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Augusta, GA Praises
Just Give Me Jesus Revival
The Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed... 2 Timothy 4:16-17
Augusta, Georgia is an historic Southern city nestled along the Savannah River and known as the principal city of the Augusta-Richmond County Metropolitan Statistical Area. By most recent count, Augusta houses a population of nearly 557,000 and is a regional center for medicine, biotechnology, and medicine. Internationally recognized each spring, Augusta gains the spotlight for the Masters Golf Tournament.
On September 21-22, thousands of faces turned their attention to "THE" Master, Jesus, the One who was honored, worshiped and praised inside the James Brown Arena. Friday night, Babbie Mason electrified the atmosphere and set the tone as she began the revival, singing God Bless America. Those in the audience spontaneously rose to their feet and joined in with her. Anne Graham Lotz continued the worshipful focus as she prayed for God to give each one in the audience a fresh encounter with Jesus. She then gave a warm, spirited welcome to those physically present, as well as to those who joined in other ways. Friday night's program was carried live on over 300 radio stations nationwide. The entire Friday and Saturday program was live streamed on the Internet, with people in all 50 states tuning in, along with people in 70 countries around the world! The message was fully proclaimed....
THE MESSAGE OF PEACE WITH GOD
Anne began Friday night by identifying recent political and economic problems that exist within our nation and world as spiritual ones. She noted that the wars and conflicts around the world are a direct reflection of the wars within our homes and our hearts, indicating a desperate need for an inner peace that would then flow out into the world around us. Friday night she called each one listening to come to the Cross in order to find peace with God.
As those in the arena came to the Cross, both literally and figuratively, the heavy chains of guilt and sin were loosened and exchanged for the fullness of God's love. As Jesus suffered physically, emotionally and spiritually with outstretched arms on a cruel blood-soaked Roman cross as a sacrifice for sin, many for the first time knew He had died for them.
Steady streams of people flowed from throughout the arena to find their place at the foot of the Cross. Among the many were a ninety-one year old woman, a young mother, a twelve-year old girl, a member of one of the extended satellite committees, and others who stood or kneeled to confess their sin, ask for God's forgiveness, and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. One woman asked Anne the next day if it was true that all sin was the same. That Jesus did not view sin in categories as small, medium-sized, and large. When Anne said, "Yes," this woman began to weep, and said, "That's why I came to the Cross. Are you sure He will forgive me? My sin is homosexuality." Anne had the privilege of reassuring her of God's forgiveness, then prayed with her as tears of joy streamed down her face.
THE MESSAGE THROUGH PRAYER
Sheila Bailey used her Saturday morning prayer session to inspire and instruct all present to develop a prayer life of abundance. Basing her remarks on the widow with the pot of oil in 2 Kings 4, her authentic and engaging style effectively challenged them to focus not on what they don't have, but on what they do have. She urged those gathered to move on by praying through. Babbie Mason's rich and powerful voice ushered them into a place of worship as her music was interwoven with Sheila's message. The audience was given time to engage in sweet and heart-felt private and corporate prayer, as the arena was transformed into a most holy place. The session ended with Sheila directing the audience as it erupted in responsive victory shouts. Babbie increased the decibel level by leading in a powerful, energy-charged victory chant, Hail Jesus, You're my King. Surely no prayer session has ever been so triumphant and exciting!
THE MESSAGE OF HOPE FOR TOMORROW
Anne's Saturday morning message focused on the living Hope of the resurrection. She paralleled the disciples who lived through the horror of Friday's Crossby asking the audience to remember the worst thing they had ever experienced...a terminal illness, divorce, death, betrayal, bankruptcy. She reminded them that on Saturday the disciples must have been crushed by their reflection on the utter cruelty of His torture and death, and the hopelessness and finality of it all when God seemed to be absent as Jesus lay silent and still, buried in the tomb.
But then Anne thrillingly proclaimed.....Sunday will come for us as it came for the disciples! There is hope for tomorrow, because blessing follows brokenness, life follows death, and the resurrection follows the Cross! Even if a person is experiencing Friday or Saturday for the rest of their lifetime here on Earth, Sunday is coming for each of God's children because this life is not all that there is. One day, He will take us home to live with Him forever!
Anne then told the awe-inspiring, hope-igniting story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ--a story that is well-known and has brought hope to millions in every generation since that first Easter morning? She challenged each one listening to examine the facts of the resurrection for him or herself: The tomb was empty! The grave clothes were in place, as though the body had evaporated through them! Jesus appeared to Mary, a woman with a past, who was weeping as she looked for Him in the empty tomb. He appeared to Peter, a dismal failure, on the shore of Galilee. White flags of surrender were raised as Anne challenged the audience to submit to the "nails" -hard things that God uses to pin us to the cross where we die to ourselves, our dreams, our hopes, our goals, our wills, in order that He might raise up the fullness of the life of Christ within us. The arena fluttered with white tissues or pieces of paper, each one representing a courageous decision to surrender everything to a loving God who gives Hope for tomorrow because He lives!
THE MESSAGE FROM HIS WORD
Prayer and Bible Study are the twin foundations of communication with our loving Heavenly Father. Following Sheila's prayer session, and a brief time for lunch, Anne guided the audience through a passage in Luke, teaching the audience to listen for God's voice. While reading the Bible for information and facts can be meaningful, it can be dry if that's all that it is. The Word crackles with life when the readers discover that God speaks practically, personally, and specifically to them through its pages. Women, men and even children were engaged and delighted to hear exactly what God was saying to them...right at that very moment. Many were courageous enough to share with the entire arena, using three roving microphones. Nearly 75 follow-up Bible Studies have been established in Augusta and surrounding areas. Like green pastures, they will allow hungry "sheep" to continue feeding on God's Word immediately following the revival.
THE MESSAGE OF STRENGTH FOR TODAY
One of the best kept secrets in the church today seems to be the third person of the Trinity... the Holy Spirit, who is Jesus in us. In the last message of the revival on Saturday afternoon, Anne challenged the audience to rely on the Holy Spirit for strength for today by reminding them of His person, presence, power, precepts, purity, prayers and priority. The Bible promises that when we receive Jesus by faith, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us, never to leave or forsake us. A life yielded to the Holy Spirit is a life that includes His empowering to live out our commitment through obedience to His Word. In an incredible testimony that underscored the truth of her message, Anne shared that she had undergone major surgery just five weeks prior to the revival, and was suffering from severe positional vertigo. She asked those who at that point sat on the edge of their seats, gripped by the impact of her testimony, "If the Holy Spirit can strengthen me to obey and serve Him today, why do you think He won't do it for you?" She asked those to stand who were willing to walk out of the arena, living their lives in dependence upon the Holy Spirit. As thousands stood, she asked Fernando to sing a song from his new album...the first time he had sung it in public... Lord, let me serve You. While there is breath on my lips I would proclaim You. I long for Your return. I long to see You face to face. I long to join the eternal song communion of all the saints. Lord, I come, just as I am, without one plea, but that Your blood was shed for me. Fernando's song was the prayer of every heart there. The revival climaxed with Anne's own spoken prayer, and Fernando's benediction, Jesus, King of Angels.
THE MESSAGE THROUGH WORSHIP
Throughout the revival, Fernando Ortega ushered those in attendance into a sweet and steady flow of worship that exalted and uplifted the precious name of Jesus. Joined by Gabe Scott on African drum, bazouki, dobro and dulcimer, and by Cameron Stone on the cello, Fernando led worship that swept through the James Brown arena. The theme song, sung reverently, beautifully, and hauntingly before Anne's sessions, expressed the heart's desire of all gathered.... In the morning when I rise, when I am alone, and when I come to die...give me Jesus. And God answered the prayer of that song. Thousands in the arena were indeed given a fresh encounter with Jesus... and we pray thousands more around the world, through radio and the internet, were just given Jesus, also.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!