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
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
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
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
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)
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.
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!”
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 included little 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 the next 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
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