Day 1 – Monday January 25th
We launched our Divine Experiment last night and we’ve gotten off to an amazing start. It so exceeded my expectations so far by leaps and bounds. We had almost 500 people at the launch night last night even in the midst of a snow and ice storm, people just kept coming! If it had been good weather, people would have had to stand outside because we had no seats left. People started showing up an hour early and by 6pm the place was packed out already. Everyone was so happy to be together; there was such a sweetness, joy and excitement. Everyone was hugging one another and just so happy to be together as a community.
In worship we pressed in to the Lord in a powerful way, from the Baptists to the Methodists to the Charismatic’s and Pentecostals. It was hard to tell who was from where, everyone was so engaged. Steve then gave a charge to us and it was just so perfect. He was engaging, delightful, funny and very fatherly, yet called us up to a higher place as we walk through these 21 days. We then had four of the participating senior pastors come up and lead a time of consecration prayer for four particular areas for the DE. Steve and I were about ready to fall out in the spirit as these guys were praying. The Holy Spirit was so thick in the room.
They then led all of us in communion together as our team led more worship as people came up and took communion from them, people flooded the altars. There were alot of tears and joy. We closed out the evening by everyone grabbing their prayer guides and we read through Day 1’s devotional together as we closed. Everyone was encouraged to join nightly at the house of prayer to continue seeking the Lord corporately. We encouraged everyone to do it individually, as family units, as churches and then as the Church of Terre Haute by coming together in the evenings. The team decided that it would be a fruitful thing for the pastors to gather in the mornings to pray and seek the Lord as friends together.
– we gathered Tuesday evening for prayer at the house of prayer. We had almost 100 jam packed into our prayer room. It was intense. Many new people, lots of time to pray, worship and wait on the Lord. We’re focusing each nights harp and bowl time around that day’s devotion. It flowed seemlessly tonight with the team. People were really encouraged!
Prodigal Coming Home!
One family got a call at 1:30am, just hours after the launch event. Their daughter was on the other end of the phone, clearly shaken. She shared with her mother that she had struggled waking up out of a horrible dream. In this dream, satan was holding her down and keeping her from responding to God. She could hear the voice of Jesus compelling her to “come”. She just couldn’t break free. She knew in the dream that if she could just get to her cell phone she could call her Mother and have her pray. Finally, she woke up and scrambled to find her phone, and reach out to her Mother. Her Mother asked her to get her Bible as it is the sword of the Lord and to keep it with her. This Mother shared that she was more than happy to be there for her and to pray for her, but there was an alternative that was much better. The heart of a Mother began to share with her daughter the importance of her responding to Christ and accepting Him as her Savior, and knowing that Christ would hear her prayers as well.
Young Woman Accepts Jesus!
A Pastor shared just this morning about a new salvation in their Church. 4 years ago he had counseled with a young couple and performed their wedding. At that time the young lady had no real interest in the things of Christ. Since that time she has been in Church and has had a growing interest in learning about the Lord. Last night, she met with the Pastor. He simply asked what she would like to talk about. She burst out in tears and shared that she needed and wanted to accept Christ. This Pastor was amazingly humbled as this young lady accepted Christ. He was so humbled because this young lady seemed to be working out her own salvation between her and the Lord and that Pastor was blessed to just get to witness it happening.
We are hearing multiple testimonies of healed hearts. One gentleman was recently given news that he would require surgery to repair his heart. The initial tests clearly showed a problem that required surgery. When they went to perform the final tests pre-surgery, they showed that his heart was completely normal and healthy. A young family was expecting a child, when it come un-expectantly early. The baby was born at 25 weeks and weighed just one pound. The doctors informed the family that their was a large whole in the babies heart that would require surgery. They began making arrangements to have surgery performed. As the family waited they had called a couple of Churches to prayer. Before the surgery, they did a final echo-cardiogram as an update to send along. They came back and shared with the family that the hole had completely closed!
Hunger is Spreading!
I was on my way to the local YMCA this morning for my normal 5:30am workout. As I was leaving the house, the Lord impressed upon me to take my Diving Experiment devotional. I grabbed it and away I went. While at the YMCA, I read devotional prayer guide, and was working through it in my mind and heart while working out. A gentleman inquired about the book, asking who published it and so on. I began sharing about the Divine Experiment and telling what God was doing in our midst. The gentleman is a local Pastor in a neighboring town. There were also several other Pastors there. The response was overwhelming and they are hungry to experience God’s transformation in the city! As I was leaving, I set the book down to put on my jacket. The ladies at the front desk asked if that was my book and if I was doing the Divine Experiment. The Pastors were leaving and heard them ask. They stopped and said “do you know about this too?” The ladies said of course they did. They had found out because a young lady had come to speak at a community meeting that is held at the YMCA. No one could remember what topic the young lady had come to speak on because all she could talk about was the Divine Experiment and how God had moved at Monday evenings launch event!
Wow! What an incredible night we just experienced at our Friday Night prayer time! It was literally standing room-only at the house of prayer. We couldn’t have packed any more people in there if we had tried. They gathered from around 15 churches ready to seek the Lord together, to humble themselves and to pray. We opened up the evening with worship that was entirely focused on the worth of Jesus Christ and the power of His cleansing blood. You could sense the manifest presence of the Lord throughout the room as we all sang in one voice “O How sweet to trust in Jesus”. You could hear the sound of people softly weeping while others just burst forth in joy.
Baptists were standing next to the Christian Church denom. guys, next to the Charismatics, next to the Community church crowd. It didn’t matter…we were here to seek the face of the Lord as the Church of Terre Haute. We prayed corporately out of Ephesians 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” We began to repent of areas of pride in our lives. It was beautiful and powerful. Our speaker shared on crawling up on the altars and becoming the sacrifice and how the consuming fire of God’s presence comes when we are there and burns away what is not of Him. Our sense in the meeting was that God wanted to transition us from being Zech. 3 “brands plucked from the fire” of the enemy to becoming blazing torches like John the Baptist (a bright and shining lamp) in the hand of God to our city. We are getting testimonies of heaviness lifting off of people and joy breaking out. Wonderful…
Record Number of Pastors Pray Together
Each week, the Ministerial Association leads a “Pastors Prayer Meeting”. The meeting has been going on for many years. This morning, in week 2 of the Divine Experiment, the group reached a record number of pastors coming together to pray. 23 pastors and ministry leaders were overwhelmed to share in fellowship, testimonies, and a wonderful time of prayer together. There was a sense of joy unspeakable among us. Each pastor was extremely encouraged. The atmosphere was electric, everybody was sensing the presence of the Lord and talking about the Divine Experiment even though many in the room were not even participating!
Freedom in the Pulpit
Many of the Pastors are reporting a new and stronger sense of freedom in the pulpit this past Sunday. They have shared their sense of a real spiritual change that is taking place, and a part of the result is the freedom they are experiencing when ministering the Word of God. A few of them shared they felt the freedom to be who God had created them to be, from the pulpit, that they had not experienced before. They are also sharing that ministry seemed to flow so much easier.
The Spirit of God moves in Baptist Church
One of the local Pastors shared a tremendous testimony with us today. He is a Baptist pastor who is NOT participating in the Divine Experiment. He began to share about this past Sunday’s service at his Baptist Church. This pastor echoed the sentiment of many other pastors regarding the freedom in the pulpit and the flow of ministry as the Holy Spirit led him. He went on to tell us how the Spirit of God was so strong that it seemed nearly tangible. By his description “The Spirit of Pentecost moved at the Baptist Church this Sunday!”
The Hungry Are Coming to Church!
Two separate congregations have shared record breaking attendance. One Church shared that they usually have 40-50 congregants gather each week. On occasion (special occasions) they may near 70. This past Sunday they broke their record with 80 on attendance. Another Church shared that for the first time in Church history, they had reached the 100 mark of attendance in Sunday morning service. Amazingly, they both claimed to have “more than ever!” How we love the “more than ever” testimony and desire the Lord to make that our prayer in so many ways.
House of Prayer is Filled!
The Wabash Valley House of Prayer is FILLED each night with people from more than 16 congregations coming to pray and seek the Lord together. For many people this is the first time they have visited the house of prayer and they are loving it! The staff at the house of prayer are happy to be hosting the corporate prayer as the body of Christ gathers to seek the face of Jesus together!
Day 12 & 13
We continue as the city-wide Bride of Terre Haute to press in for a place for God’s glory to come. I received reports that many of the participating pastors spoke today in their Sunday service about “turning from our wicked ways” as we launch into this last week of our 21 day Divine Encounter.
The Gift of Tears in the Prayer Room
The intensity has just grown nightly at the house of prayer. Last night we felt the Lord take things so much deeper. As repentance has grown and an understanding of what is at stake here, we experienced such brokenness before the Lord. Tears were flowing as we asked for God’s cleansing wave to come and free us everything that kept Him pushed away from our hearts and the city. Our cry became the cry of David: Give me an undivided heart! It was a stunning evening…lots of kleenexs. We couldn’t have produced an atmosphere on our own like that even if we had tried. We all left so grateful!
Two Pastors Encounter Jesus in Their Cars!
Two local leaders shared in Tuesday’s prayer meeting, very similar experiences with the Lord that occurred this past Monday. Both had been traveling, in entirely different parts of the state. As they drove along, they were meditating on the Word of God and praising Him. The Presence of the Lord came in so strong, that they stopped their vehicles and began to weep. Two Ministers, two different cities, separated my hundreds of miles, have amazingly similar experiences with the Presence of the Lord. Besides the Lord, the common denominator was that they are both walking through the Divine Experiment in Terre Haute.
A Change in Leadership of the Church!
One of the biggest testimonies we are hearing consistently is change happening in the hearts of church leadership. One Pastor has shared that his staff has reported a clear change in their priorities. The busyness of ministry that had begun to weigh them down was being alleviated as they made Christ their priority. The staff all have a deep love for Christ, but felt they had let the things of the world and ministry creep in on the attention they were giving Him. The Lord is bringing them back to their first love and the reason why they are committed to ministry in the first place. They are hearing His voice stronger and more clearly than before.
Freedom in the Pulpit!
The freedom continues to grow. As we continue together in the Divine Experiment, each week, the Pastors have testified about increasing freedom in ministering the Word of God. They are feeling a tremendous freedom to be who they are called to be and to minister as they are called minister. Some of the Pastors have taken 2 Chronicles 7:14 and broken it down into a series of sermons. Last week they ministered on “turning from our wicked ways”, lives were changed! This week, they are preparing to minister “the then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” We are thankful the Lord has given them the freedom and allowed the ministry to flow so freely.