Thursday, March 22, 2018

Waiting 2018 - Recap #4 "Out of the Saltshaker..."

Prayer for Pastor Robert and Esther Morey and Coda Ministry

This is the fourth in my series recapping Waiting 2018, a series of Spirit-led meetings which were held in Parker City, Indiana, on March 10th and 11th.   To begin with the first post in the series, click here.

Continuing with my recap of the Sunday morning gathering…

The meeting Sunday morning started at 9:00 AM and finished up at 1:30 it lasted four-and-a-half hours. I know most people would be aghast at a church meeting that lasted that long, but...believe didn’t seem that long at all! When the Spirit of God is really manifested Himself among His people, time just seems to fly by. I’ve been to meetings that lasted an hour-and-a-half that seems FAR longer than this meeting...because there was no life in them. There was KINGDOM LIFE in these meetings...and it makes all the difference.

(I hope, for those of you who haven’t attended one of these Waitings, that these accounts will make you want to come the next time one is announced. You don’t have to be a part of any certain church...If you are a member of the body of Christ...just come! You won’t regret it! If you would like to be notified when another meeting is announced, then just "Like" Parker City Christ Fellowship or Fair Haven Christ Fellowship (the church that I'm from) on Facebook. Both of these churches will make the announcement on Facebook when the time comes. You can also email me at, and I’ll be glad to let you know.)

Soon after Pastor Jerry Keller’s wonderful message, Pastor Aaron announced that we would be taking up an offering and that Parker City would be keeping none of it. Every penny was going to go to an incredible ministry called Coda Mountain Academy in West Virginia, which is headed up by Pastor Robert Morey’s wife, Esther. There just couldn’t have been a better place for this money to go.

Sister Esther was gracious to share with me briefly some of her experiences in founding Coda, and to explain just what it is:

The last 18 years of our 35-year ministry in Fayette County, WV has been focused on youth. There have been surprising turns all along – but none as much as the day the Lord told a homeschool mom (yours truly) who was prejudiced against the public school and who did not have a teaching degree that she would teaching at Fayetteville High School someday. This is not the time or place to tell that story – but the short story is that God miraculously opened that door for me/us to do just that, AND even greater, God baptized me in love for the public-school kids, teachers, service personnel and administration. We started with 27 children but the program has grown to three schools and 250 – 300 children any given semester. Summer camps and adult programs have also been blessed with the breath of God’s presence and favor, allowing us to reach about 200 more youth and adults. I’m saying all this to say that God has been taking us out of the salt shaker and into the world in ways that we did NOT EXPECT! (Sometimes my head was confused about God pulling our focus so far outside the church walls and creating a ministry (Coda Mountain Academy) on things like violins, guitars, Lego robotics, art, cooking etc. However confused my head (and sometimes my church) was, our hearts were COMPELLED to go forward. The work is overwhelming and all-consuming at times…and as you might imagine…funding to sustain everything a grueling and constant uphill climb. But the impact on Fayette County has been breathtaking and glorious!The joy of this has kept us steady in the hard times.

At the morning meeting, right before the offering was taken, she shared her thoughts about just how much it has meant to have us partner with them. Some of the things she shared that morning were:
  • The way you loved (our two young men...Dale and Riley) that we brought with us last time (was incredible)! Dale and Riley (boys who grew up in underprivileged settings) said, after we loved them (at the Waiting in December), “We’re rich and famous!” (Holy laughter ensued!)
  • Recently, I’ve really felt the body of Christ start to wrap around this work in West Virginia.” She would later share that she felt so alone in it for so long...but not anymore!
  • I really feel we’re all in this together. Your prayers are so important!”
  • The stuff I asked you to pray about last time (in December) is already happening in amazing ways!”
After she finished speaking, Pastor Aaron said, “My heart is so stirred) I don’t have the words! We love you! You are not alone!” (You can watch how this whole thing unfolded in the first video below...the offering announcement is in the second video.) Pastor Aaron prayed over the offering, thanking Jesus for the privilege of using us as a body being able to sew into this ministry.

Elizabeth Doss sang a stirring “Anthem of Praise” as we took the offertory  (She also shared with us in another part of the meeting about the beautiful "Israeli Flag" painting that she made during the meeting.)  Pastor Aaron brought his wife Missy up to present the check to the Morey’s. When he announced the amount...over $8000...they were just blown away! (This was an amazing offering from a relatively small group of people...Jesus was putting it into people’s hearts to be so very generous!) Sister Esther shared with me her reaction to the offering as well as the prayer for their physical health and other needs:

Toward the end of the last meeting Pastor Aaron had a leading to take up an offering for Robert and I and the work we do in Fayette County. This was a blessed surprise! While the offering was being counted, a particularly specific and precious ministry of prayer into our lives, work and health occurred through the obedience of Molly, Taylor and Lori and others. (We had experienced some damage to our health from natural gas and carbon monoxide exposure recently. We hadn’t mentioned it to hardly anyone, but the Lord knew and ferreted it out. There has been evidence of God’s answer since then!) What that meant to us – and the sacredness of those moments – would be hard to ever explain. If that wasn’t glorious enough, the offering amount was announced we still haven’t recovered. $8,536.85. Can you believe the grace, favor, obedience and sacrifice wrapped in the love of God that this represents? Oh – and then Britny (Nall), another young woman of God who shares our burden, came to me in her wheelchair with a handful of change in her lap. I put this change in a special place to be used as the Lord directs.

She would share with me later that day, “You can’t imagine what a load this takes off of us!” Pastor Robert shared that they are “standing between the living and the dead” and that we are “standing between the living and the dead” as we partner with them in prayer and in finance. (I would hasten to say here...they came not expecting nor asking for a penny. This offering was first to last led by the Spirit of the Living God.)

God is expanding their ministry, and they needed every penny of this and so much more...If there is anyone reading this who are touched by this wonderful ministry to underprivileged children in West Virginia and are looking for a place to invest their resources, I would encourage you to pray for them and go to their website and donate to Coda...There is no place on earth that your money would be used for anything more worthy than this ministry!  (Click here to check out their ministry and to donate.  You can also click here for their Facebook page)

Pastor Taylor Keller ended this time with a rousing prayer over the Morey’s and their ministry. At the close of the meeting, we all gathered around in a big circle and, with Pastor Taylor and Molly’s leadership, we just praised the Lord for some time.

Pastor Aaron shared that the meeting would end officially then, but that he felt that many of us would be staying and fellowshipping with one another until 4:00.

A few closing thoughts…

It seems that there is far more that I left out in these brief “recaps” than I included. Many kingdom moments occurred in the meetings and outside of the meetings that are just as precious and eventful as the few that I’ve shared here. If your “moment” was left out of this report, please forgive me.

Several were able to share with me their thoughts about the meetings overall. Here are a couple of them:

Waiting 2018 - much joy, worship, peace, love, laughter & truth; communion of Christ & with one another. All in copious amounts. Pastor Kim Gilbert

It was great to see old friends, meet new ones and worship together. Dennis Begeman

Towards the end of the final meeting, the Lord put it on my heart to just go up and hug certain men and tell them that I appreciate and love them, which I did. They were Pastor Robert Morey, James Doss, Pastor Jerry Keller, Pastor Kim Gilbert, and (later during our fellowship tiime) Pastor Nicky Farmer. It wasn’t until I was reflecting on the meetings later that evening that I realized that these men were all from different churches which were represented there. It made me realize even more that the Lord is truly wanting to bring us all together in love.

I shared with our congregation at Fair Haven last Sunday a message about wisdom, which I spoke especially to our young people. During that message, I shared with them one of the things that God has put on my heart, which I feel impressed to share here in closing. “Love is the lubricant that allows wisdom to be imparted from one generation to the next.” A car can’t run without lubricant. The body of Christ can’t run without the lubricant (or oil) of love. It is love for one another that makes everything work well in the body of Christ. It is love...Agape love...self-sacrifical love...that we are called to display to one another and to the world around us. At Waiting 2018, we loved one another...LET’S NOT STOP!

Want to read more?  Here are links to a few other articles on this  blog:

I Went To A Town Hall Meeting...And God Showed Up!
The New Evangelism...(Reimar Schultze)
The Question That Led To The Prayer...My Day at the Statehouse...

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Waiting 2018 - Recap #3 - "The Remnant"

Kathy Nall signing "I Love You Lord"

This is the third in a series on Waiting 2018, held at Parker City, Indiana, March 10 and 11th, 2018.  To begin with the first post in the series, click here.

  For me, the Sunday morning meeting started at the Baymont Hotel where we were staying. I had gone to the small breakfast nook to eat something, and struck up a conversation from a older gentleman from Wisconsin named Jim. As we chatted, I mentioned that I was a pastor and we were attending meeting nearby. I was wearing a suit this time, and he made some remark about that he figured as much, since only pastors would wear a suit on Sunday anymore. But this led to talking about spiritual matters. He was raised Catholic, but didn’t practice any religion seriously until 2000, when his daughter came home from college. She told her that she had given her life to Jesus, gave her dad a Bible and said, “Here, read this!” And he’s been reading it ever since. We talked...actually I mostly listened... for about an hour. I began to realize that Jim was seeing that the church of today didn’t match what was in his Bible at all. He made some remark to the effect that he hadn’t been able to find anybody that was “doing church” according to the Bible. I told him, “Brother, I can tell you that, like God told Elijah, there are seven thousand who haven’t bowed the knee to Baal, and I’m meeting with some of them this morning!” His response was, “Yes, the Remnant.” Before we left, I gave him a copy of the Voice in the Wilderness and invited him to the meeting. He said he would come after he did his laundry. Somehow I thought he really would come.

We were privilege again to be in led in worship at the beginning of the Sunday morning meeting by Pastor Taylor and Molly Keller. During that time, my wife Kathy, prompted by the Holy Spirit, asked if she could teach us a song in sign language. So Pastor Taylor played “I Love You, Lord” as she taught us another way to praise God. The body was edified by this.

Marcia Schultze shared this account with me of the first part of the Sunday service:

Jewell (Helm Dyer) started out the Sunday morning with her piano playing. It always amazes me what all she can add to a hymn. I love to hear her play! It followed with a few testimonies from John McAdams, Debbie Batton, and Joyce Miller. Aaron made a statement in the midst of this that said, “It’s OK to laugh in church, but not to laugh at the church." Then (Roland) Abraham had another prayer in praising and praying to the Lord. It is something to hear him pray! Mrs. Nall (also) taught us a song in sign language.

Towards the end of the worship time, I looked around and there was Jim, sitting about halfway back in the sanctuary! I went back and asked him if he would like to come sit up front with us, and he gladly came. Because our pew was full, I seated him on the front pew next to us between Don Dicus (who he had also had fellowship with in the hotel) and Pastor Jerry Keller.

God had led for Pastor Jerry to share communion with us and to deliver the morning message. When Pastor Aaron asked him to come up to officiate communion, he asked if we could do the communion and the message together, which was fine with Pastor Aaron. One of his first remarks was about a young fifteen-year-old girl who came to their church for the first time and just came up and sat on the front row. (I thought this was very interesting. I shared with Pastor Jerry later that the man who just sat down beside him was here for the first time and sat down on the front row!) During the service at Plainfield, Pastor Jerry shared about Rev. Loran Helm and the impact of “A Voice In The Wilderness” and that they were distributing the book to any who wanted it. The young girl, who can gone “church shopping” with her parents’ consent, came home and noticed a blue book on the counter. The girl asked her mother, “Where did this come from?” Her mother shared with her that she had bought a copy of the “A Voice in the Wilderness” at a local library sale, and that this was her favorite book next to the Bible. The girl was able to share with her mother that a church that she attended this morning was led by people who had sat under Rev. Helm’s teaching! Her mother undoubtedly had the only copy of “A Voice” in Plainfield outside of Plainfield Christ Fellowship, which had just opened it’s doors. This girl is now in Africa training to be a missionary.

What followed is probably one of the most unusual communion services any of us had ever attended.

Marcia Schultze shared this discription of the service:

Jerry Keller had the message for the morning, but he intertwined it in with the communion we were taking. He had us all stand up and go into the aisle, facing one another, with our backs to the pews. He first passed the cup, and told us to exchange it with our neighbor, and then to drink our neighbors cup (thanking God for the blood that was shed for our neighbor). Then they passed the bread, and we were to take that, and then pray for a need our neighbor had. This was all done in the midst of singing and prayer. It was so impressive and meaningful.

When I asked others to share their thoughts about the meetings, I found out that this special communion was one of the highlights of the meeting for many people. Here are some of the remarks that were shared with me about this time:

When we shared the communion with each other by giving our wine to another person, it touched me so much. Instead of me giving it to myself, by giving it to others, it made me feel as I am sharing Jesus blood with others. (Barbara Stefan)

Sharing comminion was so sweet very real connection..Holy Spirit was very much all around us through ENTIRE meeting!! WE ARE SO BLESSED DEAR fellowship !! (Rev. Helm’s daughter Joyce Miller)

I believe the communion time was a blessing to all who participated. Sharing communion with John McAdams is a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life. John and Janet were a blessing when they came to Indianapolis. I purchased their home when they moved back to Parker. John also is from my mother's home town, Wellsburg, West Virginia. (Daniel Jones)

My new friend Jim was quite taken by what he experienced in the meetings. He told me later
that when he came in, he really didn’t sense anything unusual for awhile, but the more he listened and observed, the more he realized that God Himself was really leading this meeting. Towards the end of the morning service (which extended well into the afternoon), he got the mike and asked Pastor Aaron rather pointedly, “Is this the way it is every Sunday?” He was so stirred by what he saw that he called his wife after the service to let her know. Jim would stay for the entire service, and shared lunch with us for some time afterwards. He and His wife are planning to retire somewhere further south, and he told me they are going to be looking at and praying about “somewhere in Indiana” now! Praise the Lord! God knows how to make connections...all we have to do is follow.
Pastor Jerry Keller

In Pastor Jerry’s message, he shared that the Lord had woke him up early in the morning recently and spoke the phrase into his heart, “co-opted words.” He looked it up and found this definition of co-opted: “Words that have strayed from the original meaning. Words that have been twisted and turned by someone for their own purposes so that they no longer mean what they meant when the original author first spoke them.” Pastor Jerry shared that “trust” is one of these “co-opted” words. He gave us what he called “the apostolic sign language” for trust by putting his hand right in front of his face. He said, “That’s trust!” (This was something that came from Rev. Helm.) He went on to share an excellent message from John 21 about Jesus’ words to Peter...”You follow me!” We’re not to worry about the person beside us and the way that the Lord may or may not work with them. We each are called individual to take up our cross and follow Him.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Waiting 2018 Recap #2 - "The Road Less Traveled"

Pastor Reimar Schultze, Pastor Mike Douglas, Montana,
and myself
This is the second in a series on Waiting 2018, held at Parker City, Indiana, March 10 and 11th, 2018.  To read the first post in the series, click here.  

As I began to write this morning this recap of the Saturday afternoon service of Waiting 2018, I realized there was a block of some kind. As I was praying and reviewing my notes a few minutes ago, I began to understand that there were some things from the morning meeting that I had left out that are very important things.
  • God led in that meeting for special prayer for a young man from Fair Haven (part of our wonderful youth group!) named Montana Koch. God really helped Pastor Mike to pray for Montana.
  • Pastor Jerry Keller shared a remarkable story of how the Lord woke him up in the night a few months ago, speaking to his heart, “Come with me to Jerusalem.” In obedience, He and his daughter Molly got on a plane a few days later and went to the Holy City. He encountered groups of Christians praying for world-wide awakening in different parts of the city, and found Holy Ghost fellowship with a Jesus-loving couple from Australia.
  • Pastor Aaron shared a few moments about his love and respect for Pastor Kim Gilbert and his
    wife Janice, who faithfully served Parker City Christ Fellowship in a pastoral role for several years. He stated  that because of his years of prayer and dedication to the Lord in looking for revival and awakening, this was “Pastor Kim’s Waiting" (in a spiritual sense).  Pastor Aaron went on to explain that of course it is first and foremost “Jesus’ Waiting”, but that God often honors his servants in special ways such as this.
Pastor Aaron started the Saturday afternoon service with a few Godly words of exhortation including:
  • Leonard Ravenhill’s statement that there is a time for God’s servants to “Go Hide Thyself” (as God would speak this words to Elijah in 1 Kings 17:3) and that there is a time for God’s people to “Go Show Thyself” (as God would later speak to Elijah in 1 Kings 18:1).
  • God is calling His people to “Cease Striving and Know That I Am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
  • Rodney Dunn, a member of Parker City Christ Fellowship who went on to be with the Lord several years ago, made the simple but profound statement “All pressure is from hell!” (That quote was worth the entire Waiting!)
A really amazing thing happened after Pastor Aaron’s afternoon exhortation which would be really easy to pass over. Nothing happened. At least, nothing that we could see. You see, this meeting called  "Waiting 2018" really lived up to it’s name. For a few minutes, we just waited. Pastor Aaron was our God-appointed leader for the weekend, but he wasn’t able to discern what was next, so we waited...just trusting in God.

I feel led at this point to drop the narrative of the afternoon meetings and share some things which I read this morning in “A Voice In The Wilderness” just this morning. This wonderful book (which I shared about in an earlier post this month. You can follow this link to read it) was written by Rev. Loren Helm, who God appointed to lead an earlier series of “Waiting on God” meetings from the 1960’s to early 2000’s, in which many were helped, encouraged, and convicted in their walk with Jesus.

Probably my favorite quote from this book was one I shared in the earlier post this month that included the statement “Don’t place your attention on any difficulties at any time...” A couple of paragraphs later Rev. Helm shares this observation:

I had discovered few Christians who had this victorious overcoming experience . I didn’t know the missing links in Christianity then; but God has let me discover one or two of them over the years. I learned that the missing link which connects us to a continuous life as an overcoming Christian is self-denial. We must learn to deny Self in a heart of trust; for then we move, through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, to obedience and the cross.
We in the church can sing, preach, pray, read scripture, go along with the religious program, and nevery once deny Self. Often, instead of depending on God to guide us, we plan a little of what we want to do, sing the songs we like to hear, and preach when we want the preaching totake place. We pretty much arrange activities which suit our taste and conform to our schedule. But, you see, God wants all of the church’s activities at His direction. He wants to be all of the content of our program. Christ must have everything.

We must wait on Him until He sends, until He guides, until He reveals. We must wait on Him so that He can lead the church, lead the body, and become the true Head of His believing followers.

If the church today could really get hold of these words, the entire spiritual world would be revolutionized! Pastor Aaron, as I have seen his mentor and my mentor Pastor Mike Douglas do so many times, didn’t just rush off to the next thing, but simply waited in simple trust. This is not something you will learn in any seminary. In fact, quite the opposite. In modern Christianity, everything has to keep moving to retain the people’s attention. This is antithetical to the walk of faith which Jesus taught, which Luke recorded in the book of Acts, and which Paul and the other apostles practiced throughout their lives. Pastor Aaron was practicing self-denial as He waiting upon God’s leading. We were practicing self-denial as we simply trusted in quietness and contentment.

Pastor Mike Douglas and Aaron Simms
After a few minutes of waiting and trusting, Pastor Aaron asked Pastor Mike if the Lord had anything on his heart to share. Indeed, Pastor Mike did. He had been practicing self-denial as he waited upon God to reveal what was next. Pastor Mike would have been free to speak up at any time to say, “God has put something in my heart to share” (and sometimes that is appropriate), but instead, he followed the “road less traveled” and simply waited for God to reveal this to Pastor Aaron. You see, the Holy Spirit really was leading the meeting! Hallelujah!

Pastor Mike shared a wonderful message from his heart (which I would encourage you to watch below) on “The Greatness of Grace.” He read a scripture from Numbers 15 in which a man was stoned to death for defying the Sabbath law by picking up wood on that holy day. This harsh-sounding penalty shows to us the seriousness of sin in God’s eyes, and reveals to us “the greatness of Grace.”   When, in this age after the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, the Lord forgives our sins...even the ones that seem tiny in our own site but in fact are a great affront to His holiness in His sight, we need to realize "the greatness of that grace" which is freely bestowed on us. What a great thing it was that God led for this powerful word from His servant! After the message, He shared the wonderful but sobering song “Feel the Nails."

God then led for a second message! (Isn’t it amazing to walk with God! We went from nothing to two

Pastor Robert Morey
God-ordained messages which went hand-in-hand we each other!) Pastor Robert Morey spoke about our “Faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19) and shared several quotes from Dallas Willard, including these: “Why don’t you just obey God?” and “It is a good thing just to be” (or “It is a good thing that you exist”). He also shared that one thing that touched him in the old hymn we sang that morning “The Love of God” was the line “When men refuse to pray.” (This had struck me with some force as well.) It seems that we live in an age in “which men refuse to pray,” but...Praise God!...I believe that age is passing away!

Marcia Shultze shared her account of this service:

In the afternoon session (Pastor Aaron) called on Mike Douglas to preach. He preached on the “Greatness of Grace.” It was a very serious message. It was on the man that gathered wood on the Sabbath. The people reported it to Moses, and he didn’t know what to do, so he asked God, and he said “stone him.” So they stoned him. He said it wasn't the gathering of sticks that caused him to loose his life - it was the attitude of rebellion behind it.

Then he called on Robert Morey to preach. He preached on I Peter 4:19. One statement he made was: “Some people don’t pray in church.” He exhorted us to “don’t refuse to pray in church". He shared that in light of God being our faithful Creator, we must embrace that it is a good thing that we exist. We must understand our worth and purpose. Only then can we freely give ourselves away to God in obedience, self denial and cross bearing.Then Jerry Keller led in “Love lifted me.”

After the message, Pastor Taylor and Molly led us in worshipful adoration. At the end of the meeting, Pastor Aaron shared with us that there would be no evening meeting, but that we were to have the evening hours available to fellowship together. So often these informal times can be the most important times at these gatherings.  When the Holy Spirit is leading, He doesn’t leave after the last “Amen.” This was certainly true Saturday evening.

Some of us went to a cafeteria in Muncie that evening. The meeting just continued there, as Pastor Reimar Schultze and others testified. I have included a portion of Rev. Schultze’s testimony below which I recorded. (I was sitting in the back, so I apologize for the noise in the background...Hopefully it is good enough for you to hear). We had to leave before all the sharing, but thankfully, Sis. Marcia Schultze recorded her thoughts of that “cafeteria fellowship.”
Pastor Reimar Schultze sharing at MCL Cafeteria

Esther (Morey...the Schultze’s daughter from WV) wanted her hear some stories of God working in people's lives - including Reimar. So we ended up going to MCL in Muncie for supper, and got a private room, and continued in the meeting there. There were people from Fayetteville, Cornerstone (Inn), Fairhaven, and Parker. We had quite a meeting, Reimar sharing, Robert asking Reimar to share different things, and Pam Gould, the owner of the Cornerstone B&B, telling about 25 years ago, when it was the coldest day on record, and she couldn’t get her car started to bring us our breakfast, and at 6 AM  Brother Helm called for Reimar. She wasn’t able to transfer the call to the B&B, so he just talked to her for 40 minutes, praying over her needs in the business and her body, and prophesying. By the time she was done, she felt like she was walking six feet off the ground. Since that time she has given away many many “Voice in the Wilderness” books that he had written. Then a dad of one of the kids told what an effect Coda (the ministry to public-school kids that Esther Morey leads in West Virginia) had on him...He was an angry person, and through having to ride an hour with Robert in the car to a robotic meeting, he asked questions all the way, and Robert answered every one of them. He got saved about three weeks later. Pastor Nicky (Farmer from Kokomo) shared some too. At the end of meeting we gathered around the table to pray.

Speaking of Esther Morey, she shared with me these thoughts about the “Coda Kids” who came with her and Pastor Robert to the meetings (Five carloads full!):

A beautiful thing (that happened is that twice (in December 2017 and in these meetings) we have brought some of our precious Coda Inspire after-school kids to the Waiting meetings. Rather than being lost in the wood-work they have been welcomed and brought into the family. These experiences have been life changing for them – similar maybe to when I was a 10 year old at a Waiting Upon God.

We went to bed that evening thanking the Lord for the wonderful things we had been given, and in anticipation for the day to come.

Little did I know...

Recap #3 "The Remnant"

Monday, March 19, 2018

Waiting 2018 - Recap #1 "Repent and Don't Quit!"

Dennis Begeman blowing the Shofar

When we heard a few weeks after Waiting 2017 in December that God was leading for another “Waiting” meeting in March, some of us were slightly surprised. I say “slightly” because when you are walking with God and trusting the Holy Spirit, you are seldom very surprised at the unusual ways that the Spirit of Christ sometimes works. His Spirit seldom works along conventional lines. So we made plans, and when the time came we joyfully headed to Parker City, Indiana to be with others called of God at Waiting 2018, which was held March 10 and 11th
 Some might ask, “What is a ‘Waiting on God’?”

Our friend from Kokomo Christ Fellowship in Kokomo, Indiana, Jody Hollis, describes it this way:

(A Waiting is) always such a time of being with the children of God, feeling the love of God though Jesus Christ, in such a blessed way. When the church comes together there should always be this great love flowing outward toward all. In a Waiting you have not laid out plans of any kind. You move as the Spirit leads, and what a mighty leading of God that went forth in this Waiting.

I described the last series of meetings “Waiting 2017” in one of my blog posts (which you can read here) about those meetings this way:

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!

All of this could be said of our gathering in early March 2018 as well.

For me, the meeting began before the “official” opening. Not long after we came in the building, I saw my dear friend and the pastor of Parker City Christ Fellowship, Aaron Simms, at the door of his office. He invited me in and we chatted briefly. I knew at that point that I was to pray for him and for the meetings, which he gladly agreed to. When we were done, he said, “I knew someone was to come and pray with me, but I didn’t know who the Lord was going to send.” I was grateful for the leading of the Holy Spirit before the meeting ever began.

The Saturday morning session began when Bro. Roland Abraham, a godly man and
Roland Abraham
superintendant of a local school district (what a wonderful combination!), prayed a rousing prayer of repentence and faith, calling out again and again, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on us!” in the same manner as the blind men sitting at the Jericho wayside (Matthew 20:30). (See Video #1 below) One of the most remarked-on events of the entire gathering took place right after this. Dennis Begeman, from our congregation of Fair Haven Christ Fellowship in Cynthiana, Indiana, blew the ancient Shofar to begin our time of waiting and worship, in such clear, melodious tones that you would think we were at the gates of Jerusalem (See Video #2 below).

Sis. Marcia Schultze from Kokomo described these first moments of the Saturday meeting this way:
Marcia Schultze and daughter Esther Morey

The morning session began with Pastor Simms calling on Roland Abraham to pray. He prayed over and over again, each time becoming louder: “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on us.” It certainly set the mood for the rest of the meetings. Then he called on (Dennis Begeman) to come and play the shofar. He played it with the clearest tones I’ve ever heard. He explained to us the different tones that they play on the shofar and what they mean - including "sound the alarm" and "the king is coming".

As in the previous gathering in December, we were blessed with anointed worship
Pastor Taylor Keller and Molly Keller leading worship
throughout these meetings led by Pastor Taylor Keller and his sister Molly, both from Plainfield (IN) Christ Fellowship. In this meeting, beginning with a call to “Awaken” on Saturday morning, we were again capably led in worshipful praise by these two talented and Spirit-touched young people, with others such as Missy Simms and Elizabeth Doss adding to our worship at various times.

Pastor Aaron was stirred to exhort briefly (Video #3 below), sharing with us “The one word on my heart is ‘repent!’...The kingdom of heaven is at hand, and you don’t know when you will hear this call again.” Then followed a time of repentance before the living God, as many went to the altar, some to the physical altar and even more to the spiritual altar of the heart.

Pastor Aaron went on to preach a message “Repent and Don’t Quit!” (Video #4 below). Marcia Schultze testified later:

Aaron Sims preached quite a sermon on: “Time to repent!” Some statements he made were: “The return of Christ will never come when you think it will.” “Pastors don’t quit:” “You're not lacking anything to follow Jesus.”

He would go on to exhort us that “the petty differences (such as style of music and
versions of the Bible) need to go by the wayside!” (Amen to that!) “We need each other...the whole world sometimes does a better job coming together in the flesh than we do in the Spirit!” We heard in this Spirit-led message, a needed exhortation for unity and surrender. (It would be really worth your time to watch this message below.)

After the morning meeting, we enjoyed a time of food and fellowship in the Spirit, thanks to the sacrificial work of the members of Parker City Christ Fellowship, especially Janice Gilbert and Beth LaVeau.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Question That Led to The Prayer...My Day at the Indiana Statehouse

Statehouse Prayer Service 2017

A funny thing happened after the Town Hall meeting…

Last month I shared here about a Town Hall meeting I attended in a neighboring town, in which I asked the simple question to our legislators, “What can we pray for you about?” I was rather shocked by the positive reaction to the question both from the crowd and the legislators. (You can read my post about that meeting here.)

Well, I have a confession to make. I left out one important thing that happened that day.

After the meeting, State Rep. Wendy
McNamara and I were talking and she expressed her appreciation that someone one care enough to offer to pray for her and her fellow state legislators. She then said, “Would you be willing to come to the state house and pray on the floor of the House of Representatives soon?” I gladly agreed to do it. She had been looking for pastors in our area that would come an open the session in prayer, and she said she has run out of names of pastors who would be willing to drive three hours to Indianapolis for a short prayer. (I thought that was a shame!)

Indiana Rep. Wendy Mcnamara
So, on March 8th I drove up to Indy very early in the morning and met with Wendy and a couple of volunteer chaplains on the House floor. I was “Minister of the Day” and had a seat on the House floor just a few feet from the podium.

I was to begin the session with prayer at 10:00, but the session did not actually get started until about 10:40. In this time of waiting, Wendy shared with us that it had been a very difficult morning for her, as she had just found out that one of her former students (she is a teacher at Ivy Tech in Evansville) was cruelly murdered the evening before. The family of this young man had already reached out to her for help, and she was understandably grief-stricken and a little overwhelmed. The head chaplain asked me to pray, and so on the House floor three of us gathered around around Rep. McNamara as we cried out for this family...and for Wendy as well. So, God was at work before I even went to the podium to pray.

On my drive up, the Lord began to work with me about the prayer that I believe he wanted me to pray on the House floor. In sharing this story with others, I’ve been asked to write down the prayer that God put on my heart. As far as I know, there was no recording of it, and I had nothing written down, so I’m sharing here the essense of what the Lord put on my heart to pray that morning, when I was called to give the invocation:

God of our fathers
We come to you in grateful acknowledgement
As we stand in this august chamber
Before a gathering of citizen legislators.
This morning we acknowledge You.

As King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was made to exclaim many centuries ago
You work Your will in the armies of heaven
And among the inhabitants of the earth
And none can stay You hand
Or say unto You, “What doest thou?”
It is to You, the God of our Fathers, that we come.

Lord, we come to you in a time of great moral crisis
in our state and in our nation.
This great moral crisis has spawned many other crisis,
which these legislators are having to deal with every day.
From the opiod crisis to the health crisis
To the breakdown of the family and to the spector of school shootings...
All of these crisis and many others are rooted in a great crisis of morals
in our state and in our nation.

Yet this great moral crisis is itself rooted in the fact
that we have turned from the God of our Fathers.
We have forsaken You and gone after other things.
For this we repent today
And ask Your forgiveness.

So today, we ask You to send a renewel of interest in spiritual things
to our state and to our nation
Lord, send a revival, a Spiritual Awakening
to our state and to our nation
As You have sent to our nation so many times in the past.

From Elkart to Evansville
From Frankfurt to Fort Wayne
From Kokomo to Corydon
We pray that a Great Awakening to the things of the Spirit
Will sweep through our state
Not only in our churches
But throughout the state
Even to this very building!

While respecting people of all faiths,
I pray this prayer in the name of my Savior
Jesus Christ,
Who is "the image of the invisible God
The firstborn over all creation."
"For in Him we live and move
And have our being."
In His Name we pray.

State Sen. Jim Tomes and Myself
After the prayer, I made my way to the other side of the statehouse to visit a friend of mine, Senator Jim Tomes, and his trusted assistant and former marine, Cody Smith. Sen. Tomes is a man of faith, and a man who works hard for his constituents every day.  We had a wonderful conversation not only about state issues but spiritual issues as well.  Cody was nice enough to take my picture with Sen. Tomes.

By the way, may I ask you, when you pray for those in authority (as we Christians are command to do in scripture), don’t forget to pray for your state legislators!  In Indiana (and I think in most states), they get very little money and even less appreciation for all they do.   Most of them are not supported by their meager state salaries, but have time-consuming "day jobs" as well.  These men and women are really the “nuts and bolts” of our democracy. It is from the pool of these state leaders that many of our national leaders are drawn, so, in a way, when you pray for the legislators in your state (and I might add in your local community), you are also praying for our future national leaders. Praying for them is a good thing!

After the meeting with Sen. Tomes and his assistant, I took a self-guided tour of the beautiful Victorian-era building that is the Indiana Statehouse. I thought that I was going to leave for home about then, but I received a light touch from the Holy Spirit about going back up to the House chamber and observing the morning session for about fifteen minutes. So I did. As it turned out, the remainder of the morning session lasted only about fifteen more minutes. At this point, the head chaplain, Matthew Barnes, asked me if I had seen the chapel. When I told him that I hadn’t, he and the other chaplain, Pam Russell, took me up to the fourth floor, to a small, simply-furnished room. When I found that room, I found the real place of power in the Indiana Statehouse!

Chaplain Matt, and his Associate Director Tim Overton, shared with me the amazing things that are going on at the statehouse which emanate from that place of prayer. Four days a week, a bible study takes place in the chapel, which is furnished by individual donations. The fifth day (Thursday), a worship service is held in the chapel. Also, on Thursday, a weekly Bible study is held at the Governors’ Office in another part of the statehouse. A fairly large percentage of the Governor’s staff attends this meeting every week. God is moving in Indiana!

I was invited to lunch after this, and enjoyed time with Tim and Pam for perhaps an hour, as I found out more amazing things that are going on at our state capital. Fourteen years ago, Matthew Barnes, sensing a call of the Holy Spirit, left his job at Home Depot and became Volunteer Chaplain at the statehouse. As far as I understand this, there had been no such position before Chaplain Matthew assumed it. He began an outreach to state senators and representatives, as well as members of the Governor’s staff and other state officials, which he calls simply “Public Servants’ Prayer.” (Follow this link to check out their website and to find out more about their important work.  You can also read this article about their beginnings that came out in a Charleston, SC paper.)

Matthew Barnes
Matthew Barnes was one time introduced at a banquet by a state official (half-jokingly) as the most powerful man in the Indiana statehouse. He or one of his staff sit on the floor of the Indiana House and Senate during every session. They have been building relationships with powerful men and women, and have become a great resource to these people on both sides of the aisle, not only in their professional lives but in their personal lives as well. When Mike Pence was governor, he sat in on many of the Bible studies at the Governor's office (and I understand our current governor, Eric Holcomb, has attended some meetings put on by Public Servants’ Prayer as well). 

As I was leaving, I expressed to Tim and Pam my desire for our church to be a prayer resource for them as well as those they are ministering to at the capital. We ended our day as it prayer. As I was driving home, I couldn’t help but reflect on the amazing turn of events that started with a prompting of the Holy Spirit in a Town Hall meeting in Poseyville, Indiana, to simply ask our legislators, “How can we pray for you?” Several times during my day in Indianapolis someone would speak to someone else in my presence and say something to the effect of  “Did you know that this is the man who asked the question at the Town Hall?” It was as if The Question became my calling card. The Question led to The Prayer. And where The Prayer leads to, only Jesus knows.

Rep. Tom Washburne, also a friend of mine (and the man who asked for prayer for his frequent colds at the Town Hall meeting), told me at the statehouse that he has shared the story of what happened at the Town Hall meeting to many people.  As a result, at two other Town Hall meetings (that we know of...maybe more), others have stood and asked the same question!  

A wise man once said, “Following the Lord is thrills, romance, and adventure!” Well, this day was quite an adventure. And (I can’t say much because I don’t know much) I have reason to believe that it won’t end here.  Praise the Lord!"

"Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgements and unfathomable His ways!"  (Romans 11:33)

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