So what can we learn from reading about the success story
of the Brooklyn Tabernacle in Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire? What makes
their local church evangelism so successful and powerful? 1) Their evangelism
is driven by the Holy Spirit, brought into action from prevailing intercessory
prayer. People turned on by the Holy Spirit let the love of Christ within
them shine out to those in need within the community through good deeds,
good works they perform. 2) Then those people in need, warmed buy the
love of Christ respond to the preached gospel of Christ and receive salvation.
Let me explain. Work parties would go down into the "bad" sections of
Brooklyn handing out blankets, and then invite any who wanted to go back
for a warm meal and church service. Holy Spirit led good works coupled
to the preaching of the gospel is a powerful form of direct local
church evangelism. Usually what would happen is that a local member would
spot a need somewhere in the community, and then communicate that need
back to Pastor Cymbala. Pastor Cymbala would then assign a work party
to that individual, who would then lead it to fulfill its task of mercy,
coupled to an invitation back to church. Say someone in church heard
of say a single mom with two daughters who needed assistance in moving
from a house they're renting to an apartment in another town. She is
on government assistance and can't afford a moving van or to hire anyone.
The person who knows about this communicates this to the pastor. When
a sizeable work party shows up with a moving van and moves her within
three hours from start to finish and she knows its from this person's
church, she sees the care and concern these people have for her. So many
showed up, just for her. Her desire is to be with these warm people,
so she asks when and when services are. Now let's look at this same scenario,
had only two people showed up, one the person who found out, and another
friend. They rent a moving van, work real hard, and seven and a half
hours later, with the mom's relatives having to show up, she's finally
moved into the apartment. These two church members worked their "tails" off,
and the lady saw their love and concern, but must come to the conclusion
that these people are good caring Christians, but she's not so sure about
their whole congregation. I hope you are beginning to see that true
evangelism is composed of two components--the preached gospel of Christ
and the demonstrated gospel of Christ. You may ask at this point, "Where
did Jesus say that good works were an important element of the gospel?" Let's
see. Matthew 25:34-40. "Then the King will say to those on his right,
'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom
prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and
you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something
to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and
you clothed me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' Then the righteous
will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty
and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite
you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or
in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, 'I tell you the
truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine,
you did for me.'"
So a pastor is a coordinator and facilitator of promoting the Gospel
by and through directing his "soldiers in Christ" to spiritual "hot spots",
areas of need in the community, which have been brought to his attention
by local members--acting out the part of recon scouts in the advance
of the Gospel. The local pastor is also in charge of preaching the gospel
of Christ, the Word of God in a simple, clear way.
So we see, local church evangelism marches forward on two legs, both
being empowered by the Holy Spirit:
- Good works (Matthew 25:34-40).
- The preaching of the Word of God, the Gospel of Christ.
What follows are some incredible excerpts from Pastor Jim
Cymbala's book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire. This book should be ordered
and read in its entirety to see just how Pastor Cymbala applied these
powerful principles of local church evangelism through the power of answered
prevailing prayer and the Holy Spirit. You can order this book online
http://www.amazon.com or http://Christianbooks.com
In 1972, the Brooklyn Tabernacle's spark was almost out. Then
the Holy Spirit lit a fire that couldn't be quenched. Here are some short
excerpts from pastor Jim Cymbala's incredible story about evangelism
in action, taken from his book "FRESH WIND, FRESH FIRE". This book is
a must for any individual, pastor or church congregation who earnestly
desire to know the true secret of evangelizing and Christian church growth.
pp. 57-58, "Trouble is one of God's great servants because it reminds
us how much we continually need the Lord."
p. 58, "Prayer begets Revival, which begets more prayer."
p. 59, "The reason "other churches" don't grow: "Jim, the truth is, I
couldnt have a real prayer meeting in my church. I'd be embarrassed
at the smallness of the crowd
p.66, "Persistent calling upon the name of the Lord breaks through every
stronghold of the devil, for nothing is impossible with God. For Christians
in these troubled times there is simply no other way."
p. 69, For all of us involved in preaching the gospel, performing music,
publishing Christian materials, and all the rest, there is an uncomfortable
message here: Jesus is not terribly impressed with religious commercialism
(Mark 11:15-18). p. 70, I am dismayed by the contracts required by some
contemporary musical groups. To perform a concert at your church, the
stated fee will be so much (in either four or five figures) plus round
trip airfare--often first class, not coach. Every detail of the accommodations
is spelled out, down to "sushi for twenty persons" waiting at the hotel,
in one case. All this is done so that the group can stand before an inner-city
audience and exhort the people to "just trust the Lord for all your needs."
The first century money changers were in the temple, but they didn't
have the spirit of the temple
They were out of sync with the whole
purpose of the Lord's house. "The atmosphere of my Father's house," Jesus
seemed to say,
"is to be prayer. The aroma around my Father must be that of people opening
their hearts in worship and supplication. This is not a place to make
a buck. This is a house for calling on the Lord."
p. 71, "The feature that's supposed to distinguish Christian Churches,
Christian gatherings is the aroma of prayer
Does the Bible ever
say anywhere from Genesis to Revelation "My house shall be called a house
of preaching?" Does it ever say, "My house shall be called a house of
music?" Of course not. The Bible does say, "My house shall be called
a house of prayer for all nations." Preaching, music, the reading of
the Word--these things are fine--but they must never override prayer
as the defining mark of God's dwelling.
p. 72, "What does it say about our churches today that God birthed the
church in a prayer meeting, and prayer meetings today are almost extinct?"
Secret of Grace"
pp. 80-81, "Paul outlines in Romans 10:13-15 a chain of events
that describes New Testament salvation: "Every one who calls on the name
of the Lord will be saved. How then, can they call on the one they have
not believed in? And how can they believe in the one whom they have not
heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how
can they preach unless they are sent?" Churches often refer to this passage
in connection with overseas missionary work. "We need to give a good
offering today in order to send out preachers" they say--which is true.
But that is just the beginning of Paul's sequence. Sending leads to preaching.
Preaching leads to hearing, hearing leads to believing [faith], [and]
believing [faith] leads to calling on the name of the Lord." Notice that
believing is not the climax
There is one more step for demonstrating
a real and living faith, and that is calling out to God with all of one's
heart and soul. The clearest instructions about Church life come in the
Pastoral Letters where Paul tells young pastors such as Timothy
urge then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving
be made for everyone
In the same chapter (vs. 8) Paul says, "I want
men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing." That
is a sign of the Christian Church.
p. 83, "Over the last 30 years more books have been written about marriage
than in all the preceding 2,000 years of church history. But ask any
pastor in America if there aren't proportionally more troubled marriages
today than in any other era. We have the how-to's, but homes are still
falling apart. The couple that prays together stays together. I
don't mean to be simplistic; there will be difficult moments in any union,
but God's Word is true when it says,
"Call upon me, and I will help you. Just give me a chance." The same
holds true for parenting
Again J.B. Phillips points out a great insight:
"The Holy Spirit has a way of short-circuiting human problems. Indeed,
in exactly the same way as Jesus Christ in the flesh cut right through
the matted layers of tradition and exposed the real issue;
find here [in Acts] the Spirit of Jesus dealing not so much with problems
as with people. Many problems comparable to modern complexities never
arise here because the men and women concerned were of one heart and
mind in the Spirit
Since God's Holy Spirit cannot conceivably have
changed one iota through the centuries,
He is perfectly prepared
to short-circuit, by an inflow of love, wisdom and understanding, many
human problems today."
p. 86, "God says to us, "Pray, because I have all kinds of things for
you; and when you ask, you will receive. I have all this grace, and you
live with scarcity. Come unto me, all you who labor. Why are you so rushed?
Where are you running now? Everything you need, I have."
If the times are indeed as bad as we say they are
if the darkness
in our world is growing heavier by the moment
if we are facing spiritual
battles right in our own homes and churches
then we are foolish
not to turn to the One who supplies unlimited grace and power. He is
our only source. We are crazy to ignore him."
p. 97, "The key in not money; organization, cleverness, or education.
Are you and I seeing the results Peter saw? Are we bringing thousands
of men and women to Christ the way he did? [pastor Cymbala can rightfully
ask these questions.] If not, we need to get back to His power source
p. 103, "When we get serious about drawing on God's power, remarkable
things will happen." Acts 4:1-3, 4-14,18,21-31. "The priests and the
captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John
while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because
the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection
of the dead. They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening,
they put them in jail until the next day. But many who heard the message
believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand. The next
day the rulers, elders and teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. Annas
the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and
the other men of the high priest's family. They had brought Peter and
John before them: 'By what power or what name did you do this?' Then
Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: 'Rulers and elders
of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of
kindness shown to a cripple [Acts 3] and are asked how he was healed,
then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of
Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from
the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is 'the stone you
builders rejected, which has become the capstone.' Salvation is found
in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men
by which we must be saved.' When they saw the courage of Peter and John
and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished
and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they
could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there
was nothing they could say
Then they called them in again and commanded
them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus
threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because
all the people were praising God for what had happened. For the man who
was miraculously healed was over forty years old.
On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported
all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. When the people
heard this they raised their voices together in prayer to God. 'Sovereign
Lord,' they said, 'you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and
everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of
your servant, our father David: 'Why do the nations rage and the peoples
plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers
gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.' Indeed
Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people
of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom
you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand
should happen. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your
servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand
to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of
your holy servant Jesus.' After they had prayed, the place where
they were meeting was shaken. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit
and spoke the word of God boldly."
What you just read was an early Christian prayer meeting, held
to meet a governmental threat head-on--David and Goliath style.
p. 105, The prayer of the early believers recorded in Acts 4 highlights
three fundamentals from which we are in danger of sliding away:  "Enable
your servants to speak your word
 with great boldness
Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders" (vv.
p. 112, "The trouble with man-made novelties is that they don't produce
the impressive results that are often advertised."
p. 113, "There is no better example of God's moving mightily in a city
than the account told in Acts 11:20-21, "
men from Cyprus and Cyrene,
went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks
telling them the good
news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord's hand was with them, and a great
number of people believed and turned to the Lord."
Such a harvest occurred that Barnabas was dispatched from Jerusalem to
check things out. "When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace
of God, he was glad
And a great number of people were brought to
the Lord" (vv. 23-24). Who were these men who launched such a mighty
? We don't know their names. We don't know their methodology
they were pre-millennial or postmillennial or amillennial. But we do
know a couple of things: They spread
"the Good News about the Lord Jesus," and "the Lord's hand was with them" (vv.
p. 115, "Let's forget the novelties. If we prevail in prayer,
God will do only what he can do. How he does things, when he
does them, and in what manner are up to him. The name of Jesus, the power
of his blood, and the prayer of faith have never lost their power over
p. 121, "When I ask fellow pastors the same question, I get the same
answer--plus two others: "Membership is at five-fifty, we've just finished
a new education wing, and our gross income this year will top out at
$400,000." Attendance, Buildings, and Cash, A-B-C. The new holy trinity."
p. 122, "No church, including the one I pastor, should be measured by
pp. 122-123, "Then what kind of spiritual things DO matter in a book-of-Acts
church? The apostles' prayer in Acts 4 provides our next benchmark:  "Enable
your servants to speak your word with great boldness" (v.
29). What the disciples wanted was not numbers but an essential quality
that would keep them BEING the church God intended. Boldness can only
be imparted by the Holy Spirit."
"The apostles realized that without a bold aggressive attitude in proclaiming
God's Word, they would not build the church Jesus intended, the apostles
weren't trying to finesse people. They had not the faintest intention
of asking, "What do people want to hear? How can we draw people to church
The Bible does not say we should aim at numbers but
rather urges us faithfully to proclaim God's message in the boldness
of the Holy Spirit. This will build God's church God's way."
p. 125, "God nowhere asks anyone to have a large church. He only calls
us to do his work, proclaiming his Word to people he loves under anointing
power of the Holy Spirit to produce results that only he can bring about."
p. 135, ""There will come a day, Paul says, when all our work will be
shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will
be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's
work" (I Cor. 3:13). The gold, silver, and precious stones will endure
while the wood, hay, and straw will go up in smoke. Paul doesn't say
that the QUANTITY will be tested. He says nothing about attendance totals.
Everything will focus on QUALITY
"What's the difference between
these materials, besides the obvious--that one group is fireproof while
the other isn't?" Wood, hay, straw are abundant
But if you want
gold, silver, and costly stones, you have to "dig" for them. They're
not just lying around everywhere. You have to go deep into the earth.
To me, these words are profound. Spiritual "construction" that uses wood,
hay and straw comes easy--little work, little seeking, no travail, no
birthing. You just slap it up and it will look adequate--for awhile.
But if you want to build something that will endure on Judgment Day,
the work is much more costly."
p. 138, [Part III of the Acts 4 formula], "BEYOND HEAD KNOWLEDGE: The
absent element is what is expressed in the final sentence of the prayer
recorded in Acts 4: 
"Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders.""
p. 139, "In too many churches today, people don't see manifestations
of God's power in answer to fervent praying. Instead, they hear arguments
about theological issues that few people care about."
"People pay attention when they see that God actually changes persons
and sets them free. When a new Christian stands up and tells how God
has revolutionized his or her life, no one dozes off. When someone is
healed or released from a life-controlling bondage, everyone takes notice.
William Law, an English devotional writer of the early 1700's wrote, "Read
whatever chapter of Scripture you will, and be ever so delighted with
it--yet it will leave you as poor, as empty and unchanged as it found
you unless it has turned you wholly and solely to the Spirit of God,
and brought you into full union with and dependence upon Him."
One way to recognize whether we suffer from this disconnection is to
look at our concern for people who are dirty
people who are "other"
who don't fit the core group's image. The ravages of sin are not pleasant--but
they are what Jesus came to forgive and heal. "The Son of Man came to
seek and to save what was lost" (Luke 19:10). Yet Christians often hesitate
to reach out to those who are different. They want God to clean the fish
before they catch them."
is the "Magic" formula for Evangelism,
Christian growth and revival. Now let's see that "formula"
applied--in action--and finally witness the end results.
p. 141, "I shall never forget Easter Sunday 1992--the day that Roberta
Langella gave her dramatic testimony, as I recounted in chapter 3. A
homeless man was standing in the back of the church, listening intently.
At the end of the evening meeting I sat down on the edge of the platform,
exhausted, as others continued to pray with those who had responded to
Christ. The organist was playing quietly. I wanted to relax. I was just
starting to unwind when I looked up to see this man, with shabby clothing
and matted hair, standing in the center aisle about four rows back and
waiting for permission to approach me.
I nodded and gave him a weak little wave of my hand. 'Look at how this
Easter Sunday is going to end,' I thought to myself. 'He's going to hit
me up for money.' That happens often in this church. 'I'm so tired
When he came close, I saw that his two front teeth were missing. But
more striking was his odor--the mixture of alcohol, sweat, urine, and
garbage took my breath away. I have been around many street people, but
this was the strongest stench I have ever encountered. I instinctively
had to turn my head sideways to inhale, then look back in his direction
while breathing out.
I asked his name.
"David," he said softly.
"How long have you been homeless, David?"
"Where did you sleep last night?"
"In an abandoned truck."
I had heard enough and wanted to get this over quickly. I reached for
the money clip in my back pocket.
At that moment David put his finger in front of my face and said, "No,
you don't understand--I don't want your money. I'm going to die out there.
I want the Jesus that red-haired girl talked about."
I hesitated, then closed my eyes. 'God forgive me,' I begged. I felt
soiled and cheap. Me, a minister of the gospel
I had wanted simply
to get rid of him, when he was crying out for the help of Christ I had
just preached about. I swallowed hard as God's love flooded my soul.
David sensed the change in me. He moved toward me and fell on my chest,
burying his grimy head against my white shirt and tie. Holding him close,
I talked to him about Jesus' love. There weren't just words; I felt them.
I felt love for this pitiful man. And that smell
I don't know how
to explain it. It had almost made me sick, but now it became the most
powerful fragrance to me. I reveled in what had been repulsive just a
The Lord seemed to say to me in that instant, 'Jim, if you and your wife
have any value to me, if you have any purpose in my work--it has to do
with this odor. This is the smell of the world I died for.'
David surrendered to the Christ he heard about that night. We got him
into a hospital detoxification unit for a week. We got his teeth fixed.
[Remember the parable of the Good Samaritan--this Christian church and
pastor are putting it into practice the way Jesus intended it to be!]
He joined the Prayer Band right away. He spent the next Thanksgiving
Day in our home. We invited him back for Christmas as well
David heads up the maintenance department at the church, overseeing ten
other employees. He is now married and a father. God is opening more
and more doors for him to go out and give his testimony. When he speaks,
his words have a weight and an impact that many ordained ministers would
As Christians reach out to touch everyone, including the unlovely who
are now everywhere in our society, God touches them, too--and revolutionizes
their lives. Otherwise we would just be circling the wagons, busying
ourselves with Bible studies among our own kind. There is no demonstration
of God's power because we have closed ourselves off from the 'need' for
p. 144, "Once again, William Law writes: 'We may take for a certain rule,
that the more the divine nature and life of Jesus is manifest in us,
and the higher our sense of righteousness and virtue, the more we shall
pity and love those who are suffering from the blindness, disease, and
death of sin. The sight of such people then, instead of raising in us
a haughty contempt or holier-than-thou indignation, will rather fill
us with such tenderness and compassion as when we see the miseries of
a dread disease.' Carol and I have found that unless God baptizes us
with fresh outpourings of love, we would leave New York City YESTERDAY!"
"If the Spirit is not keeping my heart in line with my doctrine, something
crucial is missing."
p. 147, "People must not only hear but feel, see, and experience the
grace of God we speak about. As we open up our church meetings to God's
power, they will not always follow a predetermined schedule or order.
Who can outline what God might have in mind?"
p. 149, "The prayer of the Jerusalem believers recorded in Acts 4 it
says in essence, 'God, please don't send us out there alone just talking.
Work with us; confirm your message in a supernatural way.' What way and
in what manner was left entirely (and rightfully) to God alone."
"Charles Finney, the lawyer turned evangelist, once said that as long as an
audience kept looking at him while he preached, he knew he was failing. Only
when their heads began dropping in deep conviction of sin did he know that
God was working alongside him, producing a heart change inside. The words of
sound doctrine alone were not enough.
In fact, revivals have never been dominated by eloquent or clever preaching.
If you had timed meetings with a stopwatch you would have found far more
minutes given to prayer, weeping, and repentance than to sermons. In
"Prayer-Meeting Revival" of 1857-59 there was virtually no preaching
at all. Yet it apparently produced the greatest harvest of any spiritual
awakening in American history: Estimates run to 1,000,000 converts across
the United States, out of a national population at that time of only
30,000,000. That would be proportionate to 9,000,000 Americans today
falling on their knees in repentance! How did this happen?" [Read how
this happened in pastor Cymbala's book, pages 149-150.]
p. 150, "Does anyone today think that America today is lacking preachers,
books, Bible translations, and neat doctrinal statements? What
we really lack is the passion to call upon the Lord until he opens the
heavens and shows himself powerful.
Let me make a bold statement! [this whole book is a bold statement,
pastor Cymbala!] Christianity is not predominantly a teaching religion.
We have been almost overrun these days by the cult of the speaker
North American church has made the sermon the centerpiece of the meeting,
rather than the throne of Grace, where God acts in people's lives."
p. 151, "The Jewish faith in Jesus' day was dominated by rabbis--teachers
of the Law. Their doctrine was thorough. Jesus told them,
"You diligently study the Scriptures because you think by them you possess
eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you
refuse to come to me to have life" (John 5:39-40). They knew the written
Word of God very well, but not the living Word of God, even as he stood
is not predominantly a teaching religion
the teaching of sound
doctrine is a prelude, if you will, to the Supernatural.
The Scriptures are not so much the goal as they are an arrow
that points us to the life-changing Christ
It is fine to explain
about God, but far too few people today are experiencing the living Christ
in their lives. We are not seeing God's visitation in our gatherings.
We are not on the lookout for his outstretched hand. The teaching of
sound doctrine is a prelude, if you will, to the supernatural. It is
also a guide, a set of boundaries to keep emotion and exuberance within
proper channels [cf. I Cor. 11-14].
p. 152, "Granted, extremists have done fanatical things in the name of
the Holy Spirit that have frightened many sincere Christians away. Chaotic
meetings with silly things going on and a lack of reverence for God have
driven many to prefer a quiet orderly lecture. But this is just another
tactic of the enemy to make us throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Satan's tendency is always to push us toward one extreme or the other:
deadness or fanaticism
The old saying is true: If you have only
the Word, you dry up. If you have only the Spirit, you blow up. But if
you have both, you grow up.
More than 200 years ago William Law bluntly declared
"The Jews refused
Him who was the substance and fulfilling of all that was taught in their
Law and Prophets. The Christian Church is in a fallen state for the same
rejection of the Holy Spirit." He said further that just as the Jews
refused Jesus and quote Scripture to prove their point, "so church leaders
today reject the demonstration and power of the Holy Spirit in the name
of sound doctrine."
What would the Englishman say if he were alive today?"
p. 153, "North American churches must no longer accept the status quo.
No more neat little meetings, even with the benefit of 100 percent correct
Shouldn't we expect to SEE Him in action once in a while?
Shouldn't we implore him to manifest Himself? Moses did. Joshua did.
Elijah did. Elisha did. Peter did. Philip did. Paul did. Shouldn't we?
God will manifest himself in direct proportion to our passion for him.
The principle he laid down long ago is still true: "You will seek me
and find me when you seek me with ALL your heart" (Jer. 29:13).
and I will never know our potential under God until we step out and
take risks on the front line of battle."
"In verses 12-14 [of I Chronicles 11] we meet Eleazar, who
accompanied David into a major battle with the Philistines. We get an
idea of how formidable the enemy was when the Bible says, "At a place
where there was a field full of barley, the troops fled from the Philistines." This
was no minor skirmish; this was all-out combat against a superior opponent.
Many frightened Israelite soldiers saw the coming horde and ran for their
But not Eleazar. He and David "took their stand in the middle of the
field. They defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the Lord
brought a great victory." Once again we see the combination of human
and divine efforts. God did not act alone. He didn't unleash a lightning
strike from heaven to fry the Philistines. Instead, he was looking all
across the horizon that day to see who would stay in the barley field
and thus receive his supernatural aid. While others left in fear, these
two--David and Eleazar--stood firm.
The account in 2 Samuel 23:10 adds even more detail about Eleazar. He "stood
his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and
froze to the sword." He swung his weapon with such grit, such adrenaline,
that his muscles locked up on him; he couldn't let go. Talk about a mighty
warrior for God!
What the world's situation cries out for today is this kind of determined
and desperate faith that grips the sword of the Spirit, which is the
Word of God, and won't let go until victory comes.
A man such as Eleazar brings to mind the little-known, seldom-seen partner
of the great evangelist Charles Finney during the Second Great Awakening.
His name was Daniel Nash, and he had had a lackluster record as a pastor
in upstate New York. He finally decided, at the age of forty-eight, to
give himself totally to prayer for Finney's meetings.
"Father Nash," as some called him, would quietly slip into a town three or
four weeks before Finney's arrival, rent a room, find two or three other like-minded
Christians to join him, and start pleading with God. In one town the best he
could find was a dark, damp cellar; it became his center for intercession.
In another place, Finney relates:
When I got to town to start a revival a lady contacted me who ran a boarding
house. She said, "Brother Finney, do you now a Father Nash? He and two
other men have been at my boarding house for the last three days, but
they haven't eaten a bite of food. I opened the door and peeped in at
them because I could hear them groaning, and I saw them down on their
faces. They have been this way for three days, lying prostrate on the
floor and groaning. I thought something awful must have happened to them.
I was afraid to go in and I didn't know what to do. Would you please
come and see about them?"
"No, it isn't necessary," I replied. "They just have a spirit of travail
Once the public meetings began, Nash usually did not attend. He kept
praying in his hideaway for the conviction of the Holy Spirit to melt
the crowd. If opposition arose--as it often did in those rugged days
of the 1820's--Finney would tell him about it, and Father Nash would
bear down all the harder in prayer.
One time a group of young men openly announced that they were going to
break up the meetings. Nash, after praying, came out of the shadows to
confront them. "Now, mark me, young men! God will break your ranks in
less than one week, either by converting some of you, or by sending some
of you to hell. He will do this as certainly as the Lord is my God!"
Finney admits that at that point he thought his friend had gone over
the edge. But the next Tuesday morning, the leader of the group suddenly
showed up. He broke down before Finney, confessed his sinful attitude,
and gave himself to Christ.
"What shall I do, Mr. Finney?" he asked then. The evangelist sent him back
to tell his companions what had changed in his life. Before the week was out, "Nearly
if not all of that class [group] of young men were hoping in Christ," Finney
In 1826 a mob in a certain town burned effigies of the two: Finney and
Nash. These unbelievers recognized that one man was as big a threat to
their wickedness as the other. Shortly before Nash died in the winter
of 1831, he wrote in a letter,
I am now convinced, it is my duty and privilege, and the duty of
every other Christian, to pray for as much of the Holy Spirit as came
down on the day of Pentecost, and a great deal more
My body is in
pain, but I am happy in my God
I have only just begun to understand
what Jesus meant when He said, "All things whatsoever ye shall ask in
prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
Within four months of Nash's death, Finney left the itinerant field
to become the pastor of a church in New York City. His partner in cracking
the gates of hell was gone
Daniel Nash was a nobody to the elite
of his time. They would have found this humble man not worthy of comment
because he lived on a totally different plane. But you can be sure that
he was known all too well in both heaven and hell
p. 179, "Consider how many gospel-preaching churches there are in the
fifty states of America--200,000, if not more. If each of these churches,
on average, brought only two converts to Christ a week--not robbing people
from the First Baptist or First Nazarene down the road, but winning new
people for the kingdom of God--that would mean 100 new baptized believers
in each church in a year's time, or 20,000,000, nationwide.
The population of the entire United States is about 270,000,000. By merely
bringing eight or nine people a month to Christ in each church, America
would be dramatically changed within two or three years. Can any serious
Bible-preaching church not take on this modest goal in the name of its
God's plan for the local church has always centered
in evangelism. Those brought to Christ are thus born into
the very place where they can be nurtured and discipled. This avoids
the slippage we often see when parachurch ministries try to do the
work mainly assigned to the local church.
An evangelistic focus, of course, would force us back to serious prayer
and an emphasis on the simple gospel of Jesus Christ. God would prepare
us as only he can for victorious spiritual warfare. Concerned believers
wouldn't have time to watch as much television as they do now. A lot
of other activities would have to give way. Living in the Bible, as calling
upon the Lord, fasting, and then reaching out to the unsaved would consume
us. We would require God's anointing, whatever the cost.
Some churches in very small towns might have trouble reaching 100 people
per year, but they would be offset by the churches in urban areas, where
the need and the opportunity are so great.
If the American church actually set out to do this "exploit" for God,
bringing 20,000,000 to Christ this year, another 20,000,000 next year
three or four years we wouldn't recognize our culture. Broadway and Hollywood
would have to acknowledge the shift in audience preferences. Abortion
clinics would wonder where all their customers went [and I say, without
the noisy confrontation we see so much of now, this would be a quiet
revolution of people following Christ and avoiding this evil crime in
their own lives]. Drug abuse would plummet.
Some will accuse me of idealistic dreaming, but isn't this plan the last
thing Jesus told us to fulfill before his ascension? "Go and make disciples
of all nations," he said, "baptizing them in the name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything
I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:19-20). What will it take to shake denominational
leaders, pastors, and laypeople, seeing that we all must answer to Christ
at the Judgment Seat one day? Our sense of inadequacy is no excuse, given
that he has promised to work with us as we set our hearts to the task
of extending his kingdom."
The following is taken from the front and back flap of Jim Cymbala's
book, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire:
TIMES ARE URGENT, GOD IS ON THE MOVE, NOW IS THE MOMENT TO
Jim Cymbala believes that Jesus wants nothing more than to
renew and revive his people--to call us back from spiritual dead ends
that lead only to apathy and lukewarm religion.
As pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, one of America's most remarkable
churches, he knows firsthand the transforming power of God's love--strong
enough to convert prostitutes, pimps, drug addicts, homeless people,
and transvestites. Strong enough to draw professional men and women,
blacks, whites, and Hispanics together in worship. Strong enough to rekindle
our own dull hearts and flagging spirits.
Twenty-five years ago, the Brooklyn Tabernacle could barely draw twenty
people to a Sunday service. Today it is six thousand strong, a testament
of what God can do when men and women begin to pour out their hearts
The story of what has happened to a broken-down church in one of America's
meanest neighborhoods points the way to new spiritual vitality in the
church and in your own life. But don't look in this book for faddish
techniques--you won't find them. And while the Tabernacle today has an
interracial membership and a world-renowned choir, don't look for an
emphasis on cross-culturalism, numbers, or well-orchestrated worship
Instead, look for what God can do when a handful of people humble themselves
and take the Gospel seriously. When believers turn to their last and
only recourse--their knees--and discover there the life-changing reality
of the Holy Spirit.
Whether you're a pastor or a layperson, if you're hungry for more of
God, this book will break your heart and restore your passion.
Jim Cymbala has been the pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle for twenty-five
years. In that time the congregation has grown from twenty members to
six thousand. He lives in New York City with his wife, Carol Cymbala,
who directs the Grammy Award-winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.
"FRESH WIND, FRESH FIRE" can be found in
or ordered from most Christian bookstores or is available from the
Rapids, Michigan 49530
$16.99/ $22.99 CAN
Publishing House can be reached online at:
The excerpts you just read were taken from Pastor Cymbala's
book "Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire." These excerpts represent a very small
portion of a book chock full of the miracles of answered prayer and how
prevailing prayer fuels evangelism. Be sure to order the book for yourself
and see how prayer can change your life and the life of the church you
attend. You cannot read this book too much. Reading it makes you want
to pray. Reading this book facilitates prayer. I honestly cannot say
that about another book besides the Bible itself. This book should be
an active, dog-eared addition of every Christian pastor's library. Application
of the principles in this book will bring revival and growth to any and
every person and congregation who apply it to their prayer lives. This
is one of the few books which comes under the category of "You can't
do without it."