Sunday, June 28, 2009

a note from a guest today

I did not ask to share this message, so I will change the names at least until I get permission. I'll change a coupleof other details too, just to protect anonimoty of a couple of people. This is such a cool note and so precious to my heart, because it represents the reason I live... to help people get aquainted with an incredible God.

Subject: message from **anonymous** girlfriend (who was brought by a girl who was brought to Harvest Cry through a MySpace message, and got saved. This represents 3 people who were brought to faith by Aaron and Robbie's brand new I am History band)

Okay I don't mean to be all creepy messaging you all the time now haha, but I just HAVE to tell you, that in one morning, that church changed my life. I had denied God for the last 5 years and I cried so long out of relief today. I honestly believe that God has sent you and Aaron to Zach to help him regain his faith, so that then he could encourage me to regain mine and I could not stop thanking God enough for that. You guys are so good and you will help so many kids, starting with Meg and I. Today a lady named Gretta gave me a note, and it said that Jesus loves me more than I will ever know, and that anytime I need somebody, she will pray with me. That was such a good feeling! I can't wait to go back

Friday, June 26, 2009

27 years with Julie Phipps Stoltzfoos

I am often amazed at her insightful ways of helping people. few people know God's ways better, or how to apply them with more skill to people who are in pain. She's good.

And I have never seen a mother that I admire more. She knows how to bring out the best in her kids, and let them shine. She guides when they ask her to, and stays out of the way the rest of the time. And she loves each one of them like they are her only child.

And over the 27 years we celebrate today, she has become amazing at knowing how to love me. That could not be an easy task. But I am at least 10 times the man I would be if she had not said yes to me 27 years ago today.

Thanks for an amazing 27 years Babe. You are the best.


27 years ago today, she said yes. I have often wondered why.

I love her way more today.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

final numbers for Harvest Cry

Okay, here are the final numbers as I received them this morning at Staff meeting. For Harvest Cry 2009, we recorded 65 Healings 18 Deliverances 43 Holy Spirit Baptisms , 163 Salvations. Our week culminated in 78 Water Baptisms Sunday night.

So far this year, God has graciously allowed us 64 baptisms before Harvest Cry, bringing us to 142 as of today!

How could I not be a happy man today?

Our follow up system seems to be a bit deficient so far, so we'll need to fix those shortcomings. Hiopefully we will forge a system that causes the Holy Spirit to trust us with even more new babies in Christ next year! Follow up and discipleship may sound simple enough, but the complexities of individual human issues create issues we hadn't thought of.

Harvest Cry

The after glow of this awesome job of mine, is heavy today. I am deeply tired after 5 days of 16 or more hours a day. But more than tired, I have this incredible feeling.

What a time we had in Harvest Cry! The numbers as I have them so far, are something like this: 78 baptisms, more than 140 responses for salvation, 35 baptisms in the Holy Spirit, many healings, and more than a dozen people delivered of an evil spirit. Tired does not cover the incredible joy of watching people get free. My feet barely hit the ground today.

Johannes Amritzer is a wonderful man of God. He ministered the Word with such clarity and relevance. My team worked with a precision and passion like I never saw before! We prayed, fasted, and planned for months!

And it paid off for eternity.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Harvest Cry, night 2

Wow, Johannes' teaching challenged me this morning. When he speaks of the raw courage that it takes to believe in the miraculous, it stirs something deep inside me. I want to live that life, to be that guy. He talks about becoming a man of such faith that he can actually walk on water, and be 'caught up' like Philip was when he witnessed to the Ethiopian Eunuch.

He also talked about how important it is not to be a mocker, and how our jokes cover our unbelief. I believe that has been me a whole lot over the years.

Tonight, our building was once again full. Johannes preached a powerful word, and when he gave the altar call, there must have been more than 50 people surged to the front. I don't think I will ever get tired of watching what happens when somebody encounters Jesus and His forgiveness. The most wonderful tears in the world have to be tears of repentance, and the joy of becoming a new person inside. Then people got healed, Leah got baptized in The Holy Spirit, and so many stayed for an extra hour or more just to worship.

I have the best job in the world.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Harvest Cry begins!

Harvest Cry started tonight (fonally after planning for months!). Our building was packed with over 500 people. The altar services was mobbed with dozens of glorious salvations. It just feel so good to watch God completely change lives, give hope, forgive sins, and help people get the life change they wished for but could not get. I don't think I'll ever get tired of seeing it happen.

There was a young lady for example, that must have been about the age I was when I met Jesus for the first time- 11 years old. I watched her begin to pray. And then the water works started. She wept before God for awhile. A little while later the sun really came out and she worshipped for an hour, just reveling in her new salvation.

I watched my staff hug each other, as the months and months of hard work that they put in, paid off. Many of them have practically been living at the church for days, watching over every little detail, praying that it would all count for some people to find Jesus. Many of them gave their last dimes, their last energy, and everything else they had, hoping that precious people would find Jesus through our work.

I LOVE this life!

Monday, June 08, 2009

just a little unbelief in my mirror

Sitting in a meeting just now, David read a scripture from Saint Paul: " he who began a good work in you, will bring it to completion".

I hardly ever spent time thinking about what it would mean for me to have completed the work God called me to do in Adam's County, in the United States, in the World. What would that look like?

Would it look like 50% church attendance again? Or 75%? Certainly the same Paul, when he said at the end of his life "I have finished the work", didn't see those numbers. So what did he mean? That he had established some churches in each province? What?

So far my little brain has not found an answer to that question that I can be okay with. In fact, I can't even find one that I don't experience unbelief about. I guess so far in my life I saw myself plodding on, doing my best, hoping for a generally good result when I finish (in about 50 years, is what I had in mind by the way- to leave a few years for retirement before Heaven, in case Heaven is not as fun as I am having here... ha ha)

Saturday, June 06, 2009

when prophecy hits a brick wall

Sometimes when I preach, I can feel the spiritual resistance in a big way.

Tonight was like that, especially at first. I was feeling led to start the service with a prophecy that I felt the Holy Spirit give me as I prepared the sermon "Something Big", our first installment of the Harvest Cry series. As I prophesied, I felt such resistance in the spirit world. 

I believe that the resistance I felt,  only made each word more important and powerful. It's an honor to be resisted by certain enemies, sort as if they felt my preaching was worth resisting.

I went ahead and preached the service. At the end, two sweet young ladies came up to ma and asked if I would help them know Jesus. We prayed to receive Christ, and while they repeated that powerful prayer and received forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and Jesus as their Lord, big tears rolled down one of their faces.

So here is the prophecy God gave me:  

This summer will literally and completely change our community by helping specific people in it. Because of the work we do in the month of June, suicides will be averted, diseases reversed, and eternal life secured for many friends and neighbors. Haters will be turned into lovers. Useless, helpless drug users will be turned into productive citizens, and their drug dealers will search for jobs. Divorce bound marriages will be healed. Fathers will be restored to their children. Jobs will be created as users become contributors, and addicted personalities are set free. Angry, out-of-control men will find the ability to love as they allow love into their own hearts. This will change everything!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

my heart is full

In an hour I leave for our son Evan's graduation!!!! How good is that? Evan is our third child, in case any of you don't know.

This afternoon I participated in Jim "Pappy" Strauss's funeral procession, led by 60 Harley's. Even Julie rode with me in the driving rain! Can't say either of us liked the rain much, though. Pappy was a motorcycle chaplain. I think I met at least 15 people he personally led to Christ through his motorcycle chaplaincy. I hear there are many, many more.

This week I was at Church Planter's Boot camp in Pittsburgh with about 10 of my people (2 teams). We have about 10 or more new churches to be planted in the next year, and boot camp helps so much! They spent a week in prayer, planning, and organizing with the help of a bunch of us Pastors who have already done it. Good stuff. I hope to hold another one here in Ol' Gburg in November. I feel so hopeful for America when I am with these new up-and-coming churches.

This week God gave me so many great connections, ideas, and details for our call in building the Kingdom. My heart is so full.

I am an action oriented person. If it's not moving, I have a hard time sitting still for it. I am hard wired to be about action. But I am slowly learnning something. A`leader must do whatever it takes to keep his heart full of faith and in his main role. My main role are vision and believing the future into existence. I need to invest in a lot of this week's kind of stuff to keep that hot and stay on the track God called me to be on.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

pure oxygen

Something happens to me in a room full of church planters. I get so pumped up about the future of our nation, that I can hardly keep myself under control.

It is the opposite of what happens when I watch the news, even though I am a news junkie, and watch it a lot!

I am currently spending two days at Church Planter's Boot Camp in Pittsburgh. When I am around church planters, I get a deep and powerful hope for America. There is hope for our future, and hope for our children because of these people. 

This morning we read a lot of the Nehemiah story in our boot camp devotions. This guy had the courage to believe God for a future for his nation, even though they had destroyed themselves through sin, and God himself had seeemed to give up on them. God then used Nehemiah to raise that nation back up.

These church planers are like that. They believe that God will use them to create great cities, restore people into their God-given dreams, and build a furutre for America again.

Lord help us get it done!