A Chronicle of Renewal and Revival

Archive for August, 2011

A Preface to The Acts, by Geoff Waugh

A A Preface to the Acts 1
A A Preface to the Acts All1

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Contents

Introduction

Luke’s Preface – Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1
Issues raised in his preface

1  The Title of The Acts

The Acts of the Holy Spirit
The Kingdom of God
Revival

2  The Aim of The Acts

An orderly account of the origins and early spread of Christianity
An apologetic emphasis: Christianity was not politically dangerous
A reconciliation of Gentile and Jewish Christianity
An answer to Jewish opposition
A statement of the work of the Risen Lord by His Spirit through the Church

3  The Author of The Acts

Principal reasons supporting Lukan authorship:
1  Acts is by the same author as the Gospel of Luke
2  Similar style and vocabulary
3  Use of medical term in Acts
4  Luke was a companion of Paul
5  The “we-sections” in Acts suggest Luke
6  Luke’s name is missing: another would refer to him
7  Luke with Paul in Rome, where he could have completed the book.
8.  Luke, the man: Gentile; physician, historian, spiritual
Two others  theories regarding authorship

4   The Date of The Acts

Arguments favouring an early date, especially in the 60s
1  Conclusion of the story before the death of Paul
2. Luke’s two years in Rome would allow him to complete the work
3  The vivid descriptions of the “we-sections” suggests immediate recording
4  Details regarding Caesarea would have been collected or recorded early
5  No mention of the devastation of Jerusalem in 70 AD
6  No reference to Paul’s  letters

Arguments favouring a date about 75-85
1  Passages in Luke’s gospel which preceded the Acts
2  Synoptic issues affecting Luke’s earlier work

Arguments favouring a later date, about 95–100 AD
Luke may have used Josephus’ history published about 93 AD

5  The Sources of The Acts

1  The historical sections:
eye-witnesses
records in Jerusalem and Antioch

2  The biographical sections:
Luke’s diary
Paul
Other eyewitnesses

6  The Setting of The Acts

The Greeks:
Alexander’s conquests – a cosmopolitan society
The spread and use of the Koiné Greek – a common language

The Romans:
Stable world government
The Roman Peace
The System of Roads
The Slave Economy

The Jews :
Herod and his sons
The Roman Procurators: Pilate, Felix and Festus
The Scribes and Pharisees and Sadducees
The Jews of the Dispersion
Paul in this setting.

7  The Contents of The Acts

Historical and Biographical
Preparation for the witness  (1:1-26)
The witness in Jerusalem (2:1 – 8:3)
The witness in Judea and Samaria (8:4 – 12:25)
The  witness to Jews and Gentiles (13:1 – 28:31)
A Comparison and General Summary
An accurate history

Conclusion
A summary
Luke’s closing sentences

Appendix 1

Translations of Acts 1:1-9
Good News Bible
Today’s New International Version
J B Phillips Translation
The Message
The Amplified Bible
Buk Baibel (PNG)
Inter-linear Greek-English New Testament

Appendix 2

Renewal Journals and Books

Introduction

Luke and The Acts are two volumes of one astounding history – the story of Jesus and his church.  Luke, “the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14), often travelled with Paul in their pioneering missionary journeys.  Luke gives us a concise preface in the beginning of his writings, and then introduces the second part of his story with a short introduction linking the two.

Luke’s own preface reads:  “The Author to Theophilus: Many writers have undertaken to draw up an account  of the events that have happened among us, following the traditions handed down  to us by the original eyewitnesses and servants of the Gospel.  And so I in my turn,  your Excellency, as one who has gone over the whole course of these events in detail, have decided to write a connected narrative for you, so as to give you authentic knowledge about the matters of which you have been informed” (Luke 1:1-4, New English Bible).

Continuing his connected narrative, he commences part two with a sentence linking both:  “In the first part of my work, Theophilus, I wrote of all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen, He was taken up into heaven” (Acts 1:1-2, NEB).

In his preface to the combined work, the author:
*  revealed his subject – the Word;
*  gave the sources of his information – eyewitnesses and ministers;
*  described his method – accurate tracing of the course of all things, writing them in order;
*  and declared the purpose –  that of giving certainty to Theophilus (Morgan, p.7).

So here in my book we explore these issues mentioned by Luke himself, and examine the title, aim, author, date, sources, setting, and contents of The Acts of the Apostles.

What a great story!  Luke traces the amazing growth of Jesus’ church from its beginnings in Jerusalem to its impact throughout the Roman Empire.

That story continues today.  We are part of it.  The God they worshipped is our God.  The Lord they served is our Lord.  The Holy Spirit they obeyed is in and with us.

This story of the Acts of the Holy Spirit continues today through the same Spirit of God.  It fulfils Jesus’ last promise:  You will receive power then the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses … to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

Author

Dr Geoff Waugh is the founding editor of the Renewal Journal and taught Ministry and Mission and Revivals at Christian Heritage College in Brisbane, Australia.

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Body Ministry, by Geoff Waugh

Body Ministry

The Body of Christ Alive in His Spirit

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Body Ministry – over 20 years of research updated to the 21st century.

This 250 page book (2011, 2015) is updated and compiled from two books:
The Body of Christ, Part 1: Body Ministry,  and
The Body of Christ, Part 2: Ministry Education.

Articles and books reproduced and adapted from this book:
Unity, not Uniformity (Renewal Journal 17: Unity) – selection from Chapter 4: Spiritual Gifts

Vision for Ministry (Renewal Journal 16: Vision) – selection from the Preface
Learning Together in Ministry – a booklet expanded from Chapter 15 – Mutual Education: From competition to co-operation.

From the Foreword by Rev Prof Dr James Haire

In this very helpful and timely book, the Rev Dr Geoff Waugh takes up the implications of these issues and applies them to ministry within and beyond the church, the Body of Christ.   As the framework above indicates, Dr Waugh’s analysis, evaluation and application of the theology of the living Body of Christ inevitably is no less than truly revolutionary, as is his analysis, evaluation and application of the theology of the living Spirit’s work.

Dr Waugh has had a long and distinguished mission career, especially in education, in addressing the central Christian issues outlined above.   It has been my honour and my privilege to have served alongside him for eight years (1987–1994) in Trinity Theological College, in the Brisbane College of Theology, and in the School of Theology of Griffith University, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.   He has been a dear and valued friend, and especially one who day-by-day in his life has lived out what he taught.   Moreover, he has had vast experience in his long teaching ministry, not only in Australia, but throughout the South Pacific, Asia, and in Africa.

His work is thus very important reading indeed for us all.

From the Preface to Part 1: Body Ministry,
by Rev Dr Col Warren

by Rev. Dr Colin Warren, Former Principal of Alcorn College, Senior Pastor of Rangeville Uniting Church before retirement and founder of Freedom Life Centre, Toowoomba.

In this brief Preface, I acknowledge that Geoff has had a very big impact on my life, both by the witness of his own life and by the quality of his teaching.  I pray that you and your church will be greatly blessed as you read and put into practice these basic biblical principles to reach and bless the people who are searching for the living Christ but often  do not know what it is they are searching for.

Geoff and I have worked with students and on mission enterprises together over many years.  His writing has come from years of practical experience and a vast amount of prayerful study.  He has pioneered a work the results of which only eternity will reveal.  He has never sought recognition for his tireless and faithful service in honouring the Lord, in continuing to teach and to live in the power of the Holy Spirit.  He writes out of varied  experiences.

He was the inaugural Principal of the Baptist Bible College in Papua New Guinea (1965-1970).  He has taught at Alcorn College and Trinity Theological College (1977-1994) and at Christian Heritage College School of Ministries (from 1995).  He is the author of many books, mostly in Christian Education with the Uniting Church, but also on Renewal and Revival.

In this important work, Geoff explores the ministry of the whole body of Christ when Holy Spirit gifts are recognised and are encouraged to be exercised.  Then the artificial division between clergy and laity or pastor and non-pastor is removed.  At the same time there is the recognition of Holy Spirit endowed leadership gifting such as that between Paul and Timothy.  This means that Kingdom authority is expressed through Divine headship.  His emphasis on body ministry thus becomes a reality.

Geoff illustrates this clearly with his Case study Number 2 on page 34. There the church no longer consists of passive pew sitters but participants in fulfilling the command of Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit to preach repentance, heal the sick and cast out demon spirits, having the certain knowledge that He is with them as He promised “to the end of the age”.

Geoff points out that if the church is to live and grow in today’s world, it must recognise the need to emphasize relationships and adapt to change. This change will include such simple things as the way men and women both old and young dress, and allow others the freedom to dress differently as they attend places of worship in a non judgmental atmosphere.

There is, too, the need to realise the reality that many are affected by a global sense of fear of nuclear destruction and of accelerated and constant change and uncertainty.  The church can provide an atmosphere of security through rediscovering the unchanging gospel in a changing world.

Denominations that once were able to be exclusive and hold their numbers in rigid theological disciplines, have been invaded via cassettes, CD’s, DVD’s, and the internet that have widened the thinking horizons of their often theologically bound members, resulting in communication at spiritual levels not possible previously.

Geoff points out that if we are going to fulfil the Great Commission, we must first live the life of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is only then that we can do the work of fulfilling Christ’s command to go.

I commend Body Ministry for you to read.  All Christians will benefit greatly from reading this insightful book.

From the Preface to Part 2: Ministry Education,
by Rev Dr Lewis Born

By Rev Dr Lewis Born, former Moderator of the Queensland Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia and Director of the Department of Christian Education.

Body Ministry and Open Ministry Education come at the right time for adult education, gospel communication, and the growth of the church.

Open Education promises to become the most commonly used adult educational methodology of the new millennium.  The demand is likely to increase.  This indicates that the work of Geoff Waugh is a significant contribution to the current educational enterprise.  It is particularly valuable to Christian Educators.  The author’s orientation is theological and his target audience is the faith community, its nurture, growth and outreach.

To this point in time the educative process has been inhibited by dependence on structured courses, the classroom and qualified teachers.  Accelerated technology, as Mr Waugh observes, has made modern resources commonly available to individuals, churches and schools in every village community.  By this medium Open Education for the first time in history is able to offer high quality education from the world’s best teachers to people in their own lounge, church or local group meeting place.

All this coinciding with the renewal movement has stimulated interest in theological learning to an unprecedented degree in the history of Christendom. The incredible numerical religious revival in the illiterate Asian and Latin church has been stimulated and served by modern technology.

This gives Open Ministry Education and therefore Mr Waugh’s work a global relevance, which he has applied in the Australian context.

As a fellow Australian I am appreciative.  My appreciation is greatly enhanced by a deep respect and affection for the author.  He is a competent teacher, an excellent communicator, an informed, disciplined renewalist and an experienced extension educator.

All these qualities combine to commend the author and his work.

Book Structure

Part 1:  Body Ministry

I. Body Ministry                        with                      II. Body Organization
1. Kingdom Authority                  with                      6. Divine Headship
2. Obedient Mission                    with                     7. Body Membership
3. Mutual Ministry                        with                     8. Servant Leadership
4. Spiritual Gifts                          with                     9. Body Life
5. Body Evangelism                    with                   10. Expanding Networks

Part 2:  Ministry Education
11.  Open Education: From narrow to wide
12.  Unlimited Education: From centralized to de-centralized
13.  Continuing Education: From classrooms to life
14.  Adult Education: From pedagogy to self-directed learning
15.  Mutual Education: From competition to co-operation
16.  Theological Education: From closed to open
17.  Contextual Education: From general to specific
18.  Ministry Education: From pre-service to in-service

Contents

 Foreword: Prof Dr James Haire

Prologue:  Change Changed      

 Part 1: Body Ministry

 Preface to Part 1, Body Ministry: Rev Dr Colin Warren                         

 Section I.  Body Ministry:  From few to many

Chapter 1.  Kingdom Authority:  From meetings to ministry
1. Church and Kingdom
2. Signs of the Kingdom

Chapter 2.  Obedient Mission:  From making decisions to making disciples
1. Empowering
2. Discipling

Chapter 3.  Mutual MinistryFrom spectators to participants
1. Clergy
2. Laity

Chapter 4.  Spiritual Gifts:  From limited to unlimited
1. Unity
2. Diversity  

Chapter 5.  Body EvangelismFrom programs to growing churches
1. Program Evangelism
2. Power Evangelism     

Section II.  Body Organization:  From some to all 

Chapter 6.  Divine Headship:  From figurehead to functional head
1. The Written Word
2. The Living Word

Chapter 7.  Body Membership:  From firm to flexible structures
1. The Organism
2. The Organization

Chapter 8.  Servant Leadership:  From management to equipping
1. Servanthood
2. Equipping for ministry

Chapter 9.  Body Life:  From passive to active
1. Concern for People
2. Concern for Task

Chapter 10.  Expanding Networks:  From maintenance to mission
1. Congregational Structures
2. Mission Structures

Case Study:  China miracle     

Part 2: Ministry Education

Preface to Part 2, Ministry Education: Rev Dr Lewis Born 

Introduction: Ministry Education in the Body of Christ:
From traditional to open ministry education

Chapter 11.  Open Education:  From narrow to wide
1. Open Ministry Education
2. Distance Education

Chapter 12.  Unlimited Education:  From centralized to decentralized
1. Advantages
2. Problems and Solutions

Chapter 13.  Continuing Education:  From classrooms to life
1. Increasing Change
2. Increasing Choice

Chapter 14.  Adult Education:  From pedagogy to self-directed learning
1. Principles
2. Foundations          

Chapter 15.  Mutual Education:  From competition to co-operation
1. Aims and objectives
2. Implications        

Chapter 16.  Theological Education:  From closed to open
Bases for Change in Theological Education        

Chapter 17.  Contextual Education:  From general to specific
1. Theology in Context
2. Ministry in Context

Chapter 18.  Ministry Education:  From pre-service to in-service
1. Body Ministry
2. Servant Leadership

Epilogue:  The Unchanging Christ

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Word and Spirit, by Alison J. Sherrington

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Word and Spirit: The Vital Union

by Alison Sherrington

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Word and Spirit was born of personal concern about misunderstanding and disunity in the Body of Christ with regard to charismatic beliefs.  The booklet encourages Christians to be both faithful to the Word and open to the Spirit.

Word and Spirit has the potential to bring healing to Christian disunity concerning the role of the Holy Spirit. . . . She shows that the truth of God is clear.
James Brecknell  (Journey)

Her biblical treatment is . . . balanced, and avoids . . . legalism.
Robert J. Wiebusch  (The Lutheran)

Alison Sherrington has written a book on charismatic renewal which is eminently sensible and intelligently presents a discussion of issues raised by non-charismatics.   An excellent book.
Geoff Strelan (New Day)

Alison Sherrington’s Word and Spirit: Coming to Terms with the Charismatic Movement “is intended as an encouragement to be both faithful to the Word  and open to the Spirit.”

Her book provides an excellent introduction to contemporary concerns raised by charismatic renewal.  It rejects a false dichotomy between Word and Spirit, places experience under the scrutiny of revealed theology, acknowledges a dynamic exegesis which refuses to be contained within our Western conceptual framework (for the wind blows where it will), and explores spiritual gifts in terms of God’s sovereign presence in all of life – not merely as theories confined to our paltry categories.

As a comment on faith and obedience, the book calls for courageous openness to God’s work in his world in the power of his Spirit.  This involves change for us all no matter what our pet categories may be.  God’s ways cannot be confined to ours.  We are encouraged to seek the Giver even more than his gifts.  He is Lord.  He gives charis (grace) and chaismata (gifts of grace) more liberally and more comprehensively than any evangelical or Pentecostal theology can categorize.

Alison Sherrington affirms the importance of both Word and Spirit and challenges any dividing or emasculating of both.  She does not attempt an exhaustive exegesis, but calls for faith in God founded on obedience to the Word of God empowered by obedience to the Spirit of God.

This book is useful as a guide for those confused by the legalism of much current debate (on all sides) because it affirms the primacy of God’s Word revealed and interpreted by his Spirit.
Geoff Waugh (Renewal Journal)

Contents

Foreword by Rev Dr Geoff Waugh       

Experiences of the Holy Spirit
The charismatic claims
Does experience matter?
The stumbling-block of terminology
Are there Scriptural parallels?
Is there Biblical support for experiences today?
Are modern experiences of the Spirit genuine?
What are the results of such an experience?
What descriptive terms should be used?
Baptized with (or in) the Spirit
Giving and receiving the Spirit
Filled with the Spirit
Have I been baptized (filled) with the Spirit?
Do you want a baptism (filling) with the Spirit?
Being baptized (filled) with the Holy Spirit

The Gifts of the Spirit    
What are spiritual gifts?
The relationship of Spirit-baptism and gifts
When are the supernatural gifts to cease?
Why do some believe certain gifts have ceased?
The proper use of spiritual gifts

Which Way Ahead?     

About the Author 

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Best Revival Stories

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A Best Revival Stories All2Best Revival Stories from the Renewal Journal
Great stories for messages, youth groups & study groups

  Also Part 1 of Great Revival Stories

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Great stories for messages, youth groups & study groups

 

Contents

Introduction:  “I will answer” (Helen Roseveare)

1  Power from on High, by John Greenfield
Moravians impact the Wesleys and missions  

2  The Spirit told us what to do, by Carl Lawrence
2 girls start 30 churches in 2 years
  

3  Pentecost in Arnhem Land, by Djiniyini Gondarra
Aboriginal revival changes communities

4  Speaking God’s Word, by David Yonggi Cho
Stadium in Russia converted & official dramatically healed

5  Worldwide Awakening, by Richard Riss
Blessing still impacts millions worldwide
          

6  The River of God, by David Hogan
Revival transforms Mexicans
    

Resources         

Introduction

“I will answer”

God promises to answer us – again and again.

His answer is not always what we expect or even want, but bigger and better than our asking.

Call to me and I will answer you; and show you great and mighty things, you do not know (Jeremiah 33:3).

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).

It shall come to pass
That before they call, I will answer;
And while they are still speaking, I will hear.
(Isaiah 65:24)

As I lay in bed last night, thinking/meditating/praying with soft instrumental worship playing on my CD, ‘it came to me’ that I would love to read a book of the best revival stories from the many issues of the Renewal Journal.  So here it is.  Being editor, I get to choose the ones I especially like.  Many more great stories are in my other books such as Transforming Revivals.  This editorial has another great story about living faith, miracles and answered prayer.

Helen Roseveare

Living Faith

Helen Roseveare, a missionary doctor to the Congo, recorded this story in her book, Living Faith.  She also wrote books about the Belgian Congo (now Zaire) revival of the 1950s.

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labour ward; but in spite of all we could do she died leaving us with a tiny premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive, as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator) and no special feeding facilities. Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts.

One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst. Rubber perishes easily in tropical climates. “And it is our last hot water bottle!” she exclaimed.

As in the West it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.”All right,” I said, “Put the baby as near the fire as you safely can; sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. Your job is to keep the baby warm.

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle. The baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died. During the prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. “Please, God,” she prayed, “send us a water bottle. It’ll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.”

While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added by way of corollary, “And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she’ll know You really love her?” As often with children’s prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say, “Amen”? I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything. The Bible says so. But there are limits, aren’t’ t there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever received a parcel from home; anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses’ training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there, on the verandah, was a large twenty-two pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly coloured, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas—that would make a nice batch of buns for the weekend. Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the . . . could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out – yes, a brand-new, rubber hot water bottle! I cried. I had not asked God to send it. I had not truly believed that He could.

Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, “If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!” Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted. Looking up at me, she asked: “Can I go over with you, Mummy, and give this dolly to that little girl, so she’ll know that Jesus really loves her?

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months. Packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God’s prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child – five months before – in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it “that afternoon.”

“Before they call, I will answer!” (Isaiah 65:24)

Mama LukaDr Helen Roseveare (1925-), an English missionary to the Congo from 1953 to 1973, suffered terribly through the political instability in the early 1960s and as a prisoner of rebel forces for five months in 1964. After her release she headed back to England but returned to the Congo in 1966 to assist in the rebuilding of the nation.  Now retired she lives in Northern Ireland. The film Mama Luka Comes Home documents her return visit to Zaire in 1989.

Revivals abound with such stories of answered prayer and miracles.  This book contains a few of those stories.

John Greenfield’s book, Power from on High, sparkles with the vibrant evangelism and mission of the Moravian revival which flamed into the Great Awakening and Evangelical Revival of the eighteenth century.

Carl Lawrence graphically describes an example of revival in China ignited by two teenage girls.  Djiniyini Gondarra traces the humble beginnings of the Aboriginal revival in Australia.  David Yonggi Cho recounts his experience of explosive revival in communist Russia.

Richard Riss gathered extensive reports of revival awakenings in North America and England, and David Hogan testifies to amazing revivals in Mexico

We too can participate in prayer and revival in vital ways:
We can Ask God for a great harvest as we pray.
We can Believe God.  He is able to do far more than anything we ask or even think about.
We can Commit our way to God who is the Lord of the harvest.

I pray that this book will both inform and inspire you.  We can all join the millions praying “… Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  … For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever, Amen.”

More Revival Stories

Flashpoints of Revival  (2nd ed., 2009)

South Pacific Revivals (2nd ed., 2010)

Revival Fires: History’s Mighty Revivals (2011)

Transforming Revivals (2011)

Revival (2011)

Renewal (2011)

(c) 2011  Renewal Journal articles may be reproduced with the copyright included.

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Reviews (12) Harvest

Book Review

2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity by Eddie Hyatt.

Dallas, Texas: Hyatt Ministries, 1998.   224 pages, paperbnack.

Reviewed by Dr. Vinson Synan, Dean of the School of Divinity, Regent University, Virginia.  From the Foreword.

Eddie Hyatt’s new book, 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity, is Hyatt’s most important work to date.  It is a fine historical survey of the charismatic history and nature of the church.  His treatment of the origins and fate of the cessation of the charismata theory is well researched and convincingly presented.  As the subtitle suggests, this volume is indeed “a 21st century look at Church History from a Pentecostal/Charismatic perspective.”  Of particular value and interest are Hyatt’s sections on Charles Fox Parham, the formulator of Pentecostal theology, and the crucial part played by followers of Alexander Dowie who left Zion City to found important Pentecostal movements around the world.

Hyatt’s work is another in a stream of scholarly works that are driving nails in the coffin of the Warfield theory of the cessation of the miraculous signs, wonders, and miracles after the end of the apostolic age.  He writes well and convincingly.  I feel that this book brings together the most recent research on the subject and presents it in a popular way that any reader can understand.

I commend 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity to all who look for deeper understanding of the modern Penteconal/Charismatic movements that have exploded in the 2Oth Century to become the second largest family of Christians in the world.

www.eddiehyatt.comHyatt International Ministries
Mailing Address: P. O. Box 3877, Grapevine, TX 76051 USA

(c) Renewal Journal 12: Harvest, 1998, 2011.

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Global Reports

These brief global reports are snapshots from the end of the 20th century

Thailand

An entire village in Thailand became Christians after a prayer for rain was answered, according to Sowers Ministry.  Lun Poobuanak, a Thai missionary among the Buddhists and animists in Kalasin Province, said a village leader interrupted a Christian service, promising that if the Christian God would bring rain to save their crops, all 134 village families would become Christians.  Lun and the other Christians prayed and fasted for three days, and on the fourth day, an intense cloudburst flooded the canals and rice fields.

Source: IRN News, January, 1998

Revival in an Indian Village, 1998

 Report from Dr Paul Pilai, Founder of Indian Inland Mission.

One of our mission stations in a village in central India, named Tarti, was under the grip of fear of an evil spirit that destroyed the crop every year.   Three families came to know Christ and a small church was established in a hut.  The church prayed for the safety of the crop and no damage took place last year.

The whole village is turning to Christ and a great revival is taking place there.  Most of the villagers wanted to receive Christ as their Lord and God.  They stopped all the animal sacrifices to the evil spirits and the demons.  None of the evil spirits attacked the crop or the villagers.  They are learning Christian songs and pray loud to Jesus to make the demons know that the true God is in the midst of them.   The Lord’s presence in the midst of them is known everywhere.

How meaningful it was when Elijah prayed before the Baal worshippers “let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel and that I am thy servant, and that 1 have done all these things at thy word” (1 Kings 18:36).

We praise the Lord that our ministry started in that unknown village at God’s word and command.  He proved to His servants that He is the Lord God Almighty, the only true and living God, yesterday, today and forever the same.

Indian Inland Mission Newsletter, July 1998, pages 3-4.

30,000 decisions for Jesus in New Delhi

Christ for all Nations were in New Delhi from 25 February to 1 March, 1998.

New Delhi is a city of ten million people and is the capital city of the nation of India, as well as the political nerve centre for the whole country.  In addition to this, it is known as a Hindu stronghold, a fact that is made even more significant by recent advances in the national political arena for the Hindu political party.  The CfaN team headed to this city only two weeks after the end of national general elections, to hold a Gospel outreach in the huge Jawaharlal Nehru stadium.  The event was billed as “The Good News Festival.”

The Festival was launched with a VIP banquet that was held the night before the stadium meetings began.  Two hundred and fifty local and international dignitaries attended, among them a number of ambassadors from other countries.  Reinhard Bonnke preached a direct and clear Gospel message and many leading citizens were seen to respond publicly to the salvation call.

250 churches participated

Pastors and churches from across the city joined together to host the event and Pastor Robert Jeyaraj was appointed as chairman of the event, overseeing the activities of the two hundred and fifty participating churches.  It was also planned that running simultaneously with the evening meetings in the stadium, pastors and church workers from the region would be invited to attend a Fire Conference, which would be held each day during the week.  An idea of the excitement generated by the whole event can be gauged by the fact that over four thousand delegates registered for the Fire Conference, many travelling considerable distances to be present.  Reinhard Bonnke, Peter van den Berg and Brent Regis handled the Fire Conference sessions.  On the final day, this particular event culminated with Reinhard Bonnke personally laying hands on the four thousand delegates before they each received a complimentary copy of the book Evangelism by Fire.  There is power in the prayers of the righteous!

Despite restrictive security measures at the stadium entrances and unseasonable cold weather, tens of thousands of people flocked to the meetings nightly to hear the Good News of the Gospel as Reinhard Bonnke preached.  The meetings were characterised by an amazing attentiveness among the large crowd, transfixed by the Word of God as the Gospel message rang out across the vast arena.  Each night the power of the Word was seen as thousands upon thousands responded positively to the invitation to receive Jesus Christ as their Saviour, to the exclusion of all other gods.  The two thousand counsellors were kept very busy, sometimes late into the night, handling the many respondents.  By the final meeting, over thirty thousand decision cards had been handed in, and these were immediately funnelled into the follow-up system to be incorporated into the local churches.  The follow-up material was available in both English and Hindi, the predominant local language.

Healings

After the presentation of the Gospel message each night, a public prayer was offered for all those who were sick.  The crowd was amazed at the testimonies that followed as people pressed forward to report what God had done for them.  Of the many hundreds healed, only a small number could be interviewed publicly due to time restraints, but the crowd shouted with joy as each person, together with witnesses, gave glory to God for their healing.  A young man by the name of Mr.  Patel came with his father to report that his right eye, which had been totally blind for five years, could now see perfectly.  Everyone rejoiced as he correctly imitated the preacher by lifting his fingers to the sky.  A woman with tears in her eyes reported that a cancerous lump in her right breast was now completely gone.  The crowd erupted in a shout of praise.  Miss Naidoo, a young Hindu woman, was brought by her relatives to show that despite the fact that she had been deaf from birth, she could now hear very clearly.  Reinhard Bonnke demonstrated this by whispering into her ear and she was able to shout out the reply.

Fanatics opposed to the Christian message were so incensed by the miracle testimonies, that they printed out special handbills denying the validity of what was happening inside the arena each night.  These they proceeded to hand out to the thousands who were standing in line at the stadium entrances.  What the people thought about it all was graphically illustrated at the close of each meeting by the fact that while thousands of the handbills lay discarded on the ground, not a single follow-up booklet was picked up by the cleaners!

When the time finally came for the CfaN team to leave New Delhi, the general feeling of all involved could be summed up in the words of the Festival Chairman Rev.  Robert Jeyaraj.  AWe have seen the power of the Gospel in action during these days in Jawarhal Nehru Stadium, and we will reap the benefits for many months to come.” Only the Lord of the harvest knows the full extent of the harvest.  You, our Missions Partners, are a vital part of this harvesting team and we praise God for each and every one who is faithful in prayer and financial support.  He is the One who sees and He is the One who rewards.  To God be the glory!

Source: Asuza, Global Revival News

Tibet

Responses to Words of Hope’s radio outreach efforts to Tibetan Buddhists nearly tripled in 1997.  Vice President for Broadcasting Lee DeYoung told Mission Network News on 23 February, 1998 that his group received over 700 letters from Tibetans in both 1995 and 1996.  Last year that number jumped to over 2,000.

Source: Global Revival News, March 1998.

Syria

A Christian ministry in Syria, known in the USA as Syrian Evangelistic Educational Development, reports that a great revival has broken out due to prayer and fasting by the believers of that ministry.  As a result, many Muslims have accepted Jesus as their Saviour.  Additionally, for the first time in recent history, the government has allowed this ministry to print and distribute thousands of New Testaments.  To help, contact <info@christianaid.org>.

Source: FIA News, 5 March, 1998

Cairo, Egypt

Last night they wouldn’t let me into church!  The service was supposed to begin at 7 pm, and in Egypt this meant that most people would arrive around 7:30.  So you can imagine my surprise when I arrived on time only to find dozens of people walking away from the church!

Hundreds of people were in the street trying to make their way through the gate into the church and were being told that there was no more room.   It was very difficult to fight my way through the crowds into the church courtyard which was packed full of people watching the service on a very large screen.   I finally went into the church and found one seat saved for me by a friend.

The place was absolutely packed and the worship time was in full swing even though it was only a few minutes past 7:00 pm.   I knew that every Sunday school room and meeting room in the church as well as the parking lot at the back had closed circuit television screens transmitting the service to them.  It was the first night of the Luis Palau revival meetings in this church, which is the largest Protestant church in the Middle East.  Probably more than 3000 people were packed into the compound!

In Egypt, Christian meetings have to be held in Christian facilities so it was impossible to consider renting an auditorium or stadium for this event.  But as the pastor was introducing the American Argentinean-born Evangelist, he reminded the audience that Luis would have a nightly hearing of more people than would fit in the large Cairo soccer stadium!               How was this?

Through an ingenious program developed by this particular church, the complete service is video taped and after the service dozens of people work all night to make hundreds of duplicate videos.   Early the next morning, couriers travel to all parts of Egypt to deliver one or more tapes to the 570 churches that have agreed to take part in this outreach!  It is expected that around 150,000 participated each day.

Pray for the tens of thousands of people in hundreds of churches across this country.  Also pray for God’s protection.

Source: FIA News

 Sudan

Despite the harsh Arabization and Islamization policy by the government, the Christian Church in Sudan is growing fast.  In the slums of Khartoum a revival has started.  Small churches, often built of clay, mushroom everywhere.  The Jesus Film is shown every night in another church.  Twenty years ago only 5 percent of the Sudanese population was Christian.  Ten years ago this number had grown to 10 percent.  Now about 20 percent of the people in Sudan is Christian!  The Anglican Church has grown from 4 congregations in 1984 to 280 now.  Because of the arabization policy a strong Arab speaking Christian Church is arising which has the fire to spread the gospel even to other countries in the Middle East.  These Christians risk severe persecution and even death.

Sudanese Muslims receive dreams

Many Muslims come to faith in Jesus through God-given dreams.  Like an influential Nuba Muslim in Sudan.  One night he received a clear dream.  He saw himself getting baptized in a Christian church, while the believers sung a beautiful hymn in Arabic.  He remembered the last part of this song very well: “Receive Jesus and you will be happy.”  Then the door of the church opened and he woke up.  “I noticed that the door of my dormitory was open, but I know for sure that I had closed it the night before.”  He shared his dream with his wife and she couldn’t sleep that night.  The next morning his son of 13 told him that he had had a similar dream.  “I was in a dark room when suddenly there appeared a light.  Then I saw daddy with a cross in his hand, where this light came from.”  When the Nuba man heard this, he decided the get baptized.  His whole family is now receiving Bible lessons.  These kinds of stories come in from all over Sudan.

More freedom of religion in Sudan

While in South Sudan a civil war is going on and the rights of Christians are trampled, Christians in the North speak of more freedom of religion.  According to an evangelist in Khartoum, the constitution was changed recently and now guarantees freedom of religion, freedom to evangelize and freedom to plant churches anywhere in the country.  He tried this out immediately: in March he held a street evangelism campaign of a few days in the north of Khartoum.  The population is mainly Muslim there.  About 3,000 to 5,000 people showed up at the campaign that included a showing of the Jesus Film.  “People were even standing on the roofs to be able to see the film,” according to the evangelist.  “The gospel was not hindered at all.  This is a miracle of God and a fruit of your prayers for us.  Just because of the war many Muslims come to faith in Jesus.”

Source: Joel News, 25 April, 1998

Zambia

 “Please ensure that Bibles are distributed in all corners of this country to give every Zambian the opportunity to have the Scriptures in their respective local language,” was the challenge issued by State President FTJ Chiluba on the occasion of the Bible Society of Zambia’s (BSZ) Annual General Meeting held on Saturday March 7, 1998.

The President continued:  “The Word of God has life and power that can shape families and society.  As people search for truth they need to experience the liberating power of the Gospel.”  He pointed out that the Society’s work of translating, printing and distributing the Scriptures was of vital importance and that there was a pressing need for an increase in local fundraising.

The President said it was “embarrassing” for the church in Zambia to always rely on external assistance, and he pledged 100 million kwatcha (US$60,000) to the Bible Society to be made available during the current budget year.  He challenged all Christians in Zambia to contribute generously to God’s work.  Lack of giving to the work of God was the reason that many people failed to balance their budgets, the President said.  “You can only expect to receive God’s blessing if you give back to him from what you have earned,” he added.

The Rev Peter Ndhlovu, National Chairman of the Bible Society in Zambia, commended the Government for its commitment to the Bible cause as he thanked President Chiluba for such a challenging message.

Source: ChristianNet ChristianNet@christiannet.demon.co.uk 18 March 1998.

Uganda

 Charles Carroll reports:

One of my favorite verses is Habakkuk 1:5, where God says, “Look at the nations and watch-and be utterly amazed.   For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”  I want to give you a beautiful illustration of this.   In January someone sent me a copy of a speech given recently by Y.  K.  Museveni, president of Uganda.   Reuters news agency says Museveni has emerged as one of the most articulate champions of change in Africa (21/1/98).  I think you will find this speech both amazing and encouraging.

Remarks by President Museveni

Thank you, Your Excellencies, for the opportunity to share some thoughts about  the spiritual condition of the peoples of Africa.   As I observe the tribal differences, religious divisions, poverty and disease, lack of sufficient educational opportunities for our children, political upheaval and racial strife, it becomes obvious that the principles of Jesus Christ have not penetrated Africa enough!

It may seem strange for some of you to think that I would say this about Christ,  because I know many of you may think this is too religious and not a very  practical solution to the problems I have just mentioned.  Furthermore, I know that most of you do not think of me as a very religious man – in fact, I do not think that about myself.   My wife is a much better believer and prayer than I am, and those who have known me through the years know that I have had problems with religious people.   As I have grown older, I realize that all of the problems have not been theirs, but I do think that those of us who claim to love God ought to love one another – this is one of the most basic attributes of a follower of Christ.

As the years have gone by, however, even though I have not become a member of  any special religious group, I have decided to follow Jesus Christ with my whole  heart.   I find in him the inner strength, the precepts and the lifestyle that can help me and all the people of Uganda to solve the problems we face individually and as a nation.  It is one of the interesting facts about Jesus Christ that people in every nation of the world regardless of religion, whether one is a believer or a non-believer, consider Jesus the greatest authority on human relations in history.   His views on that subject have transcended all religions and cultures.   It is remarkable that the person of Jesus Christ is accepted by everyone – even when they are not attracted by institutional religion.

With that in mind, I want to stress at least three significant precepts that Christ taught and modelled, which if practised, will help Africa: forgiveness, humility and love.

Forgiveness – Jesus Christ is the only person ever to come up with the idea of  unconditional forgiveness, even of one’s enemies.   He went so far as to say, if you don’t forgive, God won’t forgive you.   In countries where animosity and division go back for generations and even thousands of years, how can peace come to a person, a group of persons or a nation if at some point we do not forgive and let God take the vengeance on our enemies – if that is what he decides to do?  It has also been discovered that if we do not forgive, in the final analysis, it hurts us more to hate than it does those we hate.   Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that the message of Christ on forgiveness is the only practical solution to healing a nation’s wounds and bringing unity.

Humility – This is one of the most important attributes necessary to become a  good leader.   When you observe leaders at all levels of society, throughout Africa and I suppose throughout the world, you find them being overcome by power, greed and self-interest.   Somehow, after they have attained the prominence and positions of trust, they forget the people, their poverty and need.   They forget that they could become a great instrument to help their country, and instead they begin to live like little kings and dictators.   Only with a humble spirit, one which recognizes that we who have been given opportunities greater than most are in fact servants of God and the people rather than masters, will we be able to help our countries move from Third World status and lead the people to a new day.   As the Scripture says, God resists the proud and gives help to the humble.   If you have time to pray for me, please pray that God will give me the strength, wisdom and sense to be a humble servant.

Love – It has been fascinating to me to discover that for centuries people who have been the most thoughtful, the most respected, and who have made the most  lasting contributions to the human race have all agreed that the highest and  greatest purpose for their lives has been to seek to love God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength.   These are people like Moses – the great lawgiver; Abraham – the man of faith and father of nations; William Wilberforce – the leader against the slave trade; Mother Teresa – and on and on.   Jesus Christ said the sum of all the law and prophets is to love God and love one another.   If love for God and one another were the rule and the prevailing attitude in our  nations and communities, all problems would move gradually to resolution.   Even  when love is not the rule for most of the population and only exists among the few, great things happen that give hope and life in a world starved for love and caring.

Today, as we meet together, let’s resolve to take Jesus Christ out of the religious setting in which we have imprisoned him and walk with him along the dusty roads of Africa where he feels much more at home.

Source: Awakening, 18 March 1998  <ccarroll@singnet.com.sg>.

Healings in Uganda

 Bishop Grivas K. Musisi, a Ugandan Christian leader claimed in an interview in the USA in April 1998 that “God has healed 223 people from AIDS” in his country.  Each one of these healings,” he says, “has been confirmed medically.”  Bishop Musisi, senior pastor of the Prayer Palace Church in Kampala, Uganda, and who oversees of 75 other charismatic non-denominational churches throughout the country, stated that he believes that God can do the same for people who are HIV positive or have full-blown AIDS in the United States.  Musisi stated: “I believe that the solution is to come back to God.  If a person can turn to God, God is willing to heal that person.  He did it to the people with leprosy and he can do it with those with AIDS.  God has been kind enough to confirm it through his Word.  It has become a calling to everyone at the church to preach and pray for the sick and see people get healed, not just from AIDS, but from many other diseases as well.  Daily, over 500 intercessors cry to God for healings at the Prayer Palace Church.”

Source: Dan Wooding  via IRN News

South Africa

  Pastor Aré J. Van Eck reports:  Our Congregation is called Nuwe Lewe Christensentrem, that is the Afrikaans for New Life Christian Centre.  We are in no way a large congregation, with attendance seldom more than 80 and normally around 35 – 45.   Part of this is due to the fact that we are in a rural area, which is church-riddled, but mostly because we are multi-racial.  Most of our attempts to try and work with other congregations fail, because we love souls more than skin colours!  What I want to share about is the way in which God is visiting us.

As for most preachers, I also went to local conferences (not being able to travel abroad) and had people like Benny Hinn, John Arnott, Rodney Howard-Browne and Randy Clark, pray over me and my wife, but always without any real manifestations.  There was the occasional “going under” but not laughing, crying or being drunk for days – just to get back home and to find that God comes and touches his people anyway.

Imagine an Afrikaans scene with Afrikaans speaking to coloured farm workers, normally the poorest people you can get, sitting cramped in a 3 roomed house (no, not 3 bedrooms, but only 3 rooms) some totally illiterate, about 16 in the one room singing Vineyard and Hillsongs which they have been taught and of which the words have been properly explained to them.  Minutes later, they

themselves start to pray, reading spontaneously out of the Word and laying prostrate under the power of the Holy Spirit, small children laughing in the Spirit, mom & dad repenting freely of hurts and sin.  Praise be to God alone.

I am no person of wealth, charisma or above average education.  I was a policeman for almost 18 years;  it is all of God.  We are near a black residential are as well.   Now there are small black kids that run away from home to attend church.   Some of them got spankings because of it, but they keep coming.   I am talking children from 6 years up to about 14 years of age.

When I first ministered to a very small one who reacted on an altar call, I was annoyed to found that he did not even understand Afrikaans or English.  All he said was “Jesu, Jesu.”  The moment I started to pray for him, that little heart broke.  He wept, fell under the power, and while lying on the ground, started to pray in his mother tongue, Xhosa.   I asked one of his older friends to interpret.  He was praying for a drunken mother and a father that left them on their own.

An elderly black man got saved, and asked prayer for his child that has vanished more than three years ago.   The police had closed the case as they had no leads to follow.   We prayed and within two weeks she surfaced in a town 300 kilometres from us, after being taken away by somebody who promised her a job.  They had her delivered to her parent’s house, and we had the privilege of leading her to the Lord as well!  Is God good or is he good?

Source: IRN News, 5 February, 1998

China

 Neil Anderson reported in March 1998.

We have just returned from a very fruitful trip to the northern provinces of China. People are on the move, and political and spiritual changes are occurring in the country.  The meetings with the believers had to be secretly held at night, because as you know in China it is against the law to meet in homes for church services.  In these houses, the rooms are very small.  In every place we went they were packed to the limit, so much so that the people were practically sitting on each other.  But it didn’t matter as the people sang and worshipped the Lord.  There were some new people there who were coming to a meeting like this for the first time.  At the end of the meetings all of them gave their hearts to the Lord.  People heard the Word with much interest and excitement.  Every night we prayed for people to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and to be healed.  All who were prayed for received the Holy Spirit, and spoke in tongues.

We were able to minister to many of the church leaders in China and listened to what God is doing in their lives and ministry.  Brother Bi, one of the key leaders of many of the house churches based in the northeastern part of China has a total of 20 full time workers working with him in 50-60 different churches in the area.  He told us this story:

In January a sister name Lan was going to see her brother, along with her little nephew.  On the way to this place, it got dark and there was no light on their path.  It was cold, foggy and nothing could be seen more than a foot in front of them.  Suddenly a bright light shown before them.  It was about 5 meters wide and this light led them all the way to her brother’s house.  As soon as they stepped in to her brother’s house, the light disappeared.  After they told this news to their family, five of them gave their lives to Jesus.

Source: Hong Kong & China Report.

Inner Mongolia

Churches in Inner Mongolia are experiencing phenomenal growth.  The region, located along China’s northern border, had 2,000 Christians in 1984, Lee DeYoung of Words of Hope radio told Mission Network News.  Today there are 150,000 believers and at least 40 large churches, he said.  DeYoung, who visited the capital city of Hohhot recently, said there is no explanation for the growth other than the work of the Holy Spirit.

Source: Global Revival News, March 1998.

Japan

 The light of Christ is beginning to dawn in Japan.  Christians say they sense “a new beginning” as churches cooperate in prayer and evangelism, Paul Ariga of the All Japan Revival Mission told Religion Today.  About 1,000 churches participated in the All Tokyo Revival Mission 18-27 September, 1998.  Charismatic, evangelical, and Pentecostal congregations worked together to plan the event.  Almost 20,000 “prayer warriors” — some from other countries — logged hours of prayers in preparation.  About 1,000 people conducted evangelism outreaches in the months before the crusade.

It was the first time that Japanese Protestants of all denominations worked together.  Workers delivered Christian literature to 3 million homes in Tokyo in preparation for the crusade.  Well-known Japanese Christian writer Ayako Miura wrote the tract, called “From Discouragement to Hope”.  Another one million tracts were distributed at street meetings in the city.

The crusade drew more than 120,000 people to 24 meetings.  About 56,000 non-Christians attended 10 evangelistic services at the Nihon Budokan, and almost 6,000 made first-time professions of faith in Jesus Christ, Ariga said.  Two outreaches were held for women and children.  About 60,000 Christians attended revival services intended to deepen their commitments to Christ and inspire them to spread their faith.

The number of responses is high for Japan.  About 2.5% of the population is Christian and most churches average 30 members, Operation World says.  There are 3,000 Protestant churches in Tokyo, a city of 30 million, and 7,700 Protestant churches in Japan.  Some cities and towns do not have a Christian church.

Most Japanese claim no personal religion, but follow the customs of traditional religions including Shinto, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism.   About 100 New Age style offshoots of those religions spring up every year.   Those influences, and Japan’s history of offenses during World War II and other eras, have created a “spiritual bondage” that hinders people from receiving God’s grace, Ariga said.

It takes the “spiritual warfare” of prayer, fasting, and confession of sins to break that bondage, he said.  About 19,000 people have been praying for Tokyo since 1992.  More than 1 million hours of prayer have been offered on behalf of the city in five years.  To prepare for this year’s crusade, leaders asked the people to add 377,750 hours — one for every square mile of the city.  About 3,000 people took part in a 40-day fasting chain prior to the event.

Ariga and other leaders have visited other nations to confess Japan’s sins against them.  He has visited Australia, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan in the past two years to ask forgiveness for the country’s brutal behavior in occupied territories.  Christian leaders in each of those nations accepted his apology and pledged to mobilize people to pray 1 million hours for Japan.

Reconciliation among Christians “breaks the bondage and the power of darkness and makes it easier for people to receive the message of Christ,” Ariga said.  “We drew so many people—more than expected—from all over the island.” Before the revival, seven of Ariga’s eight relatives in Tokyo were not Christians.  “Now I have eight relatives in Tokyo who are believers — that is the result of prayer.”

Source: Baptist Press, Religion Today; Joel News, 16 October, 1998.

 Russia

In the Soviet Union, in 1989, there were 550,000 evangelicals, then by 1998 there are 2.3 million in Russia alone!

Source: Hands for Christ; IRN News.

Arctic Areas

Slavic Ministries and YWAM Norway are launching an initiative to reach the unreached living at the world’s extremes.  The Arctic, Siberia and the Caucasus are rugged regions where numerous still-unreached indigenous peoples live.  The Arctic is home to more than 20 indigenous nomadic & mostly unreached people groups.  A School of Foreign Missions (SOFM) at Borgen, YWAM’s northernmost base, in Norway’s far north, was be led by the mission’s pioneers among the nomadic Nenets in April, 1998.  Siberia, the ultimate godforsaken territory where thousands of political prisoners were sent to the gulags, and the Caucasus region, with the greatest concentration of unreached peoples in Europe, are the two other target areas of this thrust.

Source:  Europe NOW, Mon, 16 February, 1998.

Bible in 2197 languages

The Bible or portions thereof has now been printed in 2197 languages, 30 more than in 1996 reports the German Bible Society in Stuttgart.  The Bible is not only the most sold book in the world, but also the most translated.  The complete Old and New Testament is available in 363 languages. 135 groups are working on a further 681 translations.

Source: Hope for Europe, February, 1998.

France

 Pastor Marc Lebrun from France reports:

Our visit to Toronto in 1995 has changed our lives and put our ministry in such a dynamic that we couldn’t expect before.

When we came back the power of the spirit fell in the place and hit our little church in such a power that it is a wonder it remained.  We organized soon renewal services and many people from around the Paris area and even further visited the church.  Many were healed up, refreshed, with a new love for Jesus.  The church grew and we needed twice to move our facilities. Our revival meetings draw around 200 people and the power of the Holy Spirit is increasing toward the revival outbreak we expect to come soon.  Intercessory prayer, fasting, gifts of the spirit, have grown up and have become a normal way of life now.

The prophetic anointing is tremendous.  Lately during a four days revival with David Herzog (David is an American evangelist missionary to France) a word of knowledge revealed that some people in the crowd had a spirit of suicide.  We had a call for those people to come forward, the spirit resisted, nobody came, but when we rebuked the spirit of death, several people were hit and fell onto the ground, screaming.  Some of our people went into intercession.  Then seven people came forward and the power of death was broken.  At the altar call 13 people gave their lives to Jesus.  Some were children, youth and some adults.  A young boy was delivered from a spirit of violence and death, he saw a vision of angels, his mother says he is completely changed.  When Naomi, a 13 month old baby girl with second degree burns was healed through prayer, it resulted in the healing of all other children that were next to her in hospital.  Please pray for us.  We expect revival to explode and touch many people and churches around.  If you have France on your heart, please pray with us and let us know.

Source  http://members.aol.com/christlum/homecln.html  via Awakening

Holland

Tessa de Ruiter from Elim Pentecostal Church in Hilversum, Holland, reports to have seen and heard angels:  On 8 March 1998 during the worship-singing I heard voices singing that I had never heard before in church.  These voices were the most beautiful ones I had ever heard, clear and pure.  I knew that the voices did not come from the congregation for I know those, who are close to the platform, very well.  After the preaching, when the invitation was given, my eyes were continually attracted to the platform, then I saw an angel on either side of the platform.  I closed my eyes quickly and was thinking: “Lord, this cannot be real…”  A voice within me said: “Look once more.”  I looked and they were still there, beautiful, with gold-blond hair, clothed in white.  In their hands they had a large golden horn, full of pure oil.  I asked the Lord what they were doing and the answer was:  “I have send them to serve and to anoint with my oil.”  I asked him what they were waiting for and the answer was: The sign to start.  “But, Lord, who will give that sign?”  The reply:  “You.  When you will go to the front and tell the people what you see, then they will begin to move.”  As a result many came forward, there were tears and Jesus touched everybody deeply – the anointing was powerful.

Source: Joel News

Ireland

Youth unity initiative in Ireland

Protestant and Catholic young people joined forces in a marathon prayer walk round the borders of Northern Ireland, seeking peace for the long-divided communities.  While sectarian marches have frequently sparked violent clashes during the years of “The Troubles”, organizers of The Reconciliation Walk-Northern Ireland hoped that linking young Christians from different traditions in the trek would serve as a symbol for a united future.  The Rec Walk was for Christian young people, between the ages of 16 and 25, who wanted to walk together with other young people and pray for reconciliation, unity & peace in Northern Ireland.  The 600-mile journey started in Belfast and basically followed the border of Northern Ireland, taking participants through former trouble spots like Londonderry and Eniskillen – sites of some of the worst violence during the years of conflict.  Local youth events focusing on peace, reconciliation and unity were staged along the way.  The event was promoted by Youth With A Mission, whose Northern Ireland leader Mike Oman hopes to see up to 1,500 young people taking part – some for one week and others for the entire route.  He said that the walk was intended to build on the fragile sense of hope for the future that had been building in Northern Ireland over the past couple of years – which had largely seen an absence of violence.     Mike Oman <100071.1477@compuserve.com>

Peace Agreement

Report by Diarmuid O’Neill.

What happened in Ireland with the peace agreement on Friday the 10th of April, 1998, was something I never thought I would see in my lifetime, it was and is something amazing.  It is a wonderful opportunity that God has given the people of Northern Ireland and the people on the island of Ireland as a whole, for peace, healing and restoration.  This healing and restoration is also needed for the church of Jesus Christ in Ireland, to be a whole body the way Jesus intended it to be.

God has done an amazing thing and I hope that he will richly bless each one of you who has been praying for however long for peace in Ireland – as an Irish man I am so grateful to you and praise God for all he has done through your faithfulness.

But it’s only the beginning.  Its the dawn of a new day, the ushering in of a new era, that is if we continue to cry out to God for grace and mercy to be given out in abundance to all those involved.

God has blessed us with leaders in the political realm who were prepared to take risks and lay down some of their own ideals, aspirations, agenda’s and pride.  The church needs to learn from these men and women so that the church will do the same and will be prepared to stick its neck out and take risks and stop trying to be always politically correct.  Let us pray that from within the church will come the role models for every stratosphere of community life, especially for the up and coming generation who have known nothing but trouble and violence.  65% of the population in the South of Ireland are young people looking for answers.  New Age and alternatives to Christ flood the market place.  These young people need your prayers that the Christians in the North will share with them their new life.

God can powerfully use leaders and Christians who are prepared to say “your will – not mine be done”, and they are the type of people the island of Ireland needs right now.  Pray that God will give leaders favour with their people, so that they will be able to persuade them to vote in favour of the peace deal.

God is without a doubt blessing Ireland (North & South) in many ways during this time and he has said much about how he will bless Ireland in the future and how he will use the people of Ireland to bless again nations all over the world.  Pray that once again revival will sweep the land, remembering that it was the people of this island who kept the gospel alive while the rest of Europe was being over-run by Vandals, Barbarians and such like.  God used Irish people powerfully to bring the gospel all over Europe, may He do it again as continental Europe now, like then, sits largely in darkness and is in desperate need of Gods love and grace.

We need to keep praying that all of these things will come to pass.  That the people of Northern Ireland will be healed of all the pain and be restored. We also need to be prepared to go and just listen and be alongside them, we need to take risks and be brave and go and face the powerful emotions of hatred, anger, loss, mourning, fear, bitterness and many more besides.  This process of restoration is not just for the people of Northern Ireland, but for the people of the South of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England and beyond.  The eyes of the world are watching and God will use all that this troubled land and people have learnt through this torrid, terrible time to bring restoration and healing between peoples, churches, Catholic and Protestant, Jew and Gentile.

We need to keep praying too that nothing else will fill the void left by terrorism and intimidation by all paramilitaries.  Since the first ceasefire in 1992 the drug scene in Ireland has become drastically worse.  Believe it or not: because of the vigilante tactics adopted in the North by paramilitary organisations, the crime rate in Northern Ireland has been one of the lowest in Europe.

So please, please keep praying for Ireland North and South and all the people in it, that people’s fears of this being yet another failed attempt will not be realised.  Rather that this will be what we have been hoping and waiting for for nearly 30 years and then maybe we will be able to heal all the other wounds which stretch back over centuries!  We want to challenge the church to keep praying and fasting for this crucial time in the history of the island of Ireland – don’t stop praying, in fact pray even more.

Diarmuid O’Neill & Amaury Braga <Diarmuid@gonations.nwnet.co.uk>

Source: Joel News,  22 April, 1998.

England

 ‘Sowing the Seeds of Revival’ has continued over the last five months, four nights a week at the Emmanuel Centre, Marsham Street, Westminster on Wednesday to Saturday nights since the 1st of June, 1997.  Well over 55,000 people have been through the building and over 6,000 have come forward to ‘Get right with God’. Twelve dustbins full of pornography, illegal drugs, weapons, Masonic jewellery, clothing and personal effects have been collected.  Scores have been converted to Christ and dozens baptised.  Some have been so overcome by the Holy Spirit they have been unable to get out of the pool.  Members of the House of Lords, House of Commons and staff at Buckingham Palace have been present as well as the homeless and hungry off the streets of London.  Over 500 bags of food have been distributed to the hungry and homeless over that period of time. —

Gerald Coates.  Source:  IRN –  http://www.revivalnet.com]

Canada

 Vancouver

David Culley reports from Glad Tidings Assembly in Vancouver, Canada.

“And it shall come to pass in the last days that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh …”  We are seeing it!  For the past months Glad Tidings in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada has been experiencing the same renewal that is happening all over the world. Yesterday, we crossed over into full blown revival.  The morning service started much like any other.  The worship was annointed as usual, and we had a visiting revival minister as we often had before.  The thing that was different was the sea of turbans and saris in the building.  Vancouver is a multi-national city with a large Sikh population, and over 200 had come to our morning meeting.

Our guest minister, Charles Ndifon from Nigeria and New York, had been in Victoria, British Columbia, for some meetings a few weeks ago, and a young Sikh woman, who had been invited by her Christian husband was healed of blindness and deafness.  She went back and brought her favorite uncle, Charnjit, who was dying of cancer, and he left the meeting healed and saved.

Since then Charnjit has been witnessing to all his relatives, and when Charles Ndifon came to our church in Vancouver, this man invited his whole extended family.  Yesterday, after watching many people be healed of athsma (as an example of how simple it is for God to heal anything), and a 90 year old woman receive a new ear-drum, about 200 Sikhs came forward to give their hearts to God.  And it’s real.  They had already heard the Gospel from Charnjit, and to make sure, the altar call was translated into Punjabi.  After the service, the people were so excited to have found Jesus, and to be so accepted by these white people.  At the evening service another 104 Punjab Sikh people responded to the altar call.

We saw many miracles.  A 14 year old boy born blind saw his mother for the first time, deaf ears were opened, cancers were healed.  But the greatest miracle of all was that God now seems to be bringing in the Sikh population that we have been so unable to reach for all this time.

26 October 1998.    Source: Awakening.

British Columbia

Bob Brasset from Victoria, Canada, writes about the move of the Holy Spirit in British Columbia:

The outpourings continue.  In fact, it seems to be getting stronger.  We now meet four nights a week.  The response of the pastors in the area is simply an overwhelming gratitude for the goodness of God for deigning to visit us in such an awesome way.  There is an amazing, astounding hunger in North America right now.  People know that we are on the edge of not only Revival but a genuine Awakening: perhaps the greatest since the day of Pentecost.  This Awakening, I feel, will be characterized by the very kabod (Hebrew for weighty, laden down with treasure, riches, glory, and wealth), glorious presence of God coming and abiding in a room, a church and even a city, or a whole region (as in Charles Finney’s revivals).  The worship in our services now continues and flows for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, unabated with spontaneous songs of the Lord from worship team and congregation.  Bodies lie on the floor, prostrate in worship.  People report seeing angels.  Visions, mighty, inspiring ones, are plenteous.  Healings happen during the preaching of the word or worship without anyone praying or laying on hands.  We are not advertising this.  People are just coming.  Salvations are happening in each service – even when we don’t give specific calls.  We now have reported healings of fibromylagia, diabetes, cancer, chronic pain, ears opening, many necks and backs healed and severe allergies.

Source: Global Revival News, Bob Brasset <rbrasset@tcs.bc.ca>

Arkansas, USA

 Revival is breaking out in the Lee County jail in Arkansas.  In just one year, chaplains and volunteer staff oversaw 161 services in the chapel and 118 services in the jail itself.  As a result 1,459 people made decisions for Christ.  Currently, 218 inmates are enrolled in Bible studies and some 6,900 individual Bible studies have been distributed.  “There is a hunger for God inside me that is more powerful than any hunger I have ever known,” said AOG Chaplain Patrick McCowan.  “The Lord is teaching me so many things in these days about servanthood,” McCowan said.

Source: The Assemblies of God News Service

Hampton, Virginia

 Ken Lawson reported:

Bethel Temple Assembly of God has been experiencing a move of the Holy Spirit since April 1996.  Church membership is 2,200.  Revival meetings are held Wednesday, Thursday & Friday.  In April of 1996 the Sunday 7:30 am service started and did not end till 3:24 pm which bypassed the 10:30 am service. Church members were repenting, numerous people converted to Christ, and many were delivered of evil spirits.

Hampton, Virginia is the oldest English speaking settlement in America.  Bethel Temple Church is racially diverese: 40% African-American, 50% white, 10% Hispanic and Asian.

In 1996 the Senior Associate Pastor, Don Rogers, had an open vision of the Holy Spirit coming to Hampton.  He saw the Spirit of the Lord coming like a storm and it blew into their church.  In his vision when this happened it blew out a glass window in the church.

Fourteen months later, in June of 1997 the Sunday service at Bethel Temple was starting.  Senior Pastor Ron Johnson was praying and asking God to come “like a pent-up flood”.  Suddenly Pastor Johnson looked at his hands and oil was dripping from his hands.  The pastor began to tell the congregation of what was happening to his hands.  The head usher told the pastor the front window of the church just blew out.

The pastor began telling the congregation of what happened.  People ran to the altar.  Many publicly repented of sins.  God’s manifest presence filled the building.  Marriages are being restored, sexually broken people healed, myriad conversions to Christ, and many being filled with the Holy Spirit.

The vision was beginning to be fulfilled.  Part of the interpretation of the glass breaking signified the Spirit of the Lord blowing into Bethel church and blowing out.  The mission of Bethel church is to proclaim God’s glory to the nation.  The breaking of the glass window is a prophetic symbol of God’s power to release the church to carry the gospel to the nations.  Also that week, several “signs and wonders” happened.  An unexplained earthquake tremor and circular rainbow 360 degrees appeared over the city.

Unity of churches in the Hampton area is growing.  Twenty churches gathered for Easter Services this year in the town’s coliseum.  According to Pastor Don Rodgers it’s unprecedented to get twenty churches to lay down the most important service of the year.  Eleven thousand people attended.

Source: Awakening, 13 April, 1998

Greenville, Alabama

 By Ken Owen, Senior Pastor of First Assembly of God Greenville, South Carolina.

In April 1995 a first wave of revival began to crest over the congregation at First Assembly of God, Greenville, South Carolina.  Nightly meetings were held for a month with Ed Nelson.  Since then a number of waves have rolled in, building into what is now a sunami of revival.

In August, 1997, the tide began to significantly deepen.  I called Ed – a director of  a mission work to unreached peoples – to return immediately.  On October 11, 1997, Ed returned to us from Asia.  The Sunday morning service flowed like a mighty river — hundreds came forward to repent of sins.  The meeting carried on through the day till 4:00 pm.  With an hour break, it began again at 5:00 pm with a large prayer meeting and evening service.  Since then there has been no let up, only an increase.

More than two thousand people have repented of sins, converts being baptized weekly.  Many miracles and healings are accompanying the revival.

People from a variety of church backgrounds and denominations are driving to the meetings from several cities and states as momentum continues to strengthen.  There has been almost no promotion of the revival, but word-of-mouth has brought thousands of people to the meetings.

IRN News, 5 February 1998.  Source:  IRN –  http://www.revivalnet.com

(c) Renewal Journal 12: Harvest, 1998, 2011.

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Australian Reports – Aboriginal Revivals

Pilbra region, Western Australia

Australian Reports

Faith Comes Alive in the Pilbara

by Craig Siggins


The closure of a pub through lack of customers is big news in Australia.  This is what drew the media to a small town called Nullagine in the far north of Western Australia.  But the media didn’t know quite how to report the religious revival that is keeping people out of the pubs‑as well as the jails and hospitals.  Aboriginal church worker Craig Siggins wrote this account of the spiritual awakening that is changing Aboriginal communities in Western Australia.

“Kuurti yarrarni kuwarri ngangka mungkangka” (“Holy Spirit, we welcome you in this place tonight”) is the first line of a song being sung at many Aboriginal communities around the Pilbara.  It was composed by Len “Nyaparu” Brooks, also known as Kurutakurru, one of the many leaders God has raised up among the Martu Wangka, Nyangumarta and other peoples of the Pilbara.

A spiritual awakening took place in many communities last year, in 1997.  Things started at Warralong, where many became Christians and were baptised after being influenced by three Christian Aboriginal leaders.  Then just before Christmas, Kurutakurru joined two other leaders at Nullagine, and many from Nullagine and other communities became Christians and came across to the dam at Newman to be baptised.

Many communities started having meetings almost every night and prayer meetings every day.  Leaders travelled to different communities for the meetings and to encourage people, sometimes holding meetings at night after a funeral service when hundreds of people were gathered.  Some meetings went on for eight hours or more as people shared in song, testimony, prayer, Bible reading and preaching.

When Franklin Graham visited Perth in early February, over 200 Martu people travelled the 1150 km for his meetings.  It was like one long church service all the way there and back.  Everyone was bursting to sing and witness to the people in Perth.

When we got back there were more meetings and baptisms, even from communities that had previously rejected Christianity.  Old people, Aboriginal elders, were turning to Christ and being baptised.  Four hundred people gathered at the Coongan River near Marble Bar for three days of meetings, with many more being baptised.

Police, hospitals and others have noticed a decrease in alcohol related incidents.  The media has begun to take notice.  Nullagine, which had the record of being the arrest capital of Australia, became news when the pub went broke, apparently because so many had given up the grog.  ‘A Current Affair’ came up and did a television spot at Nullagine.

Amazingly, a simultaneous and apparently quite separate revival began at about the same time among the Pintubi people and others across the border in the Northern Territory.  A team from Kiwirrkura, just on the WA side of the border, travelled across the desert and joined up with the Pilbara meetings, arriving early for our Easter Convention held in a wide dry river bed near Newman.  More than 1000 people from different communities and Christian traditions came together to celebrate.

Why the revival?  It is nothing more or less more than a work of the Holy Spirit.  It has similarities to the revival that spread to many Aboriginal communities in the early ’80s, which reached the Pilbara but never really took hold.  Like that revival, people have had dreams and visions.  Recently Mitchell, a leader from Punmu, got up and read from Acts 2 about Joel’s prophecy and said it was being fulfilled.  Not long ago, people told me they had seen a cross in the sky one morning.  And like the ‘80s revival, it is the Aboriginal people taking the Wangka Kunyjunyu (Good News) to their own people in their own way and their own language.

Aboriginal leaders empowered by the Holy Spirit are leading the revival.  These leaders would like to see the revival reaching the wider Kartiya (non‑Aboriginal) society.  But for these shy desert people to reach out to Kartiya in these days of Mabo, Wik and the struggle for reconciliation will only be by the hand of God.

Reprinted with permission from On Being ALIVE Magazine, PO Box 434, Hawthorn Victoria,  3122,  Ph:  61 3 9819 4755, No. 5, June 1998, pages 8‑10.

Spiritual Awakening in the North-West

 Craig Siggins

Craig Siggins gives a more detailed account of the Pilbara revival in this article.

Beginnings at Elcho Island

Revival!  In some Christian circles it is like the Holy Grail – something to be sought after at all cost.  But perhaps few realise that a revival did come to Australia – or that there is again a revival happening right now.  Perhaps few realise this because both revivals began in remote areas among Aboriginal people.

In 1979 a revival began on Elcho Island off the Northern Territory.  In 1981 it came to the Warburton Ranges in Western Australia, and then spread to many Aboriginal communities around Australia.  I was privileged to have been a witness to that revival.

In 1981/82 at the height of the revival in Western Australia I was teaching at the Christian Aboriginal Parent-directed School at Coolgardie.  All of the students became Christians and there were prayer, praise and testimony meetings most nights.  My present work as a pastor/missionary is a direct result of that revival.  The revival has been well documented in Ian Lindsay’s Fire in the Spinifex and John Blacker’s Fire in the Outback.  The effect of that revival nearly 20 years on is still strong in many communities – Aboriginal Christian leaders, committed Aboriginal Christians and Gospel seeds sown in many places and many lives, including the Pilbara.

Resistant people respond

My wife, Lyn, and I came to the Pilbara in 1993, settling in the town of Newman.  Our vision was to see a strong, indigenous Aboriginal church raised up amongst the Martu Aboriginal people of this area.  But we had not expected to see it so soon.  We had expected a long, slow struggle before anything of significance developed.

Some communities were strongly anti-Christian.  At one community we were told by some white Christians not to be too overt in our Christian witness.  Two years later Aboriginal leaders from our Parnpajinya Church at Newman baptised many from that community.  At another community a clause against teaching Christianity was written into the school constitution.  Two years later we were having Christian meetings on the school verandah.  Aboriginal people told me how some of the old men had threatened Christians with spears.  Some of these same old men have now accepted Christ.

Against all expectations we found the Martu people to be really open to the Gospel.  The seeds were sown by the 1981 revival, by the witness of the Apostolic Church and by the work of the late Jim Marsh, a gifted linguist with a pastoral heart, much respected by the people.

Winter rains refreshing

We began our own language efforts modestly, by walking up to Aboriginal people and speaking a few words we had picked up in the Goldfields and then, with practice, gradually expanding our vocabulary.  Church also began slowly, but some believed and then were baptised.  We thought things were happening too quickly, even then, so we didn’t rush to baptise anyone.

Teams of Aboriginal Christian men from the Plibara Aboriginal Church of Roebourne (Apostolic) came over from time to time and helped.  Leaders developed.  More were baptised.  I became committed to taking teams from Parnpajinya (Newman) to various communities.  Gifts were developed.  More and more became Christians and were baptised, but the revival hadn’t really come as yet.  It was like the winter rains refreshing us before the main summer rains came.  Communities – too many to cope with – were crying out for visits.

One of our leaders – Kerry Kelly (KK) – had gone to Warralong and teamed up with a couple of other strong Christians.  Warralong has a community that had been opposed to Christianity.  But the Spirit moved there and many were baptised.  We had Christian meetings (the first ever).  At one meeting nearly the whole community came forward to dedicate or re-dedicate their lives to Christ.  KK, less than two years old as a Christian, became one of the main leaders at Warralong and for the revival.  In 1996 I had taken KK over to a Men’s Training Camp in the Northern Territory.  This interaction helped solidify KK in his Christian walk.  KK often leads at the Lord’s Supper, and when many communities come together this has been a unifying factor.

At Parnpajinya (Newman), just before and after Christmas 1997, many people were coming to the Lord and we were having multiple baptisms at the Ophthalmia Dam.  This was about the time the revival really took off.  People from Jigalong and other communities were also coming to be baptised, including some of the old men.  Many nights we were having meetings that went to early in the morning.  Some communities were having meetings every night and prayer meetings every day!  Some still are.

The ‘arrest capital’ of Australia

Nullagine, which had the dubious distinction of being called “the arrest capital” of Australia, asked us to come there, which we did.  Len (Nyaparu*) Brooks, known as Kurutakururru, Walter Crusoe (Wari) and Billy (Nyaparu*) Landy took up the leadership at Nullagine.  Many people there who had become Christians were asking to be baptised.

So one weekend I drove the old church bus to Nullagine, picked up as many people as could be squashed into the bus and, two flat tyres later, drove back to Newman.  Many were baptised.  Our practice is to have two doing the baptising together – usually one who knows the words to say and another who might be a learner.  For cultural reasons, we have men baptising men and women baptising women.  So we picked out two men and two women from each community.  When the baptisms finished, we found out the lady leader from Nullagine doing the baptisms hadn’t been baptised herself, so we turned around and baptised her!

After that we travelled again to Nullagine and baptised a number of people there, including people from remote communities and some more of the old men.   Parnpajinya, Nullagine, Punmu and Warralong, with some from Jigalong and Parnngurr, were spearheading the revival.  I travelled around with leaders such as Alistair (Jaliku) Sammy, Chrissie Sailor, Clarrie Robinson and Lizzie Jones to different communities encouraging the believers and holding meetings that at times went for hours.  Sometimes hundreds would stay on after a funeral and all join together for a Christian meeting.  In October 1997 1 had taken Clarrie Robinson and Willie Bennett to a Men’s Training Camp in the Northern Territory.  The topic was ‘Preaching’.  Clarrie came back and began preaching for the first time.  Willie went back to Kiwirrkurra near the Western Australia / Northern Territory border.  Incredibly, a revival had sprung up at Kiwirrkurra and other Pintubi communities in the Northern Territory at about the same time as the Western Australia revival, but quite unconnected.  Willie Bennett became a leader of that revival.

A week-long revival

Someone heard that Franklin Graham was coming to Perth for a Festival, and the Aboriginal Christian leaders decided it would be good to go to hear him.  The only thing was, Perth was 1150 kilometres away!  But people chucked in money and somehow over 200 people crammed into 4 coaster buses, 2 mini-buses and a motley fleet of assorted 4WDs and other vehicles and got to Perth (and back!).

We were there for a week, but it was like one long revival meeting.  We sang and prayed all the way down and had meetings every morning and night where we were camped (when we weren’t listening to Franklin!) Kurutakurru, a gifted singer and song-writer himself, had the idea of singing outside to the crowds waiting to get in the Burswood Dome where Franklin was speaking.  So we arrived early each night, gathered in a group and sang away in English and Martu Wangka to the kartiyakaja (white people).  They seemed to appreciate it.  The style was a bit different to the precision programming that happened inside the Dome, though!

When we got back, some communities had the idea of holding a mini-convention before our main Easter Convention.  After some hesitation (over finding a place with enough water for baptisms!) a gorge near Warralong was chosen.  Over 50 people were baptised including some old men who had been opposed to Christianity previously.  Two old men and an old lady, too crippled to enter the water, knelt down while water was poured over them with a cup (this was after some discussion as to whether such a baptism was okay).  It was a stirring witness! Meetings went on morning and night.  Even a rain storm and lightning strike one night didn’t dampen the enthusiasm.

A pub with few patrons

Our Easter Convention (1998) was a wonderful time of celebrating Jesus.  Over 1000 people came, including many new Christians from communities that had never come before.  The meetings went nearly non-stop over the Easter period.  Singing is a prominent feature of the revival.  There is a real sense of joy that comes out in song.  Many new songs have been written and many old songs translated into Martu Wangka, Nyangurnartu and other languages.  Everywhere you go you bear kids singing and tapes playing songs of the revival.

So many people were becoming Christians and giving up the grog that the pub in Nuilagine lost a lot of its business and went into receivership.  The story made news around Australia.  Nyaparu Landy and I were interviewed on Perth radio!  A Current Affair went to Nuilagine.

But the revival has not stopped.  The Martu people themselves are reaching out to other Martu people.  Neilie Bidu from Yandeyarra came back, fired up from

hearing Franklin Graham, to reach out to his own community.  He began a small prayer meeting and then invited Kurutakurru and other leaders from Warralong and Punmu to help him.  So they went to Warralong and many there became Christians.  Yandeyarra people in turn have reached out to Banjima people near Tom Price.  Other communities have also been reached, including some that were closed to Christianity.  Some of these communities had turned away Crusade teams from the 1981 revival.  Now they have turned to the Lord.

Why revival, and why now?

Only the power of the Holy Spirit can explain this revival.  It is a miracle, an incredible revival happening.  Mitchell Biljabu, a leader from Punmu, has likened it to the prophecy of Joel in Acts 2.

I asked Milton Chapman, another leader from Punmu what, apart from the Holy Spirit, is bringing about the revival.  He replied that it was Aboriginal leaders bringing the message of Good News to their own people.  Many have responded to the powerful witness of changed lives.  Alistair and Chrissie wrote their testimony for Today magazine and said: “For a long time we were drinking and gambling…  We started to think about Mama (Father) Godwe gave our hearts to the Lord.  We have kept following Mama God right up to now.”  

The example has had a strong impact on their extended families, nearly all of whom have become Christians.  Prayer has been another major factor in the revival.  The Martu pray simple and sincere prayers for all sorts of things.  The prayer meeting at Nullagine every morning helped keep the believers strong.

Some excesses and difficulties

But there have also been some excesses and difficulties in the revival.  Some still struggle with alcoholism and some have gone back to the drink.  Many are new Christians with little knowledge of Christianity.  Even the leaders are in the main untrained.  Some are illiterate.  And other groups have come in with different ideas and practices that have caused division even within families and have led to much debate and argument, some of it bitter.  One is a legalistic group that stresses the keeping of the 10 commandments, especially the fourth (keeping the Sabbath).  Another is a fairly extreme charismatic group.

Then there are issues of a more cultural nature.  Some couples who have become Christians are married the wrong way in a tribal (though not biblical) sense, including some leaders.  What to do?  What to do about some of the tribal laws and ceremonies?  Reject them all?  Keep some?  These are big issues to be worked through.

We are encouraging the leaders to read the Bible for themselves and to come to solid biblical conclusions as they struggle through these issues with the help of the Holy Spirit, but it will take time.  Pray for the people and the revival!

Used with permission from Vision, the magazine of the Australian Baptist Missionary Society, July 1998, pages 12-15.

Grog replaced by gospel

 Reports by Mairi Barton

 Mairi Barton is a reporter with The West Australian newspaper in Perth.  These reports were written in April 1998.

A religious revival among Aboriginal people in the remote North‑West town of Nullagine ‑ once labelled the arrest capital of Australia ‑ has drastically reduced the number of arrests and jailings.

Police in Nullagine, 184 km north of Newman (in WA), claim drunken domestic fights which once dogged the community have virtually disappeared and the residents seem happier and healthier.

The only sufferer is the local pub, the Conglomerate Hotel, which once kept six staff busy.  Last month the lessee went into receivership after the town’s 100 to 150 Aboriginal people turned to Christianity in November.

Since then, the Aboriginal community has reduced the number of arrests to just a handful and there have been no jailings.  They gave up alcohol and labelled the hotel “the devil’s place”.

Instead of going to the bar each night to drink, they sit happily in circles under the stars, pray and sing gospel songs at the Yirrangkaji community on the outskirts of the town.

When The West Australian visited last week, they were eager to share their new‑found love of God and talk about the positive changes they have made to their lives.

Gary Marshall, who leased the hotel and adjoining shop for 2 years, said the arrival of religion spelt disaster for his business, but he did not hold it against the Aboriginal people.

“I couldn’t sit here and say it was a bad thing,” he said.  “If they are better off, then it’s a wonderful thing.”  …

The two men believed responsible for their religious conversion ‑ local Aboriginal men who left town a couple of years ago and returned late last year as changed men, keen to share the Christian message ‑ were out of town.

Senior Constable Mal Kay, the officer in charge at Nullagine, said the drop in crime could be explained in part by the fact that the population dropped every time big groups from the community left town to attend religious meetings around the Pilbara and in Northam.

Most arrests in town in the past have been assaults and woundings stemming from alcohol.

Mother sees her life in a new light

Mother‑of‑two Lisa Dalbin used to be a weekly visitor to the Nullagine police lockup for assault, anti‑social behaviour or just to sober up.  The 26‑year‑old would spend her pension on alcohol, get jealous over her man and find herself in punch‑ups with women who were her friends when she was sober.  That was before she found Christianity and gave up drinking last November.

“We pray and sing every morning and every night,” she said.  “We have church meetings every Wednesday and Saturday.”

Miss Dalbiii has worked off her fines through community work, picking up rubbish and working in the children’s kitchen ‑ where the children have breakfast, shower and change into their uniforms before school.

Her favourite drink used to he port and she freely admits that it made her act mad.  She does not miss it.  She is happier, has money in her pocket to go shopping and takes better care of her sons, aged five and eight, now she is sober.  She is even studying to get her driver’s license, a privilege which seemed out of reach to her a few months ago.  The only time she sees the police now is when they stop to say hello in the street.

Her cousin Phillip Bennell, 39, who spent much of his youth behind bars because of alcohol‑related strife, has also been sober for about four months since “he saw the light”.

God is his master now, not grog, he says.  “To follow the Lord is good, you know.  It keeps you away from trouble.  Alcohol is a killer for anybody, but especially the Aboriginal people.  I was one of the worst blokes, locked up all the time away from my kids.  I spent 21 years of my life in and out of prison.”

Mr Bennell said it would be easy for him to turn back to drink, but he did  not want to because he had realised the damage it could do.  “I had two feet in the grave and what I was doing was adding a final nail in the coffin,” he said.  “But when I found the Lord I gave it all away.  I didn’t want to die a young bloke.”

He said he no longer wanted to drink because he had a 12‑year‑old daughter and her life was more important to him than alcohol.

Mr Bennell said the footpath outside the Conglomerate Hotel had been the site of many arguments and brawls, but now the community held prayer meetings across the road.  If they ventured into the pub, it was only to get a cool drink.

“There used to be a lot of tough drinkers at the reserve,” he said.  “They gave it away because they found a bit of peace and a better way of life.  A lot of people here want their health, and their children brought up in a good environment.

The West Australian.  Used with permission.

(c) Renewal Journal 12: Harvest, 1998, 2011.

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