Summary: It seems to me that God is doing 4 things. Now, I'm sure He is doing much more than that. But in regards to the church it seems there are 4 things God is doing that have great impact on the church today. (Powerpoints available - #151)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
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I think that there is nothing more exciting than discovering what God is doing in our world today. But I don't want just to hear about what God is doing, or to read about it in some magazine. I really want to be a part of what God is doing.
PROP. And it seems to me that God is doing 4 things. Now, I am sure He is doing much more than that. But in regards to the church it seems there are 4 things God is doing that have great impact on the church today.
I. GOD IS CALLING HIS PEOPLE TO PRAY
A. The first thing is this, God is calling His people to pray. Now we know that the Lord has always wanted His people to pray. But I'm convinced that there is something special going on today.
It is as though a special call to prayer has come forth from the throne of God. And God's people are answering it in ways that we have never seen before.
Christian historians are telling us that we are at the early stages of what is already the greatest prayer movement in history. Christians are praying in greater numbers & with greater effectiveness than ever before.
ILL. Did you know that the world's largest church is located in Seoul, So. Korea? It is a congregation that was started in 1958, after the Korean War, by a Korean Christian, his wife, & his mother-in-law.
They began holding services in a discarded army tent, & focused on prayer. They taught the people to pray to pray individually, to pray in family groups, in house to house prayer services, & in neighborhood gatherings. Their church services emphasized prayer & praise & Bible study.
The result was that the church grew & grew & grew some more. When I first heard about that congregation it had become the largest congregation in the world, with about 250,000 members. One of their prayer goals was to so witness for Christ that they would have 30,000 baptisms that year alone.
Well, a number of years have passed, & that church still focuses on prayer. Every morning they have two early morning prayer services. The first one begins at 5 A.M. But if you want to attend that service, you have to get in line at least an hour ahead of time.
By 4 A.M. the line waiting to get into that service already stretches a mile down the street from the church building. You see, the problem is that their building can only seat 21,000 people at a time, & oftentimes thousands are still waiting in line when the building is full for the 5:00 prayer service.
They have two prayer services like that every morning. And on Friday nights they have an all night prayer meeting. You guessed it 21,000 people praying together there all night long.
Oh, by the way, it is still the largest single church in the world. Only the congregation is no longer 250,000. Despite having sent many of their members out to start more new churches in Seoul, they now number over 800,000 members!
To accommodate the crowds, in addition to their prayer services, they hold church services every day of the week. And on Sundays they hold 7 services, one right after another all day long, each with its own orchestra, its own choir, & its own preacher.
During these services, an overflow totaling 2 to 3 hundred thousand people are packed into adjoining buildings, watching & worshipping with them on TV. All in all, they have 179 pastors on staff, & each service is translated into 16 languages!
It's a phenomenal church, & this emphasis on prayer is spreading all over the world. Many churches with great attendances are convinced that they are growing as the result of prayer, prayer in the lives of their people, & prayer in the lives of their leadership.
The exciting thing is that this same prayer emphasis is also developing in the United States. There are literally several thousand churches that are regularly having early morning prayer meetings, or all night prayer meetings.
I don't know if you realize it, but this ame prayer emphasis is also beginning to happen in a very small way in our congregation. And you can be a part of it, too. It can be exciting to be a part of what God is doing in the area of prayer.
II. GOD IS CALLING THE CHURCH TO REVIVAL
A. But you need to realize that God is not calling the church to pray simply so that you & I can feel good about our own prayer life. God is calling us to pray so that we can be a part of the 2nd thing which God is doing in the world today. He is calling His church to revival.