Saturday, December 9, 2017

Waiting 2017 Recap #5 – Session #4 (Sunday PM)

 This is the fifth in a series recapping "Waiting 2017".  To read from the beginning of the series, click here.

Anointed Fun… But It Seems Fishy to Me!

As the morning service closed, Pastor Aaron invited anyone who wanted to stay a few minutes after dismissal to hear a children’s song that Pastor Taylor co-wrote with Arnelle Heibling.  I’m so glad I didn’t miss “The Jonah Song!”  It is anointed, scriptural…and just fun!  Get your kids and grandkids and watch and listen to it below…it’s wonderful!

“…And A Little Child Shall Lead Them”

Although many who lived far away had to leave after morning services, many stayed for the afternoon services, which began at 3.  I asked my wife during lunch what she thought about us staying or leaving, as we have 4-5 hour drive and she had to get up about 4:30 in the morning to go to work Monday.  She said, “If God is leading for a service, I don’t want to miss it.”  We were both so glad we stayed!

Pastor Aaron thought that this was not going to be a long service, but God had other plans.  Just a few minutes after the service started, a little seven-year-old child named Boaz, son of Kevin and Amy Heath, got the microphone and said, “Why don’t we just each say what we’re thankful for?”  Well, things just got out of hand after that.  That just started a thankfularama (there’s another new word!).  Husbands started being thankful for their wives, wives for their husbands, children for their parents, and parents for their children.  People got thankful for their salvation and for many other things…I mean really thankful!  How long can you go on just being thankful?  Apparently, a LONG TIME!  And it was wonderful!  Maybe Boaz said it best when he got the microphone back later… “I’m thankful for everything!”  Not all of the afternoon service got recorded, but most of this part did.  If you’ll take the time to watch it below, you might find yourself getting thankful!


Prayer For Haiti

Later in the service, a young man who I love and admire stood up and testified.  A young college student from our church named Aaron Hart shared some of his experiences and his appreciation for his pastors.  Aaron has been attending Fair Haven for a couple of years and he is one man who loves Jesus.  As I would share a little later, he has no support from home…yet.  But he and anyone else in his position can start a legacy.  Pastor Aaron was moved by the Holy Spirit to pray for Aaron’s finances, and to ask Missy to pray for Aaron’s mom.  I can’t wait to see what God’s going to do in his life, and the life of his family as a result of prayer.

Aaron and three others from our church were due to leave for Haiti on Monday morning.  He has joined Pastor Mike Douglas and Don and Mary Lou Dicus as well as a group from our sister church in Sarasota, Florida to hand out Christmas presents and the love of God to hundreds of children up in the mountains in the poverty-stricken Caribbean island.  It was on my heart and other’s hearts to gather them together for prayer, sending them in Jesus’ name.  (As I write this, they are on their final day of the trip before returning home tomorrow.  I’ve already heard wonderful things about how God is helping them!)

Testimonies

Several people have spoken, emailed and texted me about what God did for them in the meetings.  Let’s here from some of them:

John Stefan (Parker City)

 I had a wonderful conversation this week with John Stefan, who is surely a Prince in Israel…that man, who was once an avowed atheist, is just full of Jesus!  He told me that he was as confirmed in his atheism as Saul of Tarsus was in his Judaism…until Jesus got hold of them both!  He says, “The reason we are here on earth is to fellowship with God!”  John is a man who hears from God, and, during the meeting, Jesus spoke in his heart that He was pleased with the meetings.  When I asked him about what was the highlight of the meeting to him, he related this to me.  “What else is greater than that!”  I can’t think of anything, can you?

Barbara Stefan (Parker City)

John’s wife Barbara shared this with us:

Before the meetings and during the meetings I was in a lot of pain. I’m having an MRI next week plus other tests. The Holy Spirit was moving all thru each service. You had to be there, to feel the Spirit go thru your body. At the very last service, I did not think I would be able to stay because of the pain. Someone was singing a song and there was a line in it about healing. After the song, someone said, let's sing that line about healing and stand up. Well, I hung on to anything I could hold to and stood up with burning feeling from pain. Right after they sang that line, I sat down. Right away I felt my pain go away. To tell you the truth, I was in shock. I kept moving because I wanted to see if it was just in my mind. Praise God, it was not. I was able to sit thru the last meeting without pain!!!!!

(Isn’t that amazing!  It’s interesting to me that, even though we never had a “healing service” in the meeting, and physical healing was never a focus of the meeting, yet people got healed!  In the first meeting on Saturday morning, a woman was healed (Magen Gillihan) and in the last service on Sunday evening, another woman was healed!  I’m sure there were others, but those are the ones we have received testimony about…Praise the Lord!)

Jodi Hollis (Kokomo)

“…I have told Pastor Schultze and the girls that everything that was done both on Saturday and Sunday fit together like a hand in a glove. It looked like from the altar call (at the beginning of the meeting until) the thankfulness to close (the meeting)… was all built upon each thing that was done.

The Lord has a way of showing me a person {takes 3 times before I know it is from God} and He showed me the little boy (named Boaz), the little guy the Lord spoke his will through, in sharing about the thankfulness from the people. So I knew he was in order.”
(
Kathy Douglas (Fair Haven, Cynthiana, IN)

 “…there are many wonderful things that come to my mind while reviewing the past weekend.  There was such a sweet spirit from the time that we walked in the door.  During the meetings you could sense the spirit of overwhelming peace and love.  The messages that were given by Pastor Mike and Pastor Aaron were rich… The messages that we got through the testimonies of others were rich as well.  In the last meeting when a child said "why don't we just tell what we are thankful for"…What a door was opened with that - Praise the Lord!  But also as I was reviewing I became very thankful for what we have at Fair Haven.  I feel the same love of Jesus coming from my Fair Haven family and I believe that in our services we try to "wait upon God" to lead us.

I’d like to encourage everyone to tell their story, even if you have written anything for this series, I’d still like to know…Also, if you want to add your testimony, and can add it here in future updates.  As the old song says, “Everybody ought to know who Jesus is!”


Closing Message from Pastor Aaron

Pastor Aaron closed these wonderful meetings with a charge to each of us.  I asked him to summarize his message, as this was not recorded.  What he stated then and what he shares with us now is worth the whole meeting:

“…When the witness of the Holy Spirit is happening within a believer, it is not OUR witness...It is the Holy Spirit witnessing of Himself!  The goal is never to be led, or to seek to be led.  The goal is to glorify God, at all times, and in every way.  The Lord never leads to exalt us, but to glorify Himself through us.  He chooses to work out his Kingdom here on earth through men and women, boys and girls and we get to be a part of it!  It’s never been about us, always about Him.  The greatest witness of the Holy Spirit is your bible.  We must be people of the Word.  It is His Word.  What a privilege to have access to the Word of the Lord at all times! “

I’d just like to say here personally, that I am thankful to God for Pastor Aaron and Missy.  It has been a pleasure and a wonder to see how the Lord has used them, especially in the last couple of years.  They are truly sold out for God, and it shows in every act that they do.  It was really hard a little over a year ago to see them leave for Parker City, although I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was God doing it…Yet look at what God has done through them since then!  Praise His Name!

I’d also like to point out the unsung heroes who work behind the scenes whenever there is a gathering like this.  There are some that I don’t even know.  I do know a few that I’d like to just give a nod of great appreciation to.  Pastor Kim Gilbert videoed most of the meeting.  I couldn’t have done these recap blog posts if he hadn’t spent the energy to do this.  And I know by experience that when you do something like that, it’s much harder to fully engage in what’s going on because you have a job to do.  Also, every time that I went to the kitchen, Janice Gilbert and several other Parker ladies were working hard so that we can eat.  Thank you thank you thank you!  Did you enjoy having the words on the TV screen for us to worship with?  Well, I know that Pastor Taylor was responsible for setting up that (and who knows what else).  Also, Don Dicus from Fair Haven was the one diligently working on his computer to put the lyrics up on the screen for us.  He does the same job every week at our church, and he got drafted to do it for these meetings too.  Way to go, Don!  Also, thank you Esther Morey for the wonderful photos you took.  I poached some of them for these blog posts!  I’m sure kudus are in order for many, many others.  And as I mentioned in an earlier post, the prayer warriors who prayed incessantly for these meetings are just as important as the “hands-on” folks.   God bless each one who had a part!

One More Thing…

The Lord has put some things on my heart to share with all of you before I wrap this series up.  I'll be concluding this series on Facebook Live sometime early next week, and then I will repost the video on this blog afterwards...see you then!


Friday, December 8, 2017

Waiting 2017 Recap #4 – Session #3 (Sunday AM)


 This is the fourth in a series recapping "Waiting 2017".  To read from the beginning of the series, click here.

For videos of  Session #3, see below.

Up, Up and Away!

After such an uplifting time in the presence of the Lord on Saturday, what would Sunday be like?  I believe that we had already experienced more “Kingdom moments” than most people experience in a lifetime.  However, if Saturday was wonderful, Sunday would hold even more precious moments in God’s kingdom.


The Girl In the Trailer Park

Pastor Aaron started the session with a prayer that “the peace that surpasses all understanding would touch every mind” and that God would help us not only in our spirits but in our bodies.  Then Missy Simms shared something that really sent the meeting in a direction no one anticipated.  Esther Morey had shared with us on Saturday afternoon the story of two young teens, Riley and John Dale, who came with them from West Virginia.  She later shared this with me about their story:
Both boys have suffered much adversity and know what it means to live in want. One is living with their grandmother because of their mother’s drug problems.  Their spiritual lives have been nurtured and awakened by the combined love and work of their godly grandmothers, Coda Ministry, their local church body, and now…the welcoming love of those who were at the Waiting.  All the way home they kept talking about how shocking it was that people showed them so much love there!
Both of these teens stood up and boldly testified on Saturday afternoon about how God was helping them and what encouragement they were receiving from the meetings.  Twice in this Sunday morning meeting, Missy would have words of encouragement for these two young warriors in the kingdom...”You don’t have to wait until you are older to be used in the Kingdom of God, you can be used now!...There is a new beginning for both of you!...You will not have to live in the past generation!...May God work through these young men like never before!”  Later, local school superintendent and man of God named Roland Abraham would pray an anointed prayer over the lives of these young men.

As I was preparing to write these words, Eric Snuffer, sent me a message about this very thing.  God’s timing is perfect.  Here is Eric’s perspective:

As always, I love being where "the Kingdom of God is in operation". That would be how I would sum up all of the meetings in a short, short statement.  The love from the start of the meetings until we left Sunday afternoon  (and during our trip back home) was Heavenly!...
How many times did we hear Rev. Helm say, "What if we would have missed this leading?!?!" This phrase came to my heart early on in the (Sunday morning) service after a precious time of greeting one another.  Aaron was about ready to turn the service over to Taylor for worship, but the Holy Spirit checked him. He asked Missy what was on her heart.  Missy exquisitely shared from her heart regarding Esther's testimony from the night before regarding their ministry in the public schools.  She lovingly exhorted the two young men (Riley and John Dale) that made the trip with us about going all for God and not waiting until they're older. The check that Aaron received changed the direction of the service for quite a while that was primarily devoted to these two young men, including some encouraging exhortations and prayer time for them. By God's grace, I am believing this was a life-changing experience for both of these guys in helping them to find and fulfill the calling on their lives.  I am very thankful that we did not "miss this leading"!!!
Becky Bailey

How grateful I am too that we did not miss the leading! 

After Missy’s encouraging words, “Queen Esther (Morey) of Fayetteville” (I think that’s her name now!), was led to continue the moment as she shared with us about another young person years ago named Becky.  This eleven-year old girl, who grew up in a trailer park, could beat up all the boys and cuss like a sailor.  No hope for that girl, right?  Wrong!  Becky found Jesus in their children’s church.  This young lady, who used to be so angry that she beat holes in the wall of her trailer, was at the meeting, not as a young girl, but as a beautiful daughter of Zion.  Now Becky Bailey, she and her husband are youth leaders in their church, bringing in kids from the Coda Mountain program into their church group.  Becky testified with great power, “The greatest thing that ever is is right here in this room!...Wow!  What do we have!”  After Esther told her publicly, “You were worth our entire ministry!”, Pastor Aaron shared that this operated in his heart with power!  Beautiful God moment!

Holy Ghost Choir

After this awesome series of “God moments”, Pastor Aaron shared that Pastor Taylor and Elizabeth Doss both had it on their heart to form a choir of young people, which would consist of young people in their teens (or younger), twenty or thirty-somethings, or those who wished they were twenty or thirty-something (I think that gets about all of us, don’t you!).  We were blessed to have Spencer Lloyd with us, a “world-class choral director”, who would lead what I think was one of the coolest choirs I’ve ever seen!  One of the personal things that touched Kathy and I was that Spencer wanted to make sure our daughter Britny, whose body is wheelchair bound but whose spirit is free as a bird, could participate.  Her wheelchair weighs about 400 lbs. and a ramp was not available, but “where there’s a (God’s) will, there’s a way,” so we were able to carry her up on the stage so that she could sit with the other choir members and participate. I asked Britny to share her testimony about the weekend.  Here it is: “O praise praise praise the Lord!” I think that about says it.  Anyway, what a choir we had!  They sounded like they had been practicing for weeks!  Our “Holy Ghost Choir” sang “The Solid Rock” like they really thought He was the solid rock…”Angels We Have Heard On High” was…what word shall I use here…angelic!

Deborah Beck of French Lick, Indiana shared this about her experience of being in this Holy Ghost Choir:

On Sunday morning, I was SO thrilled when Bro. Taylor Keller began to speak of having an impromptu choir. I call it “my choir;” because, for the past few years, I have wanted to contact Bro. Robert Morey prior to the meetings to suggest that we could choose a few songs and send them out to those who would be interested in singing in a choir and then call a practice an hour before the meetings. I never did because I was not sure I should. Bro. Taylor gave an age range of 20-30s. I just turned 40; however, he left it wide open to all who wished they were in that range. I knew I should go, so I did. I told Sis. Missy Simms about this when I went forward to join the choir. Then, when we went on the platform, I told Bro. Taylor. His reaction was that he felt I was supposed to be up there and was trying to determine what needed to be said in order to get me up there! I was SO thankful to Jesus for meeting this desire!...

The Old Man On the Corner

I mentioned in the last post that I believe one of the key components of true revival has to be reconciliation and unity in the body.  We saw this on display in many ways at the weekend assembly, but none more so than in the coming together of generations.  There truly is no “generation gap” in the Kingdom of God.  Time and again, we saw a recurring theme of “honoring the old” and “blessing the young”.  One of the young people who was blessed to overflowing and was willing to share her overflow with us was Madeline Douglas.  Madeline is Pastor Mike and Kathy Douglas’ granddaughter, and Pastor Aaron and Missy Simms’ niece.  (She is also very special to us, as we were her babysitters for the first two years of her life.  She slept in a crib near our bed many nights while her mother, a night nurse at the time, worked her shift.)  Trying to sum up Madeline’s anointed testimony Sunday morning is somewhat like trying to catch a sunbeam.  Yet what this young teen said was full of anointing.  “My mind is blown!  The air of God is everywhere, coursing from person to person to person.  Oh, my God!  You are so amazing!  It’s the most wonderful feeling that we can be new!  We can feel like we are part of Him….I was new yesterday, new today, and I’ll be new the rest of my life!”…”There is such a comfortable atmosphere here!  (I like that! wn)… Do not ever take it for granted!” I think she was kind of blessed.

Her grandfather was then asked to share his signature song, which God has led for at every Waiting Upon God since Pastor Mike was saved in 1983.  I have heard Pastor Mike sing, “New Lives for Old” countless times, but never under any more anointing than he did last Sunday.  If you’ve never heard this song (which you can listen to below), it’s about “the old man on the corner” who used to run a carnival but now “sells Jesus” as the “old man on the corner”, preaching the gospel in the street and singing “New Lives for Old, Warm hearts for cold.  I’ve got a deal for you today, but you’ve got to come though, and step in the way, to get your new lives for old.”  The man who used to despise “the old man on the corner,” on hearing of his passing, now “takes up where he left off” and “bellows” the same gospel message.  Pastor Mike shared that he used to sing this song while facing Rev. Helm.  One time at a Waiting On God Meeting, Rev. Helm whispered to him, “I’m the old man on the corner.”  After Pastor Mike finished singing the song Sunday morning, Jodi Hollis from Kokomo shared, as she rehearsed all that she has seen in Pastor Mike since 1983, that in her heart he is now “the  man on the corner.”   Pastor Aaron, who had just stepped up to Pastor Mike and whispered something to him, now shared what he had just spoken to Pastor Mike…”You know, you’re the old man on the corner, too…but you’re still bellowing!”  Later, Pastor Aaron would say to Pastor Mike publicly, “I think the Lord’s proud of you.” At this, we have a Holy Ghost round of applause appreciating and honoring Pastor Mike and Kathy Douglas.


Communion With A Holocaust Survivor

We next were privileged to take Holy Communion from a true saint of God.  Rev. Reimar Schultze was asked to officiate in this sacred service.  The words he shared before and after were truly of God.  Just a bit of what he shared:

“What we need to be troubled about is what Jesus was troubled about… What troubled Jesus the most was having sin come into His body (on the cross)… sin must trouble us about all things!”
Whatever sin you have committed,… the sacrifice has been given (through Christ’s death on the cross).  You can confess it, repent of it, and when Jesus say’s you’re forgiven, IT’S OVER!  I MEAN IT’S OVER!”  Don’t hang your head down anymore, but hold your head up high…and get busy for God!
 (Speaking of Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom heaven.”) “Never has so much been given for so little!” 

After the Lord’s Supper was partaken, Rev. Schultze shared with us his thoughts about the meeting.  I’ll let Deborah Beck share about this part of the service:

“…the teaching on communion from Bro. Reimar Schultze on Sunday morning was wonderful! I love how he went back to Adam and Eve. It was wonderful because he used language that I use when speaking to the boys and I felt that it was important form my four-year-old to hear him. Also, later in the service when Bro. Schultze addressed Bro. Aaron Simms there was such love and beauty in the moment. It was important for Bro. and Sis. Schultze to be at the Waiting to show support. It was needed teaching to hear Bro. Schultze discuss how he at first was concerned when he heard of the waiting, but then he realized that Bro. Helm did not have “a corner” on waiting on God. He waits on God and we are taught we are all to wait on God daily. These thoughts resulted in Bro. Schultze calling Bro. Aaron stating that he “was in” (that is, he would attend and support the meetings. wn) Bro. Schultze continued, discussing how there must not be division between the older and younger generations. There must not be division over the music style in the church... He noted that the older generation and younger generation need each other (AMEN!). He joked that the younger generation has the jobs and the money and the older generation has the experience…He further discussed how Bro. Aaron was courageous to call a Waiting and how he, Bro. Schultze, felt that the Lord was working and moving and yes, young people stumble, but the Lord is not concerned with the stumbling…

Keynote Address

Pastor Mike Douglas preached the “Keynote Address” of the weekend.  (It never was characterized in such a way during the meeting, but I believe that God saw this sacred as “the keynote” .)  As I listened to him preach with such anointing and power, conviction and purpose, I felt a certain “holy pride” (if there is such a thing) in the role that the Lord was giving my pastor of (almost) twenty years.  Folks, Pastor Mike is the real deal.  What he says you can trust.  I can say that after watching him and walking along side of him for over two decades.  When he talks about being “all in”, I can tell you, he is a man who is all in for Jesus!

I started to try to summarize his message, but I don’t believe the Holy Spirit wants me to “Cliff Note” this.  This is something you need to watch.  If you only watch one video from this weekend, I ask you to watch this one (It is the last video below).  It will change your life.  As Kim Gilbert says, “If you don’t like sermons, you haven’t heard Michael Douglas!”  If you were there, I would encourage you to watch it again.  You will get more out of it the second time. 

My wife, Kathy Nall, had this to share about this special message:

The message from Pastor Mike Douglas touched my heart and convicted me.  Yes, he's my pastor.  Yes, I am privileged to hear him speak regularly.  And yes, he preached the same message he's been preaching at Fair Haven.  But, it touched me in a new way.  Pastor Mike has said that a person has to hear something seven times for it to be fully remembered.  Maybe this was the seventh time!  He said that there is no list of rules to follow.  It's simply "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength."  If I'm loving Him that way, I don't need a list to follow.  I don't need to "do this" and "don't do this."  It's so simple!!!!  Pastor Aaron said that we need to be changed by the meetings, and I feel that I have been changed.  I am trying to just rest in Jesus, tell Him I love Him, and wait on Him.  This peace I'm finding is incredible.  Thank you Jesus!  I love you Jesus, and I want to love YOU more!

We were at this meeting for hours, yet it seemed so short.  Pastor Aaron asked us to convene that morning at 8:30 and we were not done until almost 1:00, yet, the presence of God was so evident that I didn’t want it to be over…and I think most shared my sentiments.

But it wasn’t over.  God shared with us through Pastor Aaron during the AM meeting that there would be a PM meeting.  Praise God! 


As they say, stay tune to this channel for further developments…

To read Recap #5, click here.


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Waiting 2017 Recap #3 – Session #2 (Saturday PM)

Praying for Young People
This is the third in a series recapping Waiting 2017 assembly.  To read from the beginning of the series, click here.
For videos of  Session #2, see below.

Unfinished Business

A couple of things that happened on Saturday morning (well, technically, it was afternoon as we had passed the 12:00 barrier) that I failed to include in the previous post is that we were able to engage in prayer together for our “elder brother” Israel (see Exodus 4:22) led by Amy Heath, after which Elizabeth Doss delighted us by singing “Jerusalem of Gold”, the unofficial national anthem of Israel, in both Hebrew and English.  Then, as (we thought) we were about to break up for lunch, Pastor Jamie Hargett, shared with us that he had a witness that we were to pray for our young people.  This turned out to be one of the most beautiful moments of the weekend, as Pastors Reimar Schultze, Mike Douglas, and John McAdams passed the baton of blessing on to our truly loved youth.  What a sight!
                                          
Anointed Interlude

Some of the best things that happened during the weekend were between the meetings…under the radar.  Some of the dear ones from Parker City had put together a simple but delightful lunch on Saturday afternoon that enabled us to stay right on the premises during the meeting.  As good as the food was, the fellowship that we were able to enjoy with each other was even better.  No matter how wonderful the meeting, there is nothing like just being able to break bread together and share the goodness of the Lord.  Kathy and I got to spend some quality time with Darwin and Deborah Beck and their precious family.  They are jewels in God’s house! All around I could see people enjoying fellowship with one another…telling Kingdom stories…

Waiting Here For You

A real treat awaited us as the afternoon session began, as Molly Keller led us in worship with her brother Taylor.  How appropriate to begin another session of “Waiting on God” with the beautiful worship song, “Waiting Here For You”, then continuing with the stirring “Awaken My Soul,” which is what God had been doing to all of us as we waited on Him, then “Hallelujah! What A Savior!”  Indeed!

Silence Is NOT Deadly

Though in these meetings, we had many moments of worship, praise, thanksgiving, exhortation,
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teaching…yet we also had moments of silence.  This is a good thing.  It takes a certain level of spiritual maturity to “not reach for the remote," as Pastor Aaron frequently encouraged not us to do, when nothing seems to be going on.  Yet, in our gatherings as well as in our lives, times of quietness are not something to be feared but something to be embraced.  Our lives are so often spent in hyperactivity, not the type that sometimes requires medication, but the type that results from having too much on our plates…too many hats to wear.  Amazingly, in this gathering billed as a “Waiting,” we actually waited!  Just abiding in His presence.  Just being still and knowing that He is God. 

Ya’ll Know How to Praise the Lord!

One of the absolute prerequisites for God to send His awakening fire on His church is reconciliation leading to unity of heart and spirit.  I am persuaded that our Lord will not send revival on a church that is divided…Denominational division, racial division, doctrinal (non-essential) division.  And one of these that I believe that God is doing right now is breaking down the “middle wall of partition between us” (See Eph 2:14, 15). Here in southern Indiana where I am from, we have seen this happening just in the last couple of months, as God is moving to bring together our church (Fair Haven) with a sister church across town.  Which brings us to Lutrille Dixon…

One of the people that we were delighted to become acquainted with this last weekend was Sister Dixon.  She and her husband lead a largely African-American congregation in nearby Anderson, Indiana and she graced our meeting with her presence on Saturday.  She stood up and testified that afternoon exclaiming with a loud voice, “Ya’ll know how to praise the Lord!”  She assured us that she “didn’t feel like “a fly in the buttermilk” (I hadn’t heard that description before), but felt at one with us.  Praise the Lord!  Then, we persuaded her to come sing.  Lutrille is the worship leader in their church.  She told us she is “one of them Radical Praisers.”  Anyone who heard her sing can testify to that fact!  Have you ever heard “The Old Rugged Cross” sang Aretha-Franklin-style?  (Now that I think of it, maybe when Aretha sings she ought to say “in Lutrille-Dixon-style…😎😎).  And then when Molly Keller joined in…oh, my!  And who knew that Esther Morey could accompany with such bluesiness (is that a word?...I just freaked out my spell checker!) Other wonderful worship moments included a beautiful piano solo by Hope and Kevin Heath's sharing the uplifting "You Raise Me Up."

Speaking of Radical Praise…

Later, Pastor Aaron threw some well-deserved bouquets of praise to James and Elizabeth Doss, who dropped everything days before to help their friends Pastor Aaron and Missy with anything they needed in preparation for the meetings.  Thank God for these wonderful servants of God!  We were greatly blessed after this as Elizabeth shared the modern-day Christmas hymn “In the First Light” and then Allie Shoup shared several wonderful songs.  One of the coolest and most anointed times of worship during the whole weekend (for me) was, after Allie led us in the simply elegant “I Love You Lord”, someone in the congregation (God bless you, whoever you are!), just spontaneously started singing “I Exalt Thee”.  Pretty soon, the congregation began to lead those on stage, now including Missy Simms, in this exaltation of Christ.  We were entering the realms of glory here!


Other Kinds of Worship

As in every session, God led for much prayer.  One of the prayer highlights was prayer for a relative of Rita McNeely.  She and her family are long-time friends of our and of the Simms.  God was working!  Pastor Jamie Hargutt from Beaver City, Nebraska (I believe he gets the award for coming the farthest distance!), a man who Pastor Aaron described as “fire on fire,” shared with us his testimony as well as several anointed scriptures from 1 Peter. I asked Pastor Jamie to share with me anything on his heart concerning the meetings.  I share it here:


Brother Wayne I know we prefer not to spiritualize the Scriptures and take them into context. However, I strongly feel this (scripture in Luke 1) is an accurate description as revealed to me through the Holy Spirit. If we only read the verses describing what we witnessed this weekend at the Waiting 2017 it is beautiful. The Advent of John paved the way for Christ, and I am faithful we are beginning the days of the Second Advent. Sincerely, Pastor Jamie Hargett Friendship Church Beaver City Ne.

After the meeting, which lasted from about 3:30 – 7:00, but didn’t seem nearly so long, we joined a group at IHOP Christ Fellowship…well, at least that’s what IHOP became for a short time Saturday night. One of the truly wonderful treats that we received this weekend was getting to spend some time with Esther Morey there.  She shared with us the truly amazing things that God is doing in Fayetteville, WV through the Coda Mountain Academy that He authored a number of years ago.  If you are looking for a worthy organization to support in prayer, this would be it!  I would also like to share here that they are badly in need of God-sent help to assist in their music, art, and Lego Robotics Program.  For more information about this very worthy organization, which is “changing the world, one child at a time,” click here.


We went to bed tired but happy in the Lord…What would await us on Sunday?

To read Recap #4, click here.

(First video is from Session #1, then the rest from Session #2)

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Waiting 2017 – Recap #2 – Session #1 (Saturday AM)

This is the second in a series recapping Waiting 2017 assembly.  To read from the beginning of the series, click here.
For videos available from Session #1, see below:

Start With An Altar Call

Pastor Aaron Simms opened the meeting with an altar call.  The altar wasn’t opened so much for people to “get saved”(although, needless to say, that would have been welcome!), but to get our hearts right with God.  Early on, someone shared this scripture from Isaiah:
…in repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and in trust is your strength…” (Isaiah 30:15 NASB)
Repentance and rest, Quietness and trust…that’s how the meeting opened. Appropriately, Jewell (Helm) Dyer opened the meeting musically with “I Surrender All.”  A meeting that doesn’t have surrendered people on the platform and in the pews is a meeting not worth attending. By God’s grace, this one did.

Call To Obedience Goes Worldwide

I’ll not be giving a “blow by blow” account here, but rather what seems to me key moments in the assembly.  Yet I have to say right out of the gate that this is an impossible assignment.  How do you designate “highlights” of a meeting, when God is doing everything?  Every single thing that happens (including the multitude of “behind the scenes” things) is a highlight in God’s eyes when He is leading!  Yet, by necessity, I have to pick and choose.  If someone else were writing this, I’m sure the list would be quite different.  So please feel free to send me “your moments.”

One of the first things that happened after the altar call was the Pastor Aaron asked Rev. Reimar
Schulze to share whatever was on his heart.  He began with a stirring report of what God is doing through his “Call to Obedience” ministry.  This Holocaust-survivor-turned-minister of the Gospel shared with us the latest newsflashes:

  • ·         Just a week before, God used CTO ministry to bring twenty people in India to salvation in Christ!
  • ·         Two weeks prior to this, seven young men in their teens, trained by Call To Obedience, shared the gospel in the Tamil language in a village several hours from their home.  The next day, twenty people walked five hours from this village through snake-infested jungles to hear more about Jesus from these young men.  They put away all their gods, received Jesus, and were baptized! 
  • ·         Pastor Schulze’s anointed writings have been translated into eleven languages (so far)!
  • ·         In some Russian prisons, “Call to Obedience” classes are mandatory…”right under Mr. Putin’s nose!”
  •       CTO classes are mandatory in a Latvian women’s prison.
  • ·         Rev. Schulze’s “Call To Obedience” newsletter has been published every week for forty-three years after Rev. Helm encouraged him to “keep writing.”  (If  you want something to stir your faith and keep you “on the trail”, I highly recommend this resource.  For more  information, follow this link to his website)

Anointed “Worth-ship”

Throughout the weekend, Pastor Taylor Keller was our “Worship Facilitator”.  He was kind of a One Man Band up there.  Just his voice and his guitar…that was plenty.  Others would join him (including the amazing Elizabeth Doss and his incredible sister Moly Keller, to name a couple), but he had the burden, and he bore it well.  I thank God for talent surrendered to God!  In his hands, through the work of the Holy Spirit, we approached true “worth-ship” (the original meaning of the English word “worship…look it up!).  Jesus was exalted, hearts were humbled, and dry bones came alive.  Thank you, Pastor Taylor!

A word here about talent.  (By the way, did you know that we get the concept of “talent” from the Bible?  The English word “talent” comes from “The Parable of the Talents” in Matthew 25…look it up!) (Please forgive the etymological lapses…sometimes I can’t help myself…🙂)  We had truly world-class talent present at these meetings…enough to make Vegas hang it’s head in shame.   But it was surrendered talent…God-honoring talent…non-flashy type talent.  This type of talent is a rarity of rarities. Yet to God, it’s the only type that counts. 

A Goin’ On!

We had all variety of gifts being used well at these meetings.  Musicians, teachers, singers, preachers, painters, pastors, apostles…and then we had the higher order of giftings.  I’m speaking here of pray-ers.  Intercessors.  Those who can touch heaven and bring heaven down.  If anything happened at these meetings that was worth anything to God (and indeed there was), it was because of the countless hours of intercession that went before, during, and after the gathering.  I’m certain that’s why things “went down” the way they did.  Pastor Aaron would make the statement at a later session that the Awakening that is to come soon will be, among many other things, an Awakening of Prayer.  We had a foretaste last weekend.

I’m certain that the anointed work of these pray-ers was what gave rise to the story Pastor Mike Douglas (who Pastor Aaron described as his pastor, mentor, and friend…mine too!) shared with us.  Her name was Ruth Brucke and she was the town drunk of Cynthiana, Indiana.  When she found Jesus and left her old life behind, her husband left her behind.  She went from living in a comfortable house to something approaching a shack.  Yet she was happy in the Lord.  Near the end of her life, she was so debilitated in her body that she did everything slowly and with great effort.  One day at her church, Fair Haven Christ Fellowship, she slooowly stood up, after taking many minutes to slowly and painfully get to her pew, and said slooowly…”The Bible says, everything that hath breath should praise the lord.”   Then, after an interminable pause she shouted…”Praise the Lord!”  When God was moving in a meeting and she wanted to tell about to others, she would say, “There’s a Goin’ On!”  Throughout the rest of the two days of meetings, when people were trying to describe what we were experiencing, we would repeatedly have to fall back on Ruth Brucke’s language…”There’s a Goin’ On!”

Connecting the Spiritual Dots

At one point in the service, which including no formal “preaching” but much informal spiritual “teaching” (if you had your “spiritual antennae” up!), Pastor Aaron asked Pastor Mike if he had anything on his heart musically.  Pastor Mike shared that the Lord had just touched him a few seconds before this with the hymn, “Softly and Tenderly.”  Pastor Taylor began to lead us in this wonderful old standard, then asked Pastor Mike and then Esther Morey to lead us in singing verses (such anointed giftings those three have!).  Immediately after this, Pastor Aaron asked my wife, Kathy Nall, if there was anyone in this room that she was led to pray about.  Kathy thought a moment, and then just had to confess that she didn’t know.  This didn’t disturb Pastor Aaron in the least.  He just said, “Now that’s interesting, isn’t it?  He just prayed a little more.  (There’s a lesson right here.  If you feel God’s leading a certain way and it doesn’t seem to work out, just say, “Now that’s interesting” and pray a little more!)  He then turned to me and asked me if I had any sense of who it might be.  Well, I didn’t, but I did share that I had kept thinking of a story that was related to the song that we just sang.  I started to share this story, but had to have Pastor Mike’s help to finish it, as I couldn’t remember a lot of the details.  Years ago, a young man named Jonny Light had rejected God and left his Godly family in Muskegon, Michigan and moved to Denver, Colorado.  The immoral lifestyle he led during his time in Denver and his rejection of God caused much anguish in his family circle back in the Midwest.  At one point, the family back in Michigan was engaged in family worship (now there’s a good idea!), and was singing,

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me.
See, on the portals, He's waiting and watching;
Watching for you and for me.

Come home, come home,
Ye who are weary come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling;
Calling, "O sinner, come home!"

As they sang this song, they begin to sing, “Come home Jonny, Come home Jonny.”  (Did you know a song can become a prayer? This one did!)  Hundreds of miles away, this young man, so embroiled in a hedonistic lifestyle in Colorado, kept getting an old hymn in his head and it really annoyed him.  Guess which hymn it was?  “Come home, come home”,  kept ringing incessantly in his mind for days until he couldn’t stand it anymore.  Jonny was so under conviction, but so afraid that his boss would talk him out of what God had put in his heart to do, that he packed up all his uniforms and left them at the door to his workplace with a note that said, “I’ve got to go home.”  The song-turned-prayer had done the trick.  Jonny went home to take up the faith with his family in Michigan.

Yet, as I resumed the narrative, the story didn’t end there.  Years later, Jonny and his wife Mary would  be transferred through his work to southern Indiana. They moved to Huntingburg, Indiana, where I and my family would soon move.  In the early 90’s, I was a pastor who had (long story short) lost my way.  I had left my denomination because God led us that way, but for several years He didn’t lead us into anything else.  We were just wilderness wanderers.  Yet, we came in contact with another home school family named Light who attended a church fifty miles away in Cynthiana, Indiana.  They had a light on them, a buoyancy that I admit I found a little annoying at the time.  Yet, they just loved us.  We lived on the road to their church, and when they passed our home on Sunday mornings, they would let out a little “Beep beep” from their small Toyota.  On their way home in the afternoon, we would hear the same “beep beep.” The same thing would happen on Wednesday evening. To and from church we would hear the “beep beep.”  For many months they conducted a “beeping ministry” to our family.  Eventually God led us to become part of Fair Haven Christ Fellowship, because of friends who loved us enough to beep! (By the way, if you are reading this, Jonny and Mary, we thank you so much for your faithfulness in sharing your faith with us so many years ago!  We love you!)
Now, we understood what Kathy was to pray for.  Pastor Aaron stated, “If you know a Jonny Light or if you are a Jonny Light, please stand on your feet.  Kathy Nall is going to cry out to God and we are going to cry out with her.”  The Lord then helped my wife to pray a wonderful prayer as we cried out to God on behalf of our loved ones who haven’t come to the Lord, or who came to the Lord and left.  This is what God wanted all along…it just took us a little while to get there!  God helped us to “connect the spiritual dots.

P.S. Later that day, someone came up to me and thanked me for telling the story of Jonny Light.  She had her this story before, but did not remember that Jonny was in Denver.  It “just so happened” that this couple’s son has moved to (guess where?) Denver and renounced his faith.  She was so encouraged that God gave this story of hope to her and her husband.  We are praying and believing for this other Jonny Light to come home!

This is just a small sample of what went on in this meeting, which went on for about three hours.  At one point, I looked at my watch and was flabbergasted to know that two hours had passed!  I couldn’t believe it!  So often, I’ve found, and many of you may have experienced the same thing, when God is working, time seems to stand still.  It almost seems profane to talk of time when God is working.  I’ve been to many meetings in my life much shorter that seemed to go on interminably because God wasn’t leading.  God was leading here.

One last thing.  In the middle of the meeting, the Lord put it on Pastor Aaron’s heart to pray for healing for our good friend Magen Gillihan.  She shared with me this testimony:

In the Saturday morning service Pastor Aaron asked everyone to pray for me for a need in my body. What he did not know is that for several weeks I have been getting an excruciating pain in my right side and back that would come and go and had no idea what it was. That morning as I was sitting there it started to hurt again. As I looked up at Pastor I knew he was going to pray right before he said my name. The pain was instantly gone and I just know and believe it will never come back!!! Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord indeed!


At the end of the service, we were told that the Lord was leading for a second service that day to begin at 3:30.  We were also told that lunch was provided for anyone who wished to stay.  More about all of this next time.

To read Recap #3, click here.

Below are links to videos of Session #1

Monday, December 4, 2017

Waiting 2017 - Recap #1 - "Shalom"

Having just returned from a unique event…”Waiting 2017” held at Parker City Christ Fellowship in Parker City, Indiana...I had a great desire to not let anything fall to the ground or to lose the gift of tremendous forwards motion towards “Holy Ghost Awakening” which we believe is on the horizon. 

I’ve been to many church gatherings in my life as many of you have.  This was different.    I found myself in a place where God was able to have something close to “absolute sway” among his people.  Pastor Aaron Simms at one time made reference to the one hundred twenty in the upper room in Acts 1 in the days before Pentecost who just waited on God until the fire of God fell.  Something like that.

God began to burden Pastor Aaron, the pastor of Parker City Christ Fellowship, some weeks ago to call a meeting in which we just simply came together and “waited on God.”  Those of us from the “Revival For Our Day” stream (the ministry that was formed to help Rev. Loren Helm years ago.  “RFOD” is still shorthand for the churches that his ministry touched and helped.)  Rev. Helm, who was promoted to heaven in 2006, led “Waiting Upon God” meetings for decades, in which many people were helped to look to Jesus, deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him.  The meeting that Pastor Aaron called was very much like that…yet very different.  God has a way of making something entirely new out of something old.

This was a meeting with no program.  It had of necessity a start time and we knew that the meeting would be held during a two day period, but we came together not knowing how many times we were going to be meeting in the two days, who the speakers were going to be (if any), what songs we were going to sing (if any).  If it sounds like we didn’t know what we were doing, you are right!  We just knew that we were going to wait on God and allow Him to be the leader of this meeting.  What a novel idea!

As I was thinking about writing this, I ran across some notes that I took a few weeks ago when I was trying to understand the concept of “shalom,” the familiar Hebrew word that is most often translated as ‘peace.”  Here’s a few tidbits from that study:
  • ·         Shalom means much more than peace, as in the absence of war.  Completeness, wholeness, harmony, fulfillment are all embodied in the word “shalom.” 
  • ·         Implicit in this word is the idea of unimpaired relationships with others and fulfillment in one’s undertakings. 
  • ·         Shalom is the result of God’s activity in covenant and is the result of righteousness. 
  • ·         This sort of peace – this “shalom” – has its source in God alone.

This concept of completeness, wholeness, harmony, and fulfillment is a wonderful description of the feeling that I can testify was present in that “upper room” this weekend.  In hindsight, we almost could have called this “Shalom 2017.”

Missy Simms, Pastor Aaron’s wife and an anointed woman of God, shared her perspective with me:
Missy Simms at "Waiting 2017"


…Everyone came together in humble unity and surrender and prayed down their selves this weekend to truly wait on the Lord! His perfect love was throughout the entire place. Not one person was striving or trying to gain or take control. It was complete and holy surrender in beautiful love to our savior! The Holy Spirit was flowing in and out of everyone so beautifully and interweaving everyone’s hearts in perfect unity! Praising the Lord for this true miracle. This is such a miracle to have such love throughout the entire waiting and everyone to be building each other up in the Kingdom of God! Praise praise the Lord!

In the next few days, I hope to gather some “handfuls of purpose” from many of you, in the hopes of presenting a multi-faceted display of God’s work in the lives of His people.  If you are reading this and were present for any part of these meetings, I’d like to invite you to share your perspective with me. If you were not able to be at the meetings, I hope you’ll come along with us on a “virtual tour” of these happenings.  Whether you were there or not, please feel free to share these reports with your friends.

I feel a little like a “roving reporter,” reporting on events of far more import than today’s headlines.  Maybe this will be God’s headlines.  The top of the page should read “God Is Working!” 

To read the next post, click here.


Friday, September 1, 2017

Exodus Lesson 4 Chapters 2 and 3 (Facebook Live & Notes)




To watch Lesson 1, click here.
Exodus Notes – Week 4 – Chapter 2, 3
Review of last week

·         Chapter 2 Vs 16-22 (NASB)Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters; and they came to draw water and filled the troughs to water their father's flock. 17 Then the shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and helped them and watered their flock. 18 When they came to Reuel their father, he said, "Why have you come back so soon today?" 19 So they said, "An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and what is more, he even drew the water for us and watered the flock." 20 He said to his daughters, "Where is he then? Why is it that you have left the man behind? Invite him to have something to eat." 21 Moses was willing to dwell with the man, and he gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses. 22 Then she gave birth to a son, and he named * him Gershom, for he said, "I have been a sojourner in a foreign land."

Encounter at Well

·         Vs 16 The inhabitants of his new home, Midian, were the descendants of Abraham’s concubine Keturah…..so Moses and the Midianites were relatives.
·         Vs 17 Moses didn’t say “this is none of my business” but stood up for shepherdesses.
o   Not the last Moses would be called to stand up and help someone
o   We can’t expect to be used in the big areas unless we are faithful in the small
o   In his weakened state, Moses was still fearless…ended up getting a wife and a job out of it!
·         Vs 18, 19 Moses willingness to go above and beyond by drawing water for them opened up the way for his own deliverance.
·         Well was acceptable meeting place between men and women in ancient times. 
o   Can you think of other places in Bible in which there are important encounters at well?  Abraham’s servant meets Rebekah – Gen 24 Jesus and Samaritain woman John 4.  Marriage is associated with all 3 accounts.
·         Tzippora’s father is Reuel (later called Jethro)
·         Reuel = friend of EL (had some knowledge of Yahweh, who is referred to as El Shaddai in Genesis)
o   “The priest” of Midian signifies that he was most important priest.  Similar to “high priest” of Israel in later years.
·         Gershom is born to Moses
·         Ger-shom = a stranger there (Moses felt like a stranger there)


(Vs 23-25 NASB) Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God. 24 So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25 God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them.

GOD REMEMBERS ISRAEL

      Pharaoh dies, but, the new Pharaoh still enslaves Israel
      Many days = almost 40 years!
      Zakar = remember
      An active term, which means to pay close and attention AND to become involved
      Yehoveh’s reaction revolved around the covenant He gave to Abraham, Isaac & Jacob
      Read 23-25 in Amplified Version
      Vs 25 NLT “He looked down on the people of Israel, and knew it was time to act.
      Prayer (Israel’s cry for help) + God’s covenant promise = deliverance
      So for us, we pray based on God’s promises.  Our prayers would have no effect if not for God’s promises.  Yet, God’s promises mysteriously are often only put into effect when God’s people pray!

Exodus Chapter 3 (CJB)
1 Now Moshe was tending the sheep of Yitro his father-in-law, the priest of Midyan. Leading the flock to the far side of the desert, he came to the mountain of God, to Horev. 
2 The angel of ADONAI appeared to him in a fire blazing from the middle of a bush. He looked and saw that although the bush was flaming with fire, yet the bush was not being burned up. 
3 Moshe said, "I'm going to go over and see this amazing sight and find out why the bush isn't being burned up." 
4 When ADONAI saw that he had gone over to see, God called to him from the middle of the bush, "Moshe! Moshe!" He answered, "Here I am." 
5 He said, "Don't come any closer! Take your sandals off your feet, because the place where you are standing is holy ground. 
6 I am the God of your father," he continued, "the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz'chak and the God of Ya'akov." Moshe covered his face, because he was afraid to look at God. 
7 ADONAI said, "I have seen how my people are being oppressed in Egypt and heard their cry for release from their slavemasters, because I know their pain. 
8 I have come down to rescue them from the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that country to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey, the place of the Kena'ani, Hitti, Emori, P'rizi, Hivi and Y'vusi. 
9 Yes, the cry of the people of Isra'el has come to me, and I have seen how terribly the Egyptians oppress them. 
10 Therefore, now, come; and I will send you to Pharaoh; so that you can lead my people, the descendants of Isra'el, out of Egypt." 
11 Moshe said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and lead the people of Isra'el out of Egypt?" 
12 He replied, "I will surely be with you. Your sign that I have sent you will be that when you have led the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain." 
13Moshe said to God, "Look, when I appear before the people of Isra'el and say to them, 'The God of your ancestors has sent me to you'; and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what am I to tell them?" 
14 God said to Moshe, "Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh [I am/will be what I am/will be]," and added, "Here is what to say to the people of Isra'el: 'Ehyeh [I Am or I Will Be] has sent me to you.'"
15 God said further to Moshe, "Say this to the people of Isra'el: 'Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [ADONAI], the God of your fathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz'chak and the God of Ya'akov, has sent me to you.'This is my name forever; this is how I am to be remembered generation after generation. 
16 Go, gather the leaders of Isra'el together, and say to them, 'ADONAI, the God of your fathers, the God of Avraham, Yitz'chak and Ya'akov, has appeared to me and said, "I have been paying close attention to you and have seen what is being done to you in Egypt; 
17 and I have said that I will lead you up out of the misery of Egypt to the land of the Kena'ani, Hitti, Emori, P'rizi, Hivi and Y'vusi, to a land flowing with milk and honey."' 
18 They will heed what you say. Then you will come, you and the leaders of Isra'el, before the king of Egypt; and you will tell him, 'ADONAI, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Now, please, let us go three days' journey into the desert; so that we can sacrifice to ADONAI our God.' 
19 I know that the king of Egypt will not let you leave unless he is forced to do so. 
20 But I will reach out my hand and strike Egypt with all my wonders that I will do there. After that, he will let you go. 
21 Moreover, I will make the Egyptians so well-disposed toward this people that when you go, you won't go empty-handed.
22 Rather, all the women will ask their neighbors and house guests for silver and gold jewelry and clothing, with which you will dress your own sons and daughters. In this way you will plunder the Egyptians."

Moses at Horeb

Vs 1 (NASB) Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the [a]west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

      Scene opens 40 years later as we find Moses on “the backside of the desert” KJV.  Being faithful in what he knew to do.  Every day was probably like the day before…until this day!
      Moses becomes a shepherd – must have received training from father-in-law and/or his wife.
      Did not own his own animals, they belonged to his father-in-law.  Moses obviously had not been able to accumulate any amount of wealth during his time in Midian
      Moses moved flocks to area of Mt. Horeb (later called Mt. Sinai).  Reason for move was new pasture
      This would be same place that Moses would bring Israelites too after the Exodus.  Where Moses would receive 10 commandments

Vs 2 (NASB) The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of ]a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.

      Moses probably saw bush in corner of his eye for some time.  Burning bushi in desert not that unusual.  A burning bush which wasn’t being consumed was though!
      Burning bush
o   Fire plays significant role in OT & NT
o   Symbol of Holy Spirit
o   United Methodist even has flaming fire symbol on all of their churches.
(Would to God they all were truly on fire as Methodists of old were!)
o   God was going to make Moses like a burning bush…could not long ignore him, full of HS, where he stepped would be holy ground.
o   God’s true prophets are full of fire…so much so that it is only God’s grace that keeps them from being consumed
o   Three examples of HS and fire  Jeremiah 20:9, Matt 3:11, Acts 2:3

(Vs 3  NASB) So Moses said, “[c]I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.”

      Moses could not ignore bush any more.  Egyptians would not be able to ignore Moses!
      Moses had to turn to find out where God is.  Though God made Himself approachable to Moses, Moses still had to turn and move towards God before would reveal Himself to Moses.
      Think about how much the hinge of history revolved around this one turn.  Yet Moses had no idea.  How may the hinge of history revolve around your turn to God!
      “This particular bush was transfigured by the flame until it became the most famous bush in all of history. It became the most famous bush in all of history, not because there was a great bush, but because there was a great fire!” Tozer
      “God takes people who never amounted to anything and never will, but by living in them transforms them” Tozer
       
Vs 4 When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”

      God calls to Moses from out of the fire.  God speaks to us by name!
o   Who else did God speak to by name?  Abraham (Genesis15;1), Jacob (Genesis 32:28), Paul (Acts 9:4), many others
      “Moses was born to be Israel’s deliverer, and yet not a word is said of it to him until he was eighty years of age.” John Wesley
      “Here I am” is only true answer we can give when God calls us.
o   Who else responded to God’s call with “Here I am”?  Isaiah 6:8
o   Yet, as we’ll see, when He found out what God wanted from him, Moses is going to take some convincing!

Vs 5 Then He said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”

      Removing of sandals was and is sign of respect in Middle Eastern cultures.  Similar to men taking their hats off during prayer in the west.
      “Holy ground” – Hebrew is qodesh (Kodesh) – means to be set apart as sacred. 
      Only previous  use of the word or it’s root was Genesis 2:3, where God sanctified the 7th day (Sabbath).
      Yet it will be used 52 more times in Exodus as well as several hundred times in OT.
      Concept of God’s holiness – His awesome, fearful presence – is largely missing from the church today.
      We’ve made God like a celestial pal
      “The greatest loss that modern man has suffered is the loss of a sense of sacredness.” A.W. Tozer
      If Moses had not abased himself before this holy God (symbolized by removal of sandals), he might have been consumed right there!

Vs 6  He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

      God had heard a lot about God, but he didn’t know God until this moment.  His reaction was to hide his face. 
      Eventually God would say of Moses, that He spoke to Moses “face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.”  (33:11)
      God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob again appears here.  God speaks because of covenant.  He acts because of covenant.  He remembers (Zakar) because of covenant. 
       
Vs 7 (CJB) ADONAI said, "I have seen how my people are being oppressed in Egypt and heard their cry for release from their slavemasters, because I know their pain. 

      God makes it very clear to Moses that He has not been asleep at the switch. He has seen, He has heard, and He has KNOWN of His people’s plight. We should NEVER assume that what we perceive as a long period of God’s silence in our lives means that He has forgotten His promises to us, or isn’t aware of us, or has lost interest in us. For, as daunting as it can be it seems that an extended period of heavenly silence is invariably a major ingredient of God’s preparation process; His preparation of us…..for whatever His divine purposes for us might be…WILL include periods of divine silence”  (Bradford)
      God saw their oppression (affliction), God heard their cry, God knew their pain (sufferings)
      God sees our afflictions, He hears our cry when we are in trouble.  He knows our sufferings.
      Hebrews 2:17, 18 (Amp)
o   Therefore, it was essential that He had to be made like His brothers (mankind) in every respect, so that He might [by experience] become a merciful and faithful High Priest in things related to God, to make atonement (propitiation) for the people’s sins [thereby wiping away the sin, satisfying divine justice, and providing a way of reconciliation between God and mankind]. 18 Because He Himself [in His humanity] has suffered in being tempted, He is able to help and provide immediate assistance to those who are being tempted and exposed to suffering.

Vs 8,9 So I have come down to deliver them from the [e]power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. Now, behold, the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me; furthermore, I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them.

      Yet God does not only see our affliction, hears our cry, and knows our sufferings, He will act on our behalf.
      Yet God’s act of deliverance was far more than they were bargaining for.  He wasn’t going to just make things better for them in Egypt, he was going to remove them from Egypt altogether.
      When we ask for God’s help, he will deliver, but not always (seldom!) the way that we think He will. 
      We must be willing to follow Him wherever He leads, even if it’s into a desert for a spell (but I’m getting ahead of myself!)
       
Vs 10 Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.”

      Up until this point, Moses must have been thinking “that’s all great God, but what’s this got to do with me?”
      Must have been quite a shock to Moses (down to his unshod feet!) when God said “I WILL SEND YOU!”
      God could have delivered Israel unilaterally without the help of man.  He could have just transported them Star-trek style from Egypt to Canaan (Scotty, beam me up!). 
      Yet God has always used men and women as means for carrying out his divine promises.
      So it is today.  Are you willing to be that man or that woman to whom God says, “I WILL SEND YOU?”
      As a matter of fact, God is sending us today. He’s sending each of us to our families, our co-workers, our neighbors to be the  light of Jesus in a dark and desolate world.  The call of Moses is my call and your call. 
      Read Acts 2:37-39 together




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