Posts in Evangelistic Rallies

Why Should I Turn From Sin — Evangelistic Rally — Day 4

November 13, 2009

 

Evangelistic Rally — Day 4

Alastair McAlees from Inverclyde Christian Initiative, opened the service and asked those gathered at the Greenock Town Hall to sing the traditional Scottish hymn, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” The hymn was beautiful and so fit the moment. The Times Square Church choir followed with an exhuberant “Hosanna.”

 

Hope

A Times Square Church member started her testimony by honoring her parents. She came from a dysfunctional family, where her dad was an alcoholic and her mom who was suicidal. She has known God since she was six. At the age of 16, she looked at her father and told him, that she loved him for the very first time in her life. As her mother took her and her siblings away, her dad got on his knees and pleaded for them not to go. She felt compassion for him and realized he needed God too. She learned not to look at the situation but to look to God. To look to the hope that can only be found through Christ.

 

Savior

Another member who used to be a drug addict came to New York as a photographer at the age of 23, to seek fame and fortune and he got both very fast. He was living the dream life that he wanted. His life changed overnight when he went to a party at a loft where people were cooking up cocaine making free-base and crack. As his life plummeted, he did things that he wasn’t proud of. He was so strung out that he was seeing satanic symbols on the wall of in his living room and was hearing demonic voices.

 

One day, he hired a make up artist who attended Times Square Church. This person was warned by her agency not to speak about God. But when she saw him. She had to share about the hope there is in God. She invited him to church. Each time they made an appointment to meet at church, he would be a no show because he would be strung out on drugs.  She didn’t give up. She kept calling him. One night when he was supposed to meet her, he was all alone and passed out till the next morning. He began counting the money that he had to see how much drugs he could buy. He thought he had lost her phone number. He looked at the wall and started to see satanic symbols and he cried out with all his heart to God, “God please tell me, you are real. I always believe you are real. If you are real right now prove it to me, show me where her phone number is.” In a quick second, he felt a peace upon him and God led him to go to a box where her phone number was. He stood there and the Holy Spirit came down on him and it was the warmest, most wonderful feeling. God told him, “Open your eyes and always believe in me.” When he opened his eyes, the room was bright with lights and it lasted for about 30 seconds.

 

He looked across his studio space, and saw a charity photo campaign that he did. God said to him, “I used you to execute my will on anti-racism.” He looked at the billboard and remembered he had framed pictures from the photo shoot. He wanted to grab those pictures to bring in to the room where he saw satanic symbol. He got on his feet and grab his tool chest, he fell on his knees and said, “God I am a drug addict, I can’t stop doing drugs…I need you God.” He pulled out a hammer and two nails, and the nails fell perfectly pointed to the inside of his palm. And he thought about Jesus on the cross.” The Holy Spirit came over him and said, “you don’t have to do drugs anymore.” He confronted a lot of people that he had wronged. The following Tuesday, he gave his life to Christ at Times Square Church.

 

Why should I turn from sin?

 

This message is for the church and those that don’t know Christ as Lord and Savior, based on 1 Corinthians 6. Sin is a willful decision to embrace or practice a way of living, which God says it’s wrong. Sin was infused into our race when our first parents Adam and Eve consciously decided to defy what God had spoken but instead did what they thought would bring them happiness. We begin to justify wrong and contaminate what is right. Sin is when we make our own decision to become our own God. We are living in that type of hour where evil is being called good, and good is being called evil. Pastor Carter said, “I pray in our country and in Scotland that we don’t make that tragic mistake of thinking that we can charter another course and somehow ever prosper in that course.” For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord,” (Romans 6:23)

 

God has a marvelous plan for everyone. We are called to be extraordinary by the power of God. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves apron,” (Genesis 3:7). The moment you sin, the sense of well-being is lost. “He replied, I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked,” (Genesis 3:10). Sin brings shame. We become afraid of life, circumstances, and ultimately afraid of God. Sin brings sorrow, a deep feeling of unsatisfaction no matter how much we try to work. But it still will not bring fourth what God gives us. You can try anything or achieve anything, but it will still produce thorns and thistle; it will never satisfy.

 

As exemplified by the story of Cain and his brother Abel which is also in Genesis, sin brings envy and murder, sin brings lies and indifference and turns life into death. “How do we say that we are worshipping God, and we are children of God with the heart of and don’t care if the people around us go to hell? That’s not possible.” We can’t live and not care about the people around us who don’t know Christ. In Christ, we’re intended to be what Christ wants us to be. Everything changes when we have the love of God. The old nature is put away but God gives us a new nature. 

 

So why should you turn from sin? Firstly, because God loves you. You have an opportunity to do what is right, and the Bible says in Philippians 4:13 we can do all things through Christ who loved us. Secondly, because this is a supernatural life. You don’t have to figure it out, you just have to believe, and it is all to the glory of God and for the souls of men.

 

Lastly, when you turn from sin, death is turned into life. In Christ you become the person God wants you to be. The scripture says, “Death has turned into life.” A new song comes; it’s a song of our life that comes from within. There are so many young people that need to be taken out from the dark pit. God makes all things new. The song doesn’t happen all at one time but it happens line upon line. Eventually the song is finished and it begins to be sung. “Death is swallowed up in victory. Scotland, rise to the occasion. Church of Jesus Christ, rise to the occasion. The hour is dark but Christ is still the light of the world. The power of evil still roams our streets but the power of God is greater.”

 

God gives a new hope and a new mind. We don’t have to prove the existence of God to anyone. David says, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” This is why we should turn from sin. God has promised to give us a new life and a new song.

 

Pastor Carter made an altar call for those who do not know Christ and for Christians who wants to renew their commitment to Christ. As people made their way to the altar and we began to sing “Draw me close to you,” Pastor Carter said, “I know there is somebody else here in the sanctuary. This is really your moment. You are very nervous and your heart is pounding that’s because the Holy Spirit calling you. This is a defining moment of your life. You will not regret coming down here.” He said, “For those who are wavering even if it’s just one more person, we will take that time and wait for you. You are that important to God that we will wait for you.” There is no cost when coming to Christ because we are getting the treasure of heaven. We began singing an old hymn, “And Can’t Be.” As we sang, the young man walked up to the altar. He told the young man, “Young man, the Lord is going to put His hands on you. He is going to use you for His glory because He waited for you tonight. He knew something about you.” Pastor Carter then led them to prayer. God be glorified!

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Raising the Dead — Evangelistic Rally — Day 3

November 12, 2009

Evangelistic Rally — Day 3

This was the third night of the Evangelistic Rallies held in the Greenock Town Hall. Fraser Donaldson pastor of Greenock Elim Church, gave everyone a warm welcome, and introduced us to our special guest of honor, “Jesus.” “People might be upset at what I am about to say, we really don’t mind if you forget our names, but please do not forget the name of Jesus!” He asked the people to stand and welcome King Jesus into the house, followed by prayer before the worship started.

A change coming over

After a few worship songs, a member from Times Square Church gave her testimony about drugs, alcohol and promiscuity. She was born to unwed parents, raised by a single mother who had her when she was 21. She and her friends began smoking marijuana and drinking from an early age, and she drank heavily through college. She became pregnant when she was 20 and had an abortion. She wasn’t willing to give up everything to be a young single mother and didn’t believe what she did was wrong. She had a scare, when she thought she was pregnant again. She knew she could do it once but not twice. However, that did not stop her from the life she was leading. After she finished college and moved to New York, she fell in love with an actor who was also a drug addict. The week that they started dating was 9/11. Her boyfriend said he was going to church to pray. He knew that Jesus was the only way. She had never met someone like him. She was led to go to church with him, however it was more for him. She felt Christianity was a set of rules that was going to box her in and to keep her from enjoying her life. As her boyfriend got closer to God she decided to read the bible for herself. “Come to me all ye who are weary and who are heavy laden and you will find rest for your souls,” (Matthew 11:28). That word, stirred her heart because she was heavy laden and she knew she couldn’t be the person she wanted to be. One evening during service at church, the pastor spoke about taking a step of faith, and that was the night she gave her life to Christ. They both laid down every plan that they had at the altar. God has set her free from her addictions, cleaned up and restored their relationship to the way He had designed. He changed her life completely. Seven years later they are now married, serve full-time in ministry and have a two and a half year old daughter.

He is faithful

A second member from Times Square Church shared his testimony about the faithfulness of God. He grew up not knowing his mom and dad and was placed in foster care. He and his five brothers were placed in home after homes. Eventually they were split to two different homes. For about 15 years, he and his three brothers were in a wealthy but very dysfunctional family. They neglected and abandoned them. In their drunkenness, they would abuse them mentally and physically. They were made to feel inferior. In time, he started drinking and taking drugs. He had a grandmother who always prayed for him. His older brother became a pastor and always told him that that if ever he got into trouble to pray and cry out to Jesus. He started working in a club; the drugs and drinking took its toll. He ended up lonely and homeless in the streets of New York for a year and a half. One night, he remembered what his brother told him. And he cried out to God as he rode the subway back and fourth from Brooklyn to the Bronx. One day, he was in Grand Central and Christians came up to him and told him God loves him. Another night, he ended up in the hospital and he cried out to God, “Jesus if you are real, if you are who they say you are, come into my heart. I can’t take it anymore.” He got angry because he felt like no help was coming, yet continued to cry out to God. All of a sudden, Christians came out of nowhere, and told him God loves him. For the next three months, they prayed with him while he was still living in the street. When winter came, a voice spoke to him and told him to walk around the corner, Christians were feeding a group of homeless people and someone was sharing his testimony. It was a testimony of his life. He couldn’t believe someone else had gone through the same way of life he did. An altar call was made and that was the night he gave his life to Christ. A ton of weight was lifted off him. Joy and tears flooded his soul. He forgave those who hurt and bruised him. Today, he is director of the homeless ministry outreach at Times Square Church.

Raising the dead

Pastor Carter’s message was based on John 11, the scripture about a young man call Lazarus. “God loved Lazarus.” A report came to Him saying Lazarus was very sick and told Jesus to come quickly. However, He waited for two days until he died and went to see him. Why did He wait for two days? Sometimes God waits until there is no other hope.

Lazarus had two sisters. Martha was a very busy person in the house of God. When she heard news that Jesus had come, she ran to Him and said, “If you had been here, he wouldn’t have died.” She covered up the grievance with scripture quoting. Jesus said, your brother shall rise again, and Martha said, I know he shall rise again at the last day. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection. I have the power of life in my hand.” “Amazing how we can quote scripture but don’t believe it. We can memorize the Bible, but sometimes we have a grievance. Sometimes the grievances manifest as unbelief.”

Mary on the other hand, sat still in the house. That was another manifestation of unbelief. Pastor Carter said, “I think we are riddled with unbelief in our generation. So many people in church sit still, with no life, no heart, and go to church so they do not go to hell. Christ is calling for His church to go to Him.”

In John 11:35, it say “Jesus wept.” Jesus was not weeping for Lazarus, because He knew He was going to raise him up. He was looking ahead in time because of the unbelief He sees everywhere. Nobody would call out to God and believe God. Jesus was saying, take away the stone, take away every thing that stands between death and life. Take away the hard place that stands in the way. The society has been dead for so long that it stinks.

“God is speaking to Greenock tonight, I tell you that if you believe you would see the glory of God. Jesus told Lazarus to come forth. Ironically, it was only a dead man that could hear the voice of God, that’s why Jesus waited. Sometimes, you have to be dead to hear the voice of God. There’s a time when God calls you out of the grave and you will have to make a choice.”

Jesus said, “Come to me.” Lazarus was wrapped up in death but he heard God. Lazarus was bound and didn’t have strength to unbound himself. He was coming out as a bruised and broken dead man. A lot of people may say I can’t come to God, I am such a mess, I stink, how could I ever live for God. But nevertheless, Lazarus came forth. Jesus called others to loose him and let him go. The church has to support those that come in and unwrap those that are bounded. Loose them from the bands of hurt and hopelessness.

As Pastor Carter closed he said, “Get up and come, come with all your struggle, just as you are.” He will bring you into a body, the church of Jesus Christ to become the person that God has called us to be. The heart of the Gospel is about dead men living. Tonight scripture says, “If you hear His voice harden not your heart. Don’t say that God can’t do anything for me.”

During the altar call, as people walked up, Pastor Carter said, “This is not done yet tonight, there is still somebody. You are saying in your heart can I really trust this, I’ve tried almost everything, and if I try God and if this doesn’t work, then there’s no hope for me. I tell you tonight you don’t try God, you encounter God…just come and don’t hesitate.” A young man came forward. Praise God!

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Evangelistic Rally — Day 2 — Video

November 11, 2009


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Christ Must Be Constrained — Evangelistic Rally — Day 2

November 11, 2009

 

 

 

Evangelistic Rally — Day 2

This was the second night of the Evangelistic Rallies held in the Greenock Town Hall. Chris Jewell, with the Inverclyde Christian Initiative, opened the service saying “God is here.” Greg Thomas asked the people to stand and give a round of applause for Christ.

A bruised reed he will not break

After a few worship songs, A choir member gave his testimony of  drug addiction. So many times he could and should have died. Then he had an encounter  with God and the Lord showed him where his life was going if he continued as he was and he surrendered his life, a little at a time, to God. He got involved in ministry and he worked hard to please God. He pastored two churches and he would do anything nobody else wanted to do because he thought this would make him a better Christian. Sooner or later, the pressure got to him and he snapped. He cheated on his wife  and she left him with the kids. He tried to hang himself by standing on a chair and putting a belt around his neck. Then he shut himself in a closet for two days with a shotgun in his mouth, but he couldn’t go through with it. He wanted to save his marriage, win back his wife. She asked him, “isn’t there something in you that wants to serve God anymore?” And he said “yes, just a little bit,” but he thought he’d gone too far. Then God spoke to him through the scripture that says “A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth.” He was like smoking flax, barely there, but God could still use him.

God really loved her

A second choir member gave her testimony about being raped four times when she was 6, 10, 17 and 29 years old. The last time she was raped at gunpoint. While the gun was pointed at her temple, she cried out to the Lord, “Jesus!” And the gun clicked. She cried out two more times and the gun clicked two more times but she was raped anyway. She felt like rubbish and acted like rubbish. She was bitter, angry, hard, cold, suicidal. A few months later she had an abortion.  She was sent to a Christian home and there she finally learned that God really, really loved her.

Christ Must Be Constrained

Pastor Carter’s message tonight was based on Luke 24, the scripture about the two disciples who encounter Jesus on the road to Emmaus. Jesus had just been crucified. The disciples were on the road feeling hopelessness and despair. When Jesus joins them unbeknownst to them and asked them why they are sad, they reply “Are you a stranger?” “Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard that God once walked among us with such mighty words and deeds. And he Himself bore witness to the truth among the people?” Pastor Carter turned to the crowd gathered and asked, “Do any of you know here tonight that God has walked in Scotland in a powerful way?” “What happened to it all? How did we lose it?”

“I believe that Scotland, and in particular Greenock,  is in for one of the greatest touches of God if you can realize it, in any and all generations.” “Sometimes hope has to be lost to be appreciated…Jesus opened up the redemptive plan of God. If there had not been a death there would be no resurrection.”

 ”Christ must be constrained. If you and I are not willing to embrace the heart of God he will not force Himself on us. It’s not enough just to go to church anymore.” He then addressed the church in Greenock. “Greenock will not come to Christ just because you have the right doctrine.” “Everything that was lost in Scotland can be gained in one hour!”

Pastor Carter remarked how our teams going into the high schools have encountered a hunger in the kids to know God. “There’s no resitance to the Gospel!…Somebody has to go!…Don’t look for somebody else to do something…It does not matter the theological perspective. It’s Christ in you that is the hope of glory!”

As he closed he added, “I believe God can change nations. I believe I will hear a report that the glory of God will come back to Greenock again.”

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Evangelistic Rally - Day 1

November 10, 2009


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The Best of Two Bad Situations — Evangelistic Rally — Day 1

November 10, 2009

 

 

 Evangelistic Rally — Day 1

The evangelistic meetings at the Greenock Town Hall began today. The room was packed on the main floor and the air was thick with anticipation for what God wants to speak to this community. The excitement was palpable. David Black, Haven Director and member of the steering committee opened the meeting by welcoming everyone, Pastor Carter, the American teams and the Teen Challenge teams that were in attendance.

Greg Thomas, Music Director for Times Square Church, asked the crowd to stand and join in the worship which began with “Amazing Grace.” A sweet spirit of worship ensued that captured everyone and soon many were worshiping with full voices and hands raised to songs of praise like “Jesus is His Name” and “Stronger.”It was contagious and deeply moving.

The Best of Two Bad Situations

Pastor Carter delivered a message he believes is prophetic for Greenock, entitled “The Best of Two Bad Situations” and was based on Luke 15, the parable of the prodigal son. But it was the prodigal son from a different perspective. The thrust of his message was that the younger son did not leave his house because of his father. He left his house because of his older brother, who had been serving in his father’s house and was to inherit it. The older brother had lost his joy and the scripture says was “angry” at the celebration for the younger brother’s coming home. It was never clear whether the older brother joined the party. Similarly, many in the church today are angry and have a deep grievance against God.

The younger son leaves because he does not want to serve under his brother. Many young people today are like the younger son who did not know what his real inheritance was: the unconditional love and provision of his father. When he finds himself feeding swine he considers his father’s house and his brother, and he sees it as the best of two bad situations. But when the father comes running towards him he does not know what to think. “All of a sudden this boy sees what he has never fully understood, and maybe that is the why the father let him go so easily.” The father is not bringing him back as a servant but as a son! “This is the work of God!”

Pastor Carter remarked that Scotland has an incredible history of the touch of God upon a nation. “Is it possible,” he asked, “that God wants to speak to the church first?” “Young people’s heads are beginning to rise again. They’re beginning to look to the house of God. There is a deep hunger for the things of God.”

The heart of the Father

Pastor Carter challenged the church in Greenock saying “sons and daughters are coming home. You can join the party or you can stay outside.””Would you consider having the heart of the Father being given to you again?” “I beg you,” he added later, “be the heart of the Father when they return.”

He gave an altar call for all the young people, all the people who had never given their life to Christ and those who were despondent, who serve God but have no joy. He closed the message with a prayer that exclaimed “This is a divine moment for Greenock!” Some 20 to 25 people, mostly young men, answered the altar call and a wave of rejoicing swept the room. Pastor Carter shouted with joy, “strike up the band and let’s have a party in the house of God!”

 

 

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