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!