Less Can Be More
by Lonnie Lane
If you saw Sid’s interview with Nathan Morris you know there’s a Revival going on in Mobile, Alabama. That’s not the only place God is saving souls and healing people. The live link of the Revival is bringing salvation and healing to people the world over, but so are ordinary people. That is, ordinary people who carry within them an extraordinary God. That’s you and me, if you belong to Yeshua. Revival is in the atmosphere. There is an electric sense of the Lord’s presence. It can be as near as your internet. Someone walking in a strong anointing on the air can just say, “Jesus!” like they mean it and you can feel that anointing shoot right through to your spirit.
How can I enter into what God is doing in this regard, you may be asking. Do what He already told us to do. We pray. We seek God for more of Him. When people cry out to God for Revival, He hears and when we reach what some might call “the tipping point,” things begin to happen. But it takes doing on our part, doing what He told us to do. Revivals are about bringing people to the Lord. It begins with trusting in God to touch other people through you. There’s a greater awareness of His presence and holiness, and a deeper sensitivity to His will in each person’s heart. But with all that, Revival is still primarily about bringing souls into the Kingdom. If it’s only about us and what we’re feeling, it’s not a true revival. It must result in people coming into the Kingdom. Because with this greater outpouring of the Spirit of God comes the motive of the Spirit of God – salvation for the lost. That was Yeshua’s highest priority and it still is.
Now if you’re thinking you should share the Lord with others because He said to and you’re feeling obligated and motivated by guilt, then you need to know that He’s not pressuring you into sharing and neither am I. But if you want to be closer to Him, then one way is to be where He is, and He is in search of those who are without Him. If you find yourself with a new sense of caring for the souls of people and their eternal destiny, that’s the Spirit of God sharing His heart with you. You can even begin to ask Him to give you His heart for the lost. Then watch for who He puts in front of you. When you share with people wherever you are, it becomes the most normal and most joyful part of your life.
My church is small, probably no more than 50-75 people at any given meeting. But we’re not depending on numbers to be the definition of being a successful congregation. As my pastor, Phil, often says, he’s not assessing success by how many come in, but by how many go out to minister. I’m hoping to stir some hearts to action in what I’m about to share with you, and to inspire faith that you too can be “successful” for the Lord right where you are. As I get to write and tell you folks these things, perhaps our church serves as a kind of “lab” or God’s “show and tell” for what He wants to do in churches everywhere. I tell you about us in hopes that you will catch our fervor for souls and it will be exported to you.
Pastors – any of you listening? You needn’t wait to be a mega-church to start reaching out. God loves to work with less to accomplish more. I call it the Gideon Effect (See Judges 6). When He works with fewer in number, there’s no way anyone can get the credit but Him. He chose Israel because they were small in number. So if you’re not a big church, you have the credentials for God to work miracles among you. You don’t need a big budget or well thought out programs. You just need to start doing it and take some of your folks with you. You know, “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ ( Eph 4:12). For those of you without such a pastor or church, you don’t have to be frustrated. You can go do this yourself. That’s the goal anyway, for the body at large to be sharing the Gospel with others. As Yeshua said, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation… Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons” (Mark 16:15; Matthew 10:8). He meant those words for every one of His followers, not just those within earshot of His voice. That means you and me.
Street ministry. Last summer, Phil, started taking some of us to what he called, “The fishing hole,” the bus stop at the local mall. It was summer and hot. He took a cooler full of cold water bottles and off he went, some of us with him, to offer people cold drinks of water. As in how Jesus said to offer a drink in His name (See Mark 9:41). So offer the water to them and then just start talking to the people, asking them questions. I’ve recounted stories of such conversations more in depth in another article entitled “His Omnipotent Mercy” which will provide you with a kind of script you can use to share the Lord with people.
We’ve been doing this on the streets at the bus stop and elsewhere for about six months. At last count, over 650 people have prayed with our folks to receive the Lord in those six months. This does not count the number of people who rededicated their lives to the Lord who were already believers but not walking “tight” with the Lord. Most of these new believers come from a specific outreach on the streets, but also from encounters our people have in their daily lives.
Nursing Home ministry. Another outreach of our congregation is the team that goes to nursing homes each Tuesday with Pastor Evie, Phil’s wife. This team of women go into six different nursing homes each Tuesday. Anywhere from 5 to 15 of our women rotate around the nursing homes each month, reaching over 1000 people. They report the stories to us each week of 2 to 10 on average who came to the Lord in their weekly visit to the nursing homes. And a number of them have been healed or are functioning at a much higher level as a result of the prayers the ladies pray over them. The residents look forward to their visits, for some that is the only visitor they receive, the only persons who are praying for them, the only time someone touches them who isn’t a nurse, or who tells them they love them and that Jesus loves them. Sometimes they sing to them. It’s such a wonder when Alzheimer patients, for instance, who are no longer able to talk, respond to singing songs about Jesus. He said, whoever visits the sick, it’s as if they visited Him: “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers (or sisters) of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me” (Mathew 25:35-40). These are ordinary ladies, from ages 18’s to 70’s, who are making a difference in the lives and eternities of so many in those nursing homes. It’s not hard. You can do it too, no matter your age. (Don’t forget to get permission from the nursing homes if you’re going there.)
Retirement Home ministry. Another outreach has to do with two retirement communities. Our pastor emeritus and his wife are also Phil’s parents and still part of our church. They were in retirement, but this past few months of evangelism has stirred their hearts to start first one, then two church services in these retirement communities. They started with few people coming and now each group is growing and reports of changes and openness to the Lord in those folks are wonderful to hear. There’s a revival going on in these communities when two people in their 70’s who thought they were retired were put back into service by the Lord. He never retires anyone. There’s too much work to do and too many souls to win and bless.
New church plant. We’re not looking to get bigger, but we are looking to expand. We started a new church plant a few weeks ago across town where our Assistant pastors live. The first week one person came. This past week someone announced that she now considered that Thursday night meeting her church home. We plan to start other Bible studies with the idea of planting churches elsewhere in our city this year as the Lord leads. You don’t have to be a big church to have big influence in your community. You just have to do it! When you rely on the Lord, you don’t have to rely on anything else.
Normal Christianity. Aside from those outreaches, at least someone has a story of some one they reached that week. The stories are wonderful, and we love hearing them. It’s a blessing to hear about how the Lord has touched so many in such unique circumstances. Honestly, if you know some of our folks, you would see how far from being superstar evangelists they are. I know I’m stressing this, but I’m doing so to counter how we are so indoctrinated with thinking that ministry belongs to an elite group of people that we feel ill equipped ourselves to step out for the Lord. This is abnormal Christianity. Normal is to overflow with the Spirit of God onto others. All it takes is faith. Yeshua said, "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water'" (John 7:38). Again, this is for everyone – ordinary people who walk with and trust in an extraordinary God.
Take my friends Donna and Heinz, for instance. Heinz is from Germany with a rather thick accent. He met a man at the bus terminal in town who turned out to be deaf. He could speak properly so he was not born deaf but had lost his hearing completely. This man generally reads lips and has no difficulty understanding people, but he told Heinz he couldn’t understand him, as Heinz was trying to share Jesus with him. “Oh,” said Heinz, “that’s because of my accent. No problem. Let’s ask Jesus to heal your ears.” He put his hands on his ears and prayed and …the Lord healed the man’s ears! The man started shouting, “I can hear, I can hear.” Need I tell you he gave his heart to the Lord?
Meanwhile, near by Donna saw a man who was pushing a walker practically doubled over, his back hunched and his head down. She started to speak with him, moved by compassion for him. He told her he had just gotten out of the hospital and she could see the marks in his arms from IVs and he still had the hospital bracelet on his arm. He told her he was in much pain. They couldn’t help him, he said, despondently. “But Jesus can,” she said asking if she could pray for him. He doubted there was help but told her she could pray. She prayed and he said he felt no different. She said, “Well, even Jesus had to pray twice.” The man seemed surprised. “He did?” he asked. “How come?” She told him the story about Jesus praying for a man’s sight and the man said, “I see men…like trees walking around” (Mark 8:24). He needed to see men like men, not trees. Yeshua had to pray a second time till the man could see properly. So the man allowed Donna to pray for him again and his eyes opened wide in amazement. He stood up straight and announced that his pain was gone. Gone! He started hollering, “The hospital couldn’t help me but Jesus healed me. Jesus healed me!” And this man gave his life to Jesus that day as well.
If you met Heinz and Donna you would be greatly encouraged that if they could do it, so could you. They would be the first to encourage you that is true. They have many more stories to tell, but I’ll move on to a few of my own.
Angels and Marines. Sometimes you go out and find folks, sometimes the Lord plants them right in front of you wherever you go, and sometimes they are hand delivered by angels to your door. I’m sure the latter was the case with a young US Marine named James. My next door neighbor called me to tell me there was a drunk Marine on my doorstep. He had tried to wake him up, but he was too drunk to talk much. My neighbor was about to call 911 but thought, knowing me, he’d call and see what I wanted to do with him. And I figured, if God had this young man delivered to my doorstep, He had plans for him. By the time I opened the door he had gotten himself up and into the blue rocking chair on my porch, a matter of 3 feet or so. There he sat, a Marine in full dress uniform rocking ever so slightly with his eyes closed. Drunk. I felt only peace, so I figured God was in this.
It’s a longer story, but he had no idea how he got there or where he was. He was obviously still very drunk, unable to talk or move much. I began to talk to him, though it was very difficult to get him to say anything other than to say in almost a whisper, “Yes, ma’am,” or “No, Ma’am.” This was not exactly what I would call a conversation. I did manage to find out his name and that he was recently back from Iraq. I asked him, “James, do you know Jesus?” He managed to tell me, “He saved me when I was five.” Well, he wasn’t exactly walking with Jesus now. “What happened, James?” His answer, “I joined the Marines.” That was 12 years before. He was obviously a good career Marine. His uniform bore many ribbons. I asked him if he wanted to give his life back to the Lord. I could see a battle going on as he continued to stare and rock. “It’s not hard, James. Just ‘Jesus, forgive me. Here’s my life.’” That was about as much theology as I thought he could manage under the circumstances. Then, after a few minutes, the internal battle obviously won, he closed his eyes and stopped rocking for several minutes. I knew he was praying. When he opened his eyes again I asked him, “Did you just give your heart back to Jesus?” The answer was, “Yes, ma’am.” I put out my hand to him and said, “Welcome home, James.” He took my hand and for the first time he looked up at me and I saw who he was.
I gave him a moment to reflect if he could on what just happened, then I said, “I know you’re trained not to respond emotionally, but I see a whole lot going on in your eyes, son. We may never see each other again this side of heaven. Talk to me.” He rocked slowly for a few minutes and then said quietly, “I miss my grandpa.” It turned out Grandpa had recently died and he didn’t know if he was saved or not. He had told him about Jesus when he was eleven but Grandpa never looked much like Jesus was in his life. But apparently Grandpa was a lot in James’ life and he missed him something terrible. All I could say was, “Well, you have to trust Jesus with your grandpa. But now you can be sure about your own life in Jesus’ hands.” I think you can guess what his response was – “Yes, ma’am.” We called a friend to come and get him. He dialed and handed me the phone to tell his friend, David, where he was. When David came for him, James still wasn’t walking very straight. He surprised me though when he turned around and hugged me and said, “Thank you, Ma’am.” I think it was one of the best most polite hugs I’ve ever gotten. That this young man was hand – or maybe wing – delivered to my doorstep by angels, I have no doubt. I’ve prayed for him most every day. I don’t think I’ll ever look at my blue rocker and not think of James.
When mishaps and things just happen in life you didn’t count on, rather than getting upset about them (especially when you goofed), trust in the Lord to make something worthwhile out of it. I love that “God works all things together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes” (Isaiah 8:28). Two weeks ago I had the misfortune to both run out of checks and loose my debit card at the same time and I found myself with no cash and no way to get any till the checks arrive “in five working business days” which meant almost a week. For some reason (well, I know why now), I felt to drive out of my way to go to a particular bank, not my neighborhood bank, to get a few checks made up for me while I wait for new ones to arrive. Note: When you get an inkling, follow it. If you get a picture in your mind of somewhere you weren’t planning on being that day, ask God if it’s somewhere He has for you to be to reach someone. Keep an eye out for the “God-sighting” because the Holy Spirit may just be up to something in that very situation. Just watch and see. We often miss opportunities to partner with God if we’re not aware He’s at work all around us.
So I went to the bank. The man at the bank who was serving me, Brandon, was looking at me kind of funny. Finally he told me, “You so much remind me of my aunt.” Wondering how he feels about his aunt I asked if that was a good thing. He winds up telling me that she and his mother are telling him he’s going to hell because he’s living with his finance’. Boy, if that isn’t an opening from God, I don’t know what is.
“Well, Brandon,” I tell him, “You don’t got to hell because you’re living with your finance’. You go to hell because you haven’t asked Jesus to forgive you for being a sinner altogether.” Then I asked him the definitive question, “If you died tomorrow are you sure you’d go to heaven.” He was. Why? Because he really tries to live a good life and thinks he’s a pretty good person, despite his living situation. “Well, let me tell you what the Bibles says,” I tell him. “It says, ‘For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23).” Then I proceeded to ask him a few brief questions: “Have you ever stolen anything that wasn’t yours? (Yes.) So what does that make you? (He said, “A sinner.” I qualified it and said, “A thief.”)
I continued to ask a few more questions: Did he ever tell a lie (making him a liar) or using God’s name as a curse (making him a blasphemer). Like all of us, he was guilty as charged. “So how’s that for commending yourself to God as a good person?” He got the point. It turned out that Brandon didn’t believe the Bible is true “because it was written 400 years after Jesus,” he said. I corrected some of his church history as gently as I could for what he could accept, and I wound up briefly telling him my testimony as a Jewish person who had no expectation that the Jesus story was true until I heard Him speak to me audibly one day. The supernatural stories often hook people, revealing the things only the Lord can do, making Him more real than He may have appeared to them moments before, which is why, incidentally, Sid’s show is called, “It’s Supernatural.”
“Meeting Jesus can really change your concepts of God,” I told him. The change in him just hearing the things I told him was noticeable. He said I had given him lots to think about and he would consider all I had said. Somewhere along the way in our chat I ascertained that he was Catholic. I invited him to come to church. “We have fun in our church. My pastor is quite funny actually, but we have the joy of the Lord,” He looked surprised as he said, “You have fun in church?” like that was the last think he ever expected in a church. He asked for directions before I left the bank. I expect I’ll see him again.
These are not dramatic stories but they lend themselves to changing people’s lives for the better when they look to Yeshua. Sometimes you plant seeds, sometimes you water, sometimes you are a spiritual midwife, bringing someone to new birth in Messiah. There is no higher calling than to share Him with others. This life is so short compared to eternity, though to compare eternal life with anything at all is absurd. It stands alone! However, you really have eternal life within you now because you have The Eternal One living within you! Do you fully realize that the Person of God is living within your deepest being if you are a born again child of God. He dwells in the place within you where nothing can touch you but Him. What an extraordinary God dwells in your very innermost being. He has made Himself a part of you. All He is, is available to you.
Those who have been even remotely touched by Revival today seem to be hearing the same thing from God: Take the limits off of your thinking and allow Me to expand your paradigm. Let me show you things according to what I can do, and don’t limit yourself based on what you think you’re capable of. God Almighty is in you wanting to get you to let Him open up your thinking and your heart to allow Him to work through you according to His limitlessness. Can you even imagine that? He knows better than you do what He’s made you for and can equip you to do. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5), and He will take you farther than you ever expected to go. He will do through you what you could not do yourself. All you need to do is begin to fellowship with Him in this sharing the Gospel with others. Talk to Him, pray, sing, meditate, spend time just pondering some things about Him. Enjoy Him!! Then go and share Him with others in the most natural and normal way. Not religiously or out of obligation. But because people are perishing and we are the only ones who can get them saved.
Reprint of this article is permitted as long as you use the following; Use by permission by Messianic Vision, www.sidroth.org, 2011.
Lonnie Lane comes from a family of four generations of Jewish believers, being the first one saved in 1975. Lonnie has been in church leadership for many years, and has planted two “one new man” house fellowships, one in Philadelphia suburbs and the other in Jacksonville, Florida, where she now lives near 6 of her 8 grandchildren. Lonnie is the author of “Because They Never Asked” and numerous articles on this website. She has been the Producer of Messianic Vision's radio and TV shows and the International Prayer Co-Coordinator for Messianic Vision's intercessors. Click Here to order Lonnie's book, "Because They Never Asked."
Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. Used by permission.