- VIRGINIA – Spring revival follows Azusa Now 2016
- SINGAPORE – The Real Christian DNA
- SCOTLAND – Church membership, baptisms (and more?) on line!
- OKLAHOMA – Bold Christians dare to make ripples
DELBARTON, WEST VIRGINIA
‘Spring revival’ day after ‘Azusa Now 2016’ in a humble coal-mining town
Mark Ellis reports revival good news…
The day after some 70,000 people jammed the LA Coliseum to cry out for revival, God sent the wind of the Holy Spirit many miles away to a humble town of 500 in West Virginia coal mining country.
Praying for years
‘We’ve prayed for many years for this,’ says Mitchell Bias, pastor of the Regional Church of God in Delbarton, West Virginia. His church had a live stream from the Azusa Now 2016 event on April 9 with their own prayer gathering, but little did he know what would happen, beginning the next day.
It seems Pastor Mitch had invited Matt Hartley, a 31-year-old evangelist from Tennessee, to preach at the church’s ‘spring revival.’
‘I felt impressed of the Lord to connect with him,’ he notes. ‘The young evangelist came and started that Sunday. We had tremendous services the morning and evening on the 10th.’
Sovereign move of God
The next day Hartley spoke at a chapel service for the church’s Christian school in Williamson, the adjacent town, which Pastor Mitch describes as another ‘tremendous’ gathering.
On the 12th, Hartley spoke at a prayer club meeting at Mingo Central High School at the invitation of the students. The club normally has 30-40 students show up, but everyone was shocked when 450 students arrived – more than half the high school.
‘Hartley preached the gospel, preached against sin,’ Pastor Mitch recounts. ‘I know it’s not popular, but he did. It wasn’t a lengthy sermon.
At the end of the message Hartley gave an altar call. ‘He gave an invitation and 150 students responded to receive Christ. There was a lot of emotion. They cried. He prayed for them. They were touched. It was a move of God,’ Pastor Mitch says. ‘The Lord did it. It was a sovereign move of the Lord.’
Two days later, another prayer club meeting was held at the same high school. About 450 students came, and 150 more students received Christ!
Mark Ellis is a seasoned senior correspondent for the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net) and founder of the acclaimed www.GodReports.com a website that shares stories, testimonies and videos from the church around the world.
Discovering DNA that you didn’t know you had
Two of my favourite people in the world are Jimmy and Christine Lim. Now retired, they live in Singapore but are very active in life and church. They love the Lord with all their hearts and have been a real inspiration in and to my life, and I’m grateful for their friendship.
The first time I ministered in Singapore, Jimmy related an incident that happened in their home.
Evidently he’d come home one evening about 11pm and one of his parrots (supposed to be asleep) started squawking very loudly, ‘Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!’ At first Jimmy tried to calm it down. ‘Be quiet! You will wake the neighbours! Quiet!’
Let everything praise God
As Jimmy recalled this incident, he said, ‘But then I remember Psalm 150: 6 which says, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord”…Aha!’ Then I said to my parrot, ‘OK, I cannot stop you. You are obeying the Bible. You have breath. You must praise the Lord!’
When Jimmy told me this story, all I could do was smile and say to myself, ‘Simple, profound, trusting, believing, just what the Lord wants’ (As long as the neighbours don’t get upset).
I like this idea. Everything that has breath praise the Lord. Do you realise all human beings were created to worship the Lord? That’s why when you go to a church service, the first thing they do is worship the Lord, usually with music, song, and prayer.
Created to worship
Author George Mallone writes, ‘Human beings were created to worship. It is as much a part of our constitution as our longing for the eternal or our sense of justice. To deny this natural response or to assume its irrelevance is like submerging a balloon under water. It continually springs up. If we are forced to suspend our worship of God, it does not mean that we stop worshipping, only that we redirect its focus toward ourselves or toward another created object rather than the Creator.’
Do you see that? We are going to worship something or someone no matter what. It’s in our DNA. It’s what we were created for. There are two Greek words defining worship. The first word is proskuneo which means prostrating oneself in awe and wonder. The second word is latreuo which means rendering homage, respect, or the labour of a bond servant. When Christians worship, it’s attributing worth and glory to God.
We know how this works in our culture. Human beings were created to worship God but if we don’t do that, we will worship, pay homage, respect, prostate ourselves, attribute worth someone or something else. Someone may not worship God but they will worship. That’s what extreme fanaticism about pop singers, movie stars, sports starts or teams, politicians, movements, ourselves, our business and the like, is all about. We are just placing our need to worship elsewhere. Be careful if you are extreme. It’s one thing to like a team, another to worship it.
Know your DNA!
Worship is to the Christian what the mainspring is to the watch. For the Christian, worship is …
- Ascending a highway to heaven (Psalm 68:4)
- Casting your crown before God
- Acknowledging who and whose you are
- An active response to God whereby we declare his worth
- A celebration of God’s ‘worthship’
- A response, not a mood
- Participative, not passive
- The highest form of love that we can give God
- Paying attention to God’s word and responding to it
- Ascribing to God the glory due his name.
Do you know what? If you can’t find God, start worshipping and God will find you. That’s what the Bible says: ‘God seeks true worshippers who will worship him in spirit and in truth’ John 4:23.
Dr Ed Delph is president of Nationstrategy, an organisation with the strategy of envisioning and empowering today’s leaders in the church to be some of tomorrow’s leaders in the community. Links: firstname.lastname@example.org / http://www.nationstrategy.com
Church of Scotland to introduce online baptism in bid to boost membership!
For centuries the key Christian sacraments of baptism and communion have symbolised people coming together in one place.
However, according to a story by John Bingham for Britain’s Daily Telegraph, under potentially radical plans being considered by the Church of Scotland, the rites could be administered online for the first time in a move to redefine the idea of a congregation in the internet age.
Streaming services initiatives
The suggestion, to be debated by members of the Kirk’s decision-making General Assembly meeting in Edinburgh, stems from initiatives such as streaming services to enable housebound parishioners to join in despite being unable to be physically present.
A paper presented to members of the General Assembly drafted by the Church’s Legal Questions Committee suggests re-examining issues such as voting rights at congregational meetings to people joining remotely.
But it goes on to argue that it is also time to go further and create what could effectively amount to virtual congregations, by allowing ‘access to the sacraments’ for people who are not ‘physically present in the congregation.’
‘Old rules redundant’
The paper explains: ‘Even wider questions about membership and belonging are now being asked by congregations whose services, through the internet, are being carried well beyond their parish boundaries. We are living in an age when some of the old rules are fast becoming redundant and, as a result, the (committee) believes that it is time for the church to undertake a wide ranging review of practice and procedure which is impacted by the use of new technology in church life.’
The Telegraph said it adds that the idea of being a member of a congregation is becoming ‘more and more blurred’ as people move around yet keep strong links through new technology.
‘As fewer people join up in the traditional sense and as they make choices which include ever greater interaction with the church through online access and social media, questions arise about online membership and even about access to the sacraments while not being physically present in the congregation,’ it says. ‘The question of the relationship with the church when someone is online is being driven by a growing reality on the ground. We have an increasing number of churches with an online component.’
Jeremy Reynalds (email@example.com) is also a freelance writer and the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter (www.joyjunction.org) Recommended: A Sheltered Life – http://www.ashelteredlife.net and his newest book From Destitute to Ph.D – www.myhomelessjourney.com
Moving on and making ripples for the kingdom
‘I am with you. I will watch over you everywhere you go’ (Genesis 28:15NIRV).
Almost 11 years ago, I took a giant leap of faith. I left a northeastern Oklahoma community where I’d lived since 1969 – except for the times I’d gone away to college – to move to a larger town about 70 miles west. I left behind family and friendships formed over a 36-year period to a place where I knew very few people.
Faith ensures blessings wherever we are
However, during the time I’ve lived in Rogers County, I’ve been blessed with a multitude of friends. Those friends have encouraged me, laughed and cried with me, prayed with and for me and stood by me during times of trouble.
Even more importantly, being here has helped my faith grow. Through my church family and the people of faith God has placed in my path, my spiritual eyes have been opened to embrace what God can do in our lives when we place our trust in him.
I like what best-selling author and minister, Norman Vincent Peale said about faith… ‘Faith is the most powerful of all forces operating in humanity and when you have it in depth nothing can get you down.’
Seasons and reasons
However, it wasn’t always that way for me. I’d only been in Claremore about a year when I yearned to return home. Prayer and the advice of wise individuals revealed to me I was here for a reason. Soon, I came to call this place home. I had no desire to return.
About two years ago, God began working in me through a variety of ways. I knew he had plans for me to move. I just wasn’t sure where. Through reading scripture, praying daily, hearing the testimony of others and listening to my pastor’s sermons, I explored my options.
Then, a very powerful dream last November affirmed I needed to return home.
Being excited about new adventures in Christ
While I will miss my church family and the friendships I’ve formed, I’m excited about the new adventure God has in store for me. I will continue to write this column. I am clarifying because so many people have asked.
What does God ask of us? When Jesus was asked which commandment of the law was the greatest, he answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these.’
What God wants from his children is really quite simple: He wants us. He wants our hearts, and all of our service for him must flow from these two commands to love.
Make ripples in new seasons of life
A recent devotional I read said, ‘The word of God spreads out like ripples of water.’
If you’ve ever thrown a stone into a body of water, you know what happens. A ripple occurs.
I want to be a part of that ripple effect!
Wherever I go, my faith will lead me to share the good news. My challenge to readers is to also ‘go make ripples in the name of Jesus.’
Special to ASSIST News Service, Carol Round is an author, columnist, lover of people, grandmother of five, encourager and obedient owner of a spoiled-rotten dog called Taco.
Disclaimer: Articles, as well as linked sources do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ConnectingwithYou! Our thanks mainly to Dan Wooding, ASSIST (www.assistnews.net) and other news sources for timely gleanings