Sunday, February 12
We thank God for the wonderful week of meetings we have had in Greenville, Ohio! During the last service Sunday morning, Brother Ray said that this has been the best meeting ever! Truly, you really didn’t want to miss a service for fear of missing out on something!
To begin the service tonight, the saved children sang “Bless the Lord, O My Soul” and “Great is the Lord.” Then the saints began to sing and rejoice as they sang the songs of Zion, “This is Why I Love My Savior” and “I Will Tell the Wondrous Story.” As we sang the words of the latter song, the saints flooded into the aisles and made their way to the front leaping and shouting. “I am free, the Lord has saved me, I was burdened with my sin; then He whispered meek and lowly: ‘Come to Me, I’ll take you In!’” Bro. Jason then started “The Church’s Jubilee,” which is a song that fit the spirit of the saints! Bro. John Hildebrandt got up on the platform and told us that the reason why Babylon has to push everything that is good off into the future is because none of it applies to them! Romans chapter seven is the only thing that currently applies to them! They can’t apply the holy Jerusalem to themselves!
Bro. Stephen Hargrave preached on Putting Away Lying. Ephesians 4:17 “This I say therefore… that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk.” Three thousand got saved in one day as a result of the day of Pentecost. That is the equivalent of eighty-eight thousand people today with the population difference! And then soon after, five thousand more were saved, equivalent to one-hundred thousand people today. These people reached all over the world. And they reached a man named Saul of Tarsus. Paul understood the economy of both the Jews and the Gentiles, and thus the Lord could use him in special ways. Seven sons of one Sceva tried to cast out a demon, without having the Christian experience of Paul. And the evil spirit in the man said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” and the man leapt upon them and overcame them.
Paul disturbed the economy of the silversmiths, turning many people away from idols. “This our craft is in danger to be set at nought.” Paul instructed the former heathens, now saints, to be renewed in their minds. In other words, don’t think like you used to think! He reminded them that they are now saved. And then he tells them to put away lying. Do the saints need to be reminded not to lie? Old habits and upbringing sometimes affect us more than we know. Lying is speaking with the intent to mislead.
“We are members one of another.” We can’t live together with one another without having confidence that we each will speak truthfully. Let’s not tell someone we are going to do something and not do it. We must make certain that our word is sure. Sometimes we may forget, but Paul’s burden is that we be careful to do what we say. Some of us have uttered things, vows to the Lord, even in this meeting. Let us make sure that we put away lying and pay our vows.
Thank God for His help to us throughout this week. The Lord left no excuse for any who were present at these meetings to go away with unmet needs. We strongly encourage you to listen to the recordings of the messages preached. May God bless you.
Saturday, February 11, PM Service
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). It is wonderful how God has been with His saints this week, directing and instructing through His ministers. Though we are almost at the end of this meeting, we are encouraged that we have received much necessary food for the Christian’s soul.
In our song service, we sang several songs of praise to the Lord, such as “Sing His Praise” and “Praise the Lord!” We also sang “The Old Account,” and it was impossible to stay quiet as we sang, “When at the judgment bar, I stand before my King, and He the books will open, He cannot find a thing; Then will my heart be glad, while tears of joy will flow, because I had it settled, and settled long ago!” Praise our God!
Sister Sechrist took prayer requests and said that there are a lot of places where her feet have never stood. They have never stood in the Oval Office, on the Olympic victor’s platform, or on the top of Mt. Everest. But we know that all flesh must stand before the judgment bar. It is wonderful to stand flatfooted on the sea of glass (Rev. 15:2) before we stand at that judgment bar! After some few minutes in prayer, the special singers got up to sing “Use His Name,” and “I’m on the Battlefield!”
The message brought to us by Bro. Ernest Benion, Jr., was titled Turning Yourself Away—A Message of Self-Denial. In 2 Timothy 3:1, Paul tells of the coming of the last days. Perilous times will come. And Paul begins the list of perils by saying, “Men will be lovers of their own selves.” We are living in a time of unprecedented self-love. We are living in a time when people are looking for yet more ways to make life a little easier. Haggai 1:9. “Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.” God is blowing on your stuff! Get rid of stuff for more glory! Car payment too high, house too big, family too fat… The battle in our minds is between comfort and sacrifice. You will do what you want to do. ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.’ The cross is a reminder of Jesus Christ. The cross reminds us that He was wounded for our transgressions and by His stripes we are healed. But in this scripture, Jesus makes salvation conditional on how much we are willing to sacrifice. If you will simply deny yourself, you can be saved tonight. And that is the reason why people walk in here and don’t get saved. They say, “I have to do what you do?” and they walk out because they will not give themselves up. If you refuse to live a life of self-denial, you cannot be His disciple. But so many times we want to spiritualize something that is really physical. We must be a partaker of Jesus’ suffering, His cross; part of the “fellowship of suffering.”
It is easier to sigh under suffering than to think of the fellowship of suffering! We can choose our own suffering, and that’s what makes it hard. If someone tells you what to sacrifice, you lose the glory! The challenge of the message is for you to turn away from you.
Thank God for His word to us one more time. Quick and powerful, it cuts to where we need it the most. Lord help us to move.
Saturday, February 11, AM Service
Incredible? Marvelous? Excellent? What word suffices to explain what has been happening in this series of meetings here in Greenville? The truth is, words simply can’t do it justice. If you haven’t been in the meetings, you’ve been missing out on the best thing going!
Service on Saturday morning started out with several congregational songs, including “How Firm a Foundation” and “The Temple of God.” Many were standing with uplifted hands as we sang, “How wonderful that He would take this poor abode of sin, and wash me in His precious blood and now abide within!” A young brother testified about one song that we sang, saying that if he had ten thousand lives, he’d give them all to God—“I wouldn’t even want to live one of them in sin!”
Sister Elvira Tovstiga took prayer requests, giving thanks to God that she ever took “hold of the skirt” of him that is a Jew. She declared, “I’ve been following ever since!”
After prayer requests, we had a good time rejoicing in the Lord as the singers sang “Thank God for the Blood,” “He Will Remember Me,” and “He Washed My Eyes with Tears.”
Bro. Lonnie Bontrager brought us a splendid message simply titled Restoration. “And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) Jesus promised over two thousand years ago that the gates of hell (false doctrines along with other devilish things that would come against us) would never prevail against the church. But the way of truth has always been evil spoken of. In the early morning church, there was a great falling away. Yet during all of the Dark Ages God never forgot His church. It took the Spirit of God to persevere! And all during that time, the brethren were faithful! Now we are here, at the end of mass confusion and mass persecution; aren’t we privileged? What are you doing? Revelation 18:4 says, “… Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” If we are here for ten, fifteen, even twenty years and are still dealing with petty problems, how much did you really come out? The apostles don’t have time to be dealing with your little problems that you should have been over years ago! The Lord is not going to come back until the work of saving and gathering souls is done. We can speed up His coming by getting ourselves restored and doing our part in the work!
The saints were lively and on the edge of their seats throughout the whole of Bro. Lonnie’s message! It was dynamic and energetic throughout and when Bro. Ray was closing the service, he said “…and this came from an ex-Amish bishop!” The saints shouted for joy! It is truly amazing how God is working, gathering His people, and restoring them for His second coming. We don’t want to miss out!
Friday, February 10
Dear Reader, I thought when I wrote the report for Thursday night that it was hard to convey the true spirit of the message…well, Friday night just got harder. We are thanking God for the mighty way in which He came down and blessed us with a marvelous service!
The beginning of Friday night’s service was off to a good start with some fiery testimonies from various saints. One brother in particular really tore it up. He talked about the elements, how when they come together, they create a reaction, like something flammable with a lighter; and also about how when he was young he would play with a brick of fireworks that only had one fuse. Sometimes when the firework wouldn’t go off like it should, he would open it to find out why, and one of them wouldn’t have gone off, which caused the others not to ignite. He tied it all together and said, “Something is depending on us to explode! I want a hot service—I feel like God’s telling me, “You make it hot then!”” We then sang several congregational songs, and Bro. Granite Thilmony took prayer requests, reading Matthew 13: 38–42, the parable of the wheat and tares. “Thank God that in this time, the reapers are loosed to bind the tares. Don’t be mad as we shout when you’re cast into the fire if you’re a tare!”
After prayer, the singers got up to sing. They first sang the song “He’s Sweet I Know” after that, spontaneously, the songs simply took off and the singers sang one song after another. As they sang, “There were ninety and nine, but He left them just to find one little lost lamb and here I am!” the glory of God came down and the saints flocked to the space around the pulpit, leaping and shouting. The song “Robe and Crown” was sung, and after that the songs turned towards the thought of heaven. We sang song after song about heaven, while the saints shouted, wept, laughed, and simply had a wonderful time in the Lord. The last song that was sung was “It Will Be Worth It All.” Bro. Ray closed the service, thanking God for the wonderful refreshing that we had in the service. Many of the brethren said that they thought it really would have been a good time for the Lord to come back!
Please, please, come and join us at our meetings or listen in! There is nothing like being in a good Holy Ghost-led meeting with the saints! We know that God has yet more in store for His children. Come and be a part of His working in this end time.
Thursday, February 9
Words truly fail to express the blessings that were poured out upon us this evening. How can a writer describe God working in the midst of His Church? The fire in Zion is increasing—that much we can say!
The service started off with several congregational songs. The saints rejoiced as we sang, “So laden was I ‘neath the load of my sins, Troubled, alone with no vict’ry within; Then He gave me a pardon from heaven’s store, and my sins are not there anymore!” Bro. Jonathan O’Shea took prayer requests, and after prayer, the singers sang “Jesus Didn’t Give Up On Me” and “He Rolled My Heavy Burden Away.”
Sister Elizabeth Oppel preached a hot, heart-searching message, The Checks of the Holy Ghost. We don’t want to get gospel-hardened. We are in danger of that, because we hear the Word so often. This world is not seeking to help you make it to heaven. Besides the world, we have our own flesh to fight. Thank God, Jesus has provided a way for us to make it to heaven. When Jesus told His disciples that He would go away, His disciples didn’t know how they would make it without Him. But He said that He would send the Comforter, which we know is the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is an intercessor for us. Anything that you understand has been taught to you by the Holy Ghost. He teaches through people, but no one can teach without Him. The Spirit helpeth our infirmities! The Holy Ghost prays for us. It is wonderful to have the Holy Spirit bearing witness to us that we are saved right in the middle of a trial! We’re set up for success! There is no reason not to make it to heaven.
God knew that we would need more than just services on Sunday and Wednesday. So He gave us Someone that could talk to us at any time and guide us to heaven! My burden is that we would not lose our sharpness to understand and hear what the Holy Ghost is trying to tell us.
At this point, Sis. Elizabeth started to hit on many points that are applicable to the body in general, and also spoke to the parents, teachers, young married couples, young people, and older people. In short, everyone was touched upon at some point!
Many times our cell phones get in the way of what God would say. It would be good for us to go on a cell phone fast sometimes. This is why we don’t always listen to music. In this day, we want to always have something going, and if the Holy Ghost would talk we couldn’t hear a thing He said.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying (Ephesians 4:29-30). The Holy Ghost wants to get in to more of your conversations. What is corrupt communication? Anything that is not to the edifying of the hearers. The Holy Ghost wants to stop the gossiping and the backbiting.
The Holy Ghost wants to talk to you about what to buy. You’d better take the Holy Ghost shopping with you! Sometimes the Holy Ghost might not let you buy something because it’s too expensive! Ask the Holy Ghost how He wants your hair cut. It should be that sometimes before the ministry gets to you, the Holy Ghost should get to you. It’s a good sign if the Holy Ghost gets you!
There are many times people aren’t moved by the Holy Ghost in service, because they haven’t been moved at home! You’ve got to do some practicing! It is a shame if your children are outdoing you! It is time for some of you parents to move up. When was the last time you got so stirred up in the Holy Ghost that people took a second look and wondered if you were drunk? You must let the Holy Ghost break up your old habits. Get unpredictable! We must have fathers who can lead in Holy Ghost worship. We need to be so in tune with the Holy Ghost that we lose our shame of who we are. We need a restoration of people who will forget about themselves and their background and listen to the Holy Ghost.
After the message was finished, probably at least a quarter of the congregation flooded to the front to pray. At the close of the service, Bro. Ray commented that if you weren’t moved by the message, you just aren’t saved. Talking with saints after the service, I feel it is safe to say that everyone was touched upon in some way (and many several times)! I heartily recommend that you get the CD or audio download. Thank God for His word to us.
Wednesday, February 8
The Lord has blessed all the saints here in Greenville once more this evening with His presence! We had an excellent song service, singing of “My Surrender,” and our “Sweet Rest in Jesus.” Several children testified, thanking God for the Church and for Salvation. It is wonderful to see and hear the “boys and girls playing in the streets thereof (Jerusalem)!” (Zech. 8:5) The song “I’ve Found a Refuge” was then called, and the saints rejoiced as we sang the verses over and over again! “Oh blessed thought, my sins are gone…!”
Bro. Branden McReynolds arose to take prayer requests, and the saints were again on their feet as he compared the time we are living in with the end of a game. Before the game, the opposing team would always try trash talk to get you down, but something would stir up within you. And then at the end of the game, in the fourth quarter, with a lopsided win in your sights, it would not be the time for you to leave. You might see the fans of your opponents getting up to leave, but your fans—they’d be on the edge of their seats waiting for that final buzzer! To leave this place now, with a victorious win in sight, would be just as foolish as leaving the winning team in the final quarter. It feels good to win! After prayer, all the saved young people sang “Are You of the Holy Remnant?” What a marvelous sight— holy young people, passionate about serving God!
Brother Robert Bourn preached a simple, yet stirring message titled Saints of Caesar’s House. He showed us something about Philippians 4:22 that probably many of us had never realized or appreciated before. “All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.” This Caesar, or Nero, was a wicked, cruel man. He was responsible for the killing of scores of Christians, who he killed in the most inhumane ways possible. He was a man who committed unmentionable crimes constantly. He was the one who started Rome on fire, and then blamed the Christians for it. Bro Robert stated these facts, and then read Philippians 1:13-14. “So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace…” Paul had gotten some converts right in the middle of this house of horror, Caesar’s household. Did you say you have troubles, did you say you were mistreated? The Saints of Caesar’s house salute you! When we feel worn down in battle, overwhelmed, and fatigued, remember the Saints of Caesar’s house salute you. Our battles and troubles are of little or no significance when you think of their situation!
Lord help us to fight our battles in the right way. We are eagerly looking forward to see what God has for us in the rest of these meetings. Our prayer is that God would direct the services in His order, in all things.
Tuesday, February 7
We thank God for another wonderful service in Greenville this evening! The Holy Spirit led mightily in the service, with the singers getting up right away with a new song, “Something Within.” The song talks about the burning in our soul, something we can’t explain, yet we know it’s there! Skipping over the time normally taken for congregational singing, Sister Cayla Scott took prayer requests. Testifying of herself, she said, “Something registers in your soul if you have the true salvation!”
After a period of time in prayer, Brother Ray asked the singers to come and sing the new song again. “If you’ve got something and it burns you like fire, well, get in a hurry and tell everybody you’ve got something within!”
Brother Patrick O’Shea Sr. then preached on “The Doctrine of Hell,” a sobering message suitable for saved and sinner alike. This is a subject that many do not believe in, and even many that say they do, deny it by their lifestyle. Some may not comprehend hell, because they have not seen themselves as a hell-deserving sinner. You should have been in hell a long time ago, were it not for the mercies of God. You take away the mercies of God by taking away hell, because of His mercy in saving us. Genesis 18:25—“Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” God will be just in His judgment. Committing a crime against an ordinary person is different than committing the same crime against the president of the U.S. And yet, people do not comprehend what it means to raise arms of rebellion against a Holy God. Psalms 7:11 says, “God is angry with the wicked every day.” This is not an anger that goes up and down. It is an increasing wrath with him that would rebel against His laws. Who knoweth the power of thy anger? Do you see the mercy of God? Do you see the exceeding sinfulness of sin? The mercy of God dealt with us long beyond what we deserved.
Job 20:5—The joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment. A hypocrite in his vain imagination thinks that he can go on in his hypocrisy forever. But you will go down to the depths of the depths of hell if you are a hypocrite in this place because you know better! We were made to live for the Lord. Do you not realize that if you don’t give God the glory now, He will get it out of you later? God’s eyes are so holy, that He cannot look upon evil. How does He look upon you? You must be holy to enter there! If God would not punish the unholy sinner, it would leave His holiness in question. One of the most fearful aspects of God is His holiness. What manner of persons ought we to be? Either you will move for God, or God will move on you.
After this message, there was much work being done around the prayer bench. Three altar call songs were sung, and then the service was closed with some still kneeling. A young boy prayed with three of the ministers for close to an hour, and thank God, he prayed through to salvation! What a miracle! Truly God has been with us so far, and we continue to seek His blessing in the duration of this series of meetings.
Monday, February 6
We are excited to bring you a report from our annual meeting in Greenville, Ohio! Monday evening, the first meeting of the week, saw saints arriving from numerous localities in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. It was a wonderful sight to see the saints greeting each other before the service!
We began with a congregational song service. The saints rejoiced as we sang about our Savior’s love for us, and our sweet salvation in the songs “Loving-Kindness,” “Redeemed,” “My Savior’s Love,” and “Salvation Is the Sweetest Thing.” Bro. Stephen O’Shea took prayer requests, and reminded us that the joy that thrills our hearts in salvation cannot be replaced with anything in this world. Look at the suicides, the ruined lives—nothing fills the longing for satisfaction like the joys of salvation.
Following a short season of prayer, the singers sang “Covered by the Blood,” and “O, It’s Wonderful to Be a Christian.” During the latter song, the saints just couldn’t contain themselves! Many were leaping, running across the open space in the front, and waving their handkerchiefs. Indeed, it is truly wonderful to be a Christian!
Brother Addison Everett then took the pulpit to bring forth the Word, an old-fashioned and plain message on salvation. It is a wonderful, miraculous, unworldly experience, to be saved! If you have salvation, you almost can’t contain it! He read the scripture of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2:6–15. Something about this moment was so good, that the heavenly host broke through to shout and sing the praises of God. In that baby, Simeon and Zacharias (Luke1:67–79) saw the salvation of a lost world. John said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” People have lowered salvation to an outward conforming to a set of rules, or a belief in a certain creed. False preachers would love to turn salvation into an “easy believe-ism.” But no one gets in for free! What will salvation cost me? EVERYTHING! The Lamb of God spilled His blood for our salvation, and it comes at the same high price. Jesus has provided everything for you that pertains to life and godliness. That leaves you with no excuses! No one will hit the judgment with excuses. Many want the glory spoken of in 2 Peter 1:3 without the virtue. Salvation is not “turning over a new leaf”, it is a transformation. We require the common, one-and-only salvation!
There were two altar call songs after the message, and several souls were at the prayer bench. At least one prayed through to salvation! Thank God, the Blood still works today. We are looking forward to the continuation of these services, and trust that God will richly bless us again as He did this evening.