Dear Fans, Friends, Fiends, Foes, Family and anyone out there that is left,
I will dispense with all preliminary apologies and promises regarding the consistency of my blogging and lack thereof and tell you a thing that happened. Your best bet is to subscribe to the e-mail notification if you don’t want to miss anything.
As you may or may not recall, our church has hosted a national youth conference every year called Heritage. Miracles have happened here before (see the entry entitled Strange But True for one detailed account) but this is a notable one, too.
Tabitha got healed. (If you have to ask, “Of what?” then you should probably read some of the entries before this to catch up.)
At the Friday night service last week (7/22/16) we heard a message by Bro. Nathan Dudley called, Let My People Go. He started out with a text and title from Exodus 8:1
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me.”
Saying that God does not want his people to be in bondage to anything. He went on and basically preached about deliverance. If you have never heard real, old-time Pentecostal preaching, you should treat yourself and visit a Oneness Apostolic church. You can also tune in to our services via the web at http://csfpc.com/ during regular service times when we are streaming or listen to past sermons on the downloads page. There really is no way to describe it other than by actually experiencing it for yourself.
Our building’s official capacity is around a thousand, but for this event we put chairs in the aisles and pews along the side walls and set up a speaker system in the foyer and seat people there as well. Youth groups and ministers and people who love preaching come from all over the country to attend this meeting. Another scripture he used was Luke 4:18-19.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
Jesus came to do all this and more. Much more. So, what happened?
Well, when I talked to her afterward, she said that for several weeks prior she had been trying to simplify her life and get rid of the distractions that held her back spiritually. She knew that by the time the Heritage conference was going to start that she was going to experience a big change. Something was going to happen, but she was thinking more along the lines of a spiritual breakthrough than anything else. She had accepted that she had this sickness in her body and knew that God could and would heal her when it was His time.
When the part of the service we refer to as the “Altar Call” came, the preacher had all of the ministers who were in attendance, well over 50 in all, line up at the front, facing the crowd of over 1,200 people. The preacher asked for anyone who needed deliverance or healing or a miracle to come and stand in front of the preachers, their own pastor if possible, and get prayed for. The front of the room was immediately crammed with praying young people.
We normally have the young men pray on one side of the room and the young ladies on the other. It just helps maintain the propriety (If you’ve never been to a true Apostolic, Pentecostal prayer meeting you may not understand this. Sorry.). There was no way she was getting through that crowd on two crutches. Not necessarily because no one wanted to let her pass but they were unaware of her presence.
But she wanted to. She knew that she needed to be prayed for and that the one she wanted to pray for her was her own pastor, Pastor Burgess. Of course we understand that the power of God is not limited to one man but there is also a Biblical principal of submitting to authority and a reading of the Bible will show that every time someone submitted their will to God and a man appointed and anointed by Him, good things happened. In our local assembly the only people who are allowed to lay hands on someone’s head and pray are the ministers that are recognized by the pastor and the bishop. Other assemblies may do things differently but that is how we do it.
Getting to where the pastor was at was the problem. Way over on the other side of the church on “the guys’ side.” She knew she would never be able to make it by herself so she asked a nearby sister that she knew and trusted to help her do it. They took a deep breath and began the slow, but determined to be inexorable, process together. This sister told me later that the whole time she kept imagining the woman in the Mark chapter 5 who had been sick for 12 years but pressed her way through the thronging multitude to just be able to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. As they got closer on the men’s side they got the eye of one of our local ministers, a strong man from the islands with a deep, booming voice and no-nonsense attitude, who helped them. He began to, er, “gently nudge” people out of the way and helped make a path for them to get to our pastor.
When they got to him, she handed the sister her crutch and he laid his hand on her head and prayed and when he said, “…by faith in Jesus name!” she “cut loose” worshipping.
Here again, if you have never experienced the power of the baptism of the Spirit you may not understand, but if you read the story of King David bringing the Ark of the Covenant home in 2 Samuel 6 you will see David dancing before the Lord with all his might.
“And it was so, that when they that bare the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings. And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.(2Sa 6:13-14)”
This is not some quiet, choreographed, tippy-toe dance, but is the power of a human being coming face-to-face with the almighty creator of the universe and realizing the significance of such a thing.
All this was going on and I didn’t see it. Grandson Douglas and I were trying to get up close to pray when through the crowd came Tabitha, walking straight as you please and her friend behind carrying her crutch. We hugged and prayed and wept and she kept on walking. And still is. The weakness on her right side is completely gone, along with the pain and loss of balance. She used to wobble and spin and start to fall at random in what her nieces and nephews called “The Tadda Dance.” The “Jesus Dance” fixed that. She has her energy back and is able to drive again.
Here is a picture of Pastor Burgess rejoicing and waving the crutches in the air.
Remember, the Good Book says,
And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him. And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.(Mar 5:24-34)
Incredible! I had heard of these things, but did not know they actually happened!