is getting out of control up there. He was in the back room of the Canyon High School gym, standing on top of the wrestling mats waving his arms around like a wild man and people were falling over in piles on top of each other. It’s completely out of control up there!” The guy talking then realized that everyone else had stopped talking and eating and everyone was just listening to what he was saying. He looked over a bit embarrassed that he had gotten so loud and he then warned everyone: “Stay away from there! Don’t go up there, it is not safe!” Immediately, it had the opposite effect on most there, including myself. I wanted to go up there and check out whatever it was that was happening. 
The more some people  criticized what was going on up at Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda, the more it seemed to draw people there.

Many were hungry for the power and impact of the early Jesus People days when the power of God was moving in raw form with people getting supernaturally saved, and filled, and healed, in radical ways. 

In fact I would regularly see a lot of the same people from Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, including leaders, coming up to Yorba Linda for the Sunday evening services and joining in with the worship and ministry.

Things similar to the early Jesus People Revival were now happening up at Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda after the Mother’s Day outpouring. In fact, it was like a second wave of the Jesus People Revival. But this time, it was a lot of different types of people, including skaters, surfers, rockabillies, punk rockers, etc, all kinds of cultural outliers, that were getting saved and touched through what was happening in the revival there.

John Wimber talks about how they were baptizing people in his and other people’s swimming pools regularly. It was similar, but in a different setting than the baptisms at Corona Del Mar in the first wave of the Jesus People. This wave of evangelism had started right after the Mother’s Day outpouring. I had personally been baptized in Corona Del Mar myself back in the day. It is a little more picturesque and romantic at the beach than a swimming pool, but a new wave of evangelism had started up at Yorba Linda just the same.

There was also a deliberate focus in this second wave on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the filling of the Holy Spirit as seen in the Book of Acts and talked about by John the Baptist and Jesus:

John the Baptist said of Jesus: “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Luke 3:16)

Jesus in Acts: “He ordered them…to wait for the promise of the Father...’you heard from me that John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’” (Acts 1:4-5) Jesus said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses….” (Acts 1:7-8)

Rather than the work of the Spirit being an occasional part of things that was passively allowed to happen, Wimber had experienced a paradigm shift and saw that in the Scriptures it was central and furthermore endorsed and commanded in the Bible. So, Wimber went forward from that point with the attitude that he wasn’t going to just passively allow it, but rather endorse it and actively encourage it as the Bible and Christ had done.

I had experienced a foretaste of this Holy Spirit filling and power through that meeting in Orange. I was intrigued but didn’t really understand it all yet and still had my mind elsewhere, though I was curious. Nevertheless, God was about to give me the full download!

The Filling of the Holy Spirit

Bryan getting prayed for by Lonnie Frisbee and Jill Austin.

Paul talks about how the Holy Spirit indwells us when we get saved and I understood the Holy Spirit’s indwelling from the teaching of Paul in the New Testament. The Bible also speaks of the empowering of the Holy Spirit. I had experienced only a taste of that in that meeting in Orange. And then God arranged the circumstances to get me filled in an unusual way:

I was out surfing when I did a really hard backside turn. While I came down from the lip of the wave, I got upside down and inverted and fell over my knee, twisting it badly. I felt a sharp pain shoot through my knee. I tried to ignore what I had just felt and tried to get out and get another wave, but I immediately fell as my knee gave out.

I eventually had to face the music and go to the doctor. He said I had a ligament tear and “most doctors would send you straight to surgery, which in reality often turns into multiple surgeries. We are going to try and dodge a bullet here, I don’t wanna have to cut you open if we don’t need to, you are young so we are going to see if we can maybe, just maybe, avoid surgery. It’s worth a try, but no promises,” and then he stuck a big cast on my leg. (It is worth noting that back then knee surgery was much more invasive and involved making a huge incision.)

It was summertime and hot and I hated that gigantic cast. I was completely shut down and stuck doing nothing with that thing. Someone volunteered to take me to one of the services up at Calvary chapel Yorba Linda that I’d been warned to stay away from. They said they were having a revival; I didn’t really understand what they were talking about. My curiosity had been piqued by that warning at the Bible Study in Newport though, and I wanted to check what was going on up there. I was also hoping to receive healing for my injured knee. This stupid cast was putting the brakes on my activities like surfing and lifeguarding, and I was also starting to do a little modeling.

Mostly though, I had been surfing competitively in the amateur circuits where contemporaries like Tom Curren and a young Kelly Slater were making their mark. It was a wild time to be involved in such a sport. It was a new decade and definitely a season of great change in many aspects of surfing and larger society as a whole.

Bryan getting a tube ride! Photo by Surfshot

Bryan in a Quiksilver ad.

I had been influenced to turn pro by my sponsor Quiksilver, and shortly after I had the knee injury, which brought my new venture to a complete halt. Having appeared recently in an advertisement in Surfing Magazine for Quiksilver, the pressure was on to get healed up and get back on track with things. And so it was with that mindset that I went to this unusual church up in Yorba Linda meeting at the local high school gym, with the hope of getting my knee healed and moving on with my life, having no idea of the whitewater rapids I was about to be thrown into.

I entered into this hot gym with people holding their hands up in the air and singing what seemed like songs that never ended. Here we go again with more of this endless singing. It seemed like one song all connected together going on for what seemed like…forever.

Due to the lack of windows and air conditioning in the gym, the place was about as hot as a Swedish sauna. I looked around, some were singing with hands raised, others were crying or laughing, and some had even fallen over and off their seats, while still others seemed to be muttering in strange languages. I literally thought I had come to a church that was full of people who were  emotionally and mentally challenged, so many were crying, others laughing. I had been to a Shriners Circus for challenged kids when I was younger and just tripped out on the whole thing and watched the wild overly emotional kids as much as the circus. Sitting there in the high school gym I felt like I was back at that circus tripping out on this church full of emotionally challenged people. I didn’t yet understand that these people at Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda were just experiencing the love of God in a powerful way and were overcome by His presence.

So I just endured the endless singing escapade, sitting there sweating, befuddled at what was going on with these people all around me. Finally the speaker, John Wimber, got on with the message but just seemed to ramble for a while. He just seemed weighed down by the heat and kind of wandering through what he was saying.

Wimber finally wiped his sweaty face and said, “You know, it’s really hot in here, let’s just move on to some ministry.” He invited all those who wanted prayer, be it for healing or to be filled with the Holy Spirit, or whatever else your need was, to go to the back room. It seemed like half the church stampeded back there immediately. This must be where things are happening, I thought.

I was far behind the stampeding crowd, having to hobble along very slowly with these crutches and cast on my leg, and I got there way after everyone else. I entered in just barely through the door and was just standing there looking around. It felt like the train had left the station, there were just some regular people praying for one another. I’d seen a bit of TV preachers and was expecting some kind of mini miracle service in that back room. I was expecting someone to be throwing crutches in the air and proclaiming people healed, maybe piles of people on top of each other everywhere from what I’d heard at the Bible study, but nothing really significant seemed to be happening here. People were just praying for one another. To be honest, I felt kind of gipped.

However, as I was standing there just looking around, something started happening to me. All of a sudden, I felt God’s presence come down upon me in an awesome way and start flowing all over me! The love and power of Christ began to flood me and I started getting filled with God’s presence more and more as I stood there with no one even praying for me.

I began to be overwhelmed by God’s manifest glory, and like those people I had watched mesmerized, whom I thought had emotional issues or were strange out in the gym that evening, I was starting to cry and then laugh and then cry and then laugh and on and on for no visible reason whatsoever. God’s love and grace began washing over me like glorious waves! His love began to be downloaded from my head into my heart at light speed and it was overwhelming me. Waves of like liquid love began to wash over me, again and again.

Next, Lonnie Frisbee appeared while standing on top of some wrestling mats, he started pointing over at me, then he came over and put his hands on me and started praying over me. I didn’t know at that time that he was speaking prophetic words over me. He started yelling that the Spirit of God was moving powerfully now on this young guy here as he prayed over me. It was like being thrown into an ocean of God’s presence and suddenly, gloriously, drowning in His tangible mercy and grace. I became so overwhelmed I couldn’t stand up anymore and started falling and stumbling backwards like I was struck by some powerful force. Some people gathered around me and held me from falling and then sat me down on some rolled up wrestling mats where they prayed for me. I continued to get hammered, being baptized in the Holy Spirit, for the next three and a half to four hours at the very least.

When I finally opened my eyes, the place, which had been packed before, was almost completely empty. Just three people remained, myself and a guy who was still sitting with me and praying for me, and a janitor sweeping the floor who seemed very tired and looked like he was wondering when this was going to be done so he could go home.

It was an awesome and amazing filling of the Holy Spirit, a life-changing event. My life was completely transformed at this point, and I began to pray and read the Bible on my own regularly, something I never had done much of before. I also began to realize that God had a higher purpose for me regarding serving Him.

Being baptized with the Holy Spirit like this brought a complete paradigm shift in my thinking regarding the reality of God’s love and presence. I began to witness to others after this, and even lead others to Christ. I eventually even started a Bible study with those I’d reached as well as led to Christ, where we had our own Holy Ghost times. It was that filling of the Spirit which led into ministry and becoming a witness of God’s grace, love, and power, just like Jesus says will happen. (Acts 1:8.)

I went back to the doctor hoping to get the cast removed but he wouldn’t let me take the cast off early, in fact he scoffed at the idea. However, when I finally finished my stint with the cast and he took it off, he was blown away and stoked on how it had turned out better than expected and was in great shape: no surgery needed! I still had to do some weights to get rid of the atrophy from being in a cast. It was a break in time that God used to bring some reflection and redirection in my life.

I was brought into the reality of God’s presence and love and grace in a way that I had never heard of before nor knew could happen! Hallelujah! 

Mine is just one of countless testimonies of so many whose lives were changed and impacted for good in this revival that started on that Mother’s Day forty years ago. Me and my wife Mercedes were also blessed to connect with Lonnie Frisbee some years later, becoming good friends and being discipled by him, learning many important lessons during that time that would prove invaluable in our lives and ministry.

As you read and reflect on this outpouring of the Spirit, I encourage you to open your heart and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you afresh, He is more than willing to bless you with that heavenly love and power. Ask and you shall receive!

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