Rev Dr Edgar Mayer; Living Grace Toowoomba Church; Message on the Waritsian Revival 1989; Date: 14 March 2010

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From Waritsian

 

This morning I want to do something different. Three weeks ago we came back from our mission trip to Papua New Guinea and (so we believe) we came back with something from God. The place where we served for an entire week – the village of Waritsian in the Markham valley (2.5 hours drive west from Lae, population of three to four thousand Lutheran people) – was the site of a major outpouring of the Holy Spirit in 1989 and then they’ve experienced fresh renewal only last year. God has released something in this place – an open heaven, a deposit of the Holy Spirit, a special kind of grace – and this morning we want God to release the same here. I want to give three keys which allow us to receive and share with the Lutheran village of Waritsian the same Holy Spirit impartation.

The first one will come out of the story of what happened. [Abbreviate (radically) and retell the following testimonies and reports.]

 

Geoff Waugh: Flashpoints Of Revival, Shippensburg: Destiny Image 1998, p94-98: Johan van Bruggen, a missionary at the Lutheran Evangelist Training Centre, Kambaidam near Kainantu in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, wrote in his circulars:

 

Tuesday afternoon, 2 August 1988: I was by myself watching a video of Bill Subritzky, an Anglican Evangelist in New Zealand, who has been mightily blessed by the Lord with ministry of healing and of deliverance from demons. A large group of Anglican Christians had been baptised in the Holy Spirit and were on the point of receiving gifts of the Spirit. I watched quite unemotionally when Bill said: “I will mention the gifts slowly and then just let the Holy Spirit impress on your mind which gift(s) he will give you.”

He had just started with the first one: Words of Wisdom – when suddenly I was surrounded by Divine Presence. When it started I wanted to run away, scared stiff! But back came the words: Don’t hold back, do not fear! So I stayed and said, “Come Holy Spirit, fill me completely.” Now I know what it is to be drunk in the Spirit. I couldn’t stand on my feet. I slumped on the bed, hands raised, trembling all over, tingling all over. I felt something moving up my gullet and I just said, “Out, out,” and I literally threw up. Don’t worry, I didn’t make a mess. I just got rid of the spirit of fear and doubt! And oh, I felt absolutely fantastic. I cried and laughed and I must have been quite a sight! It rained hard and that rain was a solid muffler! Nobody knew. I came around again because there was the noise of the video set with a blank screen. The programme was finished and I did not know how. I have had earlier fillings of the Holy Spirit but nothing like this time with that sense of being overwhelmed.

Then came Thursday 4 August (1988), a miserable day weather wise, although we had great joy during our studies. Evening devotions not all students came, actually a rather small group. I too needed some inner encouragement to go as it was more comfortable near the fire. We sang a few quiet worship songs. Samson, a fellow who by accident became one of our students last year, well, this Samson was leading the devotions. We had sung the last song and were waiting for him to start. Starting he did, but in an unusual way. He cried, trembled all over! ... Then it spread. When I looked up again I saw the head prefect flat on the floor under his desk. I was praying in tongues off and on. It became quite noisy. Students were shouting! Should I stop it? Don't hold back! It went on and on, with students praying and laughing and crying not quite following our planned programme! We finally stood around the table, about twelve of us, holding hands. Some were absolutely like drunk, staggering and laughing! I heard a few students starting off in tongues and I praised the Lord. The rain had stopped, not so the noise. So more and more people came in and watched!

Not much sleeping that night! They talked and talked! And that was not the end. Of course the school has changed completely. Lessons were always great, I thought, but have become greater still. Full of joy most of the time, but also with a tremendous burden. A burden to witness ...

What were the highlights of 1988? No doubt the actual outpouring of the Holy Spirit must come first. It happened on August 4 when the Spirit fell on a group of students and staff, with individuals receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit on several occasions later on in the year. The school has never been the same again. As direct results we noticed a desire for holiness, a hunger for God's Word which was insatiable right up till the end of the school year, and also a tremendous urge to go out and witness. Whenever they had a chance many of our students were in the villages with studies and to lead Sunday services. Prayer life deepened, and during worship services we really felt ourselves to be on holy ground …

The fact is that our school is not just another church institution. As one of the students remarked recently, the real head teacher at Kambaidam is the Holy Spirit. Well, he certainly did a good job! Our 35 new students were again fascinated by the new life they discovered among the second year students. The Word of God did the rest. During the month of March real repentance took place. One week before Easter the Holy Spirit moved mightily among the students and staff. There was a lot of crying during that week. Each night the students met in small prayer groups. The aim was to get them prepared to go out to seven small Easter camps that were planned for the Gazup area our area here around the school. Well, God's Spirit really prepared them well! I have never seen and heard so much crying. Many students had listed all their sins. I must confess that some of these lists really shook me. There was witchcraft, magic, adultery, stealing, drunkenness. It once again showed me how deep and far the world has invaded the church today. There was tremendous relief as students were assured of forgiveness and were filled with the Holy Spirit.

… We have been almost left speechless by what God is doing now through our students. We realize that we have been led on are now on the threshold of revival … (van Bruggen 1989).

 

David, a young student in his early twenties from the Markham Valley, had a growing burden for his area of Ragizaria and Waritzian, known and feared for its pagan occult practices. He prayed earnestly. As part of an outreach team he visited villages and then went to his own people. He was concerned about the low spiritual life of the church. He spent a couple of days alone praying for them.

One Saturday night he was invited to lead the village devotions at Ragizaria. Johan van Bruggen told the story in his circulars:

 

Since most of the Ragizaria people are deeply involved in witchcraft practices, David made an urgent appeal for repentance. Two men responded and came forward. David put his hands on them and wanted to pray, when suddenly these two men fell to the ground. They were both praising the Lord. Everybody was surprised and did not know what to think of this. David himself had been slain in the Spirit at Kambaidam in August 1988, but this was the first time that this had happened to others through him. The next morning during the Sunday service scores of people were slain in the Spirit. Said David, “People entered the church building and immediately they were seized by God’s power. They were drunk in the Spirit and many could not keep standing. The floor was covered with bodies. It did not only happen to Lutherans, but also to members of a Seventh Day Adventist congregation (former Lutherans) that were attracted by the noise and commotion.”

David reported that there was a sense of tremendous joy in the church and people were praising the Lord. Well, the service lasted for hours and hours. Finally David said, “And now the people are hungry for God’s Word and not only in my village, but also in Waritzian, a nearby village. And they want the students to come with Bible studies. Can we go next weekend?”

We all felt that some students together with Pastor Bubo should go … Pastor Bubo told me, “Acts 2 happened all over again!” For three days all the people were drunk in the Spirit. God used the students and Bubo in a mighty way. On Saturday night the Holy Spirit was poured down on the hundreds of people that had assembled there. From then on until the moment the school car arrived on Monday noon, the people were being filled again and again by the Spirit. There was much rejoicing. There were words of prophecy. There was healing and deliverance. And on Monday morning all things of magic and witchcraft were burned. Everybody was in it, the leaders, the young, yes even little children were reported to be drunk in the Spirit … The people did not want to go and sleep, saying, “So often we have had drunken all-night parties. Now we will have a divine party until daybreak.”

This area had been a stronghold of evil practices. Many people received various spiritual gifts including unusual abilities such as speaking English in tongues and being able to read the Bible. People met for prayer, worship and study every day and at night. These daily meetings continued to be held for over two years (van Bruggen 1989).

 

The following is from a conversation with Yandine Moses (Edgar & Yandine, at Waritsian, February 2010) who – in May 1989 – was one of the students that visited Waritsian from the Lutheran Evangelist Training Centre, Kambaidam. He was from Warisian himself and after three months in Bible College he took eight 2nd year students to preach at Warisian. They preached on repentance for four days and then on 5 May 1989 revival broke out. Then after another three days the students returned to the training centre. Yandine also shared the following: One girl had five taro which – miraculously – not only filled one pot but five saucepans to feed the whole village. After the Saturday outpouring they all kept worshipping on Sunday and then – finally – on Monday a Lutheran church lay-official also attended the meeting. He did not do so before because he thought that the others were not as knowledgeable about the Bible as he was. Yet, as he approached the area where the meeting was and crossed a certain line, he was falling under the power of the Spirit. No one cared about eating. Yandine saw a “Jacob’s ladder” into heaven with many angels on it (worship meeting area) …

          [Other eye-witnesses shared the following: The light of God’s presence shone for a month (day and night) … (One day everyone could see it and then for a month only those from other villages and a distance saw the light at the height of the clouds.) … After one week people get people from neighbouring villages => about 30,000 came … It was as if God drew a line => when you moved across it, then you fell under the power of God … Numerous people received the gift of tongues (later, sometimes after years) => don’t practice the gift much any more … When people fell under the power of God, many fell into the fire but no one was burned … You felt like you could give away thousands of kina but wouldn’t care … Fear of God came => some people terrified to come … When it happened some were away => rebel church => after Healing The Land process => rebel church member had banana plant which bore empty fruit …]

 

 

Mission report from Deryck & Nancy Thomas, Toowoomba: REPORT ON HTL FOLLOW-UP AT WARITSIAN, MARKHAM VALLEY – 14-21 FEBRUARY 2010

History of Revival At the Sunday morning service just before the team left Waritsian, Pastor Walo Ani asked that the people share their testimony of the ways in which God has come to their community over the years. Judas William shared that in 1988 he and three or four young men attended the Lae Lutheran Youth meetings and their hearts became hungry for God. When they returned to the village the leaders allowed them to share what had happened in the camp, allowing the fire to begin in the heart.  (This was a testing of the waters and no one complained about what was shared.)

Yasakin Andrew went on to say that the ones who had been to the camp  shared the word of the Lord to the people. The Word that challenged them was Revelation 3.19 - As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent. Bugan Pali explained that on May 5th 1989 as they meditated on Revelation 3.19, talked together and prayed, one old man lay under the power of the Holy Spirit.  The glory of the Lord came down and like a light and rested on a guava tree.   Whoever came into that area fell down under the power of the Spirit.  Many were drunk in the Spirit. Several people testified that one lady while under the power of the Holy Spirit fell into a fire in the cooking area and with boiling water.  She was completely unhurt, no sign of any burns on her.

Buni said that as the glory of the Lord came upon them, a deep inner peace was felt by all and their prayers were powerful.  They began to say Allelujah for the first time in their lives, especially for the young people, as strong Lutherans, that they were shouting “Allelujah!” and falling down. There were many manifestations of the gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy and tongues.

Adu shared that for him the power of the Holy Spirit seemed to settle over the guava tree.  As he lay on the ground he saw heaven open and the ladder with angels ascending and descending, as in the story of Jacob. Manasseh shared that when the Holy Spirit fell there were also demonic manifestations during that time.

One lady said that with the Holy Spirit filling them, they tried to guide the community.  The team visited houses,  burned witchcraft items.  As they did so they could hear noises and screaming coming from the houses. This was  something they had never experienced before – the power of both Holy Spirit and Satan. Lauren Silas said that the visitation brought many changes to Waritsian.  Before, there was much witchcraft, sorcery and magic and worship of the produce from the gardens.  Now they knew they had a God who controlled the gardens.  After the burnings Waritsian changed. All those in witchcraft were released and were strong in praise and worship. The Holy Spirit brought the Word through preaching and the interpretation of tongues and lives were changed. When people came into the village they could sense the presence of the Lord. Persecution and opposition also came mainly through their denomination.

Sampson said the news went out all over the Markham Valley that Revival had come. Church leaders did not agree, however, and came to the village and had a meeting, accusing them of bringing about another church. So in this way they were separated by the Church Council as the “Lutheran Renewal Church.” That did not dampen their spirits, they went out into mission straight away.   Everyone was filled with great peace and after 2-3 weeks the young people went out witnessing all over the place without money.  They visited 5 villages in the area and everyone turned to the Lord and were filled with the Holy Spirit.  From the first trip wherever they went there were healings, lame people could walk, dead people were raised, sores were healed.

 People sacrificially gave money for the young people to go on missions although there was no real follow-up of them.  Conferences were held in the village to strengthen faith. One woman said that as she spoke in tongues her brother was enabled by the Holy Spirit to interpret. Daimu Isaiah said that the interpreting was in Pidgin and Tok peles so there was no misunderstanding of the Word from God.

At one time a drama was being played out of  Peter and John at the Gate Beautiful.  They used a lame man to enact asking them for alms and to the delight of everyone he was actually healed!

Ronnie’s account of his experience of the Revival was that he was at the river one night and a great light came down on him and enveloped him. He felt his feet pinned supernaturally so that he did not fall over. Then his feet was lifted up  from the ground. Every direction he turned to, the power radiated out causing people in that direction to fall down. Yanding was with him and he too experienced the initial outpouring. Many of the village people began to speak in tongues and to use other gifts of the Spirit …

 

The key to the outpouring at Waritsian on Friday 5 May was repentance. It began with the Lutheran pastor Johan van Bruggen at the Lutheran Evangelist Training Centre at Kambaidam. When watching a video on receiving gifts from the Spirit, he was at first unmoved but then – after being surrounded by the presence of God and overcoming the fear of this experience – he stayed and said: “Come Holy Spirit, fill me completelyHis repentance involved freedom from a spirit of fear and doubt. Then, he cried and laughed.

Later, another twelve students and staff were touched (4 August 1988) – trembling, shouting, staggering, laughing – being filled with the Spirit. More received the infilling with the Spirit on several occasions later in the same year. Repentance continued and deepened. “The Word of God did the rest. During the month of March real repentance took place. One week before Easter the Holy Spirit moved mightily among the students and staff. There was a lot of crying during that week … I have never seen and heard so much crying. Many students had listed all their sins … There was witchcraft, magic, adultery, stealing, drunkenness … There was tremendous relief as students were assured of forgiveness and were filled with the Holy Spirit

When the team from Kambaidam came to Waritsian, they again focused on repentance – for four days of preaching. Then – on Friday, 5 May 1989 – God responded to their repentance with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit which came with amazing fullness of God according to all of the Bible promises – forgiveness, power, love and joy, signs and wonders, healings – and repentance was the key.

For a few years (according to Yandine Moses about seven years) the community enjoyed the presence of God but then – slowly – there was a drifting away from God. Sin and self-reliance crept into the life of the village. Opposition and pressure from the Lutheran church headquarters and others did not help. Over time the outpouring of the Spirit became not much more than a precious memory. Even the man – that I interviewed – who had been part of the original student group from Kambaidam – seventeen years old at the time – he moved in amazing Spirit power for about four years – so much so that he looked down on the preachers that needed to walk around and pray hard for the anointing – but even he – after five years of glory (1994) – entered into an improper marriage arrangement and therefore (maybe not able to face his community) stopped his allegiance to God for fifteen long years. Only last year he found his way back to church and worship when another man burned down his permanent house and he saw his Bible and other Christian books go up in flames. Then, he knew that it was time to repent again. Thus, the village of Waritsian had not been able to steward what God had released among them in 1989.

However, in August 2009 God began to open up again the favours that he had bestowed on the community. Pastor Walo Ani and a prayer team of over two hundred people from the Central Province, Goroka and Toowoomba led the community through a Healing The Land process which is a program based on many Bible passages but especially 2 Chronicles 7:11-16: “When Solomon had finished the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the Lord and in his own palace, the Lord appeared to him at night and said: ‘I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be thereThis Bible passage and others are again about repentance and the whole “Healing The Land Process” is known as “The Revival Of Repentance”.[1]

 

The following is from a report by Deryck & Nancy Thomas – Toowoomba 2009: Members of the Healing the Land team from Central Province, Goroka and Toowoomba were invited to minister in the village in August 2009.  From the first teachings - that fallen stewardship has defiled God’s land - men and women were convicted by the Holy Spirit and began repenting of the misuse of their money and other resources.  One by one, extended families came out to repent to each other of violence, bloodshed and the use of witchcraft and curses damaging gardens and disrupting schooling.

After the teaching on Roots and Foundations, many renounced the sins of passing on to the younger generation magic practices and artifacts.  Others had backslidden and failed to train the younger generation in the righteous ways of their forefathers.  There was great grief over the bondages, sickness, death, destruction of gardens, and loss of fish and birds caused by all their sin.

Church leaders repented to youth leaders for past tensions and asked God to restore new leadership to minister in unity.  Parents repented to their children for past hurts and scores of young people asked Jesus to come into their lives.  Church leaders also apologized to one another and husbands apologized to their wives for their harsh attitudes, asking and receiving forgiveness and (disregarding cultural inhibitions) expressing their love for each other!

About 90 young men were anointed and dedicated for spiritual warfare over the boundaries of their land from which they returned, rejoicing as warriors who had put Satan to flight with their prayer spears!  The Prayer Team of over 200 visited every house, encouraging repentance and speaking blessing over the homes.  Court papers from land disputes were destroyed in the bonfire, as were violent DVDs showing violence and even cards played by an 11 year old boy who repented of his addiction!  There was great rejoicing, dancing and feasting in the whole community as they celebrated Jesus’ release in their lives.

After the Process the community could not return to their normal duties for a week as they continued to celebrate!  The boys and youth particularly have continued to fast and pray to seek more of God’s presence.  All the mango trees flowered and the people are expecting a big harvest shortly.  They are now reaching out to four surrounding villages where they will assist in the HTL Process in February 2010.  Pastors from Toowoomba and a Lutheran team will visit to teach the Word of God to help maintain the revival.

 

If we want to share in any of the blessings of Waritsian – or anything from God – we need to share in the same foundations of repentance. Jesus himself summed up how the whole world would be reached by God. He said to his disciples – Luke 24:47: “ … repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in my [original: his] name to all nations, beginning in JerusalemFirst repentance and then forgiveness and everything else from God. Even before Jesus came – ministering in the power of the Spirit with healings, driving out demons and miracles – repentance was preached to prepare the people for Jesus. The voice of John the Baptist was heard in the entire nation of Israel – Luke 3:1-20: “ … A voice of one calling in the desert, Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him … John said to the crowds coming out … ‘Produce fruit in keeping with repentance … The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.’ ‘What should we do then?’ the crowd asked. John answered, ‘The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.’ … ” We repent and produce fruit in keeping with repentance – it will not just be words but also deeds – so that we also receive from God. 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord … is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance

 

[Abbreviate (radically) and retell in your own words.] Mission report from Deryck & Nancy Thomas, Toowoomba: REPORT ON HTL FOLLOW-UP AT WARITSIAN, MARKHAM VALLEY – 14-21 FEBRUARY 2010

… Healing the Land, August 2009. Judas William testified that although he had been filled with the Spirit and was a Worship Leader he left the church and fell away from God. Then in 2009 the Healing the Land team came.  He did not go to any meetings and did not listen to any sermons but when the House to House Visitation team came to his home, they brought the Word that the Lord wanted to bless him, his family and his village.  He committed his life again to Jesus and the power of God came on him again.  Since then God has blessed him by giving him the means to put his son in Year 11 in High School.  Now all he wants to do is preach and worship in church!

Sim Yonyagi said he was thankful for what God had done for him and his land through HTL. When the leaders dedicated the oil to anoint the land, he put some on a banana tree in his new garden.  This particular banana tree grew really quickly and bore fruit while the others did not. He also put oil on the taro and it is now growing really well. Vivien Gami said that before Christmas her son went up the mango tree to get mangoes and fell.  He was so badly injured they thought he would die.  But they anointed him with oil and he was healed instantly.

When HTL happened others anointed their land and saw taro grow within one to two months to the size normally harvested in 6 months. One man was able to anoint one banana palm which grew 10 bunches very quickly. He was able to transplant the palm to his new garden.

After HTL another man, David, was sick because his father had planted a witchcraft item on his place. He was prayed for but the spirits possessed him.  He got his family together and explained about the anointing oil and they took it to the place of sanguma, (witches).  They prayed for protection, anointed the place, dug up the artifact and put it in the fire, believing the man would be healed. In the past he could not look after his garden but now he can.  David said, “This oil shows Jesus is alive and delivered me from demons!”

Another man testified that a teenager with a skin disease covering his whole body came to stay with him during HTL.  They rubbed him all over with oil and he is now completely healed.  He came out to the front to show everyone!

The Chairman of the Board of the school said he did not attend the meetings in HTL but during the home visitations believed God would heal his land.  Since the  school started in 1968 they looked for outside aid to help them and have seen the hand of God. During HTL they anointed the place where they wanted new classrooms and now Ausaid has  committed  K400,000 for double classrooms!  He believed whoever stepped into this community would feel the presence of God and would be convicted of sin.

Ephraim, the Headman, said through the HTL Process a lot of things were healed.  For him, his yams would not produce but now they were bigger and better.  He will be hosting a Sunday School shortly and would bring a huge yam.

One lady said her son had fallen out of a coconut palm and they thought he had been killed but there was not a single bone broken.

Pastor Yawing’s mother testified that she had very bad asthma and would have been dead a year ago but Yawing had prayed for her and God healed her.

The Waritsian Councilor said that in his leadership position he had had a regional meeting with the other Councilors and had been told there would be no money in the budget for the Waritsian village projects for another year.  He had to return to the community with the bad news but at Christmas, word was sent to him to return to the Regional Council. They gave him K10,000 for the water project.  God had intervened!  Walo encouraged them that they could believe for the extra money needed to complete the piping of water to the houses and that the newly formed Community Development Group could take the initiative in this. They prayed that water could come soon so the women did not have to go to the river especially at night, and to remember that nothing is impossible with God. They also prayed for water to go through 4-5 km of pipes to the school so children could continue this testimony.

New fish  – ones only their ancestors knew the names for.  Even fish from the sea have come up the Markham River. Wild pigs have returned and although they damage the gardens, they are really welcome for food. Wallabies have also returned. The Hornbill and other birds have returned, not seen for many years.

The mango trees had flowers on their branches like cocoa and a very plentiful harvest. Pineapples were growing plentifully.

Many sicknesses were gone. A tragic road accident at the neighbouring village on the highway had killed 4 people from Waritsian. This incident brought the people closer to God.

Most of the blessings asked for on the ‘In List’ at HTL have come to the village, especially tertiary education for the young people where before there seemed to be a blockage in this area. Moses said there had been many land disputes prior to HTL but most have been settled now and there are no more court cases.

 

We repent to share in the same blessings as Waritsian. This is basic and foundational. However, there is another key to access what God has done at Waritsian in 1989 and then more recently. In the Bible reading from before – 2 Chronicles 7 – God has bound himself to a particular place. I read the relevant verses again: “When Solomon had finished the temple of the Lord … the Lord appeared to him at night and said: ‘I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices … Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.’” Throughout the Bible – it seems that God designated special places which seem to function as some kind of portals – where communication and receiving from God happens more easily – and the temple in Jerusalem was such a place. God said: “I … have chosen this place … Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place … My eyes and my heart will always be there

God is not limited to these places because – according to the Bible (as revealed at worship in the temple!) – Isaiah 6:3: “ … the whole earth is full of his glory.” (We know that we can worship him anywhere.) Furthermore, God does not allow himself to be manipulated. These portal places are not under human control and there is no unconditional guarantee of access. For instance, God rebuked any false worship of such places, saying in the Bible – Acts 7:46-50 – I paraphrase: “ … You cannot contain me by anything that you build with your own hands. Heaven is my throne and earth is my footstool. Don’t think that you get a human handle on me

Yet – keeping in mind these words of caution – there are indeed portals – places which provide easier access to heaven. When God appeared to Abraham, he would – on occasion – build an altar and mark the spot as a regular worship site. Where God appears once, he can appear again. Then, the places of ongoing worship and seeking God (as with Solomon and building the temple in Jerusalem) can become portals because God responds to his people and opens up the heavens for them at this place. These portals can have a more permanent nature.

At Waritsian – when God poured out his presence there in 1989 – one man saw a ladder reaching into heaven and angels ascending and descending on it. This sounds like a vision straight from the Bible and in the Bible the ladder indeed functioned as a more permanent portal between heaven and earth. The Bible gives us the following information – Genesis 12:8: “From there Abraham went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the LordThen later – Genesis 13:3-4: “From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier and where he had first built an altar. There Abraham called on the name of the Lord

After Abraham had died, his grandson Jacob had to flee from his brother to his uncle and this is what happened on the journey – Genesis 28:10-22: “Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he reached a certain place [the Bible emphasizes “certain place” – it does turn out to be the place where there had been Abraham’s altar of worship (between Bethel and Ai)], he stopped for the night … He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with the top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it, stood the Lord, and he said: ‘I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying … I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised.’ When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.’ He was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven [which is another word for portal].” Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place Bethel … ”

In another tricky situation God would speak to Jacob again, saying – Genesis 31:13: “I am the God of Bethel [making special reference to this place], where you anointed a pillar … ” When Jacob returned after a few decades of absence, God directed him back to Bethel and instructed him “to build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother . ” (Genesis 35:1; cf. 35:6-7).

God revealed to Jacob in a dream that Bethel was the place where there was a stairway – a ladder – connecting heaven and earth – with angels ascending and descending on it – carrying messages and assignments from God. This had already been the case in the time of Jacob’s grand-father (Abraham) and remained permanent reality even for him. Jacob called this place the gate of heaven and God himself confirmed the existence of this gate – this portal – when he instructed Jacob to build an altar there and make Bethel into a regular place of worship.

[Another more permanent portal seems to be Mount Sinai where God appeared to the people of Israel – Exodus 19:18: “Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire … ” Many centuries later an angel would give the prophet Elijah supernatural food which enabled him to travel for forty days and nights to have an encounter with God at the portal of Mount Sinai (1 Kings 19 – the “mountain of God”).]

My sense is that our mission team to Waritsian (PNG) spent an entire week under one such portal. They have experienced amazing things in this village and one of the young man had seen the ladder that was connecting heaven and earth at this place (with angels ascending and descending on it). We were there and we soaked up the atmosphere of God by faith (at least in my case with eager expectation that we would receive and share in the blessings of Waritsian).

On the last day of our stay there the entire leadership of the village commissioned us with the blessings of Waritsian. They prayed and then – one by one – they shook our hands (maybe 20-30 of them). The last elder – a well respected older man (Titus) – he hesitated and then paused in front of me. Holding my hand he said: “Your church will go from 200 to 2000 – and then 4000He spoke these words with authority under an open heaven – the portal in Waritsian. I received these words – by faith – because from the beginning God demonstrated that what he had poured out at Waritsian was to go out from there into other places – including Toowoomba. The glory light of God had shone in 1989 calling people into the village from all over the Markham valley. About 30,000 gathered in the end and mission teams were sent from Waritsian to many other villages sharing the favour of God.

After this worship service the mission team that was at the village would like to pray for you – with the laying on of hands – which seems to have been the common Bible practice of passing on the Spirit of God from one person to another – Acts 8:17: “Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” Acts 19:6: “When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them … ” (cf. Acts 10 – the Spirit is received without the laying on of hands.) Receive by faith.

I want to talk about one more key to tap into the portal of Waritsian. In addition to repentance and being at the location of the portal – there is the key of testimony. When I asked at a meeting a few weeks ago whether those that were there knew the importance and power of sharing the testimony of what God has done, most of us did not know. Yes, this is a most important key to sustain what God is doing even in our midst. [For instance, it is so important that we watch how we speak about the miracle of the gold sparkles. Do we give positive testimony about this or are we shutting down the work of God by our silence because it maybe too controversial or has become too familiar for us?]

The Bible teaches – Revelations 19:10: “ … the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecyIn other words: “The testimony of what Jesus has done and is doing – the simple restating of what happened – is the spirit and power of prophetic words which accomplish what they are sayingThis is practical. Whenever we share a testimony of Jesus has done – when the words of the memory go out – an atmosphere is created – a power field in the Spirit – where the same work of Jesus can happen again.

One time “the disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat” (Mark 8:14). When they were stressing that they did not have enough food, Jesus asked them – Mark 8:17-21: “ … ‘Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?’ ‘Twelve,’ they replied. ‘And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?’ They answered, ‘Seven.’ He said to them, ‘Do you still not understand?’”

One pastor – Bill Johnson – was changed by this one Bible passage. Jesus expected his disciples to be impacted by the past testimonies. Even when you don’t have eyes to see or ears to hear – when you are caught in a situation with no faith and not much inspiration – what you can always do, is to remember. “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?” You can always remember and when you remember, “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” which means that after remembering the feeding of the five thousands with only five loaves and the feeding of the four thousand with only seven loaves, you can expect to feed all of the disciples with only one loaf of bread for lunch. The same miraculous provision will happen again in the remembering – the testimony of past experiences.

This is also at the heart of Holy Communion. One church leader writes in the Bible – 1 Corinthians 11:23-25: “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took break, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ … ” When we remember Jesus in the meal of Holy Communion – when we share the testimony of Jesus’ broken body on the cross in the breaking of the bread and his poured out blood in drinking the cup of wine – in the remembering – the testimony – God releases again the power of the cross. We receive the benefits of Jesus’ sacrifice.

The people of Waritsian had one dramatic occurrence of the same principle – the power of testimony. In November 1990, Johan van Bruggen wrote:

 

This is what happened about 2 months ago. A new church building was going to be officially opened in a village in the Kainantu area. Two of our last year’s graduates took part in the celebrations by acting the story in Acts 3: Peter and John going to the temple and healing the cripple. Their cripple was a real one - a young man, Mark, who had his leg smashed in a car accident. The doctors had wanted to amputate it, but he did not want to lose his useless leg. He used two crutches to move around the village. He could not stand at all on that one leg. He was lying at the door of the new church when our Peter and John (real names: Steven and Pao) wanted to enter.

The Bible story was exactly followed: “I have got no money, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” Well, they acted this out before hundreds of people, among them the president of the Goroka Church District and many pastors and elders. Peter (Steven) grabbed the cripple (Mark) by the hand and pulled him up. And he walked! He threw his crutches away and loudly praised the Lord! Isn’t that something? What a faith!

Their testimony was given at a meeting of elders when Kambaidam was discussed. Mark was a most happy fellow who stood and walked firmly on his two legs. He also had been involved in criminal activities, but in this meeting he unashamedly confessed his faith in the Lord Jesus.

Later I talked with them. Steven (Peter) told me that the Lord had put this on his heart during a week long period of praying. “I had no doubt that the Lord was going to heal Mark, and I was so excited when we finally got to play act!” And Mark? He told me that when Steven told him to get up he just felt the power of God descend upon him and at the same time he had a tingling sensation in his crippled leg: “I just felt the blood rushing through my leg, bringing new life!” Mark is now involved in evangelistic outreach and his testimony has a great impact.

 

As the testimony of the Bible was acted out, power was released. Whatever is contained in the testimony – when we share the story – the same creative power of the testimony can be released again. [This is the experience of many churches. For instance, healing testimonies give rise to the same healings.] This is simple and practical and powerful and therefore this is one area where the devil is active in deceiving and trying to shut down the witness – the memory – of what God has done in the past. At Waritsian – maybe because of the opposition and controversy – until last year – (incredibly!) – anyone in the community under the age of twenty-one had not even heard about the outpouring in 1989. The older ones treasured the experience but did not share what happened and this – without their knowing – was quenching the move of the Spirit. We are to speak the testimony – (if need be) keep telling the story of one miracle or one conversion until we are blue in the face (until another one occurs) – because – according to the Bible – “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelations 19:10).

I think that we are ready now. This morning we want to access the open heaven over Waritsian and – exercising faith – we are taking hold of three keys for receiving the blessing. 1. We share with the village community the foundation of repentance. 2. We have spent a week soaking up the atmosphere of the portal to heaven – the place where a ladder connects heaven and earth with angels ascending and descending – and now pass on what we have received in this location. 3. Over the last forty minutes we have spent time preaching the testimony of the Waritsian revival and now trust that there is power in the testimony. God can do the same here.

Are you ready? We do this by faith. Repent, receive in prayer with the laying on of hands what others have “soaked up” at Waritsian and take hold of the testimony. “God, pour out your Spirit here. Amen

 

 



[1] Vuniani Nakayaca & Walo Ani: Healing The Land, Toowoomba: TC Books 2007, 2nd edition 2009. Walo Ani: Healing The Land. A Manual For Trainers, Toowoomba: TC Books 2007, 2nd edition 2009.