(January 29, 2023) Mark Ellis shares good news …
For over 88 nights in a row, a small country church in Kentucky has been the site of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as many are being saved, baptised and set free from addictions and bondages.
The North Main Community Church, Heidrick has been packed with roughly 300 hungry people every night, which has left Pastor Scott Phipps searching for ways to expand their facility. The town of Heidrick has a population of about one thousand, according to Pastor Phipps (Photos: S. Phipps).
‘The aisles are full every night,’ Pastor Phipps told God Reports. ‘It was the end of the 54th night when I really realised things had changed. Last night you could also feel a shift come in the church. A man was praying for healing. We were praying for him, and I went numb all over. You could feel the power of God in such a way and even the lead evangelist looked at me at the same time.’
Saved from drug addiction
Scott Phipps and his wife, Tammie were saved out of drug addiction 29 years ago. ‘I was deep in drug addiction and trafficking in drugs and had a store with a 24-hour game room and a lot of other illegal activities going on,’ he recalled.
‘A backslidden preacher come in one night and lost all his money in one of the poker machines,’ he says. Somehow, Scott and Tammie ended up with the preacher’s rusting Chrysler LeBaron convertible, leaking through the roof. They found a rain-soaked Bible in the back of the car.
‘My wife was drying the Bible out and she started reading it,’ he reports. The power of the word and the Spirit grabbed Tammie’s heart and she visited a church nearby. ‘She went one night and God delivered her of almost seven years of opiate addiction and saved her.’
Phipps was shocked when Tammie returned from the church and said, ‘Honey, God saved me. I don’t want to do drugs anymore, and I love you now.’
He didn’t like the change. ‘I got upset over it. She wouldn’t get high on drugs. I mean, that was our life and I thought, Well, I’ve always been the leader in her life; she’d been with me since she was 13.’
After a few sleepless nights, Phipps made his way to a church, fell to his knees at the altar, and was born again. ‘I realised I was blind. Looking back now, I didn’t know how miserable I was. You’ve got to realise that me and my wife had no experience in church. We weren’t raised in Christian homes. When she was three her dad was shot and killed in a bar that got robbed. I was introduced to drugs by my own father. And so, we were the opposite of being raised in a Christian home.’
Inexperienced but led to church plant
They left their old life behind and went to Lexington, temporarily homeless, living in a Super Eight motel with their twin, one-year-old boys.
After he found work, they lived in Lexington for two years, then returned home and felt called by God to plant a church. ‘It had one his and hers outhouse, a potbelly stove in it for heat, and held about 40.’
‘We planted the church in 1998, which wasn’t long after we found the Lord. I knew nothing… I had flashcards many times, with a story you hold up and you read them off the back. I knew nothing about preaching.’
After several years, they moved into their present location. They also run one of the area’s largest addiction recovery centres, Hope City and Redemption Road Recovery.
‘It’s a dark hour and a lot of people are just lost,’ he observes. The area is inundated with drugs, mainly cheap Methamphetamine and heroin. ‘Now an ounce of meth is US$200. People are trading their lives for it.’
From ashes to beautiful lives
Many filling the church are escaping the emptiness of drugs. ‘Eighty percent of our church people come out of addiction like us and then other people that just didn’t know a lot about church, and others who lost that first love,’ he says.
(Pastor Scott Phipps and his wife, Tammie. Photo: Facebook)
‘We’ve been blessed with a group of people that truly love much because they’ve been forgiven much. They love much, and they feel they owe their life to Christ. The world says there’s no hope for people like this, there’s nothing for them. People are just coming from everywhere. A lot of them say they’ve been waiting for this‘ he added.
Pastor Phipps says, ‘Only God can take the ashes of a life and make something beautiful out of it. Only God can do that.’
GodReports.com, founded by Mark Ellis in 2009, is devoted to promoting Christian missions by sharing stories and testimonies from missionaries and mission organisations.