Saturday, May 26, 2012

ORU Gets Back on the Pilgrim’s Path with EMPOWERED21

John R. Houk
© May 26, 2012

Oral Roberts has gone on to live with Jesus. Richard Roberts has been humble by getting the boot from being President of Oral Roberts University and even recently getting slapped with a DUI. On May 2nd Richard Roberts received probation. The point is ORU has seen better days.

I am a bit excited that ORU leadership (I don’t know who that is yet) has take ORU down a path that eschews politics and bad press and is closer to the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ to go into all the world and preach the Gospel of Christ’s Redemptive work of which includes the Baptism in the Holy Spirit enabling a Helper to aid Believers to keep on the pilgrim’s path of a Christ-like life.

That ORU path has led to the involvement in an outreach that has been called EMPOWERED21. Below is the overview of how EMPOWERED21 came to be and a picture of intended goals:

From Azusa Street to Tulsa to the World

April 25-29, 2006 the International Center for Spiritual Renewal facilitated and hosted the Azusa Street Centennial. This one hundred year anniversary celebration of the Azusa Street revival was attended by over 50,000 people from 106 different nations. The streams of Spirit-filled Christianity converged in Los Angeles to rejoice in a century of blessing on this movement that now numbers over 600 million people around the world.

In 2008, the new Oral Roberts University Board of Trustees began work on clarifying the mission of the university for 21st century ministry. An initiative was launched by the Board of Trustees called Empowered21 and the International Center for Spiritual Renewal was asked to facilitate this process to focus on new generations and the power of the Holy Spirit. Immediately, it was discerned that the convergence of these dynamics were leading toward questions and answers that would serve the entire Spirit-filled movement. Empowered21 began to be understood as a natural kingdom-wide follow up to the Azusa Street Centennial. The Azusa Centennial reflected on what God had done for the last 100 years and Empowered21 would focus on the future of the movement.

During 2009 and early 2010, Empowered21 held 17 unique conversation events around the world with leaders, scholars and new generation voices to ascertain their insights into the issues facing the movement in the 21st Century. Over 500 people from 54 nations and over 15 different universities were involved in the conversations. Questions like: “What does it mean to be Spirit-empowered in the 21st century?” and “What steps can be taken to engage new generations in the Spirit-filled experience?” were asked.

Conversation input and discoveries were used to inform the program of the Empowered21 Global Congress on Holy Spirit Empowerment which was held in Tulsa, OK April 8- 11, 2010. The Congress focused on shaping the future of the Global Spirit-empowered movement by focusing on crucial issues facing the movement and connecting generations for intergenerational blessing and impartation. Over 10,000 people from 95 nations attended the April Congress where over 210 learning conversations and numerous general session events informed and connected them. It became obvious that the Congress was forming a launch base for further exploration.

What has followed is truly remarkable. The International Center for Spiritual Renewal was asked to lead Empowered21 into the future and Empowered21 was officially transferred to the Center in the summer of 2010. Empowered21 is now witnessing a convergence and collaboration of Spirit-empowered ministries around the world. A series of regional Empowered21 gatherings are forming to focus on unique issues faced by Spirit-empowered churches operating within disparate socio-economic climates. In January of 2011, the Empowered21 Global Council, co-chaired by Billy Wilson and Jack Hayford, braught (sic) together top global leaders to begin providing inspirational oversight to all 11 regional initiatives.

Regional cabinets will be pursuing initiatives and events in their area of the world to address the future of Spirit-empowered Christianity and find ways to connect the generations for spiritual impartation. Each regional cabinet will operate under the same vision and purposes for Empowered21 in their region.

In many cases, Empowered21 meetings mark the first time leaders of the Spirit-filled movement in a given region have ever met one another. New, ground-breaking networks are forming in Canada, Africa, Asia and beyond. Additionally, a Youth Ministries Network (NGYN21) is the first-ever international network for Spirit- filled youth leaders.

During this Memorial Weekend Sunday will be Pentecost Sunday 2012. EMPOWERED21 is getting on board with a program called the Pentecost Sunday Initiative. Below is the email I received.

JRH 5/26/12

Pentecost Sunday - One Day, One Message

Sent: May 23, 2012 11:59 AM

For Immediate Release
May 23, 2012

For More Information

Churches and Ministries Around the Globe Will Celebrate Pentecost Weekend
Empowered21 Pentecost Initiative Proclaims the Transforming, Renewing,
And Empowering Truth of the Holy Spirit

One Day and One Message Through an International Movement

Cleveland, Tenn. – Empowered21, a broad coalition of churches, ministries and organizations working together to help shape the future of the Spirit empowered movement around the world, has launched the Pentecost Sunday Initiative. The global initiative ( is scheduled for this weekend including Pentecost Sunday, May 27, 2012, in which pulpits all over the world will proclaim the transforming, renewing, empowering truth of the Holy Spirit. Entire Spirit-empowered denominations are calling their constituency to participate and churches from Africa to Australia, India to Indiana and Beirut to Bogota are preparing to celebrate.

Among Christians, Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon 120 followers of Jesus including the apostles as described in Acts Chapter 2. Pentecost was "the Birth of the Church" and was the beginning of the great Christian harvest with 3,000 people receiving Christ as their Savior on that day.

Billy Wilson, Executive Director for the International Center for Spiritual Renewal and Empowered21 and Co- Chair of the Empowered21 Global Council (, said, “The Pentecost Sunday Initiative is a simple idea birthed from our Empowered21 conversations where new generations have requested to learn more about the Holy Spirit and God’s immediate presence in their lives. We have always celebrated Christmas and Easter in a big way in the Spirit-empowered church and we believe that it is appropriate to celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church at Pentecost in a big way as well. We anticipate that thousands of believers will experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit around the world on this exciting day. 2012 is just the beginning as we proclaim Pentecost afresh in the 21st century.”

A special daily blog tour from leaders in the Spirit-empowered movement and resources are being provided at and with the goal of assisting pastors all over the world in preaching about the Holy Spirit and His work among God’s people on a single day of unity and power.  Thousands of churches and ministries on the six inhabited continents are expected to participate. No church is too small or too large to be a part of this unified proclamation of the Holy Spirit’s ministry.

Robert Morris, Senior Pastor of Gateway Church in Dallas/Fort Worth and a member of the Empowered21 Global Council said, “When I first heard the concept and idea of asking every pastor in the world to preach on the power of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday, I felt this was God inspired. What could happen if we unite in preaching and teaching what the Bible says about the power, the person and the presence of the Holy Spirit? When the early church received this power they turned their world upside down. I want to encourage pastors around the world to commit to preaching and teaching on the Holy Spirit this Pentecost Sunday that we may also experience the power needed to turn our world upside down for the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Gateway Church has provided downloadable resources from Morris’ bestseller book, The God I Never Knew: How Real Friendship with the Holy Spirit can Change Your Life at Pastors and congregations can sign up on the site to solidify their unity with thousands of others around the world and access the free resources.

The May issue of Charisma gives focus to Pentecost Sunday. Steve Strang, founder of Charisma Magazine and a member of the Empowered21 Global Council, writes, “If you’re a pastor, preach on the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday and invite people to receive the mighty infilling of the Holy Spirit. In a way, every Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, just as every Sunday is Resurrection Day. But since it’s on the calendar and since other churches recognize the day, let’s use it as a time to call attention to the fact that believing in the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives is something that isn’t just a theory in our churches but a reality."

Empowered21 ( is committed to seeing new generations experience the power and presence of the living God by preaching and teaching about the Holy Spirit. Through this one day, one message—an international movement encourages discovering anew God’s presence and power on Pentecost Sunday.

The Global Vision of Empowered21 is: “That every person on Earth would have an authentic encounter with Jesus Christ through the Power and Presence of the Holy Spirit... by Pentecost 2033.”

Empowered21 presently has 11 global leadership teams that have formed to pursue initiatives and events in their region of the world-- helping shape the future of the Global Spirit-empowered movement by focusing on crucial issues facing the movement and connecting generations for intergenerational blessing and impartation.

Each regional cabinet--Africa, Francophone Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, United States, USA Hispanic, Oceania, and the Caribbean--operate under the same global vision, mission and purposes in their region and pursue them in unique ways.

All of the regions are participating in the Pentecost Sunday initiative. The next Empowered21 Global Congress is scheduled to be held on the week before Pentecost Sunday 2015 in Jerusalem, Israel.


Contact Matti Stevenson • 423-478-7078 •
ORU Gets Back on the Pilgrim’s Path with EMPOWERED21
John R. Houk
© May 26, 2012
Pentecost Sunday - One Day, One Message

Address postal inquiries to:
International Center for Spiritual Renewal
PO Box 3986
4399 Ocoee St N
Cleveland, TN 37312-4832

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