A Chronicle of Renewal and Revival

Archive for August, 2011

Argentine Revival, by Guido Kuwas

Guido Kuwas, editor of Global Revival News, compiled this report in November 1998.

Reproduced from  Renewal Journal 12: Harvest

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Thousands are getting saved and

God’s miracle power touches people

Argentina has been basking in Revival for almost 15 years. And I don’t mean the type of Revival where 3 people or even 30 people get saved in one meeting. I am talking about a Revival where thousands are getting saved and where God’s miracle power touches people.

Charisma Magazine has reported that during the last decade, the population of Latin American Protestants grew from 18.6 million to 59.4 million. That represents a 220 percent increase, nine times the growth rate of the general population. Secular researchers calculate that 400 Latin Americans convert to evangelical Christianity every hour.

The revival is transforming the religious landscape. In Peru, a Protestant church is planted every eight hours. In Rio de Janeiro, one new congregation is born every day. Brazil’s largest denomination, the Assemblies of God, has grown tenfold since 1980, to 15 million members and 90,000 local congregations.

The fastest growth has been among Pentecostal and charismatic churches. Less than 2 percent of the Protestant population at the end of World War II were in Pentecostal churches. Today, about 66% of Latin American Protestants attend a Pentecostal church.

Claudio Freidzon

1. Change of Plans

Claudio Freidzon recounts: In 1985 I had a vision of God in my room. It must have been two or three in the morning. I was asleep. Suddenly, God woke me up and showed me a vision on the wall, right before my eyes. I saw the picture of a public square in the district of Belgrano (within the same city of Buenos Aires). In the vision, the square was filled with people who were celebrating in an evangelistic campaign similar to the ones that Carlos Annacondia held. And the Lord said to me: “This is your new field of work.”

God showed me that he wanted me to reveal his glory in that place, and that he wanted to move us away from the place where we had worked for so may years. When I mentioned this to my wife, she did not understand it immediately. Now that things were beginning to go well in Parque Chas, ought we to move to another district? Nevertheless, I was sure of what God had showed me. It was a difficult situation, and a highly challenging one. While my heart was pondering over these things, hundreds of men and women whom I had never seen before (but whom I would meet later in that square) walked around lost, hopeless and without God in this world. Daniel Perotti and Sergio Marquet (called “the Frenchman”) were among them. At present, thanks to the tremendous change that God operated in their lives, they are two of my associate pastors.

I went and had a look at the public square I had been shown. A sign said “Plaza Noruega”. There was a crowd of drug addicts sitting around on the floor. I began to take measurements of the place, and to find out where I would get electricity for my evangelistic campaign. Someone in the neighbourhood watched my movements, came up to me and said: “Look here, I don’t know what you are going to do, but I hope you will clean up the square, because here we have the worst of them. This is the meeting place of the worst kind of drop-outs in Belgrano. Last week they killed a man…” I prayed to the Lord silently: “Father, are you sure this is the square you showed me?” The man went on: “This is the territory of “El Francés” (the Frenchman), a dangerous man.”

A violent battle raged within me while he spoke. On the one hand I had the comfort of my little flock which was beginning to multiply, and on the other the great challenge of the unknown. There were also difficulties in finding an evangelist willing to preach in that public square.

All the preachers I invited were unable to accept for various reasons. God wanted me to do the job of an evangelist! That evangelistic campaign in February 1986 was historical. Great signs and wonders followed the preaching of the Gospel. That is how the “King of Kings” church was born in the Belgrano district. I have never repented of having obeyed that vision!

2. A New Time

1992 marked a new era for Claudio Freidzon’s ministry. In that same year he received a visit from Pastor Werner Kniesel, who was well respected by him. Actually Kniesel is a Pastor in the city of Zurich (Switzerland) in the church called “Christliches Zentrum Buchegg” (Christian Center Buchegg) having one of the largest congregations in Europe. He knew Claudio from their student days at the Seminar. When Claudio told him of his many ministerial activities, this man asked him: “How much time do you dedicate to listening to the Holy Spirit?” That question would change his life. He suspected that God had something else in mind, for him and he needed to know God more intimately, a new relationship with the Holy Spirit. Pastor Ibarra, a great man of God with a great sensitivity to things related to the Holy Sprit, was always a great blessing for Claudio, even though they didn’t see each other very often. In those days he shared the great blessing that the book Good morning, Holy Spirit by Pastor Benny Hinn of the Christian Center in Orlando had been for him.

Claudio Freidzon reports: God greatly blessed me through that book, so I decided to visit the United States in order to share a time of prayer with brother Benny Hinn. Pastor Benny Hinn’s testimony, and his relationship with the Holy Spirit, were a great inspiration for my own life. Betty and I went to the Christian Center in Orlando with great expectations. The atmosphere of that worship service was charged with glory, and worship went up to God in a deep and magnificent manner. I did not want to miss the smallest detail of that moment. All I longed for was to be with the Lord, to meet him and to get to know him. When Pastor Benny invited me to pray with him on the platform, I was amazed. He did not know me personally, but the Holy Spirit guided him to pray for me in a marvellous way. It was all part of a plan from above. God had planned new times for my life and ministry. As the years went by, Pastor Benny and I have cultivated a beautiful friendship. I love him and respect him. Whenever we meet together we feel the affinity of being united by this same passion: “to know the Holy Spirit more and more, and to be guided by Him.”

While seeking after him, the Holy Spirit came upon Claudio in an extraordinary way. A glorious atmosphere surround the services, and the presence of God began to manifest itself in the church as never before. Without inviting anyone nor promoting what was occurring, it began to be known that something was happening at 2547 Olazabal Street, in the “King of Kings” Church. Pastors came on their own to receive the fresh anointing that transformed their lives and taking them back to their first love. The Holy Spirit came with such power that many laid on the floor under the presence of God for hours, others rejoiced in the Spirit, others cried when the Holy Ghost touched them and others left “drunk” in the presence of God. God led Claudio Freidzon to recognize his powerful and sovereign hand, producing fruit in many lives and renewing a devoted life in Christians. The work of evangelism and edification was spread over the radio and on television. In the course of days, hundreds of pastors visited the “King of Kings” Church in large numbers to receive the fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit. Many came with their whole congregations. For weeks at a time, on occasions, there were lines hundreds of meters long of people waiting to get into the church. Many traveled from far away places by hired buses to receive more from God.

3. Large Crusades and International Ministry

This situation prompted the church to rent the indoor stadium “Obras Sanitarias” (seating 6,000 people) in order to provide a solution for the lack of space. In addition to the weekly meetings in the Obras Sanitarias Stadium, a crusade was called in the largest indoor stadium in the city: the “Luna Park” stadium.

Attendance went beyond the capacity of the stadium. Two meetings were held on the same day; 15,000 attended each, while over 25,000 unable to get into the facility, filled the streets. The police had to cut off traffic on the avenues and streets around the stadium because of the crowds of brothers waiting to get inside. The biggest crusade in Argentina was held on 9 April, 1993. Over 65,000 people packed the “Velez Sarsfield” soccer stadium. Brothers and sisters from all denominations, from many far away places in our country came to seek the face of God on a historic Good Friday.

The ministry of Claudio Freidzon began to spread outside the borders of Argentina. Ministers and Christian leaders -even as teams- started to travel from all over the world to Argentina to receive God’s touch.

Claudio Freidzon has written a book called Holy Spirit I Hunger for You, which to date has been translated into six languages: English, French, Japanese, German, Czech and American English. Many Christians around the world have been inspired by this book to develop a deeper and more personal relationship with the Holy Spirit.

More than a million and a half people to date have been reached by his ministry in a personal way, through crusades, conferences, special events and meetings in churches.

Source: Claudio Freidzon’s website at http://www.reydereyes.org.ar/

Reflections on the Argentinian revival

By J. Conrad Lampan (missionary pastor from Freidzon’s church to the USA):

As I see it there have been three major steps so far in the outpouring of the Holy Ghost in Argentina. The three steps have to do more with the way God wanted to manifest himself to us rather than what we did in order to have revival. We cannot schedule revivals. We just pray and let him be God !

The first step or manifestation was through the ministry of Carlos Annacondia. He was raised by the Lord to a ministry of power with great manifestations of the Holy Spirit in healing and in casting out demons. A highly powered ministry aimed toward reaching the lost. Brother Annacondia says that he is not a good preacher, but the Lord gave him a heart for the lost and also gave him the power to reach them and fill their needs.

Now, this first stage of manifestations of God could be seen in Brother Annacondia’s ministry but the church as a whole seemed to be unaffected. I mean he preached to multitudes and ess is not enough. We love to have power. We need his power. But we want to have his power and keep our own ways. He is saying now: “I will give you power, I will use you, I will bless you … but you must be holy.”

The great secret behind this scene is that we should stop looking for power, stop looking for manifestations or miracles. We should stop trying to be holy on our own efforts and stop trying to sanctify people; that is the work of the Holy Ghost.

If we start to search for the person, the blessed Holy Ghost, if we come close to him and he becomes our friend and our master, our companion and our Lord, we will have all what he is.

Preparation for revival includes prayer and action. This has been true in all revivals. Churches in Argentina prayed for revival and prayed for the unsaved people. God cannot stay inactive when a lost soul is being prayed for!

Preparation included other people like Alberto Scattaglini taking some unusual “risks” among evangelical circles inviting a not known preacher. Or people like Ralph Hiatt planting the seed from which many of the most outstanding pastors in Buenos Aires came forth. Or that first “hit” in Argentina back in 1954 with another unknown preacher Tommy Hicks.

Can God heal a barren land?

About four years ago a group from our church in Buenos Aires, Argentina (Iglesia Rey de Reyes, Pastored by Rev Claudio Freidzon) started a mission work in a Northern province in Argentina among some of the Indian tribes still living in that area. They worked among those people helping them spiritually and materially.

Our missionaries preached the Word of God to them and also gave them medical assistance, clothing, food, and seeds. The native people stared at them strangely: Soon they discovered they were intending to have the Indian people cultivate a barren land. Now what would those people do with seeds in a barren earth? Nothing would grow in that earth, only some weeds dare to show up there.

Our missionaries then decided that the best thing to do was to pray to the God that promised to heal the land.

They took some handfuls of earth in a bag to Buenos Aires and brought it to the church that have sent them on that missionary work. The church prayed for that earth laying hands on the bag. We prayed that God would heal that land and restore it to produce food for those people. Later on they took back the earth to the missions place and spread it all over the area in the name of Jesus.

The next thing the missionaries brought to the church was a basket full of ‘first fruits’, all kinds of crops, from the barren land that was healed by the power of God.

Source: Global Revival News, Argentine Revival

See also, Renewal Journal #11, “Standing in the Rain” by Brian Medway.

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

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The Spirit told us what to do, by Carl Lawrence

Two young women set off to plant churches without plans or training because “Jesus said to ‘go.'”

 After we prayed, the Holy Spirit would tell us exactly what to do.

We would keep praying and he would tell us what to do,

and we would do it.

Then we prayed and then he would tell us what to do.

We would do it and keep praying.

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Reproduced from  Renewal Journal 12: Harvest

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The Spirit told us what to do

Several high-ranking church leaders from Europe visited a pastor in Hong Kong. The pastor took them to visit some of the Three-Self churches. They found them inspiring, and uniquely Chinese, but they wondered aloud if perhaps they weren’t seeing the real church.

On the final day of their visit, the pastor hoped to show them what they wanted to see. He knew they would not really be satisfied unless they met a real church planter. As it turned out, they saw something incredibly beyond what they ever expected to find in China.

At their last stop, the pastor discovered that two young women had just returned from their mission station for a short visit, so he asked them to come to the hotel late, to meet the visiting church leaders.

These young ladies had both become Christians as teenagers while listening to radio broadcasts, and they each had immediately felt the call to be a missionary. The pastor had met with them and attempted to teach them how to witness right where they were.

“No,” they insisted, “the Bible you gave us says Jesus said to go to into all the world. We want to ‘go.'”

“But,” the pastor argued, “you have only been Christians for six months, and you are so young.”

They replied, “Pastor, we have read everything Jesus said and nowhere does he ask people how old they are. We want to go.”

Smiling, the pastor asked them, “But can you give me an exegesis of the five classical appearances of the Great Commission in the New Testament?” Their disappointed faces made him feel ashamed. “Very well. We need some workers on Hainan Island.”

“Hainan Island, we have never heard of it.”

The pastor said, “It is an island off the mainland. The people there are fishermen. It is very rough. There are no Christians there. For young ladies it might be very dangerous.”

Excitedly they responded, “How soon can we go?”

“Well, I have to go back to Hong Kong and make arrangements. There will be . . . “

They interrupted him, “Oh no, no, we must not wait. Our Lord said ‘go,’ not sit around and plan. We will go to this place – what did you call it?”

“Hainan. Hainan Island.”

They looked at each other, “Hainan, yes Hainan. That is where the Lord wants us to go.”

They had been there for two years and were now back for a short period of time to try to get Bibles and other literature for their new churches. The pastor had not seen them since the day they insisted that they ‘go now’!

After the arrangements were made, he went to the lobby at the appointed time and waited for the ladies to arrive. He watched the bellboys in their crisp, tailored uniforms, and the tourists who attempted to be casual in their designer clothes. Then he spotted the two young women. Oh no, he thought as they walked in.

Their black pyjamas and broad-brimmed fishermen hats stood in stark contrast to the appearance of the sophisticated hotel receptionist making her way towards them.

The pastor moved quickly to intercede. “It’s all right, they are here to see me.” Several people stood staring as he greeted them as politely as possible without drawing too much attention. “Come, we will go to my room to meet some people from Europe.”

Once in the room, the two European church officials graciously greeted them. He proceeded to ask the young ladies questions, interpreting for his guests as he went along.

“Pastor, ask them how many churches they have established on Hainan.”

The women put their heads down and answered, “Oh Pastor, we have only been there two years . . . yes, two years. Not many. Not very many.” Their voices were apologetic.

“How many?”

“Oh, not many, not many. We have only been there a short time. The people were not very friendly. . . Sometimes they became very vicious. Yes, sometimes they told us they were going to drown us in the ocean . . . several men threatened us . . . . Oh my, and because we were so young, even some of the other ladies did not like us. Yes some even called us terrible names . . . so not many churches . . . no, not many. . . .”

The pastor interrupted and slowly repeated the words, “How many? How many?”

There was a moment of silence, then one of the women looked up with embarrassment and anguish, as though confessing to a crime, “Only . . . thirteen. “

The pastor looked astonished and interpreted for the guests, “Thirteen.”

One of the guests repeated the number, “Only thirteen, only – my goodness. I haven’t planted that many churches in my lifetime.”

One of the pastor’s assistants interrupted, “No, Pastor, she did not say thirteen. She said thirty.”

The pastor looked at the two young women and asked, “Thirty?”

“Oh, yes, not many, we have done very poorly. Only thirty . . . .”

The two guests could only mutter, “Thirty churches in two years . . . my word. . . .”

Again the women began to apologize when the pastor interrupted to ask another question, “How many people are in the churches?”

“How many? . . . Oh, not many. . . . ” Again both heads went down, apologizing for their failure. “Not many. “

The process repeated itself until, again, the pastor looked like he was ready to shake them and practically yelled, “How many?”

“Only two hundred and twenty people. Not many, no . . . not many. “

Quickly multiplying in his head, the pastor said, “Two hundred and twenty in thirty churches?”

“Oh, no, in only one, but that one is a very small church, very small. There are bigger ones. . . .”

As the pastor interrupted he heard the numbers repeated by his guests: “Two hundred and twenty is small? Dear Lord, I wish I had some that large.”

“Ask them how many are in the big churches.”

The process began, but with a more reverent inquiry: “And how many in the big churches? You know, the biggest one?”

“Oh, not many . . . .”

“I know, ‘not many.’ But, please, ladies, how many?”

“Oh, less than five thousand. Only four thousand nine hundred . . . . Yes, less than five thousand. We have just started.”

From behind the pastor came the sound of weeping: “Dear Lord, forgive us.”

“What did they do? How did they do it? Ask them what they did?”

When asked, they looked astonished. “What did we do? Why nothing. Yes, we did nothing, nothing.”

“You did nothing? You have thirty churches – the smallest with two hundred and twenty people, the largest with almost five thousand new Christians! And you did nothing?”

“No, nothing. We just prayed.”

“I know you prayed, but what else did you do?”

“After we prayed, the Holy Spirit would tell us exactly what to do. We would keep praying and he would tell us what to do, and we would do it. Then we prayed and then he would tell us what to do.  We would do it and keep praying.”

“Dear Lord, they just prayed . . . and the Holy Spirit told them exactly what to do and they prayed. . . . “

The pastor laid his hands on the shoulders of the two sisters. Behind him his two guests, on their knees weeping, joined as they ‘just prayed’.

Dawn Report, August 1998. Source: Church Planting Canada, the Church Planting arm of Vision Canada. Originally published by Carl Lawrence, The Coming Influence of China. Gresham: Vision House Publishing Inc, 1996, pages 186-192. 1

This article is a chapter in Great Revival Stories

 

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A 2 Reign of JesusA 7 LionThis article is also an Appendix in

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GENERAL BLOGS INDEX

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 4: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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Renewal Journal 12: Harvest

Contents

The Spirit told us what to do, by Carl Lawrence

Argentine Revival, by Guido Kuwas

Baltimore Revival, by Elizabeth Moll Stalcup

Smithton Revival, by Joel Kilpatrick

Mobile Revival, by Joel Kilpatrick

Australian Reports – Aboriginal Revivals

Global Reports

Book Review: 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity, by Eddie Hyatt

Renewal Journal 12: Harvest – PDF

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Editorial

White for Harvest

This issue of the Renewal Journal focuses on a little of the enormous harvest currently being reaped around the world.  Much of this harvest is being reaped at great cost in personal sacrifice and even martyrdom.  Often, the most faith-filled and faithful church is the church suffering persecution, precisely because of the persecution.

We live in a time of harvest.  The fields are white, ready for harvest.  One aspect of this growing harvest is the increase of revival around the world.  Revival has many expressions, and varies from culture to culture.  The constant elements of revival, however, remain the same everywhere, as summarised in 2 Chronicles 7:14 – God’s people getting humble, praying, seeking God, repenting, and God moving in grace, forgiveness and power, bringing multitudes into his kingdom and healing brokenness in people’s lives and in the community.  God can do in a moment what we can never do with all effort.

As we look on the harvest we can all participate in vital ways:

We can ask God for a great harvest as we pray.  Often.  Alone.  Together.

We can believe God.  He is able to do far more than anything we can ask or even think about.

We can commit our way to God who is the Lord of the harvest.

This issue of the Renewal Journal is full of stories of the current harvest.

Two teenage girls in China saw astounding results in two years which they recount in their testimony “The Spirit told us what to do.”

The Argentine Revival continues to reap untold thousands right now.

Local churches continue to experience visitations of God in increasing numbers, especially where they humble themselves and pray and seek God together and with others.  Toronto in Canada, Brompton in London, Sunderland in England, and Pensacola in Florida became well known sparks for global revivals.  Thousands have been converted there, and tens or hundreds of thousands filled with the Spirit in new ways, igniting new ministries.  Places such as Baltimore, Smithton and Mobile reported similar revivals with lasting impacts of the Spirit of God.

Australian reports include stirrings of revival in the Kimberleys, and in the national expressions of reconciliation with Aborigines and the British.  Accounts of individual churches experiencing a fresh move of God continue, as with Christian Life Centre at Mt Annan.

Global reports continue to tell of the mighty works of God.  As he promised, he is pouring out his Spirit on all people.  Much of that is very different from our traditional forms of western Christianity!  It challenges us to rethink what we do.  Essentials are the biblical patterns.  Non-essentials include our structures, denominations, buildings, musical preferences, orders of service, and culture Christianity.  The church in many countries now looks and sounds rather like the New Testament church, persecution and all, empowered by the Spirit, with regular conversions, healing and signs and wonders.

We need to do what Jesus commanded us to do – to pray that the Lord of the harvest will send out workers into his great harvest.  You can pray.  We never know how God may answer that prayer – including answering it in and through us!

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

Reproduction is allowed with the copyright included in the text.

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GENERAL BLOGS INDEX

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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Reviews (11) Discipleship

Taking our Cities for God:  How to break spiritual strongholds

by John Dawson. Word, 1989.    Reviewed by Stephen Milstead.

Taking Our Cities for God explores history, geography, demographics, and spiritual warfare as part of an overall strategy in wining a city for Christ.  John Dawson gives sound biblical foundations illustrated with examples of his own experience in dealing with spiritual powers and principalities.  Floyd McClung notes, “Occasionally a book comes along that is more than a good book, it is indeed a word from God. This is such a book” (p. 11).

People face a multitude of problems and opposition by spiritual forces on a daily basis.  John Dawson identifies certain keys and spiritual insights into how we may overcome these obstacles, which may be instrumental in a overall strategy to winning any city in the world for Christ.  He covers topics such as studying the spirituality of a city’s history; discerning the spiritual strongholds which work against a city; the power of intercession for a city; planing and gaining God’s strategy in breaking strongholds and restoring a city for God; and gaining understanding of the weaknesses of the spirit realm over a city.  The book has a thirteen lesson study guide which includes an application for daily living.

Taking Our Cities for God has five sections.

Section One:  Battle Stories

Besides the biblical and personal examples of spiritual warfare in missions and evangelism, Dawson devotes part of this section to teaching Scriptural principles.  He describes the work of the Holy Spirit in the gift of discernment of spirits, and reveals the importance of acting from obedient will and faith.  He brings clarity to a very touchy subject for many Christians.  His dependence on God, and insistence of working with the Holy Spirit is evident, and brings this crucial situation to the door step of the reader, in any city.

Dawson combines his theory with experience. An interesting example occurred in Argentina when a group of Youth With a Mission workers came against the city’s spiritual stronghold (Pride) and humbled themselves by kneeling down with their foreheads on the ground praying.  All over downtown Cordoba, Youth with a Mission workers preached to attentive audiences and a harvest of souls began (pages 19‑20).

Section Two:  Deliver The Dark City

Over half the world population lives in urban centres (p.34).  In developed nations like the U.S. the percentage is much higher, e.g. 91% of California’s population live in cities. He examines the historical issues of today’s modern cities, taking into consideration some of the changes that have taken place.  For example, Los Angeles has four and a half million Hispanics, is the second largest Chinese city outside Asia and second largest  Japanese city outside of Japan (p35).  Since the fall of communism in Russia the remark that Marxist cities are closed to the gospel is no longer applicable.

Dawson compels the reader to ask “Why is this town here?” (p43) and gives examples of God’s purpose in the location of a city.  For example Omaha was once the place where pioneering wagon trains were provisioned for the arduous trail into the western wilderness.  “We believe that we are still to equip the pioneers,” one pastor told me.  “This  time it is to support world‑wide missionary work.”  Now that’s a vision worth living for (p44).

Dawson realised the benefit of examining how a city will grow and change over the next twenty years.  He develops  an argument from an historical view of how relationships have changed with the modern city’s growth.

Section Three:  Discerning The Gates Of Your City

Dawson’s main thrust in this section is to know the city’s history and what has brought about change.  “When you look into the history of your city, you will find clues as to what is oppressing the people today” (p77).

He calls upon the prophets, intercessors and spiritual fathers to be the “watchmen” over the city, with the emphasis on repentance, reconciliation and prayer, alert to current and future trends.  Uncovering these trends will help the church to advance.

Dawson studies the concept covenant over a city.  He cites good examples such as  the Azuza Street Revival in Los Angeles, and Wilber Chapman and Aimee Semple McPherson in Denver.  He encourages the reader to seek God and find out what point of entry evil had to gain entrance to a city or nation. He lists twenty questions ranging through religious divisions, wars, poor leadership, economic corruption and racial practices.

Section 4 : Learning To Fight

Dawson concludes that we must fight because through Jesus we have regained our stewardship of the earth (p.158).  He provides the reader with the foundational traits of spiritual warfare by taking spiritual discernment a step further.  He has demonstrates the realities of the two kingdoms – God’s and Satan’s rebel province ‑ and includes a biblical background on angels and their origin and functions.  He reveals the tactics of spiritual warfare by first focusing on Jesus, the giver of the spiritual gifts.  We are provided with the power of the cross and with the truth of Scripture .

Section 5. Into Battle : 5 Steps To Victory

Dawson divides this section into worship‑ the place of beginnings, waiting on the Lord for insight, identifying with the sins of the city, overcoming evil with good, and travailing till birth.  Part of his strategy involves the importance of waiting on God, and allowing God to reveal the situation in the spirit.  We need to come to him with repentance and humility.  Dawson gives practical advice about overcoming evil with good by resisting temptation and taking positive action through prayer and fasting.  Again the emphasis is on ministry in the opposite spirit, such as overcoming pride with humility or violence with turning the other cheek.

Dawson combines his theology with practical experience in the front line of spiritual warfare.  His examination of the historical and geographical nature of a city provides an excellent understanding of how the demographics of a city will effect an outreach.  His examples of the size and nature of various ethnic groups within Los Angeles demonstrates the problems a local church may face in the mission field.  His consideration of trends was also an interesting revelation, as most churches do operate with a catch up mentality.

Dawson gives examples of occasions when he got it wrong, and also when he got it right.  He maintains a balance, observing that although he has given the reader very good keys to the taking of our cities for God, it is necessary to seek God for ourselves.

(c) 2011, 2nd edition.  Reproduction allowed with copyright included in text.

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The Gathering of the Nations, by Paula Sandford

Paula Sandford is a founding leader of the Elijah House ministry and co-author with husband John of books on emotional and inner healing.

 The glory and fear of the Lord
will be known all over the world

 

 I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids; until I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob. … Let us go into his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool.  Arise, O LORD, to thy resting place; thou and the ark of thy strength.  Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy godly ones sing for joy.
Psalm 32:4,5,7,8,9.

Though we are one body, as seen in Ephesians 4:4-6, we in the church have come together with many individual agendas.  This generation of people has often been called the “bless me” generation.  We need healing, comfort, wisdom, spiritual and emotional nurture, material provision, protection, ability to overcome problems in our lives, power to defeat the enemy, answers to our questions, direction, a place to belong, an opportunity to serve in a way that would somehow make a difference, and much more.

We also come to worship and praise the Lord.  But how diversified our expectations and priorities can be!  How disappointed, critical, and angry we can become when our personal agenda is not fulfilled.

The Lord is returning for His Bride, the Church.  That’s us.  A husband should be able to rest in His wife’s heart.  He laid down His life for us – and we wear His robe of righteousness.  But He also called us to lay down our lives for one another.  Only as we let Him purify our hearts can we come into unity and the kind of harmony in which the Lord Himself can rest in us, individually and corporately.

Many in the Body of Christ are beginning to change their focus, repenting of self-centred seeking, and consciously choosing to seek God’s presence and to bless the Lord for His sake.  The Lord is doing something that even goes beyond those personal choices, and blessing a new kind of “fellowship” in Him.

From June 27 through June 30, 1996, I attended The Gathering of the Nations, at the Memorial Arena in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.  More than 2,000 people from many nations, races, cultures, and denominations came together to worship and seek the face and glory of the Lord, to tune into His heart, to listen to His voice, and to respond to His leading.

A meeting without an agenda

Personal agendas were set aside.  No musicians were appointed beforehand to lead worship, no speakers invited, no topics chosen, and no projects planned.  A group of “fathers in Christ” and other leaders met daily to pray for session-by-session direction.  They also reviewed and discerned which words should be shared from the larger body.

Musicians were chosen who were young and old, native and white, representing varieties of cultures.  Speakers were appointed on very short notice, and the order and content of their messages were built well, one upon another, always with exhortation to focus on the Lord: “We are here to bless the Lord and to follow His direction.”  By divine direction, the Holy Spirit indicated at a 6 p.m. leaders meting that He wanted communion served to the entire gathering; it was done in reverence and order less than two hours later.

A chief of the local indigenous people gave a gracious welcome to the assembly.  He was not a Christian, but he spoke appreciatively of the spirit he felt in the worship, unlike what he had experienced before in Christian meetings.  Prayers of blessing were said for the Indian children, and people who chose to give for the education of Indian children – including the restoration of native language – came to tables at the front of the auditorium to leave gifts totalling nearly $27,000.

A crowd of teenagers sat on the concrete floor in front of the stage, attentive and prayerful during 2- and 3-hour sessions.  When the Indian member of the Canadian parliament greeted the gathering, the young people came up on the stage to pray blessing for him, and he prayed blessing for them.  The teens then prayed for the babies in the congregation.

The days progressed with repeated encouragement to drop agendas, focus on the Lord Jesus, and to seek the face of God in preparation for the return of the Lord.  There was strong emphasis on humility, trust, honour, and the glory of the Lord.  Anointing was increasingly powerful, and I think that some half-expected a cloud or pillar of fire to appear, or a heavenly bomb to drop, leaving nothing but ashes.  In a sense that did happen on the final day.

During the final evening session, two pastors spoke on fathering. I also spoke, but on the topic of mothering, with emphasis on nurturing, repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, freeing young people to become all they can be, and what it is to honour parents.  Two powerfully anointed teen-age boys stood to repent on behalf of the teens for rebellion, and to express forgiveness toward parents.  Fathers and mothers all rose to repent publicly for sins against their children.  Then the Lord broke people open wide, and repentance was spoken for all manner of sins.  Gut-level weeping and wailing was heard all over the auditorium.  Some were on their faces on the floor, while many were praying for one another.  Then parents prayed blessing for their children, and children for parents.  This continued until after midnight.

After prayers of forgiveness and healing, the musicians began to play celebration music, and when I left with others to go to bed there were still 500 to 600 people dancing in the ashes of repentance for joy in the Lord.  The agenda of the Lord’s seemed to be fulfilled, without our help at all!  May He continue to do that in all of our lives, and wherever His Body gathers together.

Gems from the last day of The Gathering of the Nations

 Maturity comes from discerning the Spirit of God and walking in a healthy fear of God.

  • The Lord is taking us into a revelation of who He is.
  • Our emotions must be brought into the purpose and will of God.
  • We need a teachable heart, ever growing, and listening, and welcoming correction.
  • Counsellors must lead to the centrality of Jesus.
  • You can’t function in authority if you carry a spirit of rebellion.  Repent for your generation.
  • The enemy hits you in the area of your anointing.
  • Whatever your abuse or wounding, the Lord will transform it into your power.
  • The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
  • The glory and fear of the Lord will be known all over the world.

The world will not take note of who you are, but when the Spirit moves they’ll know God

Used by permission from Elijah House News.

(c) 2011, 2nd edition.  Reproduction allowed with copyright included in text.

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Can the Leopard Change his Spots? by Charles Taylor

Dr Charles V. Taylor is a well known Australian linguist, Bible teacher, author, and Christian magazine contributor.  His doctoral studies researched the Nkore-Kiga language of Uganda in Africa where he served as a missionary.

______________________________

 Can the Ethopian change his skin

or the leopard his spots?

______________________________

 Can the leopard change his spots?  This, and the question about the Ethiopian’s skin, is found, surprisingly enough, in Jeremiah 13:23.  I used to think it was in Proverbs.  The text is appropriate to the subject of discipleship, because the second half of the verse says literally: ‘Can you also do good, you who are discipled to do evil?’  It seems we can be under false discipleship as well as the healthy version.

The English word ‘disciple’ comes from Latin and means a learner.  The corresponding Greek New Testament word mathetes comes from manthano, ‘to learn’, so it’s the same idea.  In fact, even ‘mathematics’ originally meant something learned, a science.

The Hebrew word for ‘disciple’ is found only six times in the Bible.  This word, limmud, is translated in the old King James Bible as ‘taught’, ‘learned’ (twice), ‘accustomed’, fused’, and ‘disciple’.  Originally it meant ‘goaded’.

Do you remember how Gideon promised to ‘teach’ the men of Succoth in Judges 8:16?  He taught them with thorns and briers.  They were goaded into knowledge.  In some such way, may not God sometimes goad us into the knowledge of the truth?

Whether you accept that or not, the idea of being a learner is associated with ‘coming into line’, or as we also say, ‘being disciplined’.  That’s why the biblical reference translates limmud as ‘accustomed’ or ‘becoming used to’.  In Jeremiah 13:23 the leopard can’t change his coat.  He’s grown quite used to it.  True, he didn’t have to be taught, but he’s marked for life.

A Christian should be marked for life.  A Christian should, without being forced, stand out in the world as somebody different.  Whether some sort of badge is worn or not, the world should be able to recognize the Christian, and the Christian should attract others, not to him/herself, but to Christ.

When someone is converted to Christ, the first thing should be to say so, as Romans 10:9-10 explains.  All churches worthy of the name should also offer baptism of some kind or other, and the Christian can also be distinguished by ‘going to church’, which in this mobile age is unfortunately not so universal as it used to be.  The home churches are wonderful, but without cover and discipleship they can give the impression that Christians are all ‘separated by a common faith’, just as many of my linguist friends used to say that Britain and the United States are ‘separated by a common language’, referring to misunderstandings that can occur from the two sorts of English.

The outsider wants to see at least some resemblance to a united front, to submission to the Gospel, to some sort of discipline and discipleship.  Isaiah 54:13 says we should all be children taught (discipled) by the Lord.  Jesus said that to be converted we had to become like little children.

A process of uniting Christians

So I see discipleship as a process of uniting Christians, while not making them all identical.  All leopards don’t have the same spot patterns.  When I lived in Ethiopia for two years I found that all Ethiopians were not the same sort of black.  And if you (rightly) tell me that ancient Ethiopia is today’s Sudan, well, the same thing holds there too.  God isn’t stamping us all with an identical mould.  But he does want us to be basically recognizable, and truth is one and indivisible.In Isaiah 50:4 the prophet says God gave the Servant of the Lord the tongue of the learned, that is, of the discipled.  With this tongue we can sustain the weary.  In Isaiah 8:16 the law must be sealed up among his disciples, which seems to mean that they alone will really know the Lord’s mind.

If this is so, may it not be that it reflects the fact that the true disciple or learner from God is able to understand spiritual things which those outside just can’t understand?  Isn’t it true that when a Christian speaks of things that move him/her most, outsiders are just puzzled?  That’s a sure sign that a person has been born again through the Holy Spirit.  The reason for this is not that the Christian lives in a sealed case, but that, living openly in the world, the Christian is sealed ‘with that Holy Spirit of promise’ (Ephesians 1:13) and so is often a mystery to friends who are not themselves learning from Jesus.

The basic idea of a disciple is one who learns along with others.  It was unusual in the ancient world to find single disciples of one leader.  What is more, the disciple is not the slave of his leader.  He is only a learner, following an example or following some counsel.  John 15:8 indicates that discipleship with Jesus is manifested by bearing fruit, by a life modelled on the disciple’s teacher, or at least on his teaching.  We bear fruit by staying in the vine.

Now if a teacher has a number of disciples, it is more likely that needs will be met.  One of the benefits of preaching is that in a mixed multitude, the listener cannot usually say the speaker is directing the message at him/herself alone.  For this reason, a listener, and in the same way a disciple, is more likely to take to heart what is said and imitate what is done.

You might sum up discipleship as loyalty, first to Christ and then to Christian leaders that we learn from.  But, as with everything else in life, loyalty must not become inflexible, or it becomes merely a new slavery.  To guard against this we should look at Galatians 4:2, where Paul is telling us about tutelage.

We shouldn’t always be learning and never coming to the truth (2 Timothy 3:7).  Some people lean on others beyond the stage where they should become distinctive and free in themselves.  We can get into bondage to people as well as to rules.  So yes, be loyal to those who are over you in the faith, but let your first loyalty be to the unseen Jesus, manifested in the word of God.

As Paul even challenged Peter, who was before him in the faith, let’s all pull together and stand firm in the freedom in which Christ has made us free.

And of course, like-Paul, let’s do everything in love.

(c) 2011, 2nd edition.  Reproduction allowed with copyright included in text.

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Mentoring, by Peter Earle

Pastor Peter Earle wrote as the Principal of the Brisbane Christian Outreach Centre School of Ministries and Associate Pastor of the church.

 Mentoring is the empowering of one person by another

through personal life, prayer, conversation and example.

It is the making of disciples to go into the entire world

who will in turn reproduce others to do the same.

Mentoring is the latest buzzword whether it is in business or church. The dictionary defines mentor as ‘a wise or trusted advisor or guide’.  The word first appeared in Greek mythology when Ulysses asked a wise man named Mentor to take care of his son Telemachus while Ulysses was fighting in the Trojan Wars.  Mentor was in charge of his household and was advisor to the young boy, ‘not only in book learning but in the wiles of the world.’

Mentoring has been common in society.  On the farm, boys and girls were mentored by their parents or by extended family members.  Fathers taught their sons the skills of farming.  Mothers taught their daughters how to keep the home and the finer points of being a wife and mother. Apprentices were mentored at the side of craftsmen for a number of years while they learned the skills of the trade.  In early universities students learned in the home of the scholar.

Mentoring also occurred in the church. Early Monastic practice had a spiritual director whose task it was to help discern the will of God for the trainee monk’s life.  The focus of the relationship was not so much on teaching as on prayer.

Eighteenth century New England pastor Jonathan Edwards, and his wife Sarah, usually had one or more ‘disciples’ living in their home.  This gave ample time for the learner to observe the quality of a marriage, personal spiritual dynamics, and the vigorous pursuit of pastoral activity.

The present interest in mentoring highlights the impersonal attitudes and individualism that can be seen in society.  Much of today’s spiritual and theological training is done in classes.  Many apprenticeships have become more class-orientated rather than one‑on‑one traineeship.  Classes require less personal and relational contact.  They make fewer demands on the lecturer than does mentoring.  Mentoring is an endeavour to bring back a personal touch in an impersonal, individualistic and spectator society.

Is mentoring biblical?

The Bible demonstrates a number of mentoring situations.  Moses and Joshua, Elijah and Elisha, Naomi and Ruth, Elizabeth and Mary, Barnabas and Paul, Paul and Timothy, Pricilla, Aquila and Apollos, and of course, Jesus and His disciples.  The word mentoring does not occur in the Bible but the concept of mentoring does.  This concept is best described by the term discipleship.

The Greek term for discipleship, mathetes (found in the Bible 262 times) is most frequently used to designate one of Jesus followers.  Discipleship is a central theme of both the Gospels and Acts.  The term disciple is scarce in the Old Testament and the word mathetes does not occur in the Epistles and Revelation.  However, there is abundant theological expression of the concept of discipleship everywhere in Scripture.

The roots of biblical discipleship are found in the concept of God’s calling, as in the recurrent promise ‘I will be your God and you shall be my people’.

The ideal form of discipleship for Israel was the nation in covenantal relationship with God.  The nation was called to a relationship in which God was with His people.  This Old Testament theme finds its explicit fulfillment in Jesus with His people.  Jesus was Emmanuel, ‘God with us’.

The dynamics of Christ’s discipleship

Although discipleship was a voluntary initiative, as with other types of master/disciple relationships in the first century, with Jesus discipleship lay with his call, and his choice of those who would be his disciples.  This call demanded a response, an obedience to his call, and the counting of the cost of following him.  Disciples of Jesus were to follow, but unlike other disciples of their day Christ’s disciples were to remain followers of Him all their life.

To be a mentor, or discipler, one must first be a disciple.  This was and is the heart of the great commission in which Jesus told His disciples to go into the world and make disciples.  The goal of Christ’s discipleship was fourfold:

To become like Christ.

Love and servanthood towards others.

Good stewardship of God’s kingdom and his gifts.

Make disciples of all nations.

Jesus’ primary focus in teaching his disciples was not to help them master the skills often associated with the making of leaders and leadership such as setting goals, formulating strategies, and evaluating the results.Jesus gave them an example of how they were to relate to God, and the type of people they had to be.  He showed His disciples how to follow, how to obey, how to respond to authority and to the call of God.  He set them ministry tasks allowing them to fail, and correcting them where necessary.  Jesus’ ministry and mentoring demonstrated that the disciples must first learn to be faithful followers before they could be leaders.

He taught them attitudes of humility, self‑sacrifice, and servanthood.  He knew what the destructive attitudes of pride and ambition could do among the community of disciples.  He taught them to love one another and serve one another rather than be over one another in authority.  He encouraged them to continually abide in the vine in order to gain fruit, and that when he left another Comforter would come and be a mentor of the same kind.  Jesus ordained his disciples to be with him.  His mentoring was with prayer, example, word, deed and touch.  The Book of Acts is a great testimony to the effectiveness of his mentoring.

Confusion over discipleship in the church.In evangelical circles today discipleship is often confused with the development of younger Christians, as in discipleship classes or courses.  This is not a clear biblical position.  The word disciple is a common word for every believer in Acts.  A disciple can be a mature believer or a younger Christian.  A believer is always a follower of the Lord.  He remains a disciple even though he might hold an office as an apostle or pastor.

Mentoring and discipling should be considered synonymous terms.

There is no better example in the Bible of this than Christ.  He did not have classes with exams at the end to test the students like many teachers today.  He spent time with His disciples, lived and traveled with them.  He prayed with them.  He loved them and warned them of impending dangers.  He taught them, imparting his own life to them.  He was the way, the truth and the life, to his followers.

He was the good shepherd who was training his disciples to follow him and do likewise.  He showed them what a true shepherd was so that they would be able to shepherd others.  It involved both relationship and discipline.  The heart of Jesus’ discipleship was relationship yet He disciplined His disciples.  Mentoring will become weak without discipline or relationship.  Both are needed.

Drawing distinctions between discipleship and mentoring creates confusion and unbiblical mentoring.  For mentoring to be successful it must be kept to its biblical foundation of discipleship.  Discipleship should be predominately Christ-likeness, love, servanthood, stewardship, the development of the individual, and the fulfilling of the great commission.

Mentoring DynamicsThe key to mentoring is the relational process.  Christ called His disciples to relationship with himself.  As mentors we must not only draw people into relationship with Christ but also into relationship with each other.  Trust and love must be central to this mutual relationship not the authority of one over another.  No better example of the problems that can ruin mentoring can be given than the ‘discipleship movement’.

In the 1980’s a discipleship movement formed in the charismatic church.  Its heart was to mentor people in their spiritual growth.  After much hurt and great controversy the movement was disbanded in the late 1980’s with public apologies being made by many of the leaders.  This movement demonstrated the excesses and dangers that can potentially happen in mentoring by sincere leaders.  The discipleship movement had a strong emphasis on spiritual authority.  Much of its biblical basis was taken from Watchmen Nee’s book of the same name.

It was this excess of authority that caused much of the hurt in what was a sincere movement.  Had they based their emphasis on building better relationships with love and trust, rather than spiritual authority, and obedience to those in authority the movement would still be in existence.  They would have avoided much of the hurt they caused.  Relationship is to be at the core of mentoring, not control.  These distinctions will help avoid the excesses of the discipleship movement of the 1980’s.

Stanley and Clinton also believe that mentoring is a relational experience between two people with varying degrees of involvement and intensity.  They believe mentoring is able to be organized into three categories and placed on a continuum ranging from being more deliberate (with more depth and awareness of effort), to less deliberate involvement.

The three categories are:

Intensive:  Discipler, spiritual guide and coach,

Occasional:  Counselor, teacher and sponsor,

Passive:  Contemporary models and historical heroes.

Since mentoring is a relational and empowering experience not all people will qualify for intensive mentoring.  Factors such as time, proximity, needs, shared values, and goals will affect the relationship.

However everybody can be passively mentored through the biographies and autobiographies of contemporary and historical people (e.g. David Yonggi Cho, Oral Roberts, Billy Graham, John Wesley, William Carey, Jonathon Goforth and others).

In passive mentoring the mentoree has control in the mentoring process. They choose the mentor and can learn from their life at will.  The draw back is that there is no real relational process.  They can learn and be inspired but they miss out on the personal process, the prayer, love, care and specific encouragement and direction.  The more active the mentoring process the greater the relational dynamic.

Stanley and Clinton further suggest that there are three vital dynamics to building a mentoring relationship:

Attraction:  This is a necessary starting point in relationship.  The mentoree is drawn to the mentor for various reasons: perspective, certain skills, experience, values and commitments modelled, perceived wisdom, position, character, knowledge, and influence.  The mentor is attracted to the mentoree’s attitude, potential, and opportunity for influence.

Responsiveness:  The mentoree must be ready and willing to learn from the mentor.  Attitude is crucial for the mentoree.  A responsive, receptive spirit on the part of the mentoree, and attractiveness on the part of the mentor, directly speed up and enhance the empowerment.

Accountability:  Mutual responsibility for one another in the mentoring process ensures progress and closure.

Intensive mentoring builds upon these three dynamics.  Attractiveness is the spark that ignites the relational process.  It provides the desire, which initiates and fuels that relationship.  Not every mentor needs to be a super-star to attract mentorees.  A genuine concern for others, sincerely valuing the mentoree, and a desire to develop the other’s potential, are qualities that many crave for in today’s world.  However no matter how attractive and great the mentor is, it will be of no avail unless the mentoree responds.Response is the glue that provides the cohesion for the relationship to continue.  Even though mentoring relationships continue there is still no guarantee of successful outcomes.  It is only when goals are mutually set and both parties are held accountable to their individual goals there can be any achievement of a hopeful outcome.  These goals will need to be continually evaluated and adjusted to ensure maximum progress and closure.

Mentoring and leadership developmentMentoring is an important tool in developing leaders.  Although leadership is a popular topic today, effective leadership is acknowledged to be sadly lacking.  There is an explosion of leadership books and programs.  The most important question to be asked about any training program is, ‘Are they producing leaders?’

J. A. Conger addressed this topic in his book Learning to Lead, outlining four common approaches in leadership programs today:

Personal Growth: this focuses on the development of the leader’s character.

Conceptual Understanding: these programs highlight the difference between management and leadership and include skill-building procedures.

Feedback: this approach assumes that those who want to be leaders already possess certain skills.  The program helps participants to identify strengths to build on and weakness that need attention.

Skill building: this emphasis believes that leadership can be broken into a set of behaviours that can be learned.

Congor’s conclusion is that an effective leadership training approach must incorporate core elements of all these four approaches.  He contends that each of these elements builds upon the others creating a synergistic outcome.  He also sees the primary value of these programs as awareness building, and affirming that ultimately developing leadership depends upon the gifts and desire of the individual and the receptivity of the leader’s organisation.  Congor also advocates realism.  Even if a leader changes for the better, that transformation may threaten superiors and followers who want stability.

These organizational principles apply to churches.  However, many churches and organisations are simply not prepared for leadership.  Often conformity is more important to them than changing their vision and risk‑taking.

All of these approaches identified by Congor apply also to mentoring.

The first is Personal Development.  It is in this area that mentoring is unequalled.  Mentoring by its nature is very personal.  The mentor can address very specific and personal issues in the mentoree’s life.  These issues can encompass every area of their life (marriage, family, vocation, social, spiritual and ministry life).  The mentor should be concerned with developing Christlike attitudes and habits in the mentoree.  Character is foundational and no one can escape it.  The higher one rises in leadership the more stress one receives.  Mentoring is therefore needed at all levels of leadership.The second approach is Conceptual Understanding.  Everybody wants to be led but few want to be managed.  This creates tension as most people tend to be either task oriented or people oriented.  By natural preference they gravitate to task or people and so they tend to be better at management or leadership but both areas must be developed.  One can not be an effective leader without acquiring the skills of each.  Mentors must understand these principles themselves or they will not be able to develop the person adequately.

The third approach to leadership is Feedback.  Since feedback assumes that everybody already possesses certain skills and gifts.  Mentors must spend time with the mentorees in order to evaluate, recognise and develop their skills.  Feedback also helps the mentoree gain a proper perspective on issues.  The mentor can encourage his protege to be a risk taker and so avoid falling into the rut of conformity, or they can help the mentoree understand and manage threatened superiors and followers.  All these are issues that often require an outside perspective.

The last approach is Skill Building.  Skills are personal and can be developed quicker in a mentoring situation than in a class.  The mentor must take on the role of a coach who provides motivation, skill building, and who teaches the application of these skills in order to meet a task or a challenge.  No other training system can provide better skill building than mentoring.

The Mentoring ProcessMentoring is an empowering process that is not without difficulties.  Not everyone will be a good mentor, or mentoree, but realistic goals will help to avoid many disappointments.  Commitment is important to the process and builds a climate of trust.  This commitment is not only to each other, but also to the lifting of the mentoree to a higher level.  If both parties work at Godly relationships and avoid hidden agendas then growth is inevitable.  The stronger the relationship the greater the empowerment.

Listening is a must as it is in any relationship.  When relationships are truly established then mentorees are open to sharing all of their heart, the good and the bad.  This is a powerful climate for growth.  Some mentoring situations will be more effective than others, but all can gain if these suggestions are implemented.

Conclusion

Mentoring needs to be biblically based.  It is to be founded upon God’s call to be his people, true disciples.  Mentoring is the empowering of one person by another through their personal life, prayer, conversation and example.

It is the making of disciples to go into the entire world who will in turn reproduce others to do the same.  Mentoring can take deliberate to less deliberate forms.  Relationship is at its heart.  Attraction, responsiveness, and accountability are important to the working of that relationship.  Effective mentoring must take the person out of the classroom and provide that person with growth in Christ-likeness, real‑life situational training, understanding, skill building, and feedback.

From ancient days to present times mentoring has proved invaluable and essential in the training of people.  Let us continue to foster a climate for its renewal and development.

Bibliography

Bennett, D.W.  Metaphors of Ministry. Carlisle: Paternoster, 1993.

Clinton, R.J. & Stanley, P. D. Connecting. Colorado Springs: Navpress. 1993.Congor, J. A.  Learning to Lead. Cited in Barna G. (ed.) Leaders on Leadership. Ventura: Regal. 1997Engstrom, Ted W.  The Fine Art of Mentoring. Tennessee: Wolgermuth & Hyatt. 1989.

Ford, L.  Helping Leaders Grow. Cited in Barna G. (ed.). Leaders on Leadership. Ventura: Regal. 1997

Wilkins, M. J.  ‘Disciple, Discipleship’ cited in Walter E. Elwell (ed).

Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Grand Rapids: Baker. 1996.


A Mentor’s Letter from Prison

         I write this to you, Timothy, the son I love so much.  All the best from our God and Christ be yours!

         Every time I say your name in prayer – which is practically all the time – I thank God for you, the God I worship with my whole life in the tradition of my ancestors.  I miss you a lot, especially when I remember that last tearful goodbye, and I look forward to a joy-packed reunion.

         That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith – and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you!  And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed – keep that ablaze!  God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.

         So don’t be embarrassed to speak up for our Master or for me, his prisoner.  Take your share of suffering for the Message along with the rest of us.  We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work.  We had nothing to do with it.  It was all his idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it.  But we know it now.  Since the appearance of our Saviour, nothing could be plainer: death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus.

         This is the Message I’ve been set apart to proclaim as preacher, emissary, and teacher.  It’s also the cause of all this trouble I’m in.  But I have no regrets.  I couldn’t be more sure of my ground – the One I’ve trusted in can take care of what he’s trusted me to do right to the end.

         So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ, exactly as I set it out for you.  It’s as sound as the day you first heard it from me.  Guard this precious thing placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit who works in us.

         I’m sure you know by now that everyone in the province of Asia deserted me, even Phygelus and Hermogenes. But God bless Onesiphorus and his family!  Many’s the time I’ve been refreshed in that house.  And he wasn’t embarrassed a bit that I was in jail.  The first thing he did when he got to Rome was look me up.  May God on the Last Day treat him as well as he treated me.  And then there was all the help he provided in Ephesus – but you know that better than I.

          So, my son, throw yourself into this work for Christ.  Pass on what you heard from me – the whole congregation saying Amen! – to reliable leaders who are competent to teach others.  When the going gets tough, take it on the chin with the rest of us, the way Jesus did.  A soldier on duty doesn’t get caught up in making deals in the market place.  He concentrates on carrying out orders.  An athlete who refuses to play by the rules will never get anywhere.  It’s the diligent farmer who gets the produce.  Think it over.  God will make it all plain.

         Fix this picture firmly in your mind:  Jesus, descended from the line of David, raised from the dead.  It’s what you’ve heard from me all along.  It’s what I’m sitting in jail for right now – but God’s Word isn’t in jail!  That’s why I stick it out here – so that everyone God calls will get in on the salvation of Christ in all its glory.  This is a sure thing:

If we die with him, we’ll live with him;
If we stick it out with him, we’ll rule with him;
If we turn our backs on him, he’ll turn his back on us;
If we give up on him, he does not give up –
for there’s no way he can be false to himself.

Repeat these basic essentials over and over to God’s people.  Warn them before God against pious nitpicking, which chips away at the faith.  It just wears everyone out.  Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple. …

You’ve been a good apprentice to me, a part of my teaching, my manner of life, direction, faith, steadiness, love, patience, troubles, sufferings – suffering along with me in all the grief I had to put up with in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra.  And you also well know that God rescued me!  Anyone who wants to live all out for Christ is in for a lot of trouble; there’s no getting around it.  Unscrupulous con men will continue to exploit the faith.  They’re as deceived as the people they lead astray.  As long as they are out there, things can only get worse.

But don’t let it faze you.  Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers -– why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother’s milk!  There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Eugene Peterson, The Message. Navpress, 1994, pages 527-530, from 2 Timothy.  Used with permission.

 

(c) 2011, 2nd edition.  Reproduction allowed with copyright included in text.

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The “Diana Prophecy”, by Robert McQuillan

Flowers at Diana's death

Dr Robert McQuillan wrote as  editor of The Australian Evangel, the national monthly magazine of the Assemblies of God.

__________________________________

a powerful fresh move of God

sweeping through many churches

_______________________________________________

 “When Princess Diana died, and particularly the weekend of her funeral (September 6, 1997), this nation found its soul,” Wynne Lewis, general superintendent Elim Pentecostal Churches (UK), told me when I was in England recently.  “There came a realisation of the stark reality that a heroine had gone – tragically – and life and materialism are very uncertain.  It has become easier to preach salvation and the need to trust God.”

Indeed there has been a powerful fresh move of God sweeping through many churches, including mainline and the various pentecostal streams as well as the historic AOG and Elim movements.

A Significant Sign

Many Christians and leaders spoke of the so-termed ‘Diana prophecy’ received in two parts by a Sheffield lady as being highly significant to the nation.  In case you missed it, the following is an extract:

(16/5/97) “I am at work in the heart and the spirit of the people of this nation.  I am doing a work which, at the moment, is unseen.  Things are happening much more quickly than you think.  And as a sign there will be a day very soon when the whole nation will mourn and put flowers in the cities.”

(31/8/97) “When that day happens the sign is this: the speed at which the heart and the spirit of the people of this nation can be affected, that is the speed at which I will work among this nation.  Do not think that what you see and hear of are small, insignificant happenings.  Do not despise the day of small things.  For I tell you, when you see this sign¼ I am on the move in the cities of this nation and where flowers are laid, my Spirit will be moving faster than those flowers are removed.

“For I am bringing the power of my Spirit to bear on the cities.  As fast as that mourning went through the nation, joy will go through this nation.  And I tell you that you will know the miraculous entering your lives.  You will see changes in areas where you never expected to see, changes.  You will see relatives you never expected to see coming into the kingdom of God.  You will know areas in your life where you’ve battled and battled and never overcome – you will overcome in a day, says the Lord.  For I am at work in this nation and I will bring (it) to its knees before me and they will know the joy of their salvation in the mighty risen Lord Jesus.

“Therefore, rejoice.  And do not let that spirit of mourning pervade your own spirit.  Do not let that spirit of mourning grasp at your heart.  For you have joy inexpressible in your hearts.  Therefore, let the rivers of living water flow from within you and know that you will have many opportunities from this point to speak of my grace, to speak of my love, to see in action my Spirit at work.  Know that I will be with you in that and you will see the miraculous, says the Lord.”

God is Moving

There are several major spiritual initiatives and thrusts occurring in the UK.  In particular concentrated prayer, as in other European nations and the States, has become a top priority with many leaders and churches and is bringing amazing results.  London especially has become a main target for prayer.  Powerful prayer meetings and conferences are calling for the nation and Christians to repent before a holy God.  Church services see people repenting at the altar and even where they’re sitting.

Ken and Lois Gott’s Revival Now Ministries’ great October prophetic conference was no exception when God’s Spirit ‘blew in’ a wind of repentance and forgiveness regarding snobbish attitudes between people ‘representing’ the north and the south of England. Then individuals from Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Jamaica, Germany and South Africa also came to the altar to similarly apologise for their countries’ wrong attitudes towards the British.  Tears flowed openly and prayer for the nation as a whole was powerful. Humbly recognising afresh that Jesus is the answer to all humankind’s needs, other nations were also prayed for.

Pioneer People’s Gerald Coates unadvertised Sowing the Seeds of Revival meetings in the rotunda  Emmanuel Centre, Mawson Street (close to Westminster Abbey) five nights a week attracted over 40,000 people in a matter of months.  Around 150 full of faith Chinese Christians purchased the former Christian Science building for only £2.6 million instead of the asking price £6m.  Allowing the Pioneer Team to use the church has resulted in hundreds saved, many on their knees and in tears, and lives changed.  Personalities from Parliament and Buckingham Palace have visited and been touched by God.  Dustbin loads of surrendered pornography, illegal drugs and weapons, masonic jewellery and clothing and personal effects have had to be dumped.

London’s Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) and Queens Road Baptist continue to hold significant revival meetings with hundreds of attenders hungry for God.  Many AOG and Elim churches are moving in revival and planting more churches.  There is a greater openness to networking to gain more meaningful results, and many noteworthy conferences are held across the nation.  More and more churches are taking HTB’s Alpha program on board and seeing converts and stronger disciples of Christ.  Over half a million people have embraced the course.

Reaching Out

The AOG of Great Britain and Ireland has increased by 250 churches in the past four years.  General Superintendent Paul Weaver sees the need for strong churches effectively communicating the gospel locally.  With 650 fully accredited churches and several probationary, the AOG in the UK is determined to play its role in impacting the nation, and reaching thousands for Christ.  Their general conference this year – Impact 21, affecting change in the power of the Spirit – should prove historic in inspiring and releasing leaders.

Christian Channel Europe, headed up by Rory and Wendy Alec, was finding good response from the UK and Europe when based in Crown House.  Miraculously God arranged for the Alecs to be given top class TV studios nearby.  Despite a presently limited time slot, 3am to 7am, CCE has been reaching as far away as the Baltics.  Now, with the greater facilities, the channel will ‘hit Europe and the UK in a bigger and more effective way.’

Kensington Temple, England’s largest pentecostal church, has tapped into the incredible potential of satellite TV for its churches and teaching  courses.  These programs reach Europe as well as the UK.  Praying and open-air preaching by KT youth at Leicester Square has seen thousands saved.  Over 2000 people now attend KT’s Sunday night services in the new ex-BBC warehouse auditorium in North Acton.   A whole month of  ‘unprogrammed’ meetings Wednesday through Saturday saw hundreds of lives dramatically changed, healings and signs and wonders.  On the Saturday nights the church took to the streets and saw hundreds saved.

Sense of God’s Time

Many believe strongly that God is at work in the nation and exerting his influence as Sovereign Lord over churches and Christians.  Leaders are becoming more challenged and sensitive to allowing the Holy Spirit to have his way.

Ken Gott virtually echoed Wynne Lewis’ words when he stated, ‘Britain found its soul when people prayed along with the Archbishop of Canterbury, “Our Father, your kingdom come.”  Princess Diana’s death deeply touched the nation spiritually.  There is a searching going on!’

He then told of a man in a London pub who went over to two other men who were sitting quietly having a meal.  He was searching, desperate for answers, and ‘somehow knew’ they were Christians.

‘Sir,’ he said to one, ‘I perceive you are a man of integrity.  Do you have something to say to me?’

‘Yes, Jesus loves you.’

‘Do you have anything else to say?’

‘Yes, you’re dying.’

It was a sure word of knowledge.  The man was dying – from AIDS.  He had been walking all day around London praying to the God he did not know personally and saying, ‘If you’re real, God, reveal yourself.’  God did and the man got saved!

There is a definite awareness of God’s time for the UK.  Prophet Paul Cain has declared that God has targeted Great Britain for harvest.  I sensed it deeply in my own spirit and encouraged many to believe for God to raise their nation on a powerful ‘next wave’ that will exalt the Lordship of Jesus, see thousands come into the kingdom, the nation turned around and, as in years gone by, again touching other nations especially the Continent.

A deepening hunger to know God more intimately and to redeem the time is also prevalent.  As Fulton Sheen put it: ‘Every moment comes to you pregnant with a divine purpose; time being so precious that God deals it out only second by second.  Once it leaves your hands and your power to do with it as you please, it plunges into eternity, to remain forever as you made it.’

Hope and Expectation

The flowers have been laid and lifted and God is moving!  Prime Minister Tony Blair declared that Britain would be a compassionate nation, a giving one and one on the cutting edge.  I personally believe that will also happen spiritually and we’ll be receiving wonderful exciting reports of the power, grace and favour of God at work in Great Britain, with an emphasis on the ‘Great.’

Hope and expectation would aptly describe the present state of many Spirit-filled believers there.  Australia may not have been as deeply affected by Princess Di’s death as the UK and even Eire, but great expectation and strong hope in Christ, accompanied by serious prayer, laying aside personal priorities and even church programs, and getting right with God, lead to amazing accomplishments in taking Jesus to any nation.

May it be so in Australia as the Holy Spirit seeks to, and is allowed to, dig new wells in places not yet familiar with the sounds of the river of God’s refreshing and his saving grace.

Reproduced with permission from The Australian Evangel, February 1998, pages 47-48.

(c) 2011, 2nd edition.  Reproduction allowed with copyright included in text.

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A Touch of Glory, by Lindell Cooley

John Kilpatrick and Lindell Cooley

Lindell Cooley wrote as the worship leader at Brownsville Assemblies of God in Pensacola, America, a church in revival since 18 June 1995.   This article is from his book A Touch of Glory (Revival Press, 1997).

 ___________________________

True revival comes

when God descends

in His glory

____________________________

One of the most important things I can tell you is that true revival comes when God descends upon man in His glory.   That’s it.   There is no formula or religious dogma to memorize and implement at your church.   There is no “12‑Step Revival Plan in a Can” that you can purchase at some expensive church growth seminar.   Extraordinary things happen when the Extraordinary God shows up among ordinary people who long for more of Him.   That is a summary of what happened at Brownsville Assembly of God on Father’s Day in June of 1995.

When I moved my mountain of boxes to Pensacola, Florida, and began to lead worship there, I quickly realized that I had come to an ordinary Assemblies of God church.   Pastor John Kilpatrick was a wonderful pastor and a skilled teacher of the Word, but he struggled with the same problems every other pastor has to deal with.   He worried about motivating and training workers, finding time to handle his counselling load, and balancing his roles as administrator, family man, and spiritual leader of the flock.   He worried about the welfare of the sheep in his care, and he was fervently praying for revival.   It was a church that wanted more because it didn’t have it yet.

I inherited a great worship team and a talented group of musicians, but like anyone else I struggled with rehearsal schedules, motivation problems, and the constant need to learn new songs and resuscitate the old ones.   The congregation was a normal mix of young, old, and in‑betweens, representing almost every musical taste you could think of.   In the midst of the normal challenges, we desperately wanted to see revival spark in our services and we were frustrated.  Brownsville Assembly of God was like most of the medium‑sized Pentecostal and Charismatic churches scattered across America.  We wanted something that we didn’t have, and we were pressing in by faith to see it come to pass.

I was scheduled to return to the Ukraine for a short missions trip in June, but before I left I began to teach the worship team, the choir, and the music team some Vineyard worship choruses.  I had done away with most of the hard‑driving, lively praise songs I favoured before.  I didn’t want to do anything that smacked of hype or emotional manipulation.  I just wanted to go directly into worship and bypass praise altogether.  The congregation seemed to enjoy some of the choruses and was indifferent to others.  Something was still missing.

Revival!

I went to the Ukraine in June of 1995 to help conduct a short choir tour and planned to return the week after Father’s Day.  I was getting ready to leave the Ukraine when revival came “suddenly” to the Brownsville congregation on Sunday, June 18th.  At the end of the Father’s Day service, the visiting evangelist named Stephen Hill gave an altar call.  He had just delivered a normal sermon during a normal Sunday service, but everything changed when the Spirit of God suddenly descended on the congregation.

Many people who were present, including Pastor Kilpatrick, literally felt a wind sweep through the sanctuary during the visitation.  A thousand people rushed to the altar that day to confess their sins, repent, and commit themselves to the Lord without hesitation or compromise.  At this writing, the revival has continued week after week for two years and 125,000 souls have been added to the Kingdom by conservative count.  The Lord continues to visit us with ever‑increasing power and glory month after month.

I flew into John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on Tuesday the 20th after reluctantly bidding my beloved Ukranian friends good‑bye.  I found a phone and immediately called Pastor Kilpatrick.

“Hey, John what’s going on?”

“Lindell, It has happened!”

“What has happened?”

“Revival is here.”

I had waited to her those words for a long time.

My heart leapt in my chest because I knew it had to be real or the man on the other end of the line wouldn’t say it like that.  I wanted to get back to Pensacola just that much quicker, but I knew I couldn’t make it until Wednesday.  During the flight from New York to Florida, my mind kept taking me back to those “gentle laid‑back moments in God’s presence” that I had embraced since April.

When I arrived, John and Brenda Kilpatrick picked me up at the airport, and he began to share with me what God was doing.  It sounded wonderful, but I was very tired, and felt disconnected.  I didn’t realize it then, but that disconnected feeling would stay with me for about two weeks.  There was no doubt that God was in the house, but I was having trouble entering in.  I ran headlong into a major disappointment because I was expecting “Toronto”.

Breaking Old Dislikes

First there was this Stephen Hill character.  I had never met him before the Wednesday night service after Father’s Day, but this evangelist seemed to be just a little “too hyped” for me.  Pastor Kilpatrick assured me that he was okay and said that he had known Steve for years.  My daydreams of a ‘gentle’ move of the Holy Spirit that morning were jolted back to reality by Stephen Hill, a dynamo with an unquenchable passion for souls.  He was far from gentle.  I thought he came across like a speeding freight train that first night.

He had us sing one chorus for 30 minutes straight at a clip of 90 miles an hour, and I felt like I had stepped back into my old Pentecostal roots again.  All the wonderful things that the Lord had done for me suddenly seemed to disappear and my own heathenistic self came out again.  I thought, I am not going to do this!  Sorry, but I’ve been there, done that.  I don’t want to do this!  I want that gentle sweetness that I had.

After the service I was pretty hard on Steve Hill once we were alone.  I said, “Steve, I am not going to get up there and do all that hype stuff.  If you want it, then get someone else to do it, because I’m not doing it.”  Frankly, I had a rotten attitude.  Do you know what Steve did?  He totally disarmed me with his answer.  He said, “Well, brother, that’s all right.  Whatever you want to do.”  I had to repent to him shortly after that because I was so mean to him.  He could have been angry with me but he wasn’t.  The battles in my heart would continue for a while, but we were on the way to becoming close friends with one heart.

I knew that my reaction to Steve was rooted in my dislike for the old pattern of wanting to be worked up by powerful music.  After my breaking in April, I was so moved by the revelation of just loving the Lord that I could be moved to worship at any time by the slightest breath of the Spirit.  All I have to do is say from my heart, “Lord God, all You want is my worship.  All You want is my attention.  You are like a Father to me.”  I don’t need a lengthy time of praise to crank my flesh up to speed.  At the mere mention of His name I am ready to fall to my knees and worship.  He has touched me so deeply that I must respond.

I didn’t realize it, but God was also out to break my deep‑seated desire to be somebody important.  (Everyone I’ve ever known has had this desire too.)  I was just floating along on a cloud of simply loving Jesus and hungering after the Lord, but there was some hidden poison still lurking in my heart and God wanted it out.

It was the glory of God that finally destroyed the yoke around my neck.  Before God touched me, I always thought that God had called me to a greater grace and a higher calling than to just be somebody’s “flunky musician.”  I thank God for His mercy and grace in forgiving my arrogance.

Just when I was convinced that God wasn’t doing anything in me, He brought all my wrong motives to the surface.  In the first few weeks of the revival, any time Stephen or Pastor Kilpatrick would interrupt one of my songs or stop the worship service to say something, I would be totally offended.  I wouldn’t say anything or change my actions, but in my spirit I was offended.  My face might have been smiling but my heart and head were shouting, “Doggone you, get away from the microphone.  I don’t interrupt your sermons, do I?  Now stay out of my hair ‑ I’m trying to lead worship here.”  (I am not interested in being “politically correct” in this book; my goal is to speak the truth in love so that you and others can avoid the mistakes I made and move directly into God’s best.)

It was wrong, but I felt like these godly men were invading my territory.  Musicians seem to have an old link to lucifer the first rebellious worship leader ‑ they have a pride that is never satisfied.  They jealously guard what is “theirs” and then wonder why they don’t have what the pastor or evangelist has too.

God would be using me mightily in worship, and then this “old ugly” would come out.  Right then and there, in the middle of an anointed Brownsville Revival service, I would feel my hidden spiritual pride, piety, and ego rise to the surface.  I’d catch myself thinking, I’ve been in this thing a long time, and here is some old drug addict [Stephen Hill] preaching a sermon.  Dear God, he just said he got saved in 1975!  I was rolling on the floor and speaking tongues in 1975.  Why, I’ve been in church all my life and never veered from the path!  (Sounds like the older brother of the Prodigal son, doesn’t it?)

God never let me get away with it.  He would just zap me and say, “Stop it.  If you want Me, humble yourself.”  Yes, you thought you had that jealousy under control, but I brought that out to show you that you don’t.  Repent of it, and let it go.”

One of the greatest joys of working with Pastor John Kilpatrick and Stephen Hill is the fact that they are transparent.  They prefer direct communication.  I told Pastor John one night after service, “You know, God has brought out some really ugly stuff in me, and I’ve had to repent.”  I don’t think he was surprised, but I do know he was pleased.

When the Spirit’s work was complete in the area of my calling and self‑worth in Christ (He has so much more to do in me), I had a totally different attitude.  Now any time those brothers need to say something or interrupt for any reason, I think, ‘That’s fine, brother.  I trust your judgement.  Go ahead and do anything you want to do.  If you want to prophesy, if you want to stop me in the middle of my favourite song, that’s fine.’  Yes, the musician in me will still occasionally grumble a little bit when I’m interrupted, but now I have a tolerance for it.  I just tell myself, Oh well, what is the big deal?  The guy is trying to follow the Lord here.  Relax.

Pastor Kilpatrick, Stephen Hill, and I have great confidence in one another today.  We trust each other.  We’ve cried and wept in each other’s arms, and we are soldiers.  We’ve been in the fox hole together, we’ve watched out for each other’s back, so all of the small differences and irritations just don’t bother us now.

New Things ‑ Even in Revival

Once my eyes were opened to the incredible work God was doing in me those first two weeks of revival, I became content.  I realized, for the first time in my life, that I wasn’t “somebody’s” piano player ‑ I was God’s piano player.  (My mother had been saying it for decades, but I guess I just wasn’t listening close enough.)  If that was what God wanted me to do for the rest of my life, than praise His name; I would be content.  I had to pass that hurdle before the other gifts within me could be released to grow.  If I had failed to pass that test, my selfish ambitions would have tainted all the other gifts and callings in my life.

Very early in the revival we began to notice some supernatural occurrences in the worship service that let us know God was personally involved in this revival ‑ even in areas not related to the hundreds of souls won each night and the filled altars.  I looked in my personal journal and found an entry dated August 17, 1995 (about two months after the revival began.)  This is what I wrote down after I got home that night:

August 17, 1995

The service tonight seemed to be pretty average until the very end.  As I was about to leave, I talked with Richard Crisco, the youth pastor, and he questioned me about a particular worship chorus we had sung toward the end of the service.  It was an ad lib thing that just came out of the air.  He wanted to know how I was able to cue the sound track tape to come in as precisely as it did.  I told him there was no tape, it was just me and the keyboard ‑ there weren’t even any singers, but he didn’t believe me.  He said that he had heard at least three voices and several instruments.

As  Richard spoke, I remembered that I too had heard a third voice singing a beautiful counter melody, but was so caught up in the presence of the Lord that I didn’t see who was singing, or who it might be.  I knew I was singing, and I assumed it was Jeff Oettle [one of the worship singers at the time] or someone who had felt inspired and grabbed the mike to join in.

As Richard talked, I remembered two things: First, the third voice was exceptionally clear, and the counter melody sounded rehearsed.  Second, when we had finished singing, I went to sit by Pastor John who was a little lost in the Spirit (in other words, he was out like he always is), and he told me in slurred speech, “That new chorus you just did was wonderful.  Could you do it again tomorrow night?”

Later on, Benny Johnson (the sound guy) and Van Lane (the children’s pastor) told me that they had heard it too.  They were at the sound board, and were trying to find out what channel the third voice was on.  [It wasn’t going through the sound board at all!]

My conclusion, that the third voice was definitely not of this world, wow.

Later that week I asked Jeff Oettle, “Were you singing with me?”

“No, but I was standing on stage.”

Then I asked him, “Did anybody else sing with me?”

I already knew the answer ‑ no.

All this happened during a Thursday night service, and I remember that the entire worship team was exhausted because early in the revival we used to sing for hours at the end.  Somewhere close to midnight the band started to really sound bad and the singers were nearly out of it, so I dismissed them so they could get some rest.  I punched in a piano program with a breathy sound on my electronic keyboard, and I just started playing a chord with a monastic Gregorian chant style.

I clearly remember hearing a backup voice and a third voice come in that was singing a perfect counter melody to my song, except that it wasn’t repeating what I was saying ‑ that would have been impossible anyway.  I was making it up as I went.  Yet this voice was singing at the same time I was singing in perfect counter melody with an incredibly clear voice.

I was making up the melody and words as I went and the other voices were singing right along with me while putting in these little moves in their melodies.  I was kind of thinking, “That’s cool, whoever that is.”

Two girls from Puerto Rico who had backgrounds in witchcraft came to the revival that night.  When I started singing this song, hundreds of people were still being prayed for at the altars, and it is normally pretty loud.  When I started to sing, “Ha‑ha‑hallelujah…” accompanied only by the keyboard, everything became totally quiet.  The song (with the heavenly voices) was so impressive that everyone stopped to listen.  This went on for probably two or three minutes.  (Everybody I questioned that night heard it.)

When I stopped singing, one of the Puerto Rican girls sitting to my far right released a blood‑curdling scream and I thought, How rude of you to interrupt.  But it was almost as though a demon had left.  The girl told one of the intercessors who was working with her that she had tried to get deliverance from the witchcraft that she had practiced for years, and she’d never been really free of it.  Once the angels started singing, that demon left her, and that was that.

It Comes Full Circle

Once I allowed my insecurities and religious pride to be broken, God began to speak into my life again through prophecy.  A prophet named Michael Ratcliff prophesied in the revival in 1995 that the Lord was giving me an anointing of “imperialism”.  At the beginning of the prophecy he said that I had laid down the anointing to speak the Word because I felt it was inappropriate, but that God was commanding me to open my mouth, and that I would be used as a spearhead to pierce the darkness.

He said that when I or my music went to Taiwan or mainland China, God would give me eight different currencies to work with, and that He would begin to bless me financially.  I was to give and be free with it, and the people would be touched, as well as the officials.

He also said God would give me a song that would be sung around the world, and that the Lord was giving me a ministry to heal marriages.  The song would be about the Lord and His love for the union of marriage.  Some of the marriages healed through the song would be the marriages of heads of state in many countries and I would sing and speak the Word of the Lord to them.

Ruth Heflin prophesied early in 1966 that because I had embraced the harvest, the Lord would make my path flat.  I should take no thought, and I should not worry about the things that others do, because God would provide all that I needed ‑ houses, food, and clothing.  She also said that the Lord would move me from harvest to harvest.  Anywhere in the world that there is a harvest, I would have a portion of it.  The Lord said that there was a generation that would follow me, though they’re incomplete, but the Lord would raise them up, and they would follow.

These prophecies closed a prophetic circle in my life by fully confirming the prophecies spoken over me long ago.  Some of them have come to pass already and others are in process.  Since they were in full agreement with what God had already put on my heart, I embraced them with joy.  From time to time I remind the Lord about His promises to me and stand on His faithfulness.  As a young man not yet in his 40’s, I am hardly old enough to publish an autobiography of my life, but I am obligated of the Lord to share some of the lessons I’ve learned along the path of obedience.

For reasons known only to God, I have catapulted to a place of national and international exposure, and I am well aware that thousands of leaders and would‑be leaders are watching me.  I am writing this book from the things that I know and have experienced, and I will leave other subjects to those better qualified than I. …

The glory of God has fallen on Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida, and it has also fallen in significant measure in Toronto, Ontario and at Holy Trinity Brompton Anglican Church in London, England.  At this writing literally thousands of reports are flooding the offices of Brownsville Assembly testifying that God’s glory is falling all across the globe. …

If you have abandoned the old landmarks that God established in your life years ago, then it is time for you to hurry back to those landmarks.  Clear away the brush and debris that hide them and once again cherish the word of the Lord over your life.  Protect those things that are holy and cleanse those things that are unclean.

Used with permission from A Touch of Glory by Lindell Cooley (Revival Press, Destiny Image, 1997), Chapter 8, pages 119‑132.

(c) 2011, 2nd edition.  Reproduction allowed with copyright included in text.

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Amazed by Miracles, by Rodney Howard-Brown

Dr Rodney and Adonica Howard-Brown are pastors and revival evangelists.

Critics focus on the rip-roaring style of his revivalist “camp meetings”, but this US-based South African evangelist says all he’s interested in is God touching people’s lives.

______________________________________

The Holy Spirit wants to touch the lives of real people.

I don’t spend much time wondering about God’s ability

to do what he said he could do.   I just trust him.

______________________________________________

On previous visits to Australia, Rodney Howard-Browne has attracted both crowds and controversy.  But vigorous debate about his methods and the “phenomena” seen at his meetings has not kept thousands away. …  The US-based South African evangelist spoke with Rob Buckingham about spiritual power, the simplicity of faith, and how it feels to be surprised by God.

Buckingham:  Things took off for you number of years ago.  Can you tell us what took place at that time?

Howard-Browne:   We’d moved to America in December ‘87 and travelled wherever the doors opened.  One pastor in upstate New York asked us to have two meetings a day and invited the whole congregation.  So in April 1989 we went to [a town called] Clifton Park to a church with about 250 members.

I was amazed to see people so hungry for the things of God.  On the Monday morning 60 people came to the morning service.  This was amazing, especially in America at that time – there had been some major set backs with different major ministries crumbling, and people were disillusioned.  Next day we had 100 people at the service – nearly a third of the church coming out on a Tuesday morning!

While I was teaching, just like I normally do, the praises of God just filled the room, and people started falling out of their seats.  It looked like someone was sitting in the balcony and shooting people with an invisible gun.  Some were crying, some were laughing, others were rolling on the floor.  It took a little getting used to.

The presence of God literally filled that place.  We saw an outbreak of a revival that now, this April, is nine years old.  It’s gone around the world, touched the lives of millions of people, an it hasn’t subsided or stopped.  It’s been a great adventure.

Buckingham:  What are your reflections now on what took place back then?

Howard-Browne:  I see it as an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  It’s not like we weren’t expecting it.  We were crying out to God to come and move; we just didn’t know how or when it was going to happen.  So when it happened the way it did it totally took us by surprise.

Buckingham:  Is there any change in what took place then compared to what’s happening now?

Howard-Browne:  It’s just multiplied many times over.  In the beginning it was 100 people and now it’s thousands.  Whether we’ve been in China or Japan, Holland, Germany, Russia or the islands of the sea, it’s the same.  People are the same and they have the same needs.  The Holy Spirit wants to touch the lives of real people.  There are many religions in the world, but religions will leave you empty because it’s man’s vain attempt to reach God.  But Christianity is God reaching man through the person of Jesus Christ.

Buckingham:  There are reports of physical healings at your meetings.  Do these happen in every country?

Howard-Browne:  It happens everywhere.  We look at it this way. When people come to a meeting where the Holy Spirit is moving, whatever their needs are God will touch them at that point.  Healing is just one of these.  People come with cancer, arthritis, different diseases, and the presence of god touches them.  Some are healed in their seat without even having hands laid on them, and it’s only later they find out that they’ve been healed.

Dolly, a little Alaskan native lady, came to our meetings in a wheelchair.  She’d had arthritis for 18 years, the last five confined to a wheelchair and the final two years bedridden.  She came as a last resort, asking God to please touch her.  We laid hands on her, but we didn’t really pray that she’s be able to get out of the wheelchair, just that she’d get some joy and that God would touch her.  I said, “Lady, what do you want to do?”  She responded, “I want to get out of this chair.”  So I said, “Well then, go ahead.”  Then she climbed out of the chair and walked around the building and was totally healed of crippling arthritis.  This happened back in 1991 and we’ve seen her subsequently.  She’s still totally healed with no trace of arthritis in her body.

Buckingham:  That’s physical healing. What about emotional healing?  People can carry a lot of baggage around inside.

Howard-Browne:  There are many examples.  One is about a woman in North Dakota who was raped by a so-called friend.  She contracted two venereal diseases, the worst the doctor said he’d seen.  He told her that she’d never be able to have children.

This woman came to the meeting pretty traumatized – this had only happened weeks before. The power of God touched her, she fell on the floor and as she was lying there she felt like there was a fireman standing over her with a big fire hose washing her clean.  For about two-and-a-half hours she felt this water washing her clean.  When she got up she could remember the rape but it was like it happened to somebody else.  God had totally removed the hurt from her.  When she went back to the doctor there was no trace of the diseases.  That was over five years ago.  Today she’s married to one of the pastors of the church. They’ve had children with nothing wrong.

Buckingham:  What about other stories?

Howard-Browne:  An executive-type lady came to a meeting with a lot of deep hurt in her heart.  About 20 years ago she’d had an abortion, and every time she was around things of God she felt guilty and condemned with thoughts like “God’s never going to bless you because of what you did.”

We prayed for her and she was overcome, lying there filled with joy.  Laughing hysterically.  Later she told us it was as if she was taken up to heaven to see a little girl dancing around, with Jesus standing to the side.  The little girl said, “Look Jesus, Mummy’s laughing”.  When that happened, she said it felt like a hand reached down inside her and pulled out all the hurt. When she got up from the floor she didn’t feel guilty any more. She knew that God had forgiven her and everything was all right.

Buckingham:  Are these incidents isolated events?

Howard-Browne:  No.  People are healed from depression, a lot from fear, even from wanting to commit suicide.  There’s so much pressure on people today.  People feel like they can’t make it. So they come to the meetings.  God touches them and sets them free.  It’s wonderful to see.

Buckingham:  Australians are quite different from Americans, and you minister in America a lot.  How do you respond to that difference in your meetings when you come to Australia?

Howard-Browne:  Because I’m a South African, I think it’s probably easier for me to respond than it would be for an American.  I find the Aussies very direct, which I like. There’s no airs or graces, nobody’s pretending.  I think maybe that’s why we’ve had such a great response in Australia.

Buckingham:  You travel extensively around the world. That must be draining on you.  How do you handle the pace?

Howard-Browne:  Actually, I find the travel exhilarating, so that by the time I get to a new place I’m refreshed. We travel 46 weeks of the year, and it’s awesome to see people’s lives touched and changed.  That’s the thing that’s refreshing.  When we get tired, we try to take a break for two or three days.

Buckingham:  Rodney, how do you describe your own relationship with God?

Howard-Browne:  I would describe my relationship as very, very simple.  I don’t understand some people when they always want to complicate God.  I just see him as God – nothing is impossible to him.  I have a very childlike faith that God honours his word.  I don’t spend much time arguing about it or wondering about his ability to do what he said he could do.  I just trust him.

Buckingham:  How does your relationship with God impact your life personally?

Howard-Browne:  Well, because nothing is impossible for him, I always want to believe him for big things.  When you think that he made the heavens and the earth, then everything we come up with after that is really so small.  I just think sometimes people make everything so difficult when there’s nothing too hard for God.

Buckingham:  What about your relationship with others?  How does your faith impact that?

Howard-Browne:  I want God to do for them what he’s done for me.  I’m not anything special or different.  I’m just an ordinary person. But I know that if he can do great things for me, he can do great things for them.

Buckingham:  How does your faith impact your care for the world around you?

Howard-Browne:  When I see a need, my wife has to calm me down; she says, “You can’t do everything.”  God leads you into areas where you can minister effectively to touch the needs of people.  We all want to reach out and feed the poor or help those less fortunate than we are, yet because I’m busy doing what I’m doing, I can’t do it.  So I try to find other ministries and get behind them.  I don’t have to do what they’re doing: I just finance and support them.

Buckingham:  What can people expect at your meetings this year?

Howard-Browne:  Pretty much like two years ago, we’re going to focus on he person of Jesus – people being touched by the Lord and coming back to their “first love”.

Buckingham:  What do you mean by “first love”?

Howard-Browne:  “First love” is the love you have when you first give your life to Christ – the joy that you’ve just met him, that he’s set you free from sin, that all the guilt and condemnation is gone.  It’s like a young guy and a girl; when they first fall in love, they’re just beside themselves.

It’s so easy as a child of God to get caught up in the daily grind, trying to please God, caught up in rituals and traditions.  You end up losing that joy and peace.  Revival is about people falling in love with Jesus all over again.

Anything can happen when people come back to their first love.

This is an edited version of an interview conducted by Rob Buckingham for use in On Being ALIVE and his weekly radio program “Rob Buckingham and Friends”.  It was originally broadcast on 3MP on 29 March, 1998.

Reprinted with permission from On Being ALIVE Magazine, No. 4, May 1998, pages 30-34.

(c) 2011, 2nd edition.  Reproduction allowed with copyright included in text.

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