Sunday, January 15, AM
Our final service for the weekend meeting held by Br. Henry Hildebrandt, began with one of the favorite songs of the Church of God, “The Comforter Has Come.” “Our God Is Love” was sung next, followed immediately by “Salvation Is the Sweetest Thing”, another favorite amongst us.
Br. Byler, a young grandfather and father of several teenagers, testified of how salvation is a perfect plan and how he’s been measuring up along the lines that the preacher spoke about the previous evening regarding building a connection with people. He stated that it was God’s plan for us to be connected one to another.
We sang one more song following the testimony—“The Grace of God”. The main message of the song is that grace will carry you through any trial or battle that you may come against. The third verse particularly blessed many of the saints, ”Within the heart, His grace abounding will give us power to reign; through Jesus, when the foe’s surrounding, the victory we shall gain. Wondrous grace, pure gift from heaven! Grace to set the captives free! Grace of God, so kindly given by the Savior unto me.” What an encouraging message–that there will always be grace whenever you need it, no matter the circumstances. Many of the saints wept and raised their hands, while others walked the aisles. One young brother, mentioned before, a young man with Down’s Syndrome, skipped down the aisles, completely free in the Spirit, greeting different saints along the way.
Br. O’Shea, a young father and minister in his mid-twenties, exhorted the saints, reminding us of our rich estate inherited through salvation. He told us that those who have left the Church of God, have traded their rich estate for garbage. People today, are trading their rich estate for cowboy boots, drugs, and the Darke County Jail. What a trade! Salvation is worth far more than anything this world has to offer!
Br. McKenzie, led the congregation out in prayer. Just a little background— when this dear brother from the Grand Cayman Islands prays, he leaves no doubt in any one’s mind about whether his prayer reached the Throne of God. His fervency and respect for God is clearly represented in his prayers.
The Gospel Trumpet Singers sang two inspiring songs—“He Rolled My Heavy Burdens Away” and “Here I Am”. Br. Ray Tinsman, our dear apostle, also requested the song, “If It Had Not Been For The Lord On My Side”.
Br. Henry Hildebrandt preached another very practical message this morning, entitled Rules and Order (Set Your House in Order). There are some people who are overly concerned about the rules and the order here in the Church of God but
Genesis 1:1-10, 12-19, clearly represents a God Who is extremely orderly. Here, we see how He put the whole universe in order; this is the scripture where orderliness originates. People like to put order in the places where it should not be, such as in their church services. They put so much order in their services that if God wanted to move in their midst, He couldn’t because He doesn’t seem to fit into their programs. By the time their speaker has had his say, and their piano player has played all his songs, the people have lost their attention span. John 3:8, ”The wind bloweth where it listeth…”, shows us how the wind has no predictability; that’s how we should be spiritually– unpredictable.
Saints, keep a clean house because if you don’t, it doesn’t match your appearance. We look clean cut, and neat so our homes should also look neat and clean. Life is 100% more enjoyable when there is order. God does not approve of disorder.
John Wesley said, ”Slovenliness has no part in religion; cleanliness is, indeed, next to godliness.”
The brother informed us that earthly and spiritual things go hand in hand: if you never clean your house, it parallels how you live your spiritual life; and if your house is a mess, you won’t be an attraction of godliness to the world. The key to cleanliness all the time is to clean up as you go: never leave a mess to be cleaned up on ”that specific day” in the week that you continually put off until a more convenient time. In Acts 9:34, Peter actually commands a man to, ”…Arise, and make thy bed.” So, we can see that domestic orderliness is also in the Scriptures.
Rising early actually begins the night before; how can you expect to be able to wake up early if you went to bed late?
You actually don’t have time to be disorganized because you’ll be more efficient to the work of the Lord if you’re organized.
In the closing of his last message to us, Br. Henry informed the saints that he had preached his heart out and had thoroughly enjoyed the fellowship along with the warm hospitality of the saints here in Greenville.
We thank God for His kindness to us this weekend in visiting us in every service and blessing even more than is able to be described in words.
Saturday, January 14, PM
Tonight, the song service was exceptional. We began with the song, That Wicked One Toucheth Him Not, followed by, Mighty to Save and Keep. It’s so comforting to know that the same God who saves can also keep you unspotted from the world in an age where the senses are indulged to the fullest: if it feels good, do it. Don’t worry about the consequences: if you find out that what you did hurt someone, just say you’re sorry and keep on doing it because, after all, the senses must be gratified.
How Firm a Foundation was the last song that we sang; almost the entire congregation stood, raising their hands to vent the overwhelming feelings pent up inside them. They seemed particularly blessed by the verse of song that says, ”The soul that on Jesus doth lean for repose, I will not, I will not, desert to his foes; that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I’ll never, no never forsake.” What an encouraging thought–no matter what happens, God will never forsake His children.
Br. Granite Thilmony, a radical youth in his early teens, reminded the saints of the miracle of salvation. He read the passage of scriptures from Ephesians 2:1-7, ”But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace are ye saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus…” He said, we are in a place full of miracles. God took people from the pits of sin and raised them up to sit with Him. We’re privileged to sit with Him; it’s better than any basket ball game or anything this world has to offer.
A small child led the congregation out in prayer, followed by Br. Jonny O’Shea, a young father and minister in his mid-twenties.
Br. Devon, an African-American man in his mid thirties, stood to tell the saints that even with all the basketball games going on, there’s no other place he’d rather be than in the Church of God.
The Gospel Trumpet Singers sang the song, They Are Covered by the Blood, which was followed by the song, My Debt Was Paid. The first two songs were excellent, but the third song brought the house down– Thank God for the Blood. The whole congregation erupted with all sorts of emotion almost from the moment the singers started the song. Some stood in their places, both arms raised, others leaped and shouted, while still others charged out of their seats to take a holy walk down the aisles. One young man with Down’s syndrome, walked the aisles, praising God, while the same middle aged man who had danced in the morning service came dancing down the aisles behind him again. What a blessed thought that some day, this rejoicing will go on for ever in heaven!
Br. Henry, the officiating minister in this meeting, got up, encouraging the saints in a prelude to his message, that one day, all our toils and fighting the enemy of our souls will be over. ”What a day that will be!”
He took his text in Proverbs 11:30, ”He that winneth souls is wise…” It takes wisdom to win souls; it’s impossible to win someone unless you have common ground to connect with them on. It’s amazing to see that Jesus used some, shall we say, odd set of circumstances to find common ground to win the family and friends of Lazarus. It says, in John 11:35, ”Jesus wept.” Why? Jesus knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, but He allowed His humanity to reveal itself in order to get Himself on the level of those weeping for the loss of their friend and relative so that He could win them.
What souls desperately need is a connection. The burden of the message was clearly, how to win peoples’ hearts. We should pray, ”Lord, how can I connect?” We have to put ourselves at the world’s level, not below the standards of holiness, in order to win the world.
A popular children’s song says, ”When our sister/brother comes along, we will stop and pick her/him up…” Not only the world needs us to connect with them, but we need to connect with the other saints; look for common ground in order to build a connection.
Parents, as your children grow older, and become more mature, keep inventing ways to stay connected with them. If they’re 16, don’t talk to them as if they’re 10. You’ve got to connect with them by bringing yourself down to their level.
Teachers, find a connection to your students. Sometimes, it’s good to close the text books and find some common ground on which to build a connection with your students. It will help them in the long run.
Have you ever found that you could never really get a good connection with the preachers of your church? They enter the into the meeting about five minutes before their sermon begins and exit the room about five minutes before the service actually closes, never allowing themselves contact with the lay members long enough to develop a holy connection. Well, the ministry in the Church of God, are seeking a holy connection to the people. They have the same trials as you and realize the vital importance of a connection in order to obtain heaven’s reward in the end for both you and them.
Another example that the preacher used, (John 6:19) speaks about the women who went to draw water out of the well. Jesus first had to develop a connection with her in order to show her that her marriage was not right. Their connection was water.
If you cannot connect with someone, you should be concerned enough to find out why you can’t so that you can fix the problem, because you need to be connected to the saints. Be a good connector.
We closed the service with Rescue the Perishing, which is a song with a message geared toward saving the lost. We thank the Lord for His faithfulness to us this weekend in reminding us of our need for the saints. May He continue to work with us as He wills.
Saturday, January 14, AM
This morning’s service, began with Br. Ray, behind the pulpit, informing the saints that we would have an abbreviated song service in order to leave more room for the Word of God.
We sang one song entitled, “Saints’ Reward”, in which we are reminded of the brevity of life. On the second verse, ”… Then we’ll fly away to glory, at our Father’s own right hand, help to sing redemption’s story with the blood washed angel band, ” Br. Ray spontaneously told all the saints to stand, giving more freedom in the Spirit.
After a short season of corporate prayer, the Gospel Trumpet Singers sang a song entitled, “One Day, Jesus Will Call My Name”. On the chorus, some of the saints stood, others waved their hands above their heads almost as a way to allow the emotion to escape. One middle-aged brother in particular leaped into the aisles, rejoicing and pretty nearly dancing with complete ecstasy. What a thought– that the King of all Kings will one day call your name!
Br. Henry preached a moving message that is both practical in the extreme and very necessary in our day and age, where people exercise next to no temperance. He used the passage in I Corinthians 6:19-20 ”What? Know ye not, that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” People ask, ”Well, where in the Bible does it say not to smoke?” or; ”Where does it say not to drink alcohol?” or; “Where does it say not to chew tobacco?”. It is all covered in this simple passage of scripture. We have to take care of the body, which is God’s dwelling place; and drinking, smoking, tobacco, addictions, etc. are not good for physical health; therefore, if you do these things, you’re not taking proper care of the temple that God has entrusted you with.
The brother clearly showed that if we are going to believe in divine healing, then we had better take care of our bodies. We cannot rightly expect God to heal our bodies if we aren’t doing our part in caring for His dwelling place. Many people use the phrase, ”I’m starving,” way too lightly. Most of the people in the United States and Canada are not starving to death. In fact, many are actually closer to death by eating too much rather than from starvation. As a disclaimer, he said, he has no problem with the hard-working men eating a good, hearty meal, including steak. We’re not vegetarians by any means, not even close. God told Peter, ”…Kill and eat…” You can’t kill vegetables, therefore, God must have been referring to animals of some kind.
Genesis 1:29, ” …Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed,… and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” Vegetarians like to use this scripture to support their cause, but we can easily refute that with a scripture in Genesis 9:3, ”Every living thing shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you.” That would definitely include steak and omelets and vegetables. We are not health freaks; we do not publicize our health mindedness: we believe it’s something that should be kept inside the home. It is not a religion.
Br. Henry gave us a question to ponder– is gluttony sin? He gave us the definition of the word, which means any over-indulgence to the point of extravagance or waste. In other words, gluttony not only refers to eating, but also to other areas of our lives, such as riding a four wheeler too much or spending excessive amounts of time on your electronic devices.
Over-eating is put on the same level as smoking, drinking alcohol, and addictions because it is a direct parallel to how you are dealing with other areas of your life. Don’t throw away food; consider before you buy it whether you’ll be able to eat it all by the time it is considered unsafe for consumption.
Does your appetite control your life? Obviously the young man referred to in Deuteronomy 21:19-20, was over-indulging himself to the point where his parents had to bring it into the public. .
Other scriptures, the preacher used were Proverbs 28:7 and 23:1-2. Are you given to much appetite? We should pray that we do not sin when we eat by exercising intemperance verses temperance. Unless we ”…put a knife to our throat…” (as the scriptures instruct us to in Proverbs), we can never do well.
In I Corinthians 9:27, the brother reminds us that Paul had his body ”…in… subjection…”, and that is the only way we can have our eating habits under control.
According to Bible commentator, Adam Clarke, your body is an enemy to contend with until the day you die.
When you eat, are you bringing glory to God? (I Corinthians 10:31) You won’t be able to bring glory to God in what you eat if you do not know your limits. Do you know your limits? We aren’t like a tractor’s steel gas tank– when you over fill it, it sloshes over the sides; our tank won’t just slosh over the sides, it stretches, and stretches,… and stretches,… and stretches. It isn’t really all that saintly for a saint to go to a restaurant and eat absolutely all he can eat. (Philippians 3:19, ”…Whose God is their belly…”)
”We eat to live; we don’t live to eat.” People today are continuing to grow: at the rate the world is going, we’ll have to measure the passengers boarding airplanes to see whether they will fit on the seats, just like the airliners measure your luggage to see whether it will fit on the plane in the luggage compartment.
Don’t force your children into obesity by allowing them to choose just anything they want to eat when you go to a restaurant. They don’t know what’s good for them; they don’t even know what a stomach is. When they come of age, then give them some choices of what they can eat.
Br. Henry is about 5ft. 8in. tall, broad shouldered, and solidly built. He expressed a complaint against those who would compare him to a man of similar height but not similar build. Don’t worry about your weight. The charts are not always accurate. If you need to lose weight, don’t waste your time on those diets that are commonly advertised. There’s a diet that doesn’t cost anything extra. It’s called the 3Es diet.
- E—eat better
- E—eat less
We don’t take medicines, so it’s always important to listen to what your body may be trying to tell you. If you have a headache, you may need to drink more water or you may need some sleep. God designed it that way, so that we don’t have to be dependent on medicines. It’s important that we maintain our health so that we may better be able to work for the Lord to our fullest capabilities.
There were no visitors present at the morning session. May God continue to bless us during this weekend, and help us to live out all that we’ve been so privileged to hear.
Friday, January 13
With eager anticipation the local saints from the Greenville congregation welcomed saints from out of town for the meeting being held here by Brother Henry Hildebrandt. We prize the heavenly unity that we have amongst the people of God. It allows for diverse nations, backgrounds and cultures to join in true love and genuine fellowship. Nations that under normal circumstances would never have anything to do with one another meet together in radical worship not only in our services, but also in our homes. We enjoy learning from one another and we recognize and welcome the glory of all nationalities.
The first service began with the congregation joining to sing the song, “A Song of Praise,” followed immediately by “Jesus, Lover of My Soul.” The saints particularly appreciated the verse where it says, “Other refuge have I none …”, and most of the congregation stood, demonstrating their approval of the words by raising their hands in the air. The last song we sang was, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.”
A young, married brother in his mid-twenties, encouraged the saints about our unchanging God before we went to prayer. He said that while there may now be about 50 different gender identity options available to individuals when setting up their Facebook accounts—that is a change from the way it used to be. Thank the Lord that we are serving a God who is unchanging. Without Him there would be no hope! While the world may be full of questions, we aren’t questioning our doctrines; we aren’t questioning our faith; we aren’t questioning our ministry. We are the answer to this changing world. A young mother in her early thirties, led the congregation in prayer.
Directly following the prayer, the Gospel Trumpet Singers sang the medley, “I Have Decided to Make Jesus My Choice” followed by the song, “Whatever It Takes.” During the singing of the second song, several of the singers cried as they sang about all that they would willingly surrender just to be more like Jesus. Br. Ray Tinsman, the pastor of the Greenville congregation and the chief apostle of the church of God, instructed the whole congregation to sing the chorus once more along with the singers if they really meant what it said. “For whatever it takes to draw closer to You, Lord—that’s what I’ll be willing to do …”
Br. Henry delivered his first message of the weekend meeting with great liberty in the Spirit. He began by giving the example of how, as a young boy, his father might call for him and he wouldn’t know exactly what his father wanted; whether it would be for a whipping or for a “pat on the back”, so he kind of went to him with a sort of suspense for the unknown. He said that we were the same way when the preacher gets behind the pulpit. The congregation sits in suspense until we find out whether we’re going to get a scolding or a “pat on the back”. Br. Henry said, “Well, surprise! You’re not gettin’ a whippin’!”
He also used the example of how someone might just drop in at your house uninvited and have to give you a heap of reasons why they came, kind of an awkward situation. But if you invited them, it’s a different story. If you’re invited, you don’t have to spend the first half an hour making up excuses for being there. You can just be confident that if they asked you over, they must know you pretty well. I was invited here. You know who I am. I preach with my voice and my hands and my feet. If you can hear my voice, I promise you’ll get something for your soul.
After keeping us all in suspense for a few minutes, he finally announced his topic, The Lord Shall Laugh. He explained that the Old Colony Mennonite Church, where he was raised, teaches that the longer your face, the bigger your frown; the more spiritual you are. But we’re made in God’s image, and the Scriptures tell us plainly, that He laughs and so do His saints. There’s a time to cry and a time to laugh. There will be times when the Lord will laugh. He used the scriptures in Psalm 2:1–4, ‘‘He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision,’’; the Lord mocked them. And in Psalm 59:8, ‘‘… Thou shalt have the heathen in derision,’’. The heathen is everything outside of the church of God.
Bidding us to use our imaginations, he described how in Daniel 3:25–27, God laughed when the three Hebrew children were thrown into a fiery furnace that was turned up 7 times hotter than usual, killing the men who were sent to stoke it. The only thing on the three Hebrews that was consumed by the flames were the ropes that bound them. And, almost as if to top it all with a cherry, God Himself, walked in the midst of the furnace with them!
Pleading with the lost, Br. Henry took his liberty in speaking to all haters of God. “He [God] is baiting those of you who hate the saints. Your Facebook wheels are falling off. Your Twitter wheels are falling off. Come to the only place that can fix your ‘‘wheels’’. We’re the only place that can fix your problems. Don’t insult your intelligence, God is the only One Who really knows what’s best. He knows what true beauty is. The church of God is the only people who actually possess true beauty.
In the closing of the message, he read Psalm 52:6, ‘‘The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him,’’ get with the fire of God. Get on God’s side and let’s see what happens. God is on His throne. No point in fighting Him! No point in fighting His Church!
There was one visitor present and many saints from other congregations present, bringing the number of people in attendance to about 300.
The meeting is off to an excellent start, we don’t want anything that would hinder God’s moving in the services. May God continue to bless His saints during this meeting as He has already done abundantly thus far.