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 from either:
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
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
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 "I 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; so we 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
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,
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 After further 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
What you just read was an early Christian prayer meeting,
held to meet a governmental threat head-on--David and Goliath
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. 29-30)."
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
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 church ? We don't know their names.
We don't know their methodology whether they were pre-millennial
or postmillennial or amillennial. But we do know a couple of things:
"the Good News about the Lord Jesus," and "the Lord's hand was
with them" (vv. 20-21)."
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 the centuries."
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 its attendance."
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
"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 on Sunday?" 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
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" people 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,
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
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 moment ago.
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 Today 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 such demonstration."
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 the
"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 The 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 before them."
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.
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
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 doctrine 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 lives.
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
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
"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 in prayer."
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 King?
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 in 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 to God.
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 music.
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
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."