I'm in LA at a conference for a few days. I visited some of the historical sites of North American Pentecostal History yesterday. I went to Angelus Temple and toured the building that Aimee Semple McPhereson built in the early 20's. It is spectacular. She obviously didn't have any trouble with prosperity, faith and building a beautiful place. The building itself is situated at the edge of a city park and her home (BEAUTIFUL) overlooks the lake there. If you've never seen the church, it has 3 levels and seats over 4000 people. The seats in the upper balcony are still the original wooden ones.
After we left, we crossed 'Bonnie Bray' street. (I knew something had happpened there, but couldn't remember why until later.) William Seymour had a room in a boarding house at 214 Bonnie Bray. He also preached from that location until they moved to Azusa St.
Azusa itself is nothing more than alley. It appears that the site of the old mission is now part of the UCLA Japanese extension campus. (Education) There is a sign marking 'the spot' and it was kind of disappointing until I began to look around. It's fascinating to me that LA's tallest skyscrapers (industry and commerce) are across the block. City Hall, (Government) the police station (where they took OJ after his arrest) and the Law Courts are all down the block. (Justice) The LA Times (media) is between the courts and skyscrapers. Just past the Times you'll find the theatre and arts district. As I stood there, I couldn't help but reflect on how the outpouring of the Spirit happened in the heart of the marketplace and I began to realize that it was all part of God's plan to parallel what happened in Jerusalem at Pentecost. They left the upper room and went to the streets and proclaimed the gospel in a spirit inspired language that was understood by the people.
This captures my imagination as I ponder it because suddenly 'spirit inspired language' takes on a whole new dimension that allows us the opportunity to declare the mysteries of God to the key pillars of our society and culture in language they understand. We need to research, study and observe but at the same time, we need to understand that without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the midst of it, we will fall terribly short of what we are aiming for.