(February 18, 2023) Mark Ellis reports more Holy Spirit fire falling in Kentucky…
As a senior at Asbury University in Kentucky, Joshua Curry, 22, decried his own sense of disquiet about his spiritual condition and the religious atmosphere at the college.
Attendance at chapel is required three days a week at the private Christian university, formally aligned with the Wesleyan-Holiness movement. Many students seemed unenthusiastic, apathetic about the mandatory obligation. ‘There were a lot of people who were just tired of having to come to chapel, people would always groan about having to show up for an hour a day, three days a week.’
‘I was actually feeling very poor spiritually, like a sinking ship. I wrote down in my journal that I’m tired of milquetoast Protestantism. I want liberty from slavery. I want forgiveness of sins. I want a zealous spirit,’ but he felt the world and its current cultural milieu was luring him away from what he desired most.
The revival that hit the school in the 1970s was fading from memory. February 2023 and student Joshua Curry bears witness to the following awakening…
The discouraging thing about Romania was not the breadlines. It was the utter lack of hope!
Even after communism fell, the leftover lifestyle was colourless – work, work, work. Ovidiu Rusu (right), because he had read widely, dreamed of greater things and despaired of a life assigned by socialism of being just a part of the machine to support the state.
‘When I was a child, I was not aware of how bad communism was. But as I became a teenager and then a young man, it was a struggle not seeing a future. There were no opportunities. All the doors were closed,’ Ovidiu says on a Virginia Beach Potter’s House podcast. ‘I told my friends, “If the end of the year catches me here, I’m going to kill myself. I don’t want to live this life.”’
Walking on eggshells lifestyle Life in Brasov under communism, according to Ovidiu, was characterised by:
Fear of authority. ‘Anybody with any measure of authority wants you to feel that they are the boss. Authority is there to harm and humiliate you. You live walking on eggshells.’
Poverty and boring food. ‘You have just five options to eat and you cycle through them. I remember being tired of beans and rice. You have one pair of shoes, one pair of pants, one coat. You sew it to fix it.’
You as an individual don’t count.
Thinking is squelched. ‘Because people who think for themselves are dangerous.’
Even the fall of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in December 1989 did not immediately usher in a change of life. Though freedoms were introduced, life continued to appear pretty dull and opportunity-less.
The legacy of communism was atheism. His parents had never attended the Eastern Orthodox church much, but a lot of other Romanians did as a passive resistance to communism. Ovidiu didn’t believe in God because that’s what they had taught in school.
Thinking that if life were to change, he would need to do something himself, Ovidiu decided to flee the country with some of his young adult friends. Their plan was to make their way to France and join the French Foreign Legion. They had heard that the pay was good, and you could apply for citizenship in France.
Crying out to God But they got caught and gaoled.
‘I was very, very distraught,’ he says. He kept trying to escape Romania, but nothing worked. That’s when he decided on suicide to escape Romania. During the last two weeks of 1992 he stayed in his room, pacing and smoking. He avoided his friends and his girlfriend. He was stewing.
Though he didn’t believe in God, he cried out to Him. ‘If you exist you have to do something,’ he said.
On December 31, his mom sent him to the bread lines at 4am. You had to get up early to get the special bread that is customary for New Year’s Eve. ‘It wasn’t a line, it was a mob, and I’m right in the middle of it,’ he remembers. ‘I was standing there frustrated, angry, desperate, no hope.’
He noticed a young guy working his way through the crowd. ‘Excuse me, excuse me,’ he pushed gently through, coming straight over to Ovidiu, whom he addressed. ‘I know you from the neighbourhood,’ the young man said. He began witnessing to him about Jesus.
‘I had cried out to God three days earlier, and the first time I step out of my house, God sent this guy to talk to me,’ Ovidiu marvels.
What hit him was the young man assured him that God would take care of his future. ‘That was my struggle,’ Ovidiu says. ‘That was what I was fighting with inside. I could not get his words outside of my head. God was working in me.’
(Above: The church in Brasov)
Ovidiu went to church that very night. The Christians were praying, thanking God, in a circle. Ovidiu accepted Jesus into his heart.
Growing in the faith ‘The factor in my salvation was the feeling of desperation, the lack of hope for a future. I was feeling trapped. Living in a communist country, you know this is the place I was born, this is the place I will die. I wanted to do more. I wanted to be part of something’ he added.
At the time, there was a revival among young people sparked by missionaries from Germany and elsewhere. ‘I was 23, and I was one of the older people getting saved,’ Ovidiu says. He attended a church led by Richard Brooks, who preached hope and faith, an enticing novelty for Romanians.
‘I was just amazed at the preaching,’ Ovidiu says. ‘I was open. Pastor Brooks was the right man at the right time. He was a man of faith. He was an exciting man, he was happy. He had an attitude that everything is possible. That’s exactly what we needed because we grew up in communism in which nothing is possible and all the doors were closed.’
Ovidiu grew in his faith and knowledge of the Bible. Today, he is a pastor in Brasov.
(Left) Street outreaching with Pastor Ovidiu
If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here
GodReports.com, founded by Mark Ellis in 2009, is devoted to promoting Christian missions by sharing stories and testimonies from missionaries and mission organisations.Reporter, Pastor Michael Ashcraft is also a financial professional in California. _________________________________________________________
(June 1, 2022) Ed. Note: Honouring the late George Forbes, highly respected former missionary statesman, we rerun one of his special messages on Pentecost …
This weekend many churches and indeed countless Christians around the world will be celebrating Pentecost Sunday!
The Feast of Pentecost (also known as the Feast of Harvest or the Feast of Weeks) was observed by Israel over many centuries. It was an important time each year to celebrate the beginning of the early weeks of harvest with thanksgiving to God. Also a time to celebrate God’s deliverance of His people from Egypt.
After His resurrection from the grave, Jesus had given His followers a command to not depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the promise of the Father. He told them: ‘John truly baptised with water; but you shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days from now’ (See Acts 1:4-5).
(March 22, 2021) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares important church growth principles…
This past year has been a challenging time for churches throughout the world as each local church has attempted to redefine how to perform and survive as a church.
The Covid-19 experience has been challenging and at times oppressive, and, because of the present state of the world, we who belong to the church could so easily sink into despair. But for one fact – God is still in control!
I believe that the challenges of these days may prove to be a positive thing for Christians and churches as it may challenge us to look more seriously at what we honestly believe, to whom we are unmistakably committed, the significance and relevance of how we live as Christians and how we operate as the body that we call the ‘Church.’
There are many Christians today who somehow have embraced the idea that the church as we find it in the New Testament provides a perfect picture of what the church of today should be like. But… the letters of Paul, Peter and John illustrate that the churches to which they wrote were clearly not perfect principally because they were composed of imperfect people – like every church today!
Some time ago I read an article that was titled, Getting Back to the New Testament Pattern. It was based on Acts 2:40-47 and listed 13 items which the writer claimed represented the biblical pattern of Christian worship and behaviour for all ages. In fact several the items listed in the article were never part of the church beyond the first months of its existence after the Day of Pentecost.(more…)
(August 11, 2017) Missionary statesman George Forbes issues a relevant challenge…
Last century a group of sixty one Charismatic /Pentecostal leaders met in the United States to seek the face of God for the future. At the conclusion of this time in prayer, repentance and seeking the face of God, they made a statement about eight things they felt God was calling them to do.
I have chosen five for this article – believing they are even more relevant today in this 21st century!
1. God is calling us to transform society
I will attempt here to open the challenge they placed last on their list.
They agreed that western culture was becoming increasingly hostile to the Christian faith. That they must not run from their calling to transform culture butengage in a kingdom mission to effect change. They agreed that Christians for too long have viewed politics, education and the financial realm as evil, when we must see those arenas as mountains to claim for Christ. (more…)
(June 1, 2017)Stuart Reynolds shares a revelation…
From the presumed monopoly by denominations to the limits of our clever labelling, the Holy Spirit has been hijacked and sabotaged!
The sharp-sighted evangelist Vance Havner described the result of this misunderstanding, mishandling and misapplication: ‘Satan has scored a point in making us so afraid of extremism about the Holy Spirit…that we may miss the true in our fear of the false. We can be so wary of getting out on a limb that we never go up the tree!’
We need to let the Holy Spirit be himself, and that we may become and do all we were intended to.
May I introduce you to ‘The Pentecostal Baptist’ – someone the Bible records having these Holy Spirit credentials: ‘Though John never performed a miraculous sign, all that John said about this man was true.’ And in that place many believed in Jesus’ (John 10:41-42, NIV).
1) An inviting clarification
We believe in ‘full salvation.’ The reality of God in the gospel of Christ is radical – God’s book teaches it…truly knowing Jesus Christ demands it…the presence of the Holy Spirit enables it. (more…)
Iran is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for followers of Jesus Christ. Almost all of the above-ground, Farsi-speaking churches have been closed and house churches are raided routinely, with their leaders and members arrested, according to a report by SAT-7 (http://sat7.org/).
Iranian Christians share faith despite dangers!
Evangelism by Christians is against the law and may even be punished by death. But despite Iran’s leaders’ strenuous efforts to bring the furies of hell against believers, God is at work and the church in Iran is growing rapidly! (more…)
Middle-east terrorism brings deep concern to many Christians – but the reality is that Jesus is being found as Saviour and friend by sincere many Muslims. Missionary statesman George Forbes continues his last months’ sharing of amazing good news stories from trusted sources in the missionary world…
In its short history (slightly more than one hundred years) Pentecostal/Charismatic Christianity has not only grown, but has made a significant contribution to Christian mission.
At the time of the 1910 Edinburgh Missionary Conference, which presented a master road-map to world evangelisation ‘in our [their] generation,’ the movement was only four years old (if we count from the 1906 Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles, California). (more…)