Old Ben

Old Ben? I know what you are thinking…. (first 40 seconds)

No, No, this post has nothing to do with Obi-Wan Kenobi or Star Wars. I just felt like it was time to start sharing some more of my personal HISTORY with you guys – watch out! One of my earliest memories happens to be a very significant marker in my life.  I was probably between the age of 4 or 5 years old, close to the age that I asked Jesus to be my Savior (which I only remember because my mom reminded me of that night).  I remember this encounter as it was unique and a little out of the ordinary. I was with my mom in the local grocery store, Tuolumne Market, which hasn’t changed very much in the last 25 years! We were in the check out line and standing in front of us was an older man buying his groceries (I think someone was with him, helping). I still have a fuzzy image of that memory, partly because of the way this man was dressed.

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Before I share this gold of mine, I want to give a little background on this man who made a living from a mine of gold –

Benjamin Earl Fullingim, also known as ‘Old Ben’, was one of the last gold miners of his kind.  Ben was born in 1904 in Oklahoma, got married and took up farming like his dad. He found his way to Tuolumne after a bad divorce with his wife of 12 years. That’s when Ben said, ‘I started running and never stopped till I found this mountain.’ (source)

Obviously Ben was not an original ’49er, but he came to Tuolumne in 1953 and was the last ‘hard rock’ miner of a once popular yet not always successful occupation.  As a Gold Prospector he had 4 claims up on Mount Elizabeth, which is near the back side of Tuolumne City. When he wasn’t diggin’ for gold or sleeping in his small rustic shacks, he was traveling to California Fairs and teaching kids how to pan handle. Many Summerville Elementary School students of that time probably remember seeing Old Ben walk by the campus with his Mule in tow.

Benjamin Fullingim was known for being kind and hospitable.  I was told by an old friend of his (via email) that, ‘he had a wonderful sense of humor and was a good story teller.’  The Union Democrat did a short write up on him after his passing and said, ‘his cabin was a popular haunt for children and their parents, who accompanied Ben on hikes and gold-panning trips.’ (source)  He passed away at the good age of 99!

Source

 

So, back to the Tuolumne Market check out line.  Old Ben must have been 87 or 88 years old when I encountered him that day.  He turned around and looked at me and said, ‘You are going to be a mighty soldier in the Lord’s Army’.  I don’t recall the rest of the exchange, but that word stuck like a pick axe in the side of a hill!  I have carried that treasure with me for all these years and I am thankful that he took that moment in time to give that word to me.  In reality, what he said to me is worth more than a gold nugget, which he probably could have given to me instead!

It turns out Ben had a rich vein of christian heritage in his family.  His dad was a song leader in the church and both his grandfather and great grandfather were  influential pastors, ‘reverends’, in the Methodist Church.  I will always remember what Ben passed on to me and I am thankful that he wasn’t afraid to share what was passed on to him.

 

119876758_138379299538There is something powerful about the prophetic word of God.  It reminds us of His Word and let’s us know that He cares about us.  This word of encouragement and piece to my destiny has helped me in my walk with Christ.   I can take this and line it up with Scripture as I know that the Word of God says that He is the, ‘Lord of Hosts’ and Paul tells us to ‘put on the full armor of God’, just like a soldier would in the natural.  The second letter of Timothy reminds us that just as a soldier pleases his commanding officer that we too are to do the things that are pleasing to our Lord and be a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

I hope you enjoyed this piece from the particles of my past. Tune in next time to see what else I feel like sharing.

And since we are looking at treasures from time gone by, here’s an ‘oldie but a goodie’.

1 Onward, Christian soldiers,
marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
going on before!
Christ, the royal Master,
leads again the foe;
Forward into battle,
see his banner go!

Refrain:
Onward, Christian soldiers,
marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
going on before!

2 At the sign of triumph
Satan’s host doth flee;
On, then, Christian soldiers,
on to victory!
Hell’s foundations quiver
at the shout of praise;
Brothers, lift your voices,
loud your anthems raise! [Refrain]

3 Like a mighty army
moves the church of God;
Brothers, we are treading
where the saints have trod;
We are not divided;
all one body we,
One in hope and doctrine,
one in charity. [Refrain]

4 Onward, then, ye people,
join our happy throng,
Blend with ours your voices
in the triumph song;
Glory, laud, and honor,
unto Christ the King;
This thro’ countless ages
men and angels sing. [Refrain]

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Benjamin ‘Old Ben’ Fullingim with his donkey Nugget. – Onward Christian Soldier!
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Pray and Wait – Azusa Street

 

“My dear brother in the faith: Many thanks for your kind letter.  I am impressed of your sincerity and honesty of purpose.  Congregate the people together who are willing to make a total surrender.  Pray and wait.  Believe God’s promises.  Hold daily meetings.  May God bless you, is my earnest prayer.  Yours in Christ, Evan Roberts.”   Azusa Street – Frank Bartleman

This was a corresponding letter from Evan Roberts, of the Welsh Revival, replying to Frank Bartleman, before the Azusa Street Revival broke out.  I am going to briefly touch on these 5 points given from Evan Roberts, but I also want to recommend reading this book below.  It is a powerful testimony of Frank Bartleman’s life and gives great insight to how Holy Spirit was moving during this mighty outpouring.

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I know that there is not a a specific formula to revival, however, I think as humans we tend to complicate things!  I have heard it said that prayer precedes outpouring and I have found that to be true time and time again after reading several accounts of historic revivals.  Evan Roberts was used mightily in the Welsh Revival and I believe these simple points shared with Frank Bartleman helped spark the Azusa Street Revival.  I know William Seymour played a HUGE role, but it was the small beginnings of prayer that lead to this massive breakthrough. Even today, prayer is being restored in the church and many are gathering and seeking the Lord for another great outpouring of His Spirit.

 

  • Congregate The People Together: We find this simple truth in passages like 2 Chronicles 7:14, Joel 2:16, Matthew 18:20, and the Epistles to the Churches. Obviously the coming together of God’s people is nothing new and we see it being established in Church History.  Most believers do this once or twice a week and that is great start!  We expect to give 2 hours on Sunday and possibly 2 hours on Wednesday night.  Is that our all though?  Do we expect the miraculous?  Do we feel united in our own congregations while contending together for breakthrough?  Small and large gatherings are very important as Jesus reminds us that ‘where two or more are gathered, He is in our midst.’  But are we willing to be stretched past the normal Christian gathering?

 

I surrender all,
I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all. (source)

 

  • Make Total Surrender:  The second point that Evan Roberts makes in relationship to congregating the people, is finding those that are willing to make a total surrender.  I realize this does not sound fun. Sometimes I am barely able to give up 2 hours on a Sunday morning!  And it is the ‘getting together’ that is actually somewhat doable – but making a TOTAL SURRENDER HURTS!  Many ‘christian’ gatherings outside of Sunday Mornings are filled with shallow conversations, personal opinions with commentaries that have a lot of talk ‘about’ God.  But what does it look like to surrender our agenda’s and personal gain?  How do we go about making a total surrender to God? This is not an easy process and will not happen overnight but I believe the simplified answer to this is found in the next point.

 

  • Pray and Wait:  Can we give our words and time to Jesus?  This causes us to start giving our attention to Him! I think that this is a big piece of total surrender, maybe not all, but let’s start here.  As humans we are prone to rush to the bigger, better and more exciting things of the ministry!  However, it was Jesus that gave this direction to His disciples.  When the disciples asked about His return, His answer was, ‘watch and pray’.  In the garden, the night before His crucifixion, Jesus instructed them to ‘watch and pray’ so as to not enter into temptation but to be engaged with the spirit.  When Jesus instructed the disciples to ‘wait in Jerusalem before being endowed by power from on high’, they knew that they had to add the ingredient of prayer!  PRAYING AND WAITING ON THE LORD can seem like the most difficult thing in the world, only because we are weak and fickle human beings.  Yet, history proves that the great men and women of faith that gave themselves to prayer and waiting on the Lord received the breakthrough.

 

  • Believe God’s Promises: In the midst of prayer and waiting we must hold on to the promises from God.  Abraham had to contend for this and even fell short in the WAITING, but we see that Abraham is called faithful as he witnessed part of God’s promise come to pass!  Believe God’s promises with other believers in the midst of praying and waiting.  There is power in agreement.  Contend for the fullness and confess your weakness and shortcomings when it comes to unbelief.  Ultimately He is faithful and we get to partner with Him!  This step helps us see the BIG PICTURE – no matter how we are feeling during a particular gathering, be reminded of His personal and corporate promises.

 

  • Hold Daily Meetings:  If we are faithful with the little – we will be given more.  With points 1-4 in place and a steadfast heart to run the race, we won’t have to force multiplication.  There is a supernatural trigger that gets set off when hungry people start pressing into Jesus – THEY WANT M O R E!  Once we taste and see, our spirits will long to ‘go on getting filled’.  He is our source and it will always start with Him and as He supplies the grace it will go on with Him.  Let’s start with one meeting a week outside of the typical Christian gathering and see what happens.
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1776 Christmas Eve

Let’s reflect back on the Christmas Eve of 1776 –

 

General George Washington’s troops were frigid, ragged, and huddled together; most likely reflecting on their peaceful Christmas mornings of the past with their families.  As they camped nearby the freezing Delaware River banks, exhausted and worn out, they could have never imagined what would unfold the next day.  I can picture George Washington in his tent that night mulling over his perilous circumstances.  Maybe he was praying to Jesus, his Savior, for a miracle!  It was a ‘now or never’ moment as he knew his men were getting weaker. Many had already died off to previous conflicts or deserted from fear and sickness.  He was due to lose more at the end of the year and it was already starting to look like a loss was coming for the underdogs.

Washington had roughly 2,400 men under his command and they followed his lead.  Thank God for George Washington and his willingness to lead in the midst of a dire situation! The Continental Army had everything against them – maybe Washington was crazy enough to believe that’s why his plan might actually work.  This truly is a David and Goliath tale.  The catchphrase for this secret mission was, ‘Victory or death’.  The British did not believe that this small ragtag army would march on Christmas day, let alone across a river in such cruel conditions!

These words printed in a  December 19th pamphlet from Thomas Paine were read aloud to the weary men for encouragement:

 

These are the times that try men’s souls; the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

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(Source)

Back and forth across the treacherous ice blocked river – loading and unloading; men, horses and cannons.  The temperatures were dropping and they ended up falling 3 hours behind the game plan.  Mind you, two other teams (under different generals) were sent out to other crossing points, yet failed to accomplish their missions. The long march ahead was a battle of its own as the winter storm raged on.  I can picture the red snow-covered trail left behind from many of the soldiers bloody bare-feet as General Washington rode up and down encouraging his men on horseback.  The men braved on and attacked the Hessian armies stationed in Trenton with full force. These troops were surprised to see the Colonials attack at 8 in the morning, but they were sober and on guard (in contrast to popular beliefs that state the men were unaware and hung over).

 

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(Source)

Washington and his men were able to cause the Hessian’s to retreat as some managed to flee while more than half were captured.  The battle lasted about an hour and it was a huge victory for the Colonials!  This was a bold move for the American cause and it helped shift the tide for the Continental Army.  George Washington was the man for the job, but it took the thousands of men that were willing to leave their mostly comfortable (probably not comfortable by todays standards) way of living to fight for something greater!  Winter was a challenge for the Pilgrims when they first came to America, but by the grace of God they survived.  This too was a critical winter that faced our forefathers, but I believe God intervened yet again.

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(Source)

Right now the town I live in is getting its first Christmas Eve storm in a long time, meaning we will probably have a ‘White Christmas’.  I look forward to Christmas mornings and am thankful for all things Christmas; wrapped presents, hot chocolate, flashy coniferous trees, glorious snow…and then I read this story and it just blows my mind! Can you put yourselves in these soldier’s shoes (as noted earlier -most of the men did not have shoes!) that Christmas evening?  You wake up Christmas morning and get the orders from Washington.  The plan?  To cross the icy Delaware river in the middle of the dark night – and march 9 miles in a full-blown east coast sleet, snow and wind storm to strategically fight an army that is better equipped and trained for battle.  Sir, yes sir (YIKES!)!

Enjoy this Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with friends and family and reflect on how blessed we are to be here living in the United States of America.  I am grateful for great men like George Washington and all those who have served this country wholeheartedly (and who are currently serving), even on days like Christmas.  Ultimately, I am thankful for Christ, coming as a babe, to bring freedom from sin to mankind through His birth, death resurrection and return.

 

Here is a great video on George Washington and the Battle at Trenton called – WINTER PATRIOTS. (Click to watch!)

 

 

 

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Pilgrims, Plymouth & Providence

 

Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving.

Let us be reminded of our great American Christian Heritage this week.  In honor of the True Thanksgiving Story – I would like to share two articles that bring the ‘real meat to the table’ when it comes to ‘Turkey Day’.

This first article is from the Wall Street Journal, written by Eric Metaxas: The Miracle of Squanto’s Path to Plymouth. (Link takes you to google search with article link at top – because you have to pay to go to direct article on WSJ site)

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Most of us have probably heard of Squanto and his effect on the Pilgrims; but the fullness of this story is a powerful testimony of God’s mighty Providence towards the Pilgrims and their early struggles on the Plymouth Plantation.

The second article from the Daily Signal, is a review on a new National Geographic movie called, Saints and Strangers: ‘Saints and Strangers’ Gives the Real Story Behind Thanksgiving

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This ‘meaty’ piece offers great insight to the movie (I hope to be able to watch soon) and talks about how this day of celebration has been twisted into tales of how treacherous these Pilgrims were, instead of the ‘whole breasted’ truth.

We must never forget our History and the One who provides for us. It is a tribute to His Faithfulness throughout the generations that we are still celebrating Thanksgiving almost 400 years later.

This verse below is a great reminder that we are all called to praise the Lord and offer Him thanksgiving – FOR HE IS GOOD.

All Men Exhorted to Praise God.

A Psalm for Thanksgiving.

100 Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His loving-kindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.

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Gettysburg Address

152 Years ago today, Abraham Lincoln, delivered the Gettysburg Address.  I am going to share it here for you to read over and reflect on.  We live in a great nation and may we never forget that it has been built on the sacrifice of honorable men and women through out history.  With all of the turmoil and confusion going on currently may we pray for America to rise up in nobility to continue to advance the work at hand – “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

 

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” – Abraham Lincoln (November 19,1863)

Pray for our Nation and Pray for our leadership so that our generation and the generations to come can live under a new birth of freedom bestowed by our Almighty God.

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Lessons From a Praying Church

 

Message Monday: Lessons From a Praying Church, Wes Hall.  This is a powerful message from the 2014 Prayer and Prophetic Conference at IHOP-KC.  Wes shares some excellent points about prayer and the church described in the book of Acts.  I shared a video from his brother, Jono Hall, at the beginning of this series called, History of Night and Day Prayer, which I recommend as well if you have not seen it.

 “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”Acts 2:42

7 Principles of Prayer from the book of Acts.

1. Prayer was a priority – to the entire church.

2. Prayer was corporate and united. ONE ACCORD, ONE VOICE

3. Prayer was structured.

4. Prayer was continual and persistent. – Acts 2:1, Luke 24:52, Acts 2:42, Acts 2:46, Acts 12:5

5. Prayer was God-centered.

6. Prayer was missional. Acts 13

7. Prayer was weak, but affective.

Click one of the links below to hear the full message.  I pray that it blesses you and stirs you and your church up to be a praying church.

Lessons From A Praying Church – Audio

 

*CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO VERSION

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Welsh Revival
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“O’ GOD, BEND ME!”

 

At the turn of the 20th Century one of the greatest outpourings since the 2nd Great Awakening broke forth, impacting much of the world. Leading up to this great outpouring known as the Welsh Revival of 1904, there was a rumbling of prayer going forth in the land. Prayer was not just isolated to Wales, but the believers in the area were being stirred up to see a revival and started what they called ‘Prayer Circles’.

Pastors were being convicted, prayer meetings were filled through the night and into the early morning hours and the youth were being struck by the presence of the Lord. The Spirit was moving upon the darkness and chaos that filled Wales during that period of time; as alcoholism, gambling, prostitution, and other serious crimes were running rampant. In the midst of these stirrings the Lord moved in a dramatic way upon a young man named Evan Roberts.

Evan Roberts was born June 8, 1878 in Loughor, Wales. By the age of 9 he was helping his dad in the coal mines, due to his dad breaking his leg. He continued in the mines and also learned the trade of a blacksmith, but it was during these younger years that he acquired his hunger for Scripture, prayer, and revival. The deacon at his church, William Davies told Evan to never miss a prayer meeting in case the Holy Spirit would come and he would be missing. Evan faithfully attended a prayer meeting or bible class nearly 6 days a week for over 10 years! Evan had very little education but his pastor encouraged him to pursue the ministry. At the age of 26 in 1904 he left the mines behind and entered into a preparatory college. Evan never did go on to finish his education, as the Lord had much greater plans for the young man.

Evan started having intense encounters with the Lord during the year of 1904 in his quiet times. Often he would be woken up at 1 am and would spend time with the Lord until 5am and then would go back to sleep. It was during a prayer meeting that year, held at the college where an evangelist named Seth Joshua was praying, “O’ God, bend us”. This prayer caused Evan Roberts to come forth in great agony of spirit saying, “O’ God, bend me!” He received a great burden for lost souls and felt like he was going to burst.
After this Evan knew he could no longer pursue his education as he felt the Spirit was telling him to go speak at his home church. It was at this prayer meeting at his home church, Moriah Chapel, where he was impressed to share in front of the 17 young adults that stayed to listen. He shared these four tenets that were key points through out the entire revival.

‘You must confess any known sin to God and put any wrong done to others right.

Second, you must put away any doubtful habit.

Third, you must obey the Spirit promptly.

Finally, you must confess your faith in Christ publicly.’ – (source pg. 7)

By November 1904 upon Evans return, the fire from heaven consumed him and his band of friends during their prayer meetings. Evan had prophesied that a great revival was coming to Wales. The reports spread like wildfire as more people were being drawn to these meetings. Eventually the newspapers caught on and started reporting on this miraculous move. The meetings were spontaneous and would break out in prayer and song (one of their favorites). There was very little preaching or leading in the traditional sense. The youth were being filled and led by the spirit in great and marvelous ways. Dave Matthews an eye-witness of the revival said,

“Even the little children between nine and twelve years of age prayed with wisdom and fluency that sounded uncanny.” (source)

Can you imagine turning on the T.V. on a Sunday afternoon to watch a NFL football game only to hear the announcer’s state that ALL the players were absent because they were in revival meetings?! Pubs were closed, jails were empty, police men were jobless, coal mines were filled with prayer and praise and churches were packed out.  They say that crime was cut in half and that many denominational churches were flourishing. People from all over the globe were coming to taste and see and to bring the fire back home. There was a holiness and obedience to God throughout the revival.

Many were being convicted and true conversions were multiplying by the day. Some said that it looked like there was no order, but there was never any confusion! Through the next year, thousands were saved and the entire regions of Wales and beyond were transformed. Evan Roberts was an obvious leader that the Lord had marked during this revival, but Evan was very humble and always pointed to Jesus. The revival in all its fervency is said to have lasted between two and three years, but the impact in Wales and around the world lasted much longer.

We can learn a lot from historic revivals, good and bad; there is a lot to glean from how the Lord has poured out His Spirit in the past and how His people have been steward’s of it.  But what can we do now?  Pray!  Pray for another outpouring of the Spirit, personally, corporately and globally.  What kind of spiritual atmosphere will we be leaving for our children and grandchildren? I am not against growth strategies, evangelistic outreach, bible studies, added church functions, weekly services or anything that involves the coming together of His people.  Most of the Kingdom work is done daily through the small and often tedious steps of life.  But I want to see the church alive.  I want to see the Spirit poured out on His people.  I want to see a city transformed!  Is the Spirit stirring you up to see revival in your city?  Press into Jesus and ask Him what He wants to do in you and through you!

 

“Before the Spirit can flow through you, He must work in you” Evan Roberts

 

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History of Night and Day Prayer

Hey friends,

I am Hoping to give some more posts on PRAYER with these coming months. Check out my current series, MY WALK THROUGH REVELATION in the mean time.

Now that you are here, I thought I would start my prayer posting with a great video message from Jono Hall, A Short History of Night and Day Prayer.  I found this message very helpful and encouraging.  I do feel like God is stirring up the Church to pray in this hour.  What do you think?

 

Thanks for taking the time to watch! If you want the notes to this session, here is the link. NOTES

Stay tuned for more.

 

Blessings,

 

Patrick

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