Week 14 - Nov 24-28
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Left over from last week - Penn State University
Sunday - November 23rd
Last night, I called a very old acquaintance from my early preaching days (1978-1981). Jack was one of the regulars at Willard building up until when he graduated in 1981. During that time, a revival was burning brightly at PSU. Twenty to thirty Christians would hang out at Willard all day long, fellowshipping and learning how to minister on the streets. It was a glorious time for me. We thought we were at the time of the last great harvest. But we were not.
The enemy attacked greatly over then next 3 years, sowing seeds of confusion and conflict between the brethren. By 1982, the enemy's attack succeeded in dampening the move of the spirit. The greatest weapon it seems he had was to bring in conflict between brethren. Whenever the Lord moves, the enemy immediately sows evil seed to kill the move of God.
Brethren, we have fought back for 24 years, and once again the same outbreak is happening at Willard, and elsewhere. I implore you all to beware of seeds of conflict beings sown brethren. That one thing has derailed the outbreak that the Lord wants to do for as long as I have been a Christian. These attacks came not only against us at PSU, but also in Jed's ministry, and many other preachers who make up the foundation of this movement. Every time the Lord began to move, some conflict would arise.
The nature of the conflicts are not important. What is important is that we have been derailed, I think about 8 times. I will not focus on any of the causes of the divisions, but on the divisions themselves. I died every time we stood on the brink of a massive move of God only to see it all fizzle and die. The hard part then was the realization that we faced once again years of rebuilding and seeking the Lord for a new movement.
The reports that have been coming in from all over the country are very exciting. Reports seem to show two things on the increase. The first is the number of students getting saved or coming under conviction at a preach. At Appalachian State, I had 4 students come up to me during the day and ask in a low voice, "What must I do to be saved." There have been more on site salvations this last year than all the preceding 30 years combined. At least that is what my memory tells me. Perhaps I am wrong, but it sure strikes me as being true that the preaching seems to be going forth in greater power.
The second is apathy. I have received many reports from some of the founders of this movement talking about having difficulty gathering crowds. But I see this as a good thing, What it says to me is that the enemy can't deal with our growing ability of moving the students toward the Lord, so he is exerting all his energies on keeping the people away.
Brethren, please correct me if I am wrong, but I don't remember any times in the past where we have had to deal with so many days in which the Word of God has not gathered a crowd. How about you?
What I think I am seeing is an increase of power being built up behind a spiritual dam. I am hoping that this spring will bring forth the bursting of that dam, and a tidal wave of power to sweep away the forces of darkness arrayed against us.
On January 5th, hopefully, I will be addressing a group of people in northern PA who have been meeting to prepare themselves with the tools to handle a massive harvest. They have been believing for a huge harvest for years, as we have also. I spoke to them several months ago and they were at that time exuding faith that the time is upon us. Years ago I shared the vision of harvest up there. I hope that in some small way I will see the vision alive, working, and expectant.
End of Sidetrack
Which brings me back to Jack. Back when Jack listened to my preaching, it was all about holiness, ceasing from sin, preaching the gospel on the streets, a body which is dedicated to serving the Lord and each other in true love. After Jack graduated from PSU (I think his degree was in Engineering), he went back to his home town, York, PA, and eventually started a church. I remember visiting him with Jed Smock many years ago - perhaps 15-20 years ago. At that time, the church was young and strong. But then I lost touch with him. Many years passed.
When I decided to return to the ministry, I began to call old contacts to seek support. From one old friend, I found out that Jack still had a church in York. I called his mother, who told me that he had had brain surgery in January of 2008. It had been a long time since my last visit, and his memory was affected by the surgery. I was anxious about going down to see him and his church, but felt drawn to go.
I called the night before, and was pleased to learn that Jack did remember me. So, Sunday morning early, I motored down to York and slipped into the church service. It was as if time had regressed to twenty-seven years before and I was watching myself preach.
The message from the Sunday school was holiness and perfection! The testimony time was about the TWO groups that went out every weekend to preach in the streets (4-5 people dedicated to this ministry). The testimony time also focused on the body life if the church. It was an epiphany. And the vision of a huge harvest was alive and well. The church was actively taking the Gospel to the town of York. I was looking at what I thought my church would have been like, if it would have survived. In awe I worshipped the Lord.
After the service I was able to minister to a young man who had just recently returned from back sliding, then I introduced myself to Jack. Time slipped off my shoulders like a cloak, and it was like being back at Willard in 1981. I was greatly moved to hope that his church was some fruit from my early days of preaching. Here it was, the embodiment of all I desired from the Lord.
Jack;s parents recognized me immediately, and we shared about the time Jed and I preached so many years ago, and the time I spent with them in their home. After the service, there was a church meal, and communion. I sat with Jack and his wife, Dee and reminisced about the good old days.
The vision I labored under 30 years before was all there. The church was alive and moving forward. I can not tell you how deeply that moved me. Even now, I am choked up. I was invited to return to York and to preach in several small campuses in the area and to stay with the senior Cashman's. My plans for the next couple of weeks are still up in the air. Please pray that I will see my path more clearly.
Monday - Friday
Penn State was on break for Thanksgiving
See you next week,
Once again please consider supporting my ministry. If you can't support me yourself, would you be able to give me any contacts you have of churches that might be open to my ministry as I travel? Any help you could offer would be much appreciated.