Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Dee Duke

Today in the Bethel Theological Seminary chapel in St. Paul, MN I spent much of the day listening to Pastor Dee Duke (Dee is a man!). He is the pastor of Jefferson Baptist Church in Jefferson, Oregon. He stated that he was excited about the Oregon State Beavers who just won the College World Series in Omaha. I was fortunate to watch the team beat Georgia last week.

As stated in my blog yesterday, God's power and glory was manifested after Pastor Duke led Jefferson Baptist Church to become a house of prayer. The motto of the church: "Much prayer, much blessing; little prayer, little blessing; no prayer, no blessing" is a good reminder for all of us to pray much.

Have a good day


Monday, June 26, 2006

Prayer Champions at BGC Annual Meeting at Bethel University on June 27

Below are the words of Dana Olson. His blog site is also devoted to the subject of prayer. It is www.prayerfirst.blogspot.com

On June 27th our Prayer First ministry is sponsoring a day for Prayer Champions. If you are currently trying to mobilize prayer in your church, or simply have a heart for prayer in your church, you are welcome to this event. You will receive a free copy of Dee Duke's book, Prayer Quest, and Dee will share his remarkable story and insights in two sessions. Please join us from 11:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Seminary Chapel of Bethel University. Cost for on-site registration is only $35, and that includes the free book! Here is an article I wrote briefly sharing Dee's story. It appeared this spring in the magazine, BGC World:

“What do you mean you’re leaving?”

By Dana Olson

When Dee Duke’s father took military retirement, he purchased a dairy farm in Washington. Dee’s high school graduation dream was to be the world’s greatest dairy farmer. Prior to settling down with his dad, he decided to enter Bible college.

There, the young Duke and his wife helped a pastor start a church in the small town of Jefferson, Ore. When he finished school, Duke, his wife and kids returned to the farm. It was his great love. He also became very active in his local church — so much so that the pastor wanted to make him his assistant. This sounded terrific to Duke, dairy farming and ministry together. But at the church business meeting the proposal was defeated.

Deeply disappointed, Duke poured himself into the farm. It seemed his future lay there. Then one day the telephone rang. It was Jefferson, Ore., calling. “We don’t know if you’ve heard, but things have not gone well here. The pastor left and we’re down to just a few people. We are planning to close the church, but we thought that before we did, we would call you. If you and your wife will come back to Jefferson, we’ll keep the church open and try to make a go of it.”
Whew. A tough decision. Duke loved that farm, and plans were in place for him to take it over. But there was a pull to use his ministry training. His father advised, “Perhaps if you don’t give this a try, you’ll always regret it.” So Duke and his family packed up and moved to Jefferson.

The ministry flourished. Jefferson Baptist Church grew to 50, then 75, 100 and more. The people responded, and God blessed the work.

Then there were setbacks. The church fell into a pattern of ups and downs, growing toward 200 attendees, then falling back to 100. The church remained viable, but the peaks and valleys were starting to take a toll. The breakthrough of that 200 barrier never seemed to come. Duke finally thought he had done all he could. He prepared a resignation letter.

Before he could submit it at the next board meeting, another letter arrived. It came from Joe Aldrich, then president of Multnomah School of the Bible, inviting Duke to join other pastors from the region at the first-ever “pastors prayer summit.”

No agenda, except four days of worship and prayer. No special speakers. No planning or strategy meetings. Just prayer. This seemed impossible to Duke. How could anyone pray for four days?

But the summit would be held at a camp on the gorgeous Oregon coast, and Duke thought how nice it would be to hike the coast before resigning. He would attend some of the prayer sessions and walk the coast when bored.

It never got boring. God touched that first summit with revival. Many pastors changed dramatically — Duke was one of them. He didn’t skip a session.

Before leaving the camp, he made a list of seven prayer goals for himself and his church:

Spend one uninterrupted hour per day praying by himself.
Spend one hour per day praying with at least one other person.
Pray for everyone in the church by name weekly.
Pray at least once per month with other pastors.
Preach on prayer for three months.
Plan four major church prayer events each year (always precede a major evangelistic thrust).

Identify their “farm” (20 miles in every direction from the church). Claim it and target prayer for it.

Duke returned to JBC and shared these seven items. The congregation began the journey to become a praying church. As they did, God confronted them about their lack of love. Known today as a praying church, they are also known as the loving church, because they have constantly searched for practical ways to show love to the community.

In a town of 2200 people, JBC has an attendance of well over 1000 people and has planted two daughter churches nearby, with a third starting in September. They have extensive missions work overseas. Many prayer ministries have developed, including targeted prayer teams, an official “church intercessors” group (commit to 100 hours of prayer for the year: 50 at home and 50 at church) and more than 40 prayer meetings per week.

Their motto: “Much prayer, much blessing; little prayer, little blessing; no prayer, no blessing.”


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Are We Spiritually Bankrupt?

In the book, "The School of Charity" (1934), Evelyn Underhill made the observation that we are spiritually bankrupt when we do not love as we are called to love. "If we do not at least try to manifest something of Creative Charity in our dealings with life, whether by action, thought, or prayer, and do it at our own cost--if we roll up the talent of love in the nice white napkin of piety and put it safely out of the way, sorry that the world is so hungry and thirsty, so sick and so fettered, and leave it at that: then, even that little talent may be taken from us. We may discover at the crucial moment that we are spiritually bankrupt."

Monday, June 19, 2006

1904 Revival in Wales

Good Morning. Much has been written about the 1904 revival in Wales. Below is yet another reminder that in the same way that revival visited that country, America is in need of a fresh fire from heaven.

Revival in Wales, 1904

he second Sunday of February 1904, Florrie Evans rose to speak in a youth meeting at Tabernacle Calvinistic Methodist Church in New Quay, Wales: I am unable to say very much today but I love the Lord Jesus with all my heart he died for me.1 Her words were few, but they were quite enough to spark a nationwide revival, with 85,000 new professions of faith in Christ.

Distressed at the low spiritual state of churches in the area, her pastor, Joseph Jenkins, had scheduled meetings to address the problem. Florrie attended and became convicted of sin. When she sought Jenkins counsel, he asked if Jesus were Lord of her life. She delivered her answer at that February youth gathering, and the Word and Spirit spread from that place mightily.

The groundwork laid in previous centuries was considerable. Elizabeth I saw the Bible translated into Welsh in the 16th century.2 In the 17th century, Rees Pritchard put Puritan teaching to rhyme as a memory aid for laymen.3 In the early 18th century, Griffith Jones founded literacy schools, with the Welsh Bible as the text.4 Mid-century, the preaching of Hywel Harris and Daniel Rowland complemented the work of Wesley and Whitefield in England.5 Meanwhile, William Williams, the Welsh Charles Wesley, penned such hymns as Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah.6 With the 19th century came Non-Conformist chapels and preachers, including the Baptist Christmas Evans.7 In 1859, the New York Prayer Revival jumped the Atlantic, adding perhaps 100,000 souls to Welsh churches. But by 1900, liberalism and worldliness had sapped the strength of Welsh Christianity.8

The first Keswick-in-Wales Convention, held in the summer of 1903, stirred the hearts of many young ministers, causing them to yearn for more spiritual power. This was their prayer, and, in 1904, this was God's gift to them.9 The fire was lit in February, and the subsequent blessings were manifold and widespread. Here are some of the more noteworthy features of the revival:

1. The Prayer. Seth Joshua prayed, Bend us, Oh Lord,and that became the revival cry.10
2. The Preacher. At Seth Joshua's and the Holy Spirit's prompting, Evan Roberts prayed Bend me, Oh Lord, and God empowered him to be the revivals lead preacher.11
3. The Library. Besides the Bible, Evan Roberts credited three books with greatest impact on his ministry: Thomas Charles Christian Instructor: A Summary of Christian Teaching, The Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Hymnbook, and John Bunyan's The Pilgrims Progress.12
4. The Healing. When doctors told Roberts brother Dan that his eyesight was deteriorating, Evan said the Lord needed him, and his eyes would be healed. They were immediately.13
5. The Way. Roberts urged hearers to: (1) Confess sin to God as the Spirit reveals it; (2) Remove doubtful things from one's life; (3) Surrender to the Spirit totally; (4) Confess Christ publicly.14
6. The Revival Love Song.Annie Davies rendition of Here Is Love Vast as the Ocean.15
7. The Political Impact. Welsh MP and later British Prime Minister Lloyd George cancelled political meetings to avoid conflicts with the revival.16
8. The Social Impact. The crime rate dropped, old debts were repaid, ale houses stood empty, and work improved in the mines.17
9. The Unity. Denominational rivalry largely disappeared during the revival.18
10. The Attacks. No work of God would be complete without its detractors. Rev. Peter Price, a Congregational Minister in Dowlais, took to the newspapers to denounce Evan Roberts.19

The revival was a glorious time, but spiritual vitality is not inherited. Today, Wales languishes in spiritual disarray. But God has returned in power to that region repeatedly in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Now, in the 21st century, it is time once again for urgent utterance of the prayer, Bend us, Oh Lord. It appears that great things happen when the people thus petition God.

Footnotes :

1 Kevin Adams and Emyr Jones, A Pictorial History of Revival: The Outbreak of the 1904 Welsh Awakening (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2004), 40-43.
2 Ibid., 20.
3 Ibid., 22.
4 Ibid., 23.
5 Ibid., 24.
6 Ibid.
7 Ibid., 25.
8 Ibid., 30-31.
9 Ibid., 36.
10 Ibid., 65.
11 Ibid.
12 Ibid., 52.
13 Ibid., 75.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A.W. Tozer on the Church Impacting Society

In the book, "God Tells the Man Who Cares", A.W. Tozer wrote that the church will actually transform the surrounding community as she prays and seeks to be uncontaminated by the world...

"By consecration, detachment, obedience and unceasing prayer we must escape the clutches of the world. Pure Christianity, instead of being shaped by its environment, actually stands in sharp opposition to it, and where the power of God has been present over a sustained period the church has sometimes reversed the direction of things and exercised a purifying effect upon society" (p. 45).

Historically, revival begins with God's people in the church, and then it moves out into the community. Revival is not needed if the church is actually being the church that God intended. Holiness and "unceasing prayer" will get us closer to what the Lord desires.

For Jesus Alone!


Monday, June 12, 2006

Prayer or Committees?

In the early 1900s, Samuel Chadwick said, "The church that multiplies committees and neglects prayer may be fussy, noisy, enterprising, but it labors in vain and spends its strength for naught. It is possible to excel in mechanics and fail in dynamics. There is an abundance of machinery; what is wanting is power" (quoted in Fresh Power by Jim Cymbala, p. 142).

It is not any different in the 21st century. A church that emphasis committees, programs, marketing, technology, meeting the budget or anything over fervent prayer will be wanting in power.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Rebuilding the Church Altar

Good morning. Vance Havner passed away 10 years ago, but his word to the church is still very much alive. This article is from Kairos Journal Weekly...

Spiritual Drought—Vance Havner (1901 – 1986)

Vance Havner grew up in the hills of North Carolina in the early twentieth century. Licensed to preach at the age of twelve and ordained at fifteen, this “backwoods” Baptist preacher spent his life calling people to true repentance. Boldly proclaiming the Word of God for seventy-three years, Havner came to be loved and known for his exacting style and ingenious wordplay. In the passage below, he draws pointed parallels between the people of God during Elijah’s times—the Mt. Carmel confrontation (1 Kings 18:30-39)—and the Church of his times. As Havner observes, fire from heaven falls on faithful prophets not on slick public-relations professionals.

The conditions today are just about much the same as they were in the times of Elijah. We’re living in a spiritual drought. There’s a famine of the hearing the Word of the Lord. Ahab and Jezebel sit in high places. Idolatry abounds. And yet God has His faithful remnant. We need an Elijah who can face Ahab and call convocation on Carmel, a confrontation with Baal, and a showdown with forces of evil.

We’re a little short on prophets. We need to rebuild the broken altar and put the sacrifice of a dedicated life thereupon. But before we can expect any fire from heaven, we must drench the altar. I’ve heard plenty of preaching about rebuilding the altar. I’ve heard sermons about presenting our body as living sacrifice. But the hardest lesson for anybody in Christian service to learn is that we cannot help God out in the slightest by warming up the altar in the energy of the flesh.

We try to start a fire of our own and think that’ll help out God’s fire. It won’t do it. We’re ashamed to be laughed at by the world. We don’t dare face the Midianites with Gideon’s band, so we mob-o-lize. We don’t mobilize, we mob-o-lize a multitude who know little and care less about spiritual warfare, who never have understood that the Bible is the Lord’s and the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. We’re afraid to face old Goliath today with sling and stone. We want to wear the latest equipment, and Saul’s armory is working overtime. We must be up-to-date and borrow all the technique of the world to do the work of God. But you can’t organize revivals as you do secular things, as the world puts on its drives and campaigns.

You can’t run a church as you would a business corporation. You can’t work up mere human enthusiasm to put over the work of the Lord. We all give lip service, of course, to the Holy Spirit: “Not by might nor power, but by my Spirit” (Zech. 4:6). We sing, “Kindle a flame of sacred love in these cold hearts of ours” (Isaac Watts, “Come Holy Spirit, Heavenly Dove,” 1707). But actually we’re so wired up to our own devices that if the fire doesn’t fall from heaven, we can turn on a switch and produce some false fire of our own. And if there’s no sound of a mighty rushing wind, we’ve got the bellows all set to blow hot air instead.

But God answers by fire, not by feelings, not by fame, not by finances. You can blow up quite a blaze today on Carmel. We can do it, yes. But people are not crying out today, “The LORD, he is the God” (1 Kings 18:39).1

Footnotes :

1 Vance Hanver, When God Breaks Through: Sermons on Revival, edited and complied by Dennis J. Hester (Grand Rapids, MI; Kregel Publications, 2003), 54-55.