Thursday, August 20, 2009

Expect Revival in the Midst of Difficult Times

I recently received an email from Rick Warren, describing what seems to be genuine revival taking place at Saddleback Community Church in California. Saddleback baptized over 1,200 new adult believers in April. 2,600 people joined Saddleback on a single day this year, signing membership covenants which require active service. 50,334 people worshipped at one of 46 separate Easter services offered by Saddleback and 45% of those people were under 39 years of age. Rick went on to talk about how the church is being used by God to minister to the community through meeting the needs of the poor and offering hundreds of thousands of volunteer service hours. That's neat. When I read the email I paused and thanked God for the revival He's sending to Saddleback. We rejoiced over what God was doing in Saddleback during our Wednesday night corporate prayer time. We get REALLY excited when God begins blessing our sister churches, wherever they may be located, and whoever may be leading them.

In a much smaller fashion, but in a similar spirit, God seems to be sending revival to Emmanuel. Two weeks ago we baptized twenty-five people during our Sunday night fellowship at the lake, and we have many more awaiting baptism. Each convert shared with our church family an incredible testimony of God's transforming grace. We are seeing a number of lives transformed through new ministries like Celebrate Recovery. Our youth pastor said we had more youth in the Sunday morning corporate worship this past Sunday than he can ever remember. We have young couples coming to Christ, older couples having their marriages restored, and there is truly a sense of God in all three of our morning corporate worship services. There is not a day that goes by that someone doesn't stop me and tell me how their Core Group (or their small group at Emmanuel) has impacted their lives. I think Rick Warren may be right when he wrote, "history often demonstrates the fact that difficult times are fertile ground for spiritual awakenings."

Our staff at Emmanuel deserves a great deal of credit, including Dan Heath, Executive Pastor/Worship; John Stam, Missions Pastor; Cameron Moles, Discipleship Pastor; Kevin Choate, Single Pastor; Ted Kuschel, Media and Senior Adults Pastor; Andy Wilkins; Next Generation Pastor (Youth and College); Adam Weatherford, Jr. High Pastor; Paula Minx, Children's Pastor; Jared McClellan, REFUGE Pastor and Associate Worship Pastor, and a host of support staff and volunteers.

Today, though, I would like to highlight Jared McClellan. Jared is in charge of our REFUGE worship service, an 11:00 a.m. worship service that is attracting a number of unchurched people. The contemporary music, the casual feel, and the small groups that launch out of the REFUGE worship service is making an impact on a part of our community that we have never before reached. Jared is a missionary kid, growing up in Guatamela. His father, Dr. Mark McClellan, is formerly missions professor at Boyce College (a branch of Southern Seminary), but is now Vice-President at Oklahoma Baptist University. Jared is a particularly gifted worship leader, and on REFUGE's my space page, there are a number of orginal songs that Jared and his band have written and led others to sing during worship in REFUGE.

I'd like to invite you to listen to one of my favorite REFUGE songs, one written and sung by Jared, entitled How Can This Be. Simply listen by clicking on the MUSIC button halfway down the REFUGE my space page. Also, if you from Enid or the surrounding area, let me encourage you to sign up to be a "friend" of REFUGE. God is blessing here at Emmanuel and we'd like to invite you to join us Sunday for corporate worship.

In His Grace,



vcitywife said...

Living overseas I feel out of touch with Christian life in America. Stories like this are encouraging to hear, esp. since we mainly hear doomsday reports about Obama and the economy. Praise God he is moving in our home country! Thanks for sharing!

Jamie Zbinden

Ramesh said...


Key: Bb


When all around is
When all I feel is pain
When all I fear is that You’re nowhere
Who do I look to then?

Verse 2:

When all I have is
When anger fills my soul
When all of my life is seeming to
How can You be in control?


How can this be
what You’ve promised to me?
Where is the joy? Where is the
Where are Your hands where I thought they’d be
Upholding me, directing
me, sustaining me, defending me?
How can this be?

Verse 3:

When life’s so full of suffering
When answers are too few
When the
hurt I bear won’t get any lighter
Where, O God, are you?

Verse 4:

When time has brought no healing
When there seems to be no relief
all I’ve believed is shattered and broken
How can I but weep?

(Psalm 3 & 4)

Will You answer me when I call to You O my righteous
Give me relief from my despair; be merciful and hear my
Arise, O Lord, deliver me, O my God
Arise, O Lord, deliver
me, O my God


How can it be that I could not
You are the joy! You are the Peace!
These are Your hands where they’ll
always be
Upholding me, directing me, You’re changing me,
You’re making me,
Eternally! said...

Thanks Thy Peace.

Did you enjoy the song?


jasonk said...

I don't know this to be a fact, but from my observation, it seems that God is blessing the churches that have turned loose of the traditional attitudes and prejudices, and embraced love. Who'd have thought? Instead of railing against people from the pulpit over the issues people face, we express love, embracing those people who struggle differently than we do. Being honest about our shortcomings, and willing to be transparent. Realizing that even though the sin that so easily besets you might be different than the sin that so easily besets me, we can still love and support one another as we work to be more like the Maker.
Who'd have thought? Thank the Lord that love is taking over His church.

Ramesh said...

Pastor Wade, I did like that song. I did listen to the other songs too, but for some reason I am not a big fan of lot of modern instruments. It is just my nature, I am drawn to older classical music and singing. But I can relate well to solo or music with few instruments in modern music. So in that regard, "How can this be?" is a very good song, both in lyrics and music.

Now I also looked at the photos, of the informal setting for Refuge@Emmanuel. I understand there is lot of grief over Rick Warren and his Purpose Driven Church. I felt I would be comfortable at Refuge. I have attended Bible Study group around Philadelphia, and the feel is similar. Though it as at people's homes. The worship music and style is similar (though no screens or electronics). But I am more drawn to classical worship styles. We have lot of old churches around Philadelphia and also we have Philadelphia Singers. They do wonderful work on classical singing. At least for me the best music is around Christmas. I feel at home with your sermon Series on The Christ We Know. The music for those sermon series (video) is what I would call home.

The current economic crises and woes is driving lot of people back to their roots and discovering God who sustains us, as we walk with Him.

Steve said...

Wow! Good news about California! Whodathunkit?

Ramesh said...

A Great Shout Out to Lauren Laudendale [sp?] and Molly Stam [sp?] of Emmanuel Youth Ministry Music Group. Please Watch the video, titled "The Christ We Know: PRINCE OF PEACE", December 28, 2008 - Part 5 series on Isaiah 9:6.

Their singing is from 27:00 to 35:20.

Also you can watch Jared and his music group performing on these videos:

1. "A Father Who Hears Us", Part 24 of series - July 26, 2009 (1 Jn 5:13-15).

2. "The Sin that Leads to Death", Part 25 of series - August 2, 2009 (1 Jn. 5:16-17).

Ramesh said...

I would encourage everyone to watch both those video's where Jared and his Refuge Band performs. Excellent music and worship.

Unknown said...

I loved the song and what's happening at Emmanuel.

Ramesh said...


For once I am flummoxed with posting Off Topic comment posts. Somehow the links I wanted to post do not jive with this good post. I am surprised there are so few commentators. Maybe I should cross blog this post on other blogs. :)

Christiane said...

"Fertile ground"
The seeds of faith will find a home in the 'fertile ground' that Rick Warren speaks of.

The lyrics to 'How Can This Be' remind me of a Psalm of yearning for God. Very, very beautiful.
Thank you, Wade and Thy Peace for bringing that here for us.

Love, L's

Jeff said...

Jasonk, I would be sure of your opinion. You need to widen the circle growth is happening in those churches that take a stand against women pastors, homosexual tolerance, and other stuff. said...


Your view that the "stand against women pastors" is the same as "homosexual tolerance" equates preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ by a female to illicit sexual behavior, particularly sodomy, between males.

I honestly am trying to understand how you place exalting Jesus Christ from the lips of a female on the same plane as sexual sins by a male.

I'm sorry, it just doesn't compute--and this comes from someone who believes homosexual activity is as much a sin as adulterous activity.



Jeff said...

Wade, Never said they were the same. Your bias is showing.

Ramesh said...

Off Topic:

Since the subject of Women In Ministry is raised ...

Suzanne's Bookshelf [Suzanne McCarthy] > John Piper's Three Strikes.
Strike One

John Piper mused about the fact that it might be possible to be too complementarian. The question is this. Is a wife required or not required to request permission from her husband to go to the bathroom? Piper now says this is "sick." The wife says that Piper is the one who taught her husband this,

Women In Ministry [Cheryl Schatz] > John Piper on “What should a wife’s submission to her husband look like if he’s an abuser?”.
On August 19, 2009 John Piper tackles a question on an abusive husband and Piper’s answer directs women on how they should take abuse from their husbands. The answer is typical of a complementarian who sees the husband as king and priest and the wife as the follower of her priest-king.

Also lot more bloglets at Suzanne's Bookshelf.

Jeff said...

Just because someone perverts a teaching doesn't make it wrong. Quit blaming Piper for people who pervert the truth of the Bible.

Chris Ryan said...


Those aren't the only places that growth is occuring. I won't deny that many of those churches are growing, but they aren't the only ones. And since only one of those concerns you raised is indisputably biblical, I'm not surprised that growth can occur beyond that.

Jeff said...

The churches that take a biblical stand are the only ones growing via biblical standards.

Anonymous said...


These are extraordinary times in the world and it is obvious that God is working in ways more dramatic than ever. The spiritual warfare is intense but it seems that in such times the power and sovereignty of God is more evident than ever!

How we rejoice with Emmanuel and Saddleback and for leaders that keep their flocks focused on the sharing Christ with a lost and suffering world in need of a Savior! It's so wonderful to know how God is impacting our beloved America through His church in such astounding ways.

THAT'S what it’s all about!!! We're praying for you!

Joe Blackmon said...

Your view that the "stand against women pastors" is the same as "homosexual tolerance" equates preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ by a female to illicit sexual behavior, particularly sodomy, between males.

Total red herring. Jeff was talking about women pastors. Someone could be "preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ" by sharing that gospel with a friend at work, witnessing in someone's home, or sharing that gospel with a stranger in the store or on the train. That is not what he said. He said "women pastors". Since Paul prohibited women from teaching or having authority over men and that prohibition is not bound by time and culture but is universal it is a sin for a woman to be a pastor. Is it is "bad" as the sin of homosexulaity? Well, not that it matters but no it's not. Does that make it alright? Not one bit.

Jeff, stand strong. Keep the faith.

Tom Parker said...


You say--"Since Paul prohibited women from teaching or having authority over men and that prohibition is not bound by time and culture but is universal it is a sin for a woman to be a pastor."

How do you know that it is not bound by time and culture?

What do you base this on?

What if you and Jeff and others are wrong about the role of women in the church?

Joe Blackmon said...

I don't know this to be a fact, but from my observation, it seems that God is blessing the churches that have turned loose of the traditional attitudes and prejudices, and embraced love.

Yeah, cause numbers are the best evidence of the work of God. John 6:66

Joe Blackmon said...


His appeal to the creation of man and the fall of man in Genesis.

Hope your weekend is good.

Jeff said...

Tom, What if...we could extend your argument on out to include the deity of Christ...Let's just say everybody is a Christian because we might be wrong.

Jeff said...

Tom, What do you based the Bible on?

What do based the existence of God on?

Tom Parker said...


I will not play games with you. I hope you have a nice day.

Jeff said...

How is that a game? I am responding to your post. What do you base the Bible on? The point is that to use your line of thinking would leave us with nothing.
If you can't answer the question that's ok. I expect better than just brushing it off.

Anonymous said...

Jeff said, "The churches that take a biblical stand are the only ones growing via biblical standards."

ALRIGHT! I think Jeff nailed it and that all of us can agree with this observation can't we!?!

After all, those churches that Jeff would endorse as doing things the "Biblically-correct" way and all of those that Wade endorses as doing things the "Biblically- correct" way all believe they're taking the "Biblical stand"!!!

On issues like "women's place in ministry", everybody can justifiably argue their position using Scripture. Apparently, God is blessing those churches that come down on either side of some of these issues like women’s place in ministry as long as the church is preaching His Son, Jesus Christ, clearly and straightforwardly!

For crying out loud! We can't celebrate thousands of souls being stolen out of Satan's grasp and into the eternal Kingdom due to our bickering over issues about how we think the Bride of Christ is supposed to look?!? Wouldn't God be surprised if we stopped allowing the enemy to trick us into shooting each other in the cross fire??!

Why can't Jeff and Wade be allowed to function and serve in the way they both believe God is leading them without their being attacked by telling them "You're WRONG! I'm RIGHT!"

It reminds me of Paul and Barnabas arguing about Mark until they could not even fellowship! Ruined their relationship!

But eventually, Paul ended up bringing Mark onto his ministry staff!!!

Come on, guys! Give each other a hug and focus!

WOW! I can see it now! 15 years from now Wade brings Jeff on to Emmanuel's ministry staff! Better yet, can't we just see Wade working on Jeff's church staff!!!???!!! HA! (It could happen.)

Chris Ryan said...


Thank you! That was what I tried to get at earlier, but I think you articulated it much better.

Jeff said...

Wade and I have talked and emailed. We are not that far apart. He is wrong 51% of the time, and I am right 51% of the time.

The Lord has blessed our church this summer. We have increased our attendance by 30%. I have lost count how many have joined this summer. In fact we are going to begin a search for another full-time staff person today.

Thanking God for his blessings

Chris Ryan said...


As long as those people are being discipled, and not just bodies in the pew, then congratulations! That is a an awesome testimony to the drawing power of the Holy Spirit where people are open to the exercise of His power among them (no, that doesn't mean jumping around in fits of "holy laughter"). My prayer is that as your church continues to grow in the Lord, others will be attracted to grow in faith, hope, and love with you.

Jeff said...

Chris, Amen!!! Praying that we can be missional.


Christiane said...


A time of trouble comes. And something is awakened in people.

I have this idea that it is not a 'rational theological response' at all that is happening. I think it is something much deeper in us that is being awakened.

There is a sort of 'kindness' that we are asked to have that can only be developed in us when we forget about our selves and respond to the needs of others less fortunate.

Perhaps God has sent us an opportunity to awaken that selfless love in us, that 'kindness, like that of Our God'?

Here is an example of what I mean:

"Many have had an experience of God much deeper than any of us -- not through concept but through presence.
For example Andrew wanted to win a prize, to get good marks --

he entered into the Special Olympics;

halfway in the 100m final, the next runner fell over..

Andrew picked him up and they ran hand in hand to the finishing line.

Are there many of us who would sacrifice a medal in order to be in solidarity with the poor?"

Perhaps God sends to us our fallen brothers and sisters, whom we need, so that we may be blessed to show the kindness of Christ to them?
And pick them up, and walk hand-in-hand with them,
towards Him, towards the 'Finish Line' together?

God's grace to us is beyond our understanding. Sometimes it comes in the form of a fallen brother, so that we may see 'the kindness of Christ' come alive within us. Then, may we turn our faces towards Him once more.

Peace of Christ This Day,
Love, L's

Lydia said...

Come on, guys! Give each other a hug and focus!

Well, if you must hug, at the very least do it properly:

Joe Blackmon said...


I know you dit'nt.

You know hugging's not where it's at--they all need to hold hands and sing Kumbiya and some fluff by Sandi Patty. :-)

Joe Blackmon said...

Hey, I heard Robert Schuller was the guest preacher at Mars Hill yesterday. He and Driscoll are colaborating on a new book--The Power of Positive Pornography

child of grace said...

(sigh) If only Joe would use his super powers for good...

Lydia said...

Joe, Lighten up. The man hug video is hysterical. Check it out.

Ramesh said...

Lydia, the man hug video was very educational and enlightening. :)

Lydia said...

Thy Peace, If you want to know what happened to SBC women before and after the CR, watch this:

Ramesh said...

Lydia, that was a classic. Thanks.

Women: Know Your Limits! Harry Enfield - BBC comedy.


How to give the perfect man hug.

Thanks again Lydia. :)