Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The First and Last Day of Revival

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Wednesday night settled down on Nancy** and the teen boys like wet cement on a rough road.  

They were all exhausted, man woman child, pure worn out.  Brother Leo Berry, all grey and stooped, stepped up to the platform.

THOSEand his pointed a gnarly finger to the back rowsyoungsters are the next generation of YOUR CHURCH!  They are lost!" 

He wiped his face with a wrinkled kerchief, coughed raggedly, and continued.


 “WELL!  Not one single soul---NOT ONE---has sought forgiveness at God’s holy altar!"

Taking one big oratory breath, he boomed: 

"This revival cannot end without salvation.  I will keep preaching the truth until souls are saved, even into next week!

Well, universal gasps were turned into gulps.
  

The congregation could not afford another week, the church sisters were tired of cooking, and the Pastor’s kids were numb from sleeping on the floor of the pastorate.

The boys murmured to each other, looking from one to another.  

They were the souls he talked about it, and they knew it.  Absolutely knew it, and hung their heads.

The oldest white-haired lady in the church, nearly blind and almost deaf Sister Fast rose to her feet and hobbled to the altar.  “I must be one of those souls! I didn't hear much of what you preached, but I sure don’t want any sin in me.”

Elderly woman and young woman's hands
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Ushers hurried to place a chair beneath her before she toppled.  Shocked, Harris and Berry locked eyes.  What do we do now?  A few beloved old ladies joined in prayer with Sister Fast.

Nancy's jaw dropped.  Sister Fast?  Nooo, that is just not right...if she is at the altar, then....She drew her own conclusion and bowed her head.

Some deacons gathered in the back, whispering and shaking their heads. 

Wednesday was the last night of Revival.  


Night driving in Queensland
Source: driving at night


...with a box of leftover food, $40 in his pocket, and miles down the road, Leo Berry pulled off the highway.  

Opening the trunk, he pulled out a pillow and ratty quilt.  He stretched out in the back seat, wondering how Martha and his kids were this week. 

 Martha, this has been an awful week.  How I miss you... Before his eyes closed, Leo prayed.  Oh, Lord God!  Those boys need You, need You badly.  Keep 'em safe.  Save them, Lord.

This is the purpose and goal for an evangelist.  He never knows what happens after he leaves.  He only knows that he obeyed his calling to preach God's Word.




28 comments:

  1. So much truth artfully written.

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    1. The preachers who came by our "back water" town were either very good or very tired and crabby. The good ones we teens might have actually listened and responded.

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  2. Replies
    1. Traveling evangelists knew that their time at a church was limited, so they had to preach with purpose.

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  3. Hmm.. I feel for the pastor, but hurrah that the service ended. Force fed salvation isn't really salvation at all.

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    1. No, it is like being on a diet. First few days one is strict and following the rules. After that, dieting becomes less important. Often same for those who choose to follow God, and then ... It is the wheat on rocky ground.

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  4. Dear Susan, when dedication and commitment and vocation take hold of us we cannot rest until we've plowed the field of our life. Or so it seems to me.

    Thank you for this story. Peace.

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    1. With a passion for Christ, or music, or education...one is driven to do as you said: "plowed the field of our life."

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  5. I so loved the reaction of the church to the promise (threat) of a continued revival. Tired of cooking, out of money...it made me burst out laughing!

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    1. Small churches have only so much resources. Glad to know you enjoyed this!

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  6. Thank you. And particularly thank you for the Leo Berry vignette. It made me think about his sacrifices in a way I haven't before. And of his integrity. He gave up a lot - because of what he believed. As did his family.

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    1. That was my hope, to show his side of the revival.

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  7. One person found God, so it wasn't for nothing.
    Kids can't be forced. Just give them a good foundation and let them know the Truth, and pray they find it.

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    1. There is a verse about exactly that. Children who grow hearing the Bible and learning from good people, will not wander far. Wish I could remember that verse!

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  8. My husband told a story of when he was young and was an altar boy. At the 6am Mass, the priest would run in at the last minute, look at his watch and challenge the boys to help him beat his record for a quick service. He always wanted to get below his long-held 20 minute mass. I am sure he would never had done well at a revival.

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    1. He wanted to hold onto/beat his 20 min. record? That is so funny! Speed Mass!

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  9. I've never known a roving preacher, living in a town with many churches there were only the resident ministers and priests. There was one preacher with a roving eye though...seemed to direct much of his sermon towards the teenaged girls. He didn't last long, got moved on within a short time. I didn't attend church, but I heard the gossip.

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    1. One rotten apple can truly spoil all the other apples. I hope he eventually was given the boot somewhere in his career.

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  10. Beautiful piece, Susan. People find their way in their own time. No preacher or family member, I don't think, has that power to bring someone into the fold. But people find their way. (My first comment didn't make it, hopefully this one will).

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    1. In the way of all decisions, a person has to decide for himself. Hopefully wisely.

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  11. People can't be forced to find God. They come in their own time, and when they do...it is forever. Loved this piece. It was so realistic. You really captured a revival with your words.

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    1. It sounds like you have been in Nancy's place in a small church at revival!

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  12. Bravo on this story. My parenal grandfather was a circuit preacher on horseback. My dad had to attend every service but he found God at a young age ansd lived church. Not all the hellfire and brimstone but the rest. And not the poverty. Rural churches would pay fifty cents or a dollar or send himwith a ham and give grampa's horse hay and water during revival. Hard life but Grandpa loved the Lird and preached it passionately. I am surely here in my jouney because of his faith.

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    1. Sounds like your family's history of loving and serving God stretches back some generations. that make sense when I think about your posts.

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  13. A poignant look at the day in the life of a traveling preacher. It's interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes.

    Julie

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    1. My parents usually had the preacher out for many meals, and spent quite a bit of time "picking their brains". Oh, the stories I heard while I sat in the LR doing homework.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!