Army Chaplain Jose Rondon believes “there is nothing more exhilarating in life than seeing people come to Christ.” In the last six months, Rondon has experienced that exhilaration with more than 1,400 professions of faith — something one could describe as a spiritual awakening — at Fort Leonard Wood, his place of ministry.
Because of his reputation for being intentional in his ministry, many have come to hear Rondon share the Gospel on Sundays.
“We have seen 1,459 soldiers come to Christ since March of this year,” Rondon said. “God is doing great things at Fort Leonard Wood among the hundreds of soldiers who have come to know Christ personally.”
Retired Major General Doug Carver, executive director of chaplaincy for the North American Mission Board, says what is happening at Fort Leonard Wood is not an exception. Right now there are reportedly 1,348 military chaplains in the Southern Baptist Convention at work.
“Our troops, who are increasingly hungry for truth and relevancy in their lives, are finding a faith that works through a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ,” Carver said. “The current spiritual awakening at Fort Leonard Wood is indicative of a great move of God taking place within the Armed Services today.”
Consider the following, Carver reported:
— More than 2,000 troops gathered in Doughboy Stadium at Fort Benning, Ga. this past Easter to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
— Army chaplains are currently baptizing an average of 70 soldiers every basic combat training cycle at Fort Jackson, S.C.
— The U.S. Air Force Chaplaincy recently rolled out a new program called FaithWorks, which is a collection of evidence-based programs and materials promoting spiritual resilience for airmen and their families.
— The military has built more chapels since 9/11 than any other period of American history except for World War II.
In the past two years, Southern Baptist military chaplains have reported there have been tens of thousands of professions of faith and thousands of baptisms.
“Historically, God has often used the military as a catalyst for revival,” Carver said. “Many attribute the spread of Christianity in the first century to Roman soldiers deployed throughout the Roman Empire. The Lord is answering our prayers for revival within our military communities. I’ve prayed for over 40 years for our troops and their families to experience the reality of Jesus Christ in a new and fresh way.”
Chaplain Rondon has been intentional with his words and with how he treats his fellow soldiers. So when a staff sergeant first approached Rondon and asked to speak with him, the chaplain knew the sergeant wasn’t asking for words of wisdom but for listening ears.
“To be intentional is to be faithful to Christ and obedient to His Great Commission,” Rondon said. “But we will not succeed in making disciples until the lost make the first step to follow Christ as their Savior. To be intentional not only means to preach Christ’s Word in the chapel, but to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit to share His message of reconciliation if, and when, the time fits.”
So, Rondon listened to the staff sergeant, and then he prayed with him to receive Jesus Christ as his Savior. Rondon did the same thing when another senior non-commissioned officer asked for the chance to talk to him about spiritual matters. This soldier-leader also asked Jesus Christ into his heart.
“My two soldiers and friends from our current battalion at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri came to Christ because their lives were in need of the Savior,” he said. “All of us at some point need to be a listening ear, to help others to start trusting and believing in anything again, especially when our wounds are so deep that we lose respect for many around us.
“They talked to me about their lives because they respected me and noticed I really cared for our soldiers like I always do during my pastoral rounds. I invited them both to a meal. God always opens great doors like this when we listen to people without interrupting. We show them how much we care by being there for them whenever they need it most.”
In both conversations, a chaplain and a sergeant spoke about their lives.
“Instead of asking them whether or not they knew they were going to heaven if they died today, I simply said, ‘I see that you need Christ in your life. He can not only help you to deal with the challenges of daily living, but He can also save you from an eternal death because of your sins,’” Rondon said. “They both agreed they needed Christ to come into their lives forever and to have His presence to deal with life from that moment on.” — Baptist Press
North America has hosted many great revivals over the last few centuries. Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield led the First Great Awakening in the colonial United States in the 1730s and 1740s. In the early 1800s, the Cane Ridge Revival in Kentucky kicked off the Second Great Awakening. People came from around the world to witness the Holy Spirit’s power at Azusa Street Revival of 1906. And in the 1990s, thousands flocked to the Toronto Blessing and the Brownsville Revival.
Now, mere miles from the site of the original Cane Ridge Revival, seeds are being planted for the next great move of God—and maybe even a Third Great Awakening. Earlier this year, traveling evangelist Rick Curry visited Mt. Carmel Christian Church in Paris, Kentucky. The church was founded in 1818 by a man denounced by his former church for attending the original Cane Ridge revival. Curry was invited to preach at Mt. Carmel’s 200th-anniversary celebration, which happened to fall on Pentecost Sunday. During his message, revival broke out and hasn’t subsided since.
But this Kentucky city isn’t the only one experiencing revival. In fact, it’s just one example of an insatiable hunger for God’s presence breaking out in cities and towns across America.
At New Life Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, pastor Mike Fehlauer says an incredible move of God has taken place since he and his staff decided to “get out of God’s way and give the Holy Spirit room to work.” Since June, New Life has seen more than 300 baptisms, numerous salvations, and physical and emotional healings and deliverance.
Christ Fellowship Church in Dawsonville, Georgia, has experienced revival since February under lead pastor Todd Smith. This charismatic church of 350 people has witnessed more than 865 baptisms. Smith says people have travelled hundreds—even thousands—of miles just to “walk into the baptismal waters and feel the presence of the Lord.” As a result, many have been miraculously healed and delivered from addictions and emotional scars.
Even the U.S. military base at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, is feeling the Spirit’s fire. The Baptist Press reports that chaplains have seen “an incredible hunger for God,” with nearly 2,000 soldiers giving their lives to Christ since March. In Greeneville, Tennessee, a tent revival led by evangelist D.R. Harrison has lasted over five months and led to hundreds of salvations.
Pat Schatzline, an Assemblies of God minister and travelling evangelist who has studied revivals and written books on the need for spiritual renewal, says these revivals show the church is on the cusp of breakthrough.
“It is the embryonic stages of the Third Great Awakening,” Schatzline says. “… I believe that with all my heart.”
Baptisms in Georgia
The Dawsonville revival began when God gave Schatzline a vision of a mysterious pastor. Schatzline didn’t know who the man was, but he could see he was wracked with despair, sitting alone in a dark room. Hundreds of miles away, pastor Smith was doing just that, crying out to God and looking for a sign that he should continue to lead Christ Fellowship Church.
“If You don’t move, I’m done,” Smith said.
Smith got his sign when Schatzline reached out through a mutual friend. Schatzline gave Smith a message: God is coming to Christ Fellowship Church, and He is going to restore the promise He gave you eight years ago.
Then Smith received a prophetic vision of his own. He saw the church’s baptistry—the baptism pool was full, and a strip of fire appeared on top of the water. Shortly after, Smith says, God “sat down in our building and rocked our world.” Christ Fellowship hasn’t been the same since, attracting visitors from South Carolina, Minnesota and even California.
“The presence of God and the outpouring of the Holy Ghost have just erupted here,” Smith says.
Prior to the revival, Christ Fellowship conducted only a handful of baptisms each month. But since February, more than 40 people often experience water baptism in a single service, pushing the services well past midnight. One Sunday night, 114 people were baptized. Such high numbers of baptisms didn’t start immediately. But Smith says they quickly multiplied as the power of God manifested and people hungered for healing.
“The fame of his name and what He was doing in those waters began to spread,” Smith says. “When we would give the invitation, you would see 30 or 40 people run to the front to get baptized. The power of God was violent in the water. People would thrash around. Fire confronts what is going on in their lives. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen. And it has nothing to do with us as a church or any personalities involved. It’s simply God’s presence and His power.”
Some are calling the meetings a “baptism revival,” a term Don Allen, lead pastor of The Church at War Hill, says he’s never heard before. But after preaching several times at Christ Fellowship, Allen’s seen it for himself.
In the baptismal waters, numerous individuals have been healed of longtime physical ailments. Smith says the church is careful to record and follow up on them with health-care professionals so as not to minimize God’s glory.
One example is Amanda Boan, an 11-year-old who shunned foot surgery to remove an extra bone in her foot that caused her foot to twist to the side, leaving her with great pain and a limited ability to run. Boan was baptized during a Sunday-night service and continued to believe for her healing. At a service soon afterward, Boan went up to the altar and experienced instant healing: “It was like my foot was tight and then it was loosened.”
She could place her foot flat on the floor and run around the church without pain. Doctors confirmed she no longer needed surgery.
Amy Ransom also received healing. For almost three decades, Ransom suffered debilitating migraine headaches that also affected her financially due to the out-of-pocket medication costs. During a Sunday-night service, Ransom knew after fasting and praying she had been healed.
“I have gone from having daily migraines for 28 years to none,” Ransom says.
And Donna Posey, a longtime Christ Fellowship member, says God healed her of bone loss in her mouth during the second revival service in February. The condition had lingered for years, and because she didn’t have enough bone to support her dentures, implant surgery was her only option. After fervent prayer for the affected area, Posey visited her dentist, who confirmed 30 percent bone gain in her mouth. Posey says her dentist “looked at my X-ray and asked me if I believed in miracles.”
But healings and deliverance aren’t all this move of God has produced. It has had a profound spiritual effect on other churches in the region.
“We’re watching people from all faiths come here and receive what the Holy Spirit has for them,” Allen says. “Not only are we seeing salvations and miracles, but we’re seeing reconciliation among the churches here, the body of Christ really working together. You are literally seeing the miracle of unity. Our church has seen renewed prayer exponentially. Our people are now interceding for Todd’s church and for others. It’s amazing.”
Renewal in Kentucky
After the Cane Ridge Revival sparked the Second Great Awakening, revival spread across the American frontier. Now Mt. Carmel Christian Church has become the site of a new revival.
After Curry preached at Mt. Carmel’s 200th anniversary celebration, he says, the altars were filled at the conclusion of the first service in May. The meetings became so popular they had to be moved to a bigger facility, nearby River of Life Ministries in Paris, and the house is packed three nights a week.
“As worship filled the old sanctuary, we heard a remarkable sound,” Curry says. “It sounded as if every person in the sanctuary started simultaneously stomping their feet on the old wooden floors. I felt quickened in my spirit that it was the sound of the Lord coming upon the land. The sound of jubilant breakthrough resonated from the hearts of the people in that service, and it was as though we all knew revival was being birthed.”
Ministers from throughout Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Oklahoma and New Jersey have reportedly visited the revival in Paris.
“We have seen hundreds, a thousand come to the altar,” Curry says. “People have been saved, delivered and many are returning to the Lord, surrendering their yielding hearts. We have seen many miracles and healings that are really stunning in this stage of the revival. We have seen pastors and leaders repenting, weeping and laughing in an outpouring of the refreshing.”
Repentance in Texas
Fehlauer says Jesus has always been the focus of New Life Church’s kingdom purpose. The multi-campus church grew from 650 to nearly 3,000 members since he took over as lead pastor in 2011.
But he admits something had been missing from the South Texas church’s services.
“I believe that Jesus has always been at the centre of what we’ve done, but I think our bandwidth was too narrow as far as the anointing and the presence of God is concerned,” Fehlauer says. “We weren’t giving Him time or enough room to do what He really wants to do here. God directed me to preach about the presence of the Lord and the hunger for Him. It’s His words, not mine, and I would say unequivocally that one of the biggest reasons we’re seeing this is that these people are hungry for more than the status quo. Since we started this, the presence of the Holy Spirit has been thick, and the expectancy for God to move has been very strong.”
At the first meeting, Fehlauer says more than 100 people responded to the altar call for repentance and salvation, and 10 people were baptized. The next week, another 100-plus people came forward. Soon after, many individuals expressed to church staff their desire to be baptized.
“Most of these people who come to our church are new Christians, and they don’t have any point of reference for any of this,” Fehlauer says. “But these people are spontaneously running to the altar because they’re desperate for everything God has for them. I’m talking about real Acts 2:38 repentance, when Peter said to repent and be baptized and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. People addicted to pornography and some to drugs have come to ask for forgiveness, and they have experienced deliverance and healing. We’ve had men come clean about adulterous affairs. It’s inspiring to see them repent of the hurt they’ve caused others.”
Fehlauer recalled the testimony of one woman from another church in Corpus Christi who visited New Life this summer. After one service, she approached a wife of one of the pastors. She told the pastor’s wife she had visited a couple of Brownsville Revival meetings in Pensacola, Florida, in 1995. The woman said she hadn’t experienced the Holy Spirit’s presence like that again—until now.
New Life’s executive pastor, Dan Goodson, 59, lived through the Jesus Movement in the 1970s. He also spent 12 years as the COO at Joyce Meyer Ministries and several years as the executive pastor at Destiny Church in St. Louis. But he says he’s never seen a hunger for Christ like the one New Life is experiencing.
“It’s really incredible how authentic this is. It’s not man-made,” Goodson says. “People are coming to the altar and just laying their burdens down. We’ve had people come to the altar, and they don’t know why they’re even coming because they’re unsaved. They’re wanting to get water-baptized because they are hungry for something they’ve never had. That’s how heavy the Holy Spirit has been in our services.”
Third Great Awakening
Schatzline, who has preached multiple services at Dawsonville, says what’s happening in Georgia, Texas and Kentucky is “a sovereign move of God.”
“Unfortunately, many churches have learned structure, systems and ambience,” Schatzline says. “They remove one-third of the Trinity—the Holy Spirit—and one-third from 100 is 66.6. That is the spirit of the Antichrist. What I think these pockets of revival are proving is that God is going to do things differently than many people think. It’s happening on the backroads and not the crossroads. It may sound like an odd term, but I feel like God is kissing the faithful—the ones who are pressed in, the ones who still believe. Those are people who have stuck to the core values of fasting, prayer and preaching the cross, and the results are now visibly manifesting in these churches.”
Allen agrees with Schatzline’s assessment of revival.
“I have personally begun to study the significant movements of the Great Awakenings,” Allen says. “When prayer increases and people repent to God and each other, that’s when the Spirit moves and great things happen.”
Curry says he has little doubt that a Third Great Awakening is on the horizon.
“I truly believe this is the seedbed of awakening,” Curry says. “I believe America’s greatest awakening lies ahead of us and not behind us. I believe that transforming revival will come to this nation soon.”
Shawn A. Akers is a content development editor for Charisma Media.
God’s Surprises summarises revival events in 20 countries. It’s a brief summary of information in my books Journey into Mission (most detail) and Journey into Ministry and Mission (condensed autobiography).
“Can I take some bread home?” asked a tattooed young man at our communion service in the slums of Nairobi in Kenya, East Africa. God’s Spirit had prompted me to buy a few loaves of bread, bottles of drink and plastic glasses for the congregation.
We shared real drink and two loaves of bread together among 30 people in their corrugated iron shed where I was the guest preacher.
“It’s your bread,” I answered. “You decide.” He quickly shoved a handful of bread into his pocket. Then most of the others did the same. Two weeks later, Frank, the young pastor, emailed me: “I’ve visited the slum homes of those people and they are still eating that bread. It’s still fresh.” Apparently God multiplied it.
Frank and his wife Linda then offered free bread and drink each Saturday for hungry, skinny slum people, usually catering for about 50 people. Sometimes many more turned up but they always had plenty. Apparently God kept multiplying it as needed.
A young pastor in Ghana in West Africa invited me to hold meetings there. So I arrived with three others from Brisbane during our college break in July, forgetting it was monsoon time in Ghana. We flew into a deluge of rain on the Monday. Our hosts planned night meetings in the market from Tuesday, with morning teaching in a local church.
“Can we hold the night rallies in the church?” I suggested.
“Oh, no,” they said. “Only church people go there. Meetings in the market attract the crowds.”
“What about the rain?” I asked.
“God sent you, so he’ll do something,” they responded, full of faith.
We drove for over an hour in pouring rain from Accra, the capital, to the town of Suhum in the hills for our first meeting on Tuesday night. The heavy rain had flooded the power station there so the whole town was in darkness. We prayed earnestly, asking God to take over.
Within 15 minutes the rain stopped, the town lit up with power, and we began. Those excited Africans sang and danced for over two hours, attracting hundreds to the service. All that week we had clear skies and large crowds. Church teams prayed for hundreds of people. Many were saved. Many were healed. One man testified, “I came to this meeting blind, but while you were singing I found I could see.”
Heavy monsoon rains began again the day after our meetings ended.
A friend of mine worked with the United Nations in Nepal. He loved to help and support pastors and leaders there. We visited him many times and I spoke at pastors and leaders meetings in Kathmandu, in West Nepal and in East Nepal. Some of those pastors walked for two or three days across the high ranges just to attend.
Their churches are saturated in prayer. I prayed in their “Power House”, the upstairs prayer rooms of their church in Kathmandu. Those small upper rooms, open 24 hours a day, had many people going there to fast and pray, sometimes for many days.
We saw God’s Spirit move beautifully and powerfully in those meetings. Many were filled with the Spirit and healed. I heard a young man from one of their church bands praying eloquently in beautiful English – but he cannot speak English. They pray for one another with strong faith, expecting God to save, heal, deliver and anoint them.
The dedication of those Christians impressed me. Most of them have been imprisoned for their faith many times. One young pastor conducted a Christian wedding which infuriated relatives so they complained to the police and he spent a month in prison for disturbing the peace. Our host had been severely beaten while in prison. Two young evangelists were shot to death when we were there. They had returned from Bible College in India and were accused of spying. God gives those Christians amazing peace and joy amid the persecution, just as in the Book of The Acts.
Our team visited Grace Bible College in New Delhi founded by Dr Paul Pilai. Paul had stayed in our home in Brisbane when he visited Australia. He was converted after a young Christian girl prayed for his healing while he was very ill in hospital and he recovered miraculously.
He told us how his students and teams started new churches in villages and towns. They often faced angry opposition. One fanatical group burned their meeting tent and attacked them, hitting them with clubs, trying to kill them. They broke Paul’s arm and burned the tent. Suddenly some handsome Indian men surrounded Paul’s team and miraculously moved them away to a safe place nearby. The team could see their burning tent in the distance. Those angels told Paul that God would send him back there. A few years later they were invited back and started a church there in a home.
Grace Bible College, the largest in India with around 600 students, trains people to evangelize and plant churches, especially among unreached peoples. Their graduates often face persecution and some have been martyrs. What a humbling privilege it was to pray with the staff there and speak to the crowded hall full of such committed students.
I taught on revival at a seminary in Manilla in the sweltering heat of the Philippines. An assignment I gave my M.Th. students was to report on revival and miracles. One pastor, who was also a police inspector, reported that a church he visited sent groups of young people to sing and speak at hospitals and nursing homes.
One of those teams held monthly meetings in a mental hospital. The staff said that their patients may not understand much, but those patients did enjoy the singing. Over 40 came to the first meeting. The team offered to pray for anyone who would like prayer. They prayed personally for 26 people. The next month when the team returned, all those 26 had been discharged and sent home.
I visited China with a student from college. His parents worked there. The woman pastor-evangelist of a house church invited us to her church in a high-rise unit. The young man who met us at the gate could speak English.
He feared that the security guard might ask awkward questions, but as we walked in around 7pm, the guard had his back to us, talking to someone else. When we left after midnight, the guard was gone, probably sleeping.
Around 30 people sat on the floor and sang softly in worship. We spoke and then found that no one would leave until we had prayed for them personally. That took a while! They were happy to slip away one-by-one, just as they had come. Most were new Christians who believed because a Christian prayed for their healing. They believed in prayer and miracles just as in the Book of The Acts. Their simple, strong faith and humility moved and challenged me deeply.
We visited Elcho Island in the north where revival broke out and spread through Aboriginal communities all across northern Australia. We invited a team from Elcho Island for a Pentecost weekend in Brisbane. Two dozen came! They told us about the revival and prayed for people after each meeting that weekend, just sitting on the carpeted platform floor, aboriginal style.
That revival began after aborigines on Elcho Island prayed desperately for revival amid increasing crime, drink and drugs. The night their pastor, Djiniyini Gondarra (photo), returned from a holiday they met for Bible Study and prayer in his home. God’s Spirit fell on them as they united for the closing prayer. That prayer and ministry went all night. People were filled with the Spirit, discovered many spiritual gifts, and saw healings and reconciliations. Everywhere their teams went they saw God moving on the people in local revivals.
South Pacific Islands
Many revival movements have swept the South Pacific islands. I saw some. God’s Spirit fell on the Law School of the University of the South Pacific just after Easter 2002. The Law School is in Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu. Many law students were saved and transformed at their open-air rally.
Those committed students went on missions to other South Pacific nations and to Australia. Now they are lawyers and leaders. A president of their Christian Fellowship became a Member of Parliament in Fiji.
Some of those teams came with me to Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. God has been moving there in unusual ways for a hundred years. Vanuatu people first evangelized the island, one becoming a martyr. A wife of the highest ranking chief returned to life after she died and told them that she had seen God and they should leave their heathen ways and become Christians. Many revival teams have served God there in local revivals. Large numbers repent, are filled with the Spirit, and receive many spiritual gifts including revelations, words of knowledge about hidden magic or sins, and deliverance and healings.
God poured out his Spirit on children and youth in the Western Solomon Islands from Easter 2003. They loved to sing and pray daily in the church after school. God gave them visions, revelations, words of knowledge about hidden sins and bad relationships and they received many other spiritual gifts such as healings and speaking and singing what God revealed.
God revealed to a young boy the name of a man who stole a chain saw from the timber mill. A church member had been wrongly accused of that crime and sacked. He was reinstated after the man who stole it was confronted and confessed.
A mother asked me what it meant when her young boy had a vision of Jesus with one foot in heaven and one foot on the earth. I immediately remembered Matthew 28:18 – All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
We saw God touch around 1,000 youths at a National Christian Youth Convention in 2006. One night at the convention they responded, running to the front of the open-air meeting. For half-an-hour their worship team sang “He is Lord” while we prayed for them. They fell like dominoes. Many testified to healings, visions and revelations. One young man returned to his village that night and found his mother ill, so laid hands on her and prayed for her. She was healed. His brother then asked for prayer and he too was healed. The young man had never done that before. A whole group from the Kariki Islands, further west, saw revival begin in their islands on their return. God moved powerfully in every meeting they held and in their personal prayers.
I discovered that we Westerners are often too busy to pray, too worldly to listen to God, too proud to repent, and too unbelieving to see revival. We Christians – called by the name of Christ – need to take God’s promise seriously:
If my people who are called by name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
You can do that right now – at your computer or with your phone. You could take time right now to pray and seek God, to pray and obey.
As of Fall 2018, every single nation on earth is represented at Arizona State University! Over 150 nations have someone on the ASU campus, while other nations are involved online – including North Korea and Antarctica! From this one place, Spirit-led believers have the potential to impact the entire family of nations, just as the apostles did on Pentecost!
In recent months, this huge university, the largest in the United States, has been in the grip of a bona fide spiritual awakening.
By our definition, formed over twenty years of monitoring transforming revival around the world, a true awakening means the work of God is comprehensive. This stands in contrast to a human campaign or initiative where results are typically confined to a single category or location within the community.
At ASU [Arizona State University], God’s sweep is as broad as it gets.
Not surprisingly, united prayer has proven to be a major factor behind these happy developments. After several tough years where campus ministries tended to go their own way, things took a pleasant turn in the fall of 2017. Instead of the usual two to three ministries coming together before God, prayer events at the local Campus Christian Center were rocking a three-fold increase in intercessory participants.
This past spring, fully a dozen ministries united behind a forty-day prayer focus where petitions were lifted day and night from a tent erected near the main campus square. The initiative was so fruitful, the ministries decided to continue the effort over the balance of the academic semester.
This fall, the tally of participating ministries and campus churches reached seventeen, as a fresh fifty-six-day campaign drew prodigals, atheists, Muslims, New Agers, and students suffering from depression. In addition to witnessing numerous conversions, healings, and deliverances, the intercessors also watched God begin to move among the University faculty and administration.
One of the more significant breakthroughs involved the school’s Interfaith Council of Religious Advisors. For years, the woman directing the council was motivated to establish ASU as a model of the global interfaith movement. Unfortunately, this highly syncretistic vision proved to be a major hindrance to the gospel. As time went by, her attitude toward Christians hardened, and ministries found their access to campus facilities severely limited.
Faced with this opposition, students and ministry leaders began to pray that God would either change this woman’s heart, or install someone more sympathetic.
It did not take God long to act. Within a period of weeks, this woman who had so vexed campus leaders disappeared from the Interfaith Council. None of the Christians on campus seemed to know where she had gone, or why. She was simply no longer there. Her replacement, a man even more hostile to the Christian cause, was similarly prayed out. Today, the council is headed by the son of a Baptist minister!
Even more dramatic has been the departure from the university of notorious atheist Lawrence Krauss. Virulently anti-Christian, the highly-paid professor routinely packed out Gammage Auditorium on campus by bringing in atheist luminaries such as Richard Dawkins and the late Stephen Hawking.
A theoretical physicist, Krauss founded the Origins Project in 2009 with the aim of placing the university at the forefront of the New Atheist Movement. By promoting hostile, anti-religious rhetoric and policies (“teaching Creationism to youth is child abuse”), Krauss bullied Christian students and faculty into silence.
During the worst of Krauss’s campaign, God assured one late-night intercessor that the professor would be brought low, and that the backbone of the atheist movement on campus would be broken.
Given Krauss’s fame and tenure, this prospect was almost unimaginable.
And yet, on Oct. 21, 2018, Lawrence Krauss announced his resignation after being stripped of his role as an academic chair and as the Director of the Origins Project. This action came in the wake of an impending termination procedure urged by the dean of ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
According to ASU provost, Mark Searle, action was taken because the physicist “violated the school’s sexual harassment policy and code of ethics.” In a July 31 letter to Krauss, Searle told the professor his behavior was “unprofessional, reflects a failure of leadership, and is extremely disappointing.”
As for the Origins Project itself, the university newspaper notes that “sources point to a very different future for the project.” The initiative has already lost its name.
With Krauss out of the picture at ASU, Christian faculty in both the arts and sciences are again raising their flag.
A March 2019 conference on Science and Faith will allow students to engage faculty in six fields, an approach being lauded by the university president. As one professor’s official profile declares: “Through his work he intends to glorify God, from whom all good things come.”
Transforming winds have also been coursing through the university’s athletic department. Just last month, over 100 Christian student athletes attended an all-sport gathering in the men’s football facility that featured worship, prayer, and inspirational messages.
Many athletes were touched at this student-led event as the room was charged with the Spirit of God. One of them, star wide receiver N’Keal Harry — whom many analysts peg as a top-15 pick in the upcoming NFL draft — gave his heart to Christ and is devouring the Word. He is arguably the most popular personality on the ASU campus.
And Harry is but one of an estimated twenty to thirty football players who have turned their lives over to Jesus in recent months.The wrestling team has also been impacted through the open witness of Austyn Harris and All-American Josh Shields, and encouraging reports are coming in from athletes associated with hockey, lacrosse, gymnastics, track, swimming, and volleyball.
Dorm and Greek life are likewise feeling the impact of the Gospel. As one knowledgeable source told me, “Before this year, it was hard to find any Christians in the Honors dorms. Now, it seems like they are everywhere!”Better yet, they are uniting in prayer that God’s purposes will be realized in the lives of these elite students.
So much more could be said, but I’ll leave you with the observation one student athlete shared with me earlier this month: “The identity of ASU is being flipped.”
As of Fall 2018, every single nation on earth is represented at Arizona State University! Over 150 nations have someone on the ASU campus, while other nations are involved online – including North Korea and Antarctica! From this one place, Spirit-led believers have the potential to impact the entire family of nations, just as the apostles did on Pentecost!
Here is how you can be a part.
First, we need people who will partner with us to supply transformation video libraries to the dorms and athletic teams at ASU. There is great interest in these stories, and I believe they will inspire students to embrace even more of God.
Second, we believe God has called us to document this unfolding story on film so it can stir up faith on other campuses. We began this effort during a short visit to the ASU campus two weeks ago, but we want to return in late January to film a much larger set of interviews and events that are being arranged.
This story has already stirred audiences in several states. Just last week, I was able to share highlights with campus ministers from all the Ivy League schools plus Stanford University. This coming May, these leaders will join us on a revival exposure tour to see more of God’s handiwork in the Fiji Islands.
We need approximately $25,000 for these undertakings. If you can make a year-end gift to the ministry on Giving Tuesday (November 27), this will allow us to capture and transmit this glorious story to thousands.
Finally, please continue to pray for us as we complete other important research, training, and media projects. It is our heart’s desire to offer up some much-needed good news in this dark and uncivil hour.
‘I Have Decided to Follow Jesus’ is a Christian hymn originating from India. The lyrics are based on the last words of a man in Garo, Assam.
About 150 years ago, there was a great revival in Wales. As a result of this, many missionaries came to north-east India to spread the Gospel. The region known as Assam was comprised of hundreds of tribes who were primitive and aggressive head-hunters
Into these hostile and aggressive communities, came a group of missionaries from the American Baptist Missions spreading the message of love, peace and hope in Jesus Christ. Naturally, they were not welcomed. One missionary succeeded in converting a man, his wife, and two children. This man’s faith proved contagious and many villagers began to accept Christianity.
Angry, the village chief summoned all the villagers. He then called the family who had first converted to renounce their faith in public or face execution. Moved by the Holy Spirit, the man instantly composed a song which became famous down the years. He sang:
“I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back, no turning back.”
Enraged at the refusal of the man, the chief ordered his archers to arrow down the two children. As both boys lay twitching on the floor, the chief asked, “Will you deny your faith? You have lost both your children. You will lose your wife too.”
But the man sang these words in reply:
“Though no one joins me, still I will follow. Though no one joins me, still I will follow. Though no one joins me, still I will follow. No turning back, no turning back.”
The chief was beside himself with fury and ordered his wife to be arrowed down. In a moment she joined her two children in death. Now he asked for the last time, “I will give you one more opportunity to deny your faith and live.”In the face of death the man sang the final memorable lines:
“The cross before me, the world behind me. The cross before me, the world behind me. The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back, no turning back.”
He was shot dead like the rest of his family. But with their deaths, a miracle took place. The chief who had ordered the killings was moved by the faith of the man. He wondered, “Why should this man, his wife and two children die for a Man who lived in a far-away land on another continent some 2,000 years ago? There must be some remarkable power behind the family’s faith, and I too want to taste that faith.”
In a spontaneous confession of faith, he declared, “I too belong to Jesus Christ!” When the crowd heard this from the mouth of their chief, the whole village accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
The song is based on the last words of Nokseng, a man from Garo tribe of Assam (now Meghalaya and some in Assam), India. It is today the song of the Garo people.
Source: Dr. P.P. Job in ‘Why God Why’
In this video the hymn “I have decided to follow Jesus” is sung in English and Tamil as a tribute to the many men and women, particularly in the Middle East, who did not flinch in the face of death but counted all things loss for Christ’s sake, who fought the good fight and kept the faith.
Chapter 8: The Birth of Christian Outreach Centre by Anne Taylor
This article describes the life of Clark Taylor and his influence through Christian Outreach Centre.
Clark Taylor was born in Queensland, Australia in 1937. He was a farmer with little formal education. As a result of being born again in 1959 in a Billy Graham Crusade in Brisbane, he began training for the Methodist ministry in 1961. This was interrupted in 1963 when he suffered from cerebral malaria and frequently lapsed into unconsciousness.
In 1967, God miraculously healed him. During the Sunday morning service at the Oxley Methodist Church, he believed God was telling him to obey James 5 as it was time for him to be healed. That is exactly what happened on the following Tuesday night when the Rev. Godfrey Williams prayed for him. It was in that same year that he first heard about the baptism in the Holy Spirit, which he received after being prayed for by Frank Fullwood, an Assembly of God pastor.
In January 1968, he became an assistant minister in the Holland Park Methodist Circuit in Brisbane. He was responsible for St. Paul’s Church at Upper Mt Gravatt. After a Bible Study on the Holy Spirit, some people remained behind for prayer. One young man who was prayed for that night spoke in tongues until 2am Another lady received holy laughter which lasted for three days. People who had a hunger for God began praying together three times a week.
Sovereign move of God
In July, God moved sovereignly at St. Paul’s. In a prayer meeting at the manse on 17 July, a lady had a vision of Jesus standing before her, telling her that there was going to be a special service on Sunday night, and that he would bring people from the highways and the byways. Normally there was only a small congregation.
True to His word, God drew the people from as far away as Toowoomba and the Gold Coast with the result that the church was absolutely packed, despite the fact that there had been no advertising. As an example of God’s ability to draw people, a man came from the Darling Downs after reading Haggai 2:1 about the 21st day of the 7th month. There were manifestations of the Holy Spirit during the entire meeting which came to an abrupt end with the appearance of the Senior Minister who had not received the same Holy Ghost revelation.
In 1969 the Methodist Church placed Clark Taylor in King’s College, their Theological College. Because there were people who had been filled with the Holy Spirit but were not being pastored, Taylor began a house meeting at Corinda in May 1969. Fifty people attended the first meeting from Brisbane and the surrounding area. Over the next two years, the numbers grew to approximately two hundred, with ministers, priests, nuns and other people being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Clark Taylor led a group of young people in the streets of Brisbane, who saw many other young people saved as they witnessed to them about Jesus. Some of the young people came from the Wavell Heights Presbyterian Church where the Spirit-filled ministers were Alex Wylie and Ian Barlow. Others were involved with Charles Ringma, who later commenced Teen Challenge in Brisbane.
Early in 1970, Taylor resigned from the Methodist Church. Later in the year he received a prophetic word. Part of it says “….The College which I have spoken about to you and have called you to is the College whereby you live in prayer and intimacy with the Spirit and where I speak to you Spirit to spirit. … I would have you to learn the fear of God; I would have you to seek the fear of God, for the fear of God will keep you stable. If you do not have a fear of me, then inevitably you will raise yourself up and the devil will snare you. …”
Late in 1970, Clark Taylor joined with Pastor Trevor Chandler to Pastor the Windsor Full Gospel Church. Later they both left to begin Christian Life Centre.
At the end of 1972, Taylor resigned from Christian Life Centre to spend eighteen months in travelling ministry.
Early in 1974 he wrote, “For a long time now the Lord has been impressing upon me to commence another Centre in Brisbane. It is a city of nearly one million people and God has given me a vision to reach many of the country areas round about”.
That vision found its fulfilment in Christian Outreach Centre, the major vehicle through which Taylor influenced Australia and other nations.
Christian Outreach Centre
Christian Outreach Centre began with twenty-five adults meeting in the Taylors’ home on 16 June, 1974. On the following Sunday, one hundred and twenty-six people took Communion in a rented building owned by the Teachers’ Union.
The Church grew rapidly. It had started with no money or resources, but by October was able to purchase a Salvation Army property in Woolloongabba. The Church kept expanding, particularly by unchurched people being saved. It was also a place where Christians, both Protestant and Roman Catholic could be baptised in the Holy Spirit.
Clark Taylor had a big vision for evangelising and teaching children. In 1974, Pastor Neil Miers was employed as the Children’s Pastor. Old double-decker buses were purchased from Sydney to transport unchurched children from the suburbs. The Woolloongabba property was bursting at the seams, but children and adults were crammed into every nook and cranny. Joy Time Clubs began for children in the suburbs after school. Saturdays found children’s workers dressed up in animal costumes, outreaching with the gospel. Before Pastor Miers left Brisbane in 1977, the Children’s Church numbered seven hundred.
Finding space was always a problem, but Taylor never allowed such problems to stand in the way of his vision of Australia For Christ. He believed that there was always a solution for each problem. He was not limited by traditional church thinking. In January 1975, a large property was purchased at Mt. Tuchekoi for a conference centre. Many a child’s life was changed at a Children’s Camp there.
Television was another medium which Taylor used very successfully throughout Australia. By 1976, Taylor was starting to talk about using television in Australia in a radical way. By that time the Church had outgrown the Woolloongabba property and had moved into a West End warehouse.
The bold television scheme could not have worked without Brian Millis, a TV journalist. Once again, Taylor’s vision was not hindered by lack of money or equipment. Under great difficulties, the Sunday evening services were filmed, then edited down to a half-hour programme called A New Way Of Living“. The first programme was shown on Channel 9 in Brisbane on 17 July, 1977.
During the next four years it was being shown on sixteen stations in Queensland as well as in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. A New Way Of Living was radical in Christian Television. The average Australian who never went to church saw large crowds of Christians with smiling faces enjoying God. They saw people responding to an altar call to be born again. They also saw miracles taking place. Large numbers of people were saved.
Clark Taylor’s influence was also spreading throughout South-east Queensland by the establishment of other Christian Outreach Centres in such places as Nambour, Ipswich and Redcliffe. Centres continued to radiate out from Brisbane.
One of the most powerful ways in which his influence was felt was in the lives of Christian Outreach Centre pastors. His Methodist background influenced the way in which he structured Christian Outreach Centre. It is a connectional system. There is an annual conference, but pastors gather together in local regions more frequently for fellowship and training, which was vital in the early years because most of the pastors lacked formal or theological education.
Clark Taylor built faith into his pastors. No conference would pass without a sermon on Mark 11:22-24. He took God at His word concerning mountains of sickness, demon possession, spiritual apathy, attitudes to religion in Australia, bureaucratic red tape, financial need, unbelief and impossibilities in general.
To him, Australia For Christ were not empty words. He believed that unchurched Australians would be saved. He believed that unlearned men who had been with Jesus could turn Australia upside down. He believed that there would be a Christian Outreach Centre in every city and town in Australia.
Christian Outreach Centres such as Nambour are an example of that faith. In less than twenty years, the younger generation that was nurtured there has continued to carry the banner of Australia For Christ. The Holy Spirit is being poured out through the anointed music of such people as Tracy Ham, Andrew Ironside and Ian Beresford.
People world-wide are influenced by the magazine, A New Way Of Living, edited by Darren Trinder. Mark Ramsey, who went out from Nambour to begin Noosa Christian Outreach Centre, continues to run with the vision of “The Sunshine Coast For Christ”.
Clark Taylor’s influence spread to New South Wales. John Gear, a Spirit-filled Methodist who commenced Gloucester Christian Fellowship, listened to tapes of Taylor’s preaching. He persisted in inviting Taylor to conduct a tent crusade in Gloucester.
That was the initial step in small groups of Spirit-filled Christians becoming part of Christian Outreach Centre.
A number of the movement’s leaders, including the vice president David MacDonald, have come from that area, birthing new Christian Outreach Centres throughout New South Wales and beyond.
Christian Outreach Centre was beginning to flow out to other nations. One example of this is the establishment of the movement in the Solomon Islands. Pastor Kevin Dales had been a student in the one year Bible College at Mt. Tuchekoi. He went out from there to pioneer Christian Outreach Centre in Innisfail.
One of his members, Lafai Ituaso, had a great desire that Kevin would go to his people in Tuvalu, a Pacific island. Over the next few years teams from Innisfail ministered in the Pacific Islands. Hundreds of people were saved and healed.
Late in 1989, a Bible College building was completed at Balasuna in the Solomon Islands, due largely to the hard work and sacrifice of the Innisfail people. Since then, students from the Pacific have been trained there and gone out to establish Christian Outreach Centres.
After seeing a Christian school in New Zealand, Taylor began to set the wheels in motion to have a Christian school in Brisbane. In May 1978, Christian Outreach College began with 136 children in primary and secondary school to grade 10. It was established in crowded conditions in the West End complex using the Accelerated Christian Education programme. Subsequently, other Christian Outreach Colleges have been established using the Education Department Curriculum.
Clark Taylor also had a vision for a Christian University. In 1986, Christian Heritage College began, with the vision of bringing reformation to the nation in many areas, beginning with the field of education. In 1988 Christian Heritage College was given accreditation with the Queensland State Government so that Christian-trained teachers would be accepted to teach in State Schools. Graduates are now teaching with a standard of excellence in both Christian and State Schools.
Bible College and School of Ministries
From the first week of the inception of Christian Outreach Centre, Clark Taylor began Bible teaching. Bible Colleges of one year’s duration were held at Mt. Tuchekoi, West End and Mansfield. He also established a Video Bible College. The year 1988 saw the commencement of the two year Bible College course for the Associate Diploma leading into the Bachelor of Ministries course at Mansfield. Each January there is a Ministry Training School of intensified training for people going out to pastor Christian Outreach Centres.
Clark Taylor resigned from Christian Outreach Centre in 1989. He was involved in itinerant evangelistic ministry, and in November 2000 began Worship Centre in Brisbane.
The movement he founded, Christian Outreach Centre, continues and the vision of Australia For Christ continues to burn brightly in other nations of the world as well. The gospel has been committed to faithful people who are teaching others also.
Chapter 9: The Beginnings of Christian Outreach Centre by John Thorburn
Part I: Clark Taylor’s Life and Ministry.
Clark Taylor was a name that was well known in Australia, especially in Queensland, in the late seventies and the early eighties.
Every person who came across this man, either in person or through the medium of television could not avoid being touched and impacted by this dynamic and unconventional minister.
Taylor’s outgoing personality and his total dedication to the preaching of the Gospel were used by God to touch many lives. The result of this man’s God-given vision and his obedience to see that vision fulfilled is known today as Christian Outreach Centre.
Clark Taylor was born in Queensland in 1937 to Joe and Rita Taylor. His mother had always prayed, “Lord, make him a minister”, and like most mothers had always felt that her son was special.
In his early years, Clark had a great dislike for things academic. He was even known to have eaten green fruit in an attempt to avoid having to go to school.
Taylor was never afraid of hard physical work, having spent many hours working on the family property at Palen Creek, near Rathdowney, 70 miles south of Brisbane.
At the age of 14 his family moved to the Northern Territory, where they leased a property and raised beef cattle. At the age of 16 he was running a mustering camp, where he had authority over some of the roughest and toughest men in the Territory.
One sad event that took place during this period of his life was the death of his father who was killed in a tractor accident. It was after this tragedy that Clark moved back down south where he was to encounter something that would change his life forever.
The year was 1959 and at the urging of his Aunt Alexandra, Clark Taylor found himself at the Brisbane Exhibition Grounds where American evangelist, Billy Graham was holding a series of crusade meetings.
The following is an extract from the magazine A New Way of Living where the journalist describes what happened that night.
The choir, hundreds strong, led by Crusade Songleader Cliff Barrows, sang fervently. Tonight was the final night of the Crusade. The bright moonlight revealed a scene typical of Billy’s crusades. Thousands had gathered – many from outback Queensland, to join in what had already been described as an historic event in Australian church life.
The words of the hymn meant nothing, Clark told himself. Sitting on the grass in the arena, looking up at the thousands in the grandstands, he cursed their churchiness and their assurance. Had there been a group of vocal hecklers, he might have joined them … but here, he was alone – as alone as he had been on other moonlit nights, far, far away from crowds … and from Christianity. The crowd fell silent, drawing Clark’s gaze to the stage in the centre of the arena. The boyish looking Cliff Barrows had stepped back, giving place to a tall wavy-haired man whose craggy face and penetrating eyes commanded Clark’s attention: Billy Graham.
So this was Billy Graham. A dark suited, fortyish, tall figure whose right hand held a New Testament, whose left hand index finger stabbed skyward, and whose voice carried clearly to every part of the arena. After praying, Billy began to preach. He would preach for around forty minutes on this night. He would question, answer, anticipate, explain. He would speak of Heaven, and warn of Hell; he would even object, on his listeners behalf, to his own statements. “But Billy, you say …” would be repeated often … followed soon after by, “The Bible says …” By the close of his sermon he would have answered every objection, closed every exit, leaving only Jesus, The Way. He would have spoken thousands of words … and Clark would not have heard one of them.
“CLARK”. The voice, unlike any Clark had ever heard, somehow entered into the very centre of his being. There in front of him, and slightly above the heads of those seated a few feet away, stood Jesus. During the next forty or so minutes something took place that was unknown … even to Clark Taylor. Somehow the spirit of a man which life had battered and embittered received an awakening, in a communion that would defy explanation.
Then He was gone … and Clark, aware once again of his surroundings, was amazed to find that Billy Graham had finished speaking. The choir was again singing … this time softly, invitingly … “Just as I am”. The evangelist was standing, head bowed, chin propped, silently praying … In the moonlight, people were streaming forward … from the grandstand, from the open air seats, and from the grassed oval where Clark sat, stirred in his heart as never before.
Still within him, the battle raged, as reason fought revelation and pent up anger the love of Jesus Christ. Verse after verse was sung. Still they came — people from all walks of life; men and women of all ages …. coming to Christ. It was time. Fighting feelings of foolishness, Clark rose to his feet and joined the throngs.
What a beautiful description of a night that would change one man forever, but also see the beginnings of a ministry that would see worldwide effect.
In 1961, Clark began training for the Methodist ministry. It was during this time that he met and married his wife, Anne. This union was to produce three children, Linda, Philip and Robin.
In 1963, Clark contracted cerebral malaria, which would cause him to lapse into periods of unconsciousness. In 1967, he received healing from this disease. This was the same year that he was baptised in the Holy Spirit.
Clark and Anne then spent time as Assistant Ministers in the Holland Park Methodist Circuit where they were responsible for St. Paul’s Church at Upper Mount Gravatt. It was during this time that Clark began to have difficulties with his denomination over the gifts and manifestations of the Holy Spirit which were happening under his ministry.
Clark was then to spend some time at Kings College, but he eventually resigned from the Methodist Church in 1970. He then joined himself with Trevor Chandler at the Windsor Full Gospel and then they started the Christian Life Centre.
This partnership lasted until 1972, when Clark resigned and spent the next eighteen months in travelling ministry. After receiving a prophetic word, Clark returned to Brisbane where he commenced Christian Outreach Centre.
From very small beginnings of 25 adults meeting in his home, C.O.C. has grown through many different stages to what it is today. The vision began as Australia for Christ but this later grew to Reaching Our World for Christ.
Clark was known for his radical and unusual approach to ministry but there was no denying the anointing that was on his life.
Another outstanding aspect was in his ability to impart the ministry gifts to the pastors of C.O.C. Even though there was no formal theological training, he equipped these pastors in such a way that they were sent into towns and they established strong and vibrant churches. Even though this method had its limitations, it was instrumental in establishing churches in cities where there was very little Christian influence.
There were many other aspects of his ministry, such as television, outreaches, establishing Christian schools, and in the latter stages, a Christian Teachers College and School of Ministry.
Clark Taylor resigned from Christian Outreach Centre in 1989, and is now involved in itinerant evangelistic ministry. He should primarily be remembered as a man who ministered powerfully in the anointing of God and as the pioneer of a movement that has not only touched Australia, a country that he loved, but a movement that has impacted the world.
Part II: Christian Outreach Centre, Mansfield
At the end of Wecker Road in the Brisbane suburb of Mansfield stands a complex which is the hub of what is now a worldwide movement. From a small beginning of 25 people in the lounge room of Clark and Anne Taylor’s home on 16 June, 1974, this local church has grown to a current membership of approximately 2500 people, while the movement that was birthed from its vision has grown to a worldwide membership of about 1600 churches.
After that first meeting the numbers grew so rapidly that the church saw the need to move to larger premises. They spent the next nine months meeting in the Teachers Union Building in Spring Hill until further growth forced another move.
By God’s miraculous provision the old Salvation Army Hall in Trafalga Street, Wooloongabba was purchased. This building was soon bursting at the seams and after knocking out walls and even joining up to the house next door it had finally outgrown its usefulness.
Premises at 100 Victoria Street, West End were then purchased and the church was to have its home here for the next six and a half years. It was during this time that the Centre saw tremendous growth through the use of the medium of television.
A program called A New Way Of Living was produced and was shown on Sunday mornings. God had placed a powerful anointing for healing miracles and salvation over the church and as people saw these things happening in their lounge rooms they were drawn to the Centre to see for themselves.
Even though many had come out of curiosity and to have a look at this madman who seemed to break all the rules of what a preacher should be, many were saved as they sat under the anointing of God and saw the miracles that were taking place.
Another ministry that saw growth was with the children. It was during this time that Neil Meirs came on staff to head up the childrens work. Every Saturday Neil would take his eager team out into the streets and to the shopping centres. There they would be dressed up as clowns and would put on shows and invite the kids to come to Sunday School. As the children came, so did the parents.
The church continued this steady growth until once again the building was too small. Even though it seemed humanly impossible and too big a task, the people of Christian Outreach Centre once again put their trust in God.
Land was purchased at 322 Wecker and work was begun on the current Auditorium. Even though the cost was great, once again God supplied every need and the building was officially opened in May, 1983.
Even though the founder’s personal battle with immorality lead to his dismissal from the ministry in 1989, the movement which he founded is still growing strongly today. This proves beyond doubt that if God wants to build and use something to touch people, he will do so. And he will do it despite the weakness and the imperfections of the people that he chooses.
Perhaps one of the greatest strengths of Christian Outreach Centre has been its desire to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry”, and to see that work carried out throughout the nations of the world.
In its early years there was great emphasis placed on the vision to see Australia for Christ. There were many pastors sent out from the Centre and even though they had only very basic training they were having a great impact wherever they went. This is because of the emphasis that was placed on relying on the Spirit of God to see you through.
While this was a good principle to live by, over the years it was realised that more was needed. This lead to the establishment of another important part of the ongoing ministry of the Church. This is education.
The Church now has the facilities in place to educate and train people from Primary through Secondary and on to Christian Heritage College. Every day there are over 2000 men, woman and children either training or being trained within the grounds of the church.
Another important part of the ethos of the church is its Sunday services. These are a time of great joy and celebration of what God has done and is continuing to do in and through His people. There is always a time of praise and worship where people are free to express their love for God.
Another strength is found in the variety and quality of the messages which are preached from the pulpit. Because of the size and reputation of the church it is able to attract world renowned ministries to supplement the quality of the `in house’ preachers.
This provides the members with a very well balanced diet of spiritual food.
One of the challenges which a church of this size faces is found in the size itself. Because of the large numbers of people who gather together in one place every Sunday it is very difficult to maintain a family atmosphere. People can come along and not even be noticed.
In fact, it was not uncommon to find two people who had been attending the Church for a period of time and had never met each other.
This problem has been overcome by the introduction of the Home Cell principle. It has taken about 12 months to get people away from reliance on the Pastor to meet their needs and to look to each other for support. This has totally changed the atmosphere in the church and has formed a much friendlier and closer relationship amongst the people.
In summing up it is perhaps important to look at the vision statement of the Church: “Our vision is to lead people to Christ making disciples in our neighbourhood, city, nation, and overseas.”
The church was founded with the vision of outreach and it has seen success in this area. As a church and as individuals, we need to continue to be open to allow the Holy Spirit to mould us, change us, train us and use us.
If we continue to do this and remain faithful to God, we will continue to see our God-given vision fulfilled.
Christian Outreach Centre in 2011
Beginning with a home group in 1974, they moved their headquarters to the present location in 1982 when C.O.C. built their new auditorium to seat 5,000 people. Their school expanded from Preparatory to Grade 12 and has over 1,600 students. Their tertiary college, Christian Heritage College (CHC) commenced in 1986 grew from offering one course in education with an initial enrolment of nine students, to around 40 courses and a student community exceeding 800. The college offers a range of accredited degrees in Business, Education and Humanities, Ministries and Social Sciences.
By the end of 1988 there were 136 churches in the movement including churches in New Zealand, and the Solomon Islands. During 1989, churches were established in Papua-New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, the United Kingdom, and Malaysia. The movement experienced rapid growth with 44 new churches opening in 1990, the year Pastor Neil Miers became president of Christian Outreach Centre International.
By 2010 C.O.C. had around 1600 churches in 30 countries including Australia, Bulgaria, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, Fiji, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Malaysia, Malta, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, PNG, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Thailand, Tonga, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vanuatu and Zambia.
The Movement is strongly involved in helping people in need especially through Global Care. This relief agency poured millions of dollars into worldwide relief.
This movement is one example of exploding movements of church growth across the world today. Most of their churches began as a home group, and then grew.
After Clark Taylor resigned from Christian Outreach Centre he travelled and ministered in America and then in 2000 founded the Worship and Ministry Centre, now the Worship Centre Christian Church, in Brisbane, and from 2012 handed the leadership of the church to Pastors Paul ‘Skip’ and Leah Smith.
John 3:16 was the highest-ranked Google search term over the next 24 hours, generating over 92 million searches, after Tim Tebow wore it.
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call (Acts 2:38-39).
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord (Acts 3:19).
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever, Amen (Ephesians 3:20-21).
In every revival, God’s people repent and pray, & trust and obey
1. Repent – means turn – turn to God
2. Pray – anytime, anywhere – thinking, responding
3. Trust – just believe – knowing God hears & knowing God acts
4. Obey – falling in love – “If you love me you will obey”
The Lord poured out the Holy Spirit on Elcho Island in northern Australia on Thursday, 14 March, 1979. Djiniyini Gondarra was then the Uniting Church minister in the town of Galiwin’ku at the south of the island. He had been away on holidays to Sydney and Brisbane, returning on the late afternoon Missionary Aviation Fellowship flight.
He was travel weary and just wanted to unpack and get to bed early. Many of the people, however, had been praying for months, and especially every day while he had been away, so they wanted to have prayer and Bible study with him in his home. This is his account of that Pentecost among Australian Aborigines in the Arnhem Land churches across the north of Australia:
After the evening dinner, we called our friends to come and join us in the Bible Class meeting. We just sang some hymns and choruses translated into Gupapuynu and into Djambarrpuynu. There were only seven or eight people who were involved or came to the Bible Class meeting, and many of our friends didn’t turn up. We didn’t get worried about it.
I began to talk to them that this was God’s will for us to get together this evening because God had planned this meeting through them so that we will see something of his great love which will be poured out on each one of them. I said a word of thanks to those few faithful Christians who had been praying for renewal in our church, and I shared with them that I too had been praying for the revival or the renewal for this church and for the whole of Arnhem Land churches, because to our heavenly Father everything is possible. He can do mighty things in our churches throughout our great land.
I then asked the group to hold each other’s hands and I began to pray for the people and for the church, that God would pour out his Holy Spirit to bring healing and renewal to the hearts of men and women, and to the children.
Suddenly we began to feel God’s Spirit moving in our hearts and the whole form of our prayer suddenly changed and everybody began to pray in the Spirit and in harmony. And there was a great noise going on in the room and we began to ask one another what was going on.
Some of us said that God had now visited us and once again established his kingdom among his people who have been bound for so long by the power of evil. Now the Lord is setting his church free and bringing us into the freedom of happiness and into reconciliation and to restoration.
There was a great revival that swept further west. I would describe these experiences like a wild bush fire burning from one side of Australia to the other side of our great land. The experience of revival in Arnhem Land is still active in many of our Aboriginal parishes and the churches.
We would like to share these experiences in many white churches where doors are closed to the power of the Holy Spirit. It has always been my humble prayer that the whole of Australian Christians, both black and white, will one day be touched by this great and mighty power of the living God.
On Sunday night, September 26, 1965, in Soe, Timor, people heard the sound of a tornado wind and saw flames on the church building which prompted police to set off the fire alarm to summon the volunteer fire fighters. Many people were converted that night, many filled with the Spirit including speaking in tongues, some in English who did not know English. By midnight teams of lay people had been organized to begin spreading the gospel the next day. Eventually, about 90 evangelistic teams were formed which functioned powerfully with spiritual gifts.
Nahor Leo, the young man who testified that night in the Reformed Church, chose 23 young people who formed an evangelistic group, Team 1. They gave themselves full time to visiting churches and villages and saw thousands converted with multitudes healed and delivered. In one town alone they saw 9,000 people converted in two weeks.
Another young man, Mel Tari witnessed this visitation of God and later became part of Team 42. He reported on this revival in two widely read books, Like a Mighty Wind and The Gentle Breeze of Jesus. Healings and evangelism increased dramatically. Specific directions from the Lord led the teams into powerful ministry with thousands becoming Christians. They saw many healings, miracles such as water being turned to wine for communion, some instantaneous healings, deliverance from witchcraft and demonic powers, and some people raised from death through prayer.
The teams were often guided supernaturally including provision of light at night on jungle trails, angelic guides and protection, meager supplies of food multiplied in pastors’ homes when a team ate together there during famines, and witch-doctors being converted after they saw power encounters when the teams’ prayers banished demons, rendering the witch-doctors powerless.
Dennis Balcombe, pastor of the Revival Christian Church in Hong Kong, regularly visits China. He has reported on revival there.
In 1989 Henan preachers visited North Anhul province and found several thousand believers in the care of an older pastor from Shanghai. At their first night meeting with 1,000 present 30 were baptized in the icy winter. The first baptized was a lady who had convulsions if she went into water. She was healed of that and other ills, and found the water warm. A 12 year old boy deaf and dumb was baptized and spoke, “Mother, Father, the water is not cold the water is not cold.” An aged lady nearly 90, disabled after an accident in her 20s, was completely healed in the water. By the third and fourth nights over 1,000 were baptized.
A young evangelist, Enchuan, 20 years old in 1990, had been leading evangelistic teams since he was 17. He said, “When the church first sent us out to preach the Gospel, after two to three months of ministering we usually saw 20-30 converts. But now it is not 20. It is 200, 300, and often 600 or more will be converted.”
Edward Miller tells of revival breaking out in Argentina after God told him to call his small church to pray every night from 8 pm to midnight beginning on a Monday. Their little group prayed for three nights, mostly silently except for their missionary Ed Miller. No one seemed to have any leading, except one lady felt she was told to hit the table, but she wouldn’t do anything so strange. On the fourth night, Ed Miller led the group in singing around the table, and hit it as they sang. Eventually others did the same. Then the lady did. Immediately the Spirit of God fell. They were baptized powerfully in the Spirit. They heard the sound of strong wind. Their little church filled. People were convicted, weeping, and praying.
By Saturday teams were going out in powerful evangelism. A young man, Alexander and his band of rebels sat in the front row of a revival meeting aiming to disrupt it. God convicted him and he repented. His gang began to leave but fell under the Spirit on the way out. All were converted. Two of them went to the Bible School.
Ed Miller taught at the Bible Training Institute in 1951 in the little town of City Bell, near Buenos Aires. In June he was led to cancel lectures so the whole Bible School could pray every day. He announced this on the first Sunday in June. That night Alexander, the former rebel leader, a teenager of Polish descent, was praying long after midnight out in the fields when he sensed something pressing down on him, an intense light surrounding him and a heavenly being enfolding him. Terrified he ran back to the Institute.
The heavenly visitor entered the Institute with him, and in a few moments all the students were awake with the fear of God upon them. They began to cry out in repentance as God by his Spirit dealt with them. The next day the Spirit of God came again upon Alexander as he was given prophecies of God’s moving in far off countries. The following day Alexander again saw the Lord in the Spirit, but this time he began to speak slowly and distinctly the words he heard from the angel of God. No one could understand what he was saying, however, until another lad named Celsio (with even less education than Alexander), overcome with the Spirit of God markedly upon him, began to interpret… These communications (written because he choked up when he tried to talk) were a challenge from God to pray and indeed the Institute became a centre of prayer till the vacation time, when teams went out to preach the kingdom. It was the beginning of new stirrings of the Spirit across the land.
Prophecies given to the Bible School told of God filling the largest auditoriums and stadiums in Argentina and in other countries.
In 1952 Tommy Hicks was conducting a series of meetings in California when God showed him a vision. While he was praying he saw a map of South America covered with a vast field of golden wheat ripe for harvesting. The wheat turned into human beings calling him to come and help them.
He wrote a prophecy in his Bible about going by air to that land before two summers would pass. Three months later, after an evangelistic crusade, a pastor’s wife in California gave that same prophecy to him that he had written down. He was invited to Argentina in 1954 and had enough money to buy a one way air ticket to Buenos Aires.
On his way there after meetings in Chile, the word Peron came to his mind. He asked the air stewardess if she knew what it meant. She told him Peron was the President of Argentina. When he went to make an appointment with Juan Peron, the dictator President, he prayed for a guard who was healed and so the guard arranged an appointment with Peron. Through prayer the President was healed of an ugly eczema and gave Hicks the use of a stadium and free access to the state radio and press.
The revival campaign shifted into the Argentina’s largest arena, the Hurricane Football Stadium, seating 110,000 which overflowed. During nightly meetings over two months 300,000 people registered decisions for Christ and many were healed at every meeting.
Some of the signs of revival we saw there included a whole mountain ‘on fire’ (with nothing burned) during revival meetings at their Bible College,witchcraft items revealed then removed and destroyed by prayer teams, everyone prayed for in ‘custom’ villages healed, and angels filling a village church with songs in the night in a small village where the worship had been strong, lasting for many hours. Everyone prayed for in that village was healed and all unbelievers repented during the worship and many were baptized.
Tomas Tumtum had been an indentured worker on cane farms in Queensland, Australia. He was converted there and returned around 1901 to his village on South Pentecost Island. He came with his friend, Lulkon, a new young disciple from a neighbouring island. They arrived when the village was taboo because a baby had died a few days earlier, so no one was allowed near the village. Ancient tradition dictated that anyone breaking taboo must be killed, so they were going to kill Tomas, but his friend Lulkon asked Tomas to tell them to kill him instead, so that Tomas could live and evangelize his own people. Just before he was clubbed to death at a sacred Mele palm tree, Lulkon read John 3:16, then closed his eyes and prayed for them.
Tomas became the pioneer of the church in South Pentecost, establishing many Churches of Christ in the villages there. Revival movements have increased there since the 1980s, continuing to now.
We had revival teaching at their Bible College and every weekend revival teams led meetings in village churches. Many of these village revival meetings went late as the Spirit moved on the people with deep repentance, reconciliation, forgiveness, and prayer for healing and empowering.
The Bible College buildings in the bay (photo) are surrounded by mountains. We saw those mountains filled with supernatural fire one night.
A law student team from Port Vila, led by Seini Puamau, Vice President of the Christian Fellowship, had a strong impact at the High School on South Pentecost Island with big responses at all meetings. Almost the whole residential school of 300 responded for prayer at the final service on Sunday night October 17, 2004, after a powerful testimony from Joanna Kenilorea. The High School principal, Silas Buli, has prayed with some of his staff for many years from 4 a.m. each morning, praying for the school and nation. Silas became a Member of Parliament for South Pentecost in 2016.
Mathias, a young man who repented deeply with over 15 minutes of tearful sobbing, became a main worship leader in revival meetings. When he was leading and speaking at a revival meeting at the national Bible College, a huge supernatural fire blazed in the hills directly opposite the Bible College chapel in 2005, but no bush was burned. They told us it was supernatural fire, with no smoke and nothing physical being consumed by the fire.
Story-tellers of good news ~ Results in healed families, freedom, love, less violence and addiction, redemption, hope, divine favour, grace, they pray and God moves.
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West Africa: Dramatic transformation among Muslim peoples.
“Dramatic transformation is the key to rapid multiplication of churches among Muslims,” says Jerry Trousdale of missions organization CityTeam International.
He relates the story how one time their West African ministry partners were having their midday prayers, when they suddenly were surrounded by Muslim leaders. The team had been seeing breathtaking breakthroughs among highly resistant Muslim peoples, so they had anticipated opposition. They had reason to be fearful, but kept praying. Surprisingly, the Muslims just stood around them observing the proceedings and making no signs of hostile intentions.
“We beg you: could you please send us the story-tellers?”
When the Christian leaders finished praying, the group approached and turned out to be a delegation of Muslim civic leaders from a distant region. They had come with their imam and with a request. They said: “We have not come to harm you, but we beg you – could you please send us the story-tellers?” They meant the Christian workers who were making disciples by telling stories. The Muslim leaders from this community had observed other communities in their area that had become Christian, and they had noticed a dramatic change in people’s lives. They wanted the same thing in their community!
After some rearranging of schedules and responsibilities, the ministry was able to send out a team of storytellers to the distant village. Nobody imagined at the time that events like these would be repeated again and again, and that even entire mosques would come to faith in Christ. “When Muslims observe the types of dramatic transformation that only the gospel can bring in individuals, families and whole communities, they are often jealous to experience the same,” explains Trousdale.
MARKS OF TRANSFORMATION
What does transformation look like among Muslim-background believers? These are some of the most common changes seen among Muslims who accept Christ:
1. Healed families.
In families where women and children have been treated almost as slaves, wife beating becomes no longer acceptable, and love begins to heal broken marriages. Children are given permission to attend schools and are treated with new appreciation. Fighting between parents and children diminishes. Polygamy is no longer the choice of Christian men, and prostitution dies out.
2. A Spirit of Freedom.
When people discover freedom, it affects everything in their lives. They find release from fatalism, they are willing to try new things, and they expect God to bless their lives.
3. A Spirit of Love.
Many Muslim people report that God puts love in their hearts for the first time. In many cases, they have a new passion for fellow Muslims who are still in the mosque.
4. Diminished violence.
There have been instances in which, upon becoming Christians, former Muslims refuse to participate in ongoing ethnic warfare. In one case, when the Christian men were called to account for why they no longer ‘supported the tribe’, they shared the message of Jesus. This caused tribal elders to rethink their reasons for fighting, and the fighting stopped. Today, the two men who stood up for their conviction, are church planters.
5. Less addiction.
The levels of addiction to alcohol, khat, and other things that consume people’s lives are greatly diminished as these people receive prayer for deliverance.
6. Redemption and hope.
Historically, when lost people become obedient disciples of Jesus, they typically exchange fatalism for optimism, have new energy and initiative, and become more productive people. In addition, they abandon expensive addictions, and they see the blessings for God on their family situation.
7. Evidences of Divine favour.
Many new Christians share with joy how, after they became followers of Jesus, and during a time of prolonged drought, the Lord caused it to rain on their farms or on the pasture where their livestock was, but not on their neighbors’ land. And it became so obvious that the Muslim neighbors came to them to find out why these Christians had such favor. Farmers in every region that City Team International workers have interviewed report that, since they have become Christians, they have begun praying over their fields and have ceased using Muslim or spiritist blessings on their land, and their harvests have dramatically increased.
8. Grace in persecution.
Many new Christians in Muslim areas face harsh persecution. But these believers, though persecuted in cruel ways, have been transformed so deeply that they find the courage to speak a blessing on their persecutors. This forgiveness in the face of persecution can, over time, be the way that God gets into a persecutor’s heart to transform it as well. Numerous Muslims who formerly persecuted the Muslim-background Christians in their areas have come to faith as a result of those whom they persecuted responding with grace and kindness to the evil things done to them.
9. Freedom from demonic oppression.
Many Muslims have experienced years of torment from demonic powers. But when they repent of sins and receive Jesus as Lord, those spirits are successfully cast out. These deliverances are very tangible witnesses of the power of the gospel in Muslim families.
10. The power of individual prayer.
Common people discover that they can pray and God moves. Even the Muslims see this and thank God for the changes in the communities, as many who used to disturb them are now peaceful Christians.
Source: Jerry Trousdale
Joel News International 872.