A Chronicle of Renewal and Revival

Archive for March, 2019

Remember those in prison

1 the-passion-of-the-christ-2004-crucified-1

Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering  (Hebrews 13:3).

It was just before dawn on a cold winter morning on the farm.  I had just shifted a line of irrigation pipes in a crop of potatoes.  My bare feet were encased in congealed, cold, numbing mud.  My last task before breakfast was to start the irrigation pump.  When I tried to kick start the motorbike my foot slipped off the kick starter and my big toe struck the metal foot peg.  I felt nothing at the time but when I arrived at the pump I looked down and noticed lots of blood oozing through the mud on my feet!  On closer inspection, I discovered that I had a very deep gash under my big toe.  It was a really nasty injury which was surprising! I had not even felt it because my foot was so numb from the cold.
 
It seems to me that just as I was oblivious to the serious damage done to my body, we can be unaware of the damage that is done daily to the body of Christ. 

Every day followers of Jesus around the world are subjected to ridicule, persecution, abuse, torture, abduction and even death. In a recent statement, the International Society for Human Rights said that 80% of all religious freedom violations in the world are directed against Christians. Shockingly, it is estimated that every five minutes a follower of Jesus is put to death somewhere in the world simply because they have faith in Jesus. Some have gone as far as to say that the current levels of persecution against Christians are worse today than at any time in history!
 
As followers of Jesus, we are spiritually connected to all of the other followers of Jesus around the globe.  The Bible describes this union as just like being part of a body (1Co 12:12).
 
Just as pain from an injury in one part of our physical bodies affects the rest of our body, so to the pain and suffering of one part of our spiritual body should affect the whole in some way.  So why don’t we always feel their pain?  Perhaps we do not feel the pain and suffering of our brothers and sisters around the world because we are numbed by complacency, indifference, apathy or just plain ignorance. 
 
I did not know that there was a problem with my toe until I went looking and noticed some disturbing signs.  There are a number of organizations that help us be aware of what is happening for many of our brothers and sisters around the world; organizations such as the Barnabas Fund, the Voice of the Martyrs, or The Open Doors. 
 
When I found out that my foot was injured, I immediately took action to give aid to my injured member.  The bible says that we should empathize with our suffering family to the point of actually considering ourselves to be in their shoes. 
 
Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.  (Hebrews 13:3).
 
The following websites can provide specific information about the scope and pain that the body that you and your church are a part of is experiencing worldwide and may assist in providing information as to how we can aid those parts of the body that are hurting.

Barnabas Fund  www.barnabasfund.org 
Voice of the Martyrs  www.persecution.com.au
The Open Doors  www.opendoors.org.au

If you have not already done so, I would encourage you to please make your churches aware of the plight of our brothers and sisters around the world and commit to praying regularly for them.

God do you good!

Rev Stewart Piper, Queensland Baptists

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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This church lets the homeless sleep on the pews

Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He then said: “Follow me.”

– Luke 9:58-59a

This church lets 225 homeless sleep on the pews

Lack of sleep is one of the most critical health issues for the homeless. An average of 225 homeless people seek safety and rest on the pews in the sanctuary of St. Boniface church in San Francisco every day, thanks to The Gubbio Project.

The Gubbio Project was co-founded in 2004 by community activists Shelly Roder and Father Louis Vitale as a non-denominational project of St. Boniface Neighborhood Center located in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood in response to the increasing numbers of homeless men and women in need of refuge from the streets.

“No questions are asked when our guests walk into the churches; in an effort to remove all barriers to entry, there are no sign-in sheets or intake forms. No one is ever turned away; all are welcomed, respected and treated with dignity,” the project’s website states.

While the church uses the front 1/3 of the sanctuary for church-goers to celebrate daily mass at 12:15 p.m., the Gubbio Project uses the back 2/3 of the sanctuary. “This sends a powerful message to our unhoused neighbors – they are in essence part of the community, not to be kicked out when those with homes come in to worship,” the non profit organization says. “It also sends a message to those attending mass – the community includes the tired, the poor, those with mental health issues and those who are wet, cold and dirty.”

In addition to a place to rest, the church offers warm blankets, socks, hygeine kits, and massage services.

[More work for the cleaners – God bless them]

Source: The Gubbio Project

Click to play this video of The Gubbio Project

March 21, 2018

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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Benin, West Africa: high school boy defeats voodoo attacks in Jesus’ name. Voodoo priests sent talking birds to take Christian down.

Benin: high school boy defeats voodoo attacks in Jesus’ name. Voodoo priests sent talking birds to take Christian down.

Nestor got introduced to the gospel even when there wasn’t a single Christian church in his village of 1,400 people. Twenty years later, two churches were planted in Houndjohoundji in 2018. “People were begging for a church to open.”

By Michael Ashcraft —

nestor-kouassi-christianity-vs-voodoo-334x500
Nestor Kouassi today in America.

Nestor Kouassi had seen the voodoo priests and witches do unutterable things: make statues move, bury people alive who later come out of the jungle, send bird spirits to kill enemies.

So when he accepted Jesus in 1997 and started what became a high-stakes spiritual battle with them in his town of Houndjohoundji, Benin, it was a fearful thing.

“A lot of people didn’t like it that we were calling with fire and praying all night,” Nestor says. “They threatened us that they would kill us. They made false accusations. Anything to get us in trouble.”

Nestor got introduced to the gospel even when there wasn’t a single Christian church in his village of 1,400 people. His nation, Benin, holds the dubious distinction of being the worldwide birthplace of voodoo. Even the name of his village was a satanic incantation.

People feared the voodoo lords, and Christianity couldn’t crack the town.

But then one Christian, a certain Mr. Lawson, when he came to visit his mom in town from time to time, would preach and share the gospel with anyone who wished to listen.

“We would mock him,” Nestor remembers. “People would insult him.”

Then his best friend, Cyrille, accepted Jesus to get cured of a nasty, prolonged stomach pain. Cyrille was a “rough man” who would steal and fight for nothing, so when Nestor saw an authentic change in him after two weeks, he became convinced.

“He completely changed,” he says. “I said, ‘If this guy can change, there must be a God. I want to get to know that God.’”

Houndjohoundji-350x232
Near Houdnjohoundji

But Cyrille didn’t remember the “sinner’s prayer.” So they just read the Bible together 4-5 hours a day. After one week, Nestor was born again.

“Something happened in my life, and I knew that I knew that I knew that I had met the man Jesus,” Nestor recalls. “It felt like a liquid fire going through my soul, and all of my fears of witchcraft and voodoo disappeared and the river flowed from the inside.”

The nearest church was seven miles away. When they couldn’t attend service there, they devoured the Bible together. After two weeks, they were inspired to share their faith.

“We could not hide it anymore. We took to the streets and wanted to share with people our new discovery: Jesus of Nazareth, woo!” he recounts, relishing the memory.

The power of Jesus began to be proclaimed and demonstrated with healing miracles in town, and the town chief and ruling class — all priests and witches of satanic magic — didn’t like the competition.

“Our preaching was met with hostility like you’ve never seen before,” Nestor says. “What made them furious is that we would pray for people and they would get healed. People would say, ‘If you’re sick, go to the Jesus guys.’”

Another friend, Valentin, converted and the three friends read the word and ministered in the streets together. But nobody else dared cross the powers of the town and join their group, even though they viewed them favorably.

The prayers of Nestor and his friends began to disrupt the voodoo power, he says. So the witches attacked them.

“They didn’t want real Christianity. It disturbed them,” Nestor says. “They wouldn’t be able to operate anymore. If we’re calling upon Jesus, there is a power struggle. The witches cannot operate when we are calling upon Jesus.”

The witches had a technique they called a “spiritual gun” and the victim target of their incantations would writhe in pain. But the gun didn’t work on Nestor and his buddies, he said.

The priests had a special “founder drum” that when they beat it and pronounced their incantations, lightning would strike the targeted victim even when there was no thunderstorm. Again, it didn’t work.

For six or seven years, the arm-wrestling match continued. Nestor was going to high school in the biggest town in the area nearby, Grand-popo. He would face off with the voodoo priests on weekends and vacations.

The voodoo festivals began to misfire. Things didn’t work. The supernatural tricks fizzled. The town was abuzz with the goings-on.

“People began to question the witches’ power,” he says. “They said, ‘These Jesus guys must have something.’ They were scared. They listened to us, they admired us, but joining us was a real problem.”

Tensions were rising and the threats were increasing. When the chief witch threatened Nestor’s mother with her son’s death, Nestor went to confront him. He found all the witches together in their afternoon gathering in the public place.

“They told us they would reduce us to nothing. I told them nothing would happen,” Nestor remembers.

“In this battle, you will definitely see Jesus,” he responded to their threats.

That night, Nestor did indeed confront demon spirits, but ultimately they could do him no harm.

“I saw the power of witchcraft. I was in my room at midnight. I closed my eyes. All of a sudden, I heard hundreds of birds flapping in the room. They were talking in human voices. They said, ‘Take him.’ I could feel people’s hands. They tried to lift me off my bed. But I became so heavy, they couldn’t. They tried and tried and they left,” Nestor says.

It was worse than Alfred Hitchcock’s famous horror movie, The Birds.

“I opened my eyes, got up, and said, ‘Whoa, what is going on? What is this?” Then they came back with the chief priest who said, ‘Who is this little boy that you can’t get him?’ The same birds flapping, the voices, they couldn’t take me,” he says.

“In the morning I felt like I was sick for weeks. I couldn’t eat. I went at 11:30 to my mom’s. On the way over, I met this witch. When he saw me, he was afraid. I just laughed.”

The next day at midnight, there was a great commotion in the village. The chief voodoo priest lost consciousness in his house.

Thirteen hours later, he was pronounced dead in the nearest hospital.

“That’s how the hostility finished,” Nestor says. “They called us ‘witches of Jesus.’ They said don’t try anything against them.”

Since those times, Nestor and his wife immigrated to America with student visas. Cyrille lives in Grand-popo and farms. Valentin is an accountant in a big company.

Twenty years later, two churches were planted in Houndjohoundji in 2018. “People were begging for a church to open.”

May God receive the glory for all He has done!

Michael Ashcraft was a missionary for 15 years during which he founded the Liceo Bilingue La Puerta Christian school in Guatemala. It was long enough for him to see firsthand enough witchcraft to believe his friend, Nestor, when he recounted his conflict with the voodoo lords.

Source: God Reports, March 19, 2019

Is the Bible Sexist?

Is the Bible sexist?

Dr. Amy Orr-Ewing‘s powerful answer to this question may surprise you as she breaks down verses in the Bible you may never have noticed before.

This article by Dr Amy Orr-Ewing is condensed from this video of her message – YouTube Link

Any Orr-Ewing

In the Bible we see a vision for equality between men and women, both male and female bearing together the image of God.

And the story of the Bible plays that out in amazing ways.  Even in the Old Testament, you see a woman like Miriam leading a whole nation in worship.  You see a woman like Deborah leading a nation politically, making judgments, making decisions, and even leading her country to war.

You see that women didn’t require a man to be a kind of mediator between them and God. They could pray directly to God. They didn’t need a husband or a father to have a relationship with God. Now sometimes people say, “Yeah, but come on, in Genesis alright, women and men both bear the image of God, but doesn’t the Bible call women sort of “helpers”.  Isn’t that word there in Genesis?”

The word that is translated there “helper” is the word ezer and it’s not a term of domination or subjugation because God uses that name ezer to describe himself in his relationship to us as human beings. God is our ezer. He is our helper. It’s a powerful, strong, amazing, not sexist image.

And then we come to the New Testament. We see that Jesus directly resists the sexism that he sees and observes around him. There’s a story in John’s gospel in chapter four where a woman is talking to Jesus and the male disciples come and they see this. They see Jesus one on one with the woman. It says they’re amazed, they’re horrified, they’re staggered. What? To see him just talking one on one to a woman. Jesus considered women to be worthy of theological instruction.

It was a woman called Martha who was the recipient of one of the most amazing doctrinal statements of the New Testament: “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live and they will never die.”  Jesus just brought that to Martha.

And then you see this amazing pattern emerge as you read the New Testament where women sort of have this front row seat, and the extraordinary role of witnessing the core elements of the Christian faith. It’s Mary who is the primary witness to the incarnation, the virgin birth. It’s the women at the cross who are the primary witnesses to the crucifixion, to the atonement, to the cross of Jesus. The men have all disappeared apart from John. It’s women who were there witnessing the cross and then, of course, it is women who were first at the resurrection.

When you read the New Testament you see in the early church that women like Phoebe led the church in Rome. Women like Junia were considered to be outstanding by Paul among the apostles.

There are three verses which some people use to say that women should be subjugated.

In 1 Corinthians it talks about women being silent in church. Now how do we understand that? If you read the whole letter you see that in the same letter, the same author tells women how to prophecy when they prophesy in church, which meant speak publicly, and it says to have your head covered. That meant just modesty in those days. Don’t be showing off your body or your hair while you prophesy. So clearly, it didn’t mean women should never speak and be silent. It’s speaking to a specific group of women who were disrupting the services.

Another verse talks about men being the head of women. The Greek word is kephale and sometimes that has been taken to mean dominance or subjugation, but if you read the verse in context you see that God is the head of Christ. So if it means hierarchy, that doesn’t make sense of the Trinity. So whatever that kephale word means in terms of a relationship between a man and a woman in a marriage, it doesn’t mean domination. In fact, as we read anything about God’s kingdom, it is primarily about service, about love, about laying down our lives for one another.

Then there’s another verse in 1 Timothy 2 that talks about women not teaching, not being permitted to teach or have authority. Now remember, we’ve already been taught by women like Martha, by women like Mary. We’ve already seen that women like Priscilla taught. We know that Phoebe taught.  She was in authority in the Roman church.

Paul was writing that letter of 1 Timothy to the leader of the Ephesian church, Timothy. And the context there was the worship of the goddess Artemis where women dominated and subjugated men in that culture and it seems that as those women got converted it had crept into the Ephesian church. So Paul is helping Timothy to correct that specific pastoral situation. And most likely those women were saying, “Well Paul says that everyone has sinned in Adam, that we all sinned in Adam.” They just heard about this guy Adam who caused the world to sin and then the second Adam, Jesus, and Paul is saying, “Timothy, you need to explain to them that Eve was involved.” She actually sinned first.

Dorothy SayersI want to finish with a quote from one of my favourite apologists, Dorothy L. Sayers.

She writes this about Jesus:

“Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man – there never has been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, never flattered or coaxed or patronized; who never made arch jokes about them, never treated them either as “The women, God help us!” or “The ladies, God bless them!”; who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously; who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no axe to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unself-conscious. There is no act, no sermon, no parable in the whole Gospel that borrows its pungency from female perversity; nobody could possibly guess from the words and deeds of Jesus that there was anything “funny” about woman’s nature.”

― Dorothy L. Sayers, Are Women Human? Astute and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society

This article by Dr Amy Orr-Ewing is condensed from this video of her message – YouTube Link

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Added to:

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

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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24/7 Worship & Prayer

See current updates on https://renewaljournal.com/

24/7 Worship and Prayer here for 100 years – click to see 9 minute video

24/7 Worship & Prayer

Two invitations:

This is my invitation for you to be included in our informal group of people committed to giving at least:

(1) one hour a day to worship and prayer. You may be doing that anyway so you may like to be included in our praying friends’ group.

(2) one hour a week devoted to worship and prayer in addition to church services!

You can inform me on geoffwaugh2@gmail.com  I hope to eventually post numbers involved to inspire us all. I’ve found it helpful and inspiring to add a brief Bible quote in red biro in my diary each day for the last 50 years, from my daily reading and prayer.

I use Brisbane time in Australia so you can work out the Brisbane times from a Time Zone Converter, such as this link.

Those of you overseas may help to fill the 1-5 am times in Brisbane!

You could listen to worship music for that hour as you worship and pray. 
Here are beautiful background worship recordings:

INSTRUMENTAL

The Beauty of Hymns, Instrumental – 1 hour

Piano/Orchestra Hymns – 1 hour

Hymns, Instrumental – 2 hours

Popular Hymns and Bible Praises, Instrumental – 3 hours

Best Loved Hymns – Instrumental – 3.5 hours

Nearer my God to Thee – Andre Rieu (19 million views)

Amazing Grace – Andre Rieu (4.6 million views)

CHORAL

Hallelujah Chorus – international choirs

Messiah – over 2 hours (3 million views, Hallelujah at 1.35 hrs)

The Lord’s Prayer – Ardrea Bocelli & choir (7.5 million views)

The Lord’s Prayer – Only Boys Aloud

I Hear Thy Welcome Voice – Only Boys Aloud (in Welsh, about 3 million views)

Crown Him with Many Crowns

All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name (over 1 million views)

And Can it Be (Charles Wesley) – Songs of Praise (about 3 million views)

Christ the Lord is Risen Today (Charles Wesley)

Joy to the World

Gloria – Angels from the Realms of Glory (26 million views)

Albert Durer Praying Hands

Praying Hands  (Albert Durer)

Bible Prayers

Here a few of my favourite Bible Prayers – you can pray as you read.

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
(Matthew 6:9-13)

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord,
And You are exalted as head over all.
Both riches and honor come from You,
And You reign over all.
In Your hand is power and might;
In Your hand it is to make great
And to give strength to all.

Now therefore, our God,
We thank You
And praise Your glorious name.
(1 Chronicles 29:11-13)

Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just [a]when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.
(Psalm 51:1-17)

Moravian Revival

Here is part of the story of the Moravian Revival from the first issue of the Renewal Journal (available as PDF, eBook and Paperback):

At Herrnhut, Zinzendorf visited all the adult members of the deeply divided community. He drew up a covenant calling upon them ‘to seek out and emphasize the points in which they agreed’ rather than stressing their differences. On 12 May 1727 they all signed an agreement to dedicate their lives, as he dedicated his, to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Moravian revival of 1727 was thus preceded and then sustained by extraordinary praying. A spirit of grace, unity and supplications grew among them.

On 16 July the Count poured out his soul in a prayer accompanied with a flood of tears. This prayer produced an extraordinary effect. The whole community began praying as never before.

On 22 July many of the community covenanted together on their own accord to meet often to pour out their hearts in prayer and hymns.

On 5 August the Count spent the whole night in prayer with about twelve or fourteen others following a large meeting for prayer at midnight where great emotion prevailed.

On Sunday, 10 August, Pastor Rothe, while leading the service at Herrnhut, was overwhelmed by the power of the Lord about noon. He sank down into the dust before God. So did the whole congregation. They continued till midnight in prayer and singing, weeping and praying.

On Wednesday, 13 August, the Holy Spirit was poured out on them all. Their prayers were answered in ways far beyond anyone’s expectations. Many of them decided to set aside certain times for continued earnest prayer.

On 26 August, twenty-four men and twenty-four women covenanted together to continue praying in intervals of one hour each, day and night, each hour allocated by lots to different people.

On 27 August, this new regulation began. Others joined the intercessors and the number involved increased to seventy-seven. They all carefully observed the hour which had been appointed for them. The intercessors had a weekly meeting where prayer needs were given to them.

The children, also touched powerfully by God, began a similar plan among themselves. Those who heard their infant supplications were deeply moved. The children’s prayers and supplications had a powerful effect on the whole community.

That astonishing prayer meeting beginning in 1727 went on for one hundred years. It was unique. Known as the Hourly Intercession, it involved relays of men and women in prayer without ceasing made to God. That prayer also led to action, especially evangelism. More than one hundred missionaries left that village community in the next twenty-five years, all constantly supported in prayer.

Here are more links about the Moravian Revival:

Renewal Journal 1: Revival  PDF

PDF Books and Journals are also on the Main Page
Renewal Journal 1: Revival includes this article

Renewal Journal 1:  Revival

Renewal Journal 1: Revival

Reproduction is welcomed.

Available in book form (republished 2011)
Renewal Journal 1: Revival

Renewal Journal 1 article: Power from on High

The story of the Moravian Revival

*


This story is also a chapter in Great Revival Stories

Great Revival Stories – PDF

Great Revival Stories eBook – Amazon

 

THE SPIRIT OF THE MORAVIANS – VIDEO

Photo Album – Herrnhut and Berthelsdorf: Visiting the Moravian Revival locations.


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)

BACK TO MAIN PAGE

 

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Miracle in Israel

MIRACLE IN ISRAEL
A leader of Yeshiva in Jaffa posted this message (translated into English). Jews do not print the holy name of God but use G-d or similar. 

I observed the hand of G-d today with my own eyes. Now I know FOR SURE that there is a G-d! No one told it to me… I didn’t hear it from someone else…I saw this happen with my own eyes. I am an integral part of the iron dome operation. What we do here is an exact science and I cannot give many details of what we do. We knew that a missile was headed directly for Tel Aviv… aimed at one of the 3 big towers, a shopping centre in the middle of the city. 

We sent up one missile to intercept it, and we missed. We sent a second one, and we missed. We sent a third one to intercept…and we missed. Something even remotely like this has only happened one other time ever that I am aware of. We are very exact and very good at what we do. We do not miss. So to miss 3 times is not possible. 
By this time, disaster was imminent. We alerted all of the emergency crews within and around Tel Aviv to evacuate, but by this time there was little that could be done. Their missile was only minutes from detonation. We began the procedure of sending off one final missile to try and intercept it just before it came down, but we knew that casualties would still be imminent. 

Now, you must understand, our calculations based on physics and aerodynamics and weather (wind, atmosphere, humidity) are complete…there is NOTHING we don’t take into account. This is how it is able to work so precisely. But all of a sudden, as we were scrambling to do anything and everything we could to save Tel Aviv, all of a sudden OUT OF NOWHERE came up a huge wind…one that was not on the radar…one that DID NOT EXIST before…and blew the missile from over Tel Aviv all the way into the Sea and dropped it off exactly safely into the water where no one was injured! You must understand…there was NO WIND…and then there was A HUGE WIND. This is not a couple of inches of a “move” that any gentle breeze could influence…this is MILES. 

It was nothing other than the hand of G-d! I saw it with my very own eyes! The wind was not there before and it was not there after. It didn’t come from somewhere, it came from NOWHERE. And after it moved the missile to the sea, it disappeared! So, after seeing this, I can no longer deny the existence of G-d. I put a tallit (prayer shawl) on right after this, and I took upon myself to keep Shabbat. Yesterday was my first Shabbat to keep and it was the best Shabbat of my life. 

This is from a friend’s friend who lives in Israel. 
Our God is an awesome God.
He is the God of Israel. 
He is the God of the universe. 
There is nothing He cannot do.
– Ruth Web

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The Whatcom Story: how day and night prayer impacted a community

 

USA: The Whatcom Story: how day and night prayer
impacted a community.


Almost every significant move of God in history was preceded by
fervent, united prayer. This inspired Christians in Whatcom county
on the north-west coast of the United States to establish a ‘canopy of day and night prayer’ over their region. The results are astonishing.

“One night I was in church and I heard a prophecy that God would move by his Spirit over the native north-west tribes of the United States,”
recalls Viola Riebe of the Hoh River Nation. “It would be like a tsunami,
gaining in power, moving from the natives to other churches.”
For Riebe this was a hopeful prophecy, as back in 1700 a giant earthquake in the area generated a tsunami that almost devastated her native tribe.
She felt God wanted to turn the negative past into a positive future.

In 2008 a house of prayer was launched in Bellingham, the county’s seat, a community of 90,000 people. This Light of the World Prayer Center 
(LOWPC) included native American believers and Christians from other
churches. Together they established a day and night prayer watch,
similar to the Moravians in Herrnhut.
 
Native American prayer meeting
The Spirit of the Moravians

“What God has been doing in Whatcom county is linked to this town in
Germany,” says Jason Hubbard, director of the LOWPC. “God led me to
visit Herrnhut, home of Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians. I learned
their amazing story of awakening into prayer and missions. The passion of these Moravian believers was ‘to win for the Lamb who was slain the due reward of his suffering’.* Inspired by their example, we wanted to
be a modern-day expression of this powerful movement of united prayer and missions.”

* This quote has been attributed to missionaries Johann Leonhard Dober and David Nitschmann, two young Moravian Brethren from Herrnhut, Germany. When God called them in 1732 to minister to the African slaves on the islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix in the Danish West Indies, they were willing to sell themselves to a slave owner if that was the only way to reach the slaves. As their ship pulled away from the docks, it is said that they called out to their loved ones on shore, “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!”
The World Prayer Center

Reaching the Unreached 9-min 2019 version – Revival
Click to watch the inspiring video ‘The Spirit of the Moravians’



Pastors and churches team up in prayer

Whatcom county could certainly use a change in the spiritual
atmosphere. “Over the last several decades we have seen tragic church
splits among God’s people, an increase of witchcraft and sexual
immorality, pastors who have fallen,” says Hubbard. “However, since day and night prayer has been established in a simple way, senior pastors are gathering monthly to build spiritual friendships and seek God for the
county.”

“This is an unbelievable blessing,” says Grant Fishbook, pastor of Christ
the King. “Trust has been built over time as the message sunk in that
we’re not each other’s competition. Our competitor is the devil, but we
are family and on the same team. We love each other and want to live
that out. Now the pastors text and call each other for encouragement and drink coffee together, because there’s a genuine interest in what’s
happening with each part of the family. They ask: How are you doing,
how can I pray, how can I support you?”

“When we exalt Christ, it brings us together,” says Shawn Cunningham,
pastor of Hilcrest Chapel. “We have seen a growth and increasing unity
among churches in Whatcom county and that has come through the
power of prayer. Prayer by nature unifies God’s people.” 

Alvin Vandergriend, church prayer coordinator of the 3rd Christian
Reformed Church, agrees. “A canopy of prayer is a covering of God’s
providential blessing over a territory. Prayer is where we access God’s
resource and heart, where he empowers us to fulfil his mission. For all
the years I’ve been involved in ministry, I’ve never seen pastors come
together like now in Whatcom county – in the numbers they are coming
together, the prayer that happens there, and the encouragement they
give each other. It is quite amazing.”
 
Pastors’ Prayer Meeting


Ivan Montenegro testifies of revival

In Whatcom county 80 pastors out of a hundred are now praying
consistently together. This includes the native, Hispanic and Korean
churches, it’s a truly multi-cultural expression of the Body of Christ.
Pastors have also been sharing their pulpits and holding joint community services with thousands of people coming together.

Phenominal church growth: 10,000 salvations, 80 church plants

The unity also led to an explosion of church plants – 80 church plants in a decade – with 10,000 first-time salvations of people who were baptized in water. This is a phenominal church growth in what has historically been one of the least churched areas in the United States.

The 15,000 member strong Hispanic community experiences a real
revival. Ivan Montenegro, church planter with the Hispanic Church,
reports: “Every day we see people come to Christ. We started 11 new
churches and baptized at least 1,500 people, which is a 10% growth.
If you ask me: ‘How come?’ all I can say is: it’s the fire of God through
prayer. Every church in our area is growing.”

Churches also developed a county-wide men’s ministry. These men come from 40 different churches and see their lives transformed through the
gospel and prayer. Raul Chaves, Men’s pastor at Band of Brothers, says: “Healing is taking place in these men and their families. They become
the men God intended them to be. And it’s all about prayer. We pray
before, during and after everything we do.”

Cleaning up the city

“We can corporately serve the community and those in need,” says Jo Fletcher, director of NWCF/SOS. “When the police told us that they don’t have the manpower to clean up the graffiti in the city, we mobilized five churches and 500 people to get the job done. It was a great opportunity to make a difference for people who have been vandalized, to experience the love of Christ.”

Impact on students and children

Focusing prayer on college campuses also paid off. At Western Washington University 70 professors began to connect and pray together. On Friday nights 600 students are seeking God for their campus. “It boggles my mind that wherever I turn I see students praying and reading the Bible,” says professor Paul Chen. “In three to four years the Christian presence on our campus will have increased.”

Ekklesia pastor Brian McSwan reports that 35 youth pastors meet together on a monthly basis, and every Wednesday night young adults gather downtown to pray. Around 700 kids now participate each week in Good News Clubs in Whatcom county, with 60 percent of them unchurched.
Pregnancy clinics and foster care

The churches in Whatcom county are also contending for life. “We believe that God is a god of adoption and a father to the fatherless,” explains Jason Hubbard. “We’ve been praying for women at the pregnancy clinic to find hope for their future. We’ve been praying for the number of adoptions to increase in Whatcom county. We are also praying for God to end abortion.”

Christie Tucker, counselor at the Whatcom Pregnancy Clinic, confirms the effects of prayer at the crisis pregnancy clinic. “We have women who came in adamant to have an abortion. We say little, we just love them and pray. As we’re praying we see their hearts transform, and women go from thinking that abortion is their only option to realizing that they want and love their child. Our abortion numbers have consistently dropped over the last 10 years.”

Prayer for women at risk

Lani Swanson of Skookum House
Christians also turned their hearts to the foster care system. “At the World Prayer Center we pray deliberately and strategically about the needs of foster kids, foster parents and the social workers working with them,” says Ray Deck III, director of Skookum Kids. “As a result, the number of available foster homes here in Whatcom county has doubled in the last three years.”

Lani Swanson, family sphere coordinator at the LOWPC, introduces us to the Skookum House, a 72-hour emergency foster care home, run by a hundred volunteers. This six-bed facility is the first place that children come to when they’ve been taken out of their home because of an emergency situation. “When the social workers bring them here, they’re probably experiencing the biggest trauma in their life, and we can be there for them with love, prayer and a cup of cool water.”

Women at risk and homeless people

A local rescue home, birthed in prayer, has seen the restoration of dozens of trafficked women, with 30 coming to salvation. Aaron Newcomb, founder of Engedi Refuge, says: “We are attempting to do something that we are incapable of doing ourselves. Only God is capable of healing someone’s heart and past. In our long-term program we have seen over 90% of the women who came for help not return to any form of sex trafficking. Normally a program like ours has a 15-20% success rate. God is actually healing and restoring their lives in an incredible way.”

Shannon Williamson is director of the Drop-in Center, a shelter where Christians provide a bed and food to the homeless. She explains that combining worship and intercession with hands-on ministry is powerful. “We are under a canopy of day and night prayer. We minister first before the Lord, and then we go out and serve and minister in the community.”

Shannon Williamson giving a Bible study in the homeless shelter

Flourishing businesses

The Light of the World Prayer Center also consistently ‘surrounds’ business people with prayer. Business owners fellowship and partner together with the aim to see their businesses become a force for change in the community. “We have a strong business team,” says Strategic Teams leader Jeremy Schweder. “Several businesses we’ve been praying for last year had breakthrough years where they’ve prospered in incredible ways.” This is confirmed by Wes Herman, founder of Woods Coffee. “We’ve seen amazing growth. We’re now building stores 20 and 21. I believe that the things that are happening here are no accident. It’s a fruit of prayer.”

The vision is spreading

In Whatcom county the principles of exalting Jesus in day and night prayer and worship, unity among the local churches, and together loving and serving the community, brings transformation. Because it’s such a workable strategy, it is spreading like wildfire to other communities and cities. So far 12 other cities in America and cities in Indonesia, the Czech Republic, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates have adopted the prayer strategy and are also beginning to see transformation.

In February 2019 Jason Hubbard, Whatcom county’s prayer director, was appointed as executive coordinator of the International Prayer Council, a global network of prayer movements. This will help to spread the vision.

Watch the Whatcom story on video:

Part 1 (2012) – https://vimeo.com/245452466
Part 2 (2017) – https://vimeo.com/245446591

Source: Jason Hubbard, LOWPC, edited by Joel News


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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