“I knew it was beautiful, we all knew. Most of us in the room had been to years of Aglow outreach meetings, and we knew. We somehow began to even sense it as we came into town that quiet, late spring morning and randomly parked our cars, some along the quiet streets and some in the bank parking lot,” writes Patty Johnson, Madisonville TN Community Lighthouse VP of Administration.
There stood one of our women outside the charming old building next to a large blackboard easel with colored chalk in hand excitedly creating a giant, happy street sign to welcome in passersby.
As we entered inside through the door, it was obvious this was not your typical venue! It was inviting, energizing, inspirational, funky, and fresh. Deep blue, hydrangea bouquets were everywhere and coffee and muffins and quiche sat waiting. Little café tables for four. Tall ample windows. It all shouted NEW! NEW! Someone enthusiastically declared, “This is a place where millennials would come!”
Then it happened. The door opened and a group of young women all came in together. There were beaming smiles and warm hugs, and lots of eating! And as the overflow grew, we knew we had to shift to a larger room. Yes, it was beautiful. And yes, we all knew. “Predictable” had just been dethroned.
Our Area Board President shared her heartfelt testimony of being “Unshackled to Soar,” and for several hours we ministered to these 8 beautiful young women, some as young as twenty, rehab girls coming off drugs. Some had been victims of sex trafficking. Some had had part in satanic sacrifice, abuse and betrayal, shame and wrenching memories and torment. Jesus came. Tears flowed, shaking, hunching over in raw desperation. Those who did not know Jesus the Lamb of God found Him. Seven of them got baptized in the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues.
Srongholds and mindsets were exposed and renewed in the light of Christ. Deep agonizing wells of pain were washed away as laughter and joy unspeakable rang out through the room and the sweet euphoria of freedom caused hearts to dance. One girl just began running and running around the room! Then, as ministry ended, suddenly outside the tall stately window a beautiful, regal, horse-drawn carriage passed by and we all erupted into a loud roar of glory to our King.
And here’s the deal. How did this transpire? Through love. They came because of love, one-on-one face-to-face love. Our Lighthouse president had been visiting these girls for many months and pouring Father’s heart into them. She invited them to our outreach gathering and because they loved her they came. When they entered the building that morning, they stepped into an even higher dynamic of love … team love … an atmosphere of women who honored, esteemed and made place for one another.
When they arrived, there were women who quickly drew apart, out of sight, and began travailing in prayer and tears. These same women were strategic in birthing the breakthrough.
I have rarely been so undone by a demonstration of the authentic gospel of power that is our birthright, the power born of love and tears. It changed me inside out and I will never be content with less.
“But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you.” Lk11:20 Surely the kingdom of God is upon us.
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power … 1Cor 2:4