August 1996 — We returned safely about 11 pm Sunday night from ministry in Athens, Alabama, my hometown, where God moved mightily through his Spirit at “Seven Mile Post Road Church (a church of Christ).” By his provision, I spoke seven times (Friday p.m. through Sunday) through most of the Book of Romans to assemblies who came ready to receive from God. Also preached 30 minutes via radio from Hebrews 10, and we had a men’s prayer breakfast and a booksigning as guests of a Methodist brother and sister who own a local Christian bookstore.
The worship times were mighty and God’s presence was evident. It would not have surprised me Sunday morning if the building had started shaking — people were so filled with joy and peace in believing, and overflowing with hope in the power of the Holy Spirit. The emphasis was totally united and single — Jesus Christ has done it all for us and we can sing (as we did, through tears of joy) “It is FINISHED!” Visitors from other places (and there were many) were visibly moved by the Spirit present in the people even before we opened the Word.
The congregation of about 200 includes families of all ages, lots of llittle children, people recovered by God from alcohol and drug abuse, as well as many delivered from bondage to law. They are a people who know God’s grace by experience and rejoice in it. (They have also seemingly been spared the spirit of self-righteousness, which Satan tries to put on those who escape from law, and their hearts are open and outgoing toward others around them, including some who oppose them.)
They are led by Joe Curtis, a truly gifted man of God with a shepherd’s heart that is humble toward God and so loving toward all people (he ministers without pay (as does his associate and “Timothy,” Dwight Ridinger, another true man of God himself delivered from bondage to drugs several years ago but now a picture of God’s peace and strength). Joe and I were buddies from age 9 forward, roommates in college one
year, and later neighbors for 10 years as adults. He has been an enormous blessing to me. The church is filled with gifted people, and I encouraged them to continue using all their various gifts to build each other up and to glorify God.
One elderly brother, a long-time servant of God now trembling with Parkinson’s disease, took my hand and said with great conviction, “I’m persuaded that the next great move of the Holy Spirit will be in the Churches of Christ.” He was referring to the powerful revival which the Gospel alone can bring when received in faith and responded to by God-stirred lives of gratitude and praise. From what I have seen recently around the country — and again this past weekend — I think he might be correct. All praise to God from whom all blessings flow!