How the Revival Has Affected Tulsa Harvest Church
Before 1995, no one knew about Tulsa Harvest Church except the 25 adults and their children who went there and probably some of the church members' neighbors. We were persevering, which is a polite way of saying the word “struggle.”
I was not open to searching out this new revival, but the Lord, in His incredible mercy, sent Rodney Howard-Browne to Tulsa. I reluctantly attended and afterward became convinced that I “just had to go to Toronto!” The Lord blasted us there. We found ourselves shaking, crying, and crying harder. When we got back home to Tulsa, we testified to the church about our experiences. “It’s not about manifestations,” we said, “it is all about what the Holy Spirit is doing in the person’s heart.” It’s hard to evalutate that in the beginning.
Let's keep swimming!
After six years of soaking in God’s presence, I’ve found that it is about far more than the manifestations. After the Holy Spirit had been moving in our area a short time, some other pastor friends shared with me that they were looking for the Lord to do something “else.” They seemed dismayed that their church didn’t grow after a few months in the renewal.
Trying to reassure them, I said, “It is not about manifestations, God is doing something in the heart.” My conviction was and still is “I was not smart enough to quickly figure out that this was a move of God, therefore I am not smart enough to figure out where the Lord is going with this River! So let’s keep swimming!”
We began to have special renewal weekends hosting itinerants from TACF. Slowly, the local church was strengthened and our city began to be aware of this little family church on the eastside of town. Some people left the church family at the sight of the manifestations, but some Tulsans starting coming regularly to our services. During the next two years we continued weekly renewal meetings and quarterly renewal weekends. Our church began to grow not only in numbers but also in the favor of God. Our associate pastor, Rich Manganaro, presided over the building of our new 325-seat building. John and Carol Arnott came from Toronto to dedicate it in a special service. This encouraged the Holy Spirit to keep moving and the manifestations increased in force.
One Friday night during a renewal service, a church leader heard God say one word: “Garifuna.” He looked it up on the Internet and discovered that this was the name of a small people group in Honduras. He boldly said, “Let’s take this work of the Holy Spirit down there.” I agreed and we took a trip to the northern coast of Honduras, and this same revival with all the same manifestations began to flow among these people. Now Tulsa Harvest Church conducts regular short-term mission trips to Honduras, and one woman from Tulsa recently moved there to work among them permanently.
TESTING AND BLESSING
Following this time period of obvious blessing, our church passed through a time of testing. It seemed that the enemy challenged worship at our church. We lost some members which created financial pressure. I knew we had not tried to use this move as a means to grow our church, but we were determined to let the River flow and flow in it down stream with every twist and turn. Gradually, the Father has deposited truths in our hearts that began to move us from “visitation into habitation.”
My wife Tondi and I were in the upstairs meeting room at TACF at the October 2000 Catch the Fire conference. We were literally hurled to the floor as the Holy Spirit spoke to me these words, “This is a breakthrough year for you.” Heidi Baker, missionary to Mozambique, had just shared a message encouraging us to “believe God for big things...just let the Holy Spirit do it.”
I am praying that our citywide unity meetings with pastors and church staffs will result in more revival.
Well, the Holy Spirit is doing big things in our local church. Our members are growing so much in the Lord! God is healing broken hearts, and a sense of purpose has gripped our church. We are on fire with the message of the love of the Father to heal the wounds of peoples’ hearts.
Tulsa Harvest Church hosted multiple Elijah House healing seminars last year. As our staff has begun training other church staffs in prayer counseling and inner healing, other churches pursuing revival in Tulsa have joined hands with us. We now meet weekly for lunch and relationship. I am praying that our citywide unity meetings with pastors and church staffs will result in more revival.
BLESSING AND FRUIT
Dramatic breakthroughs have come recently in situations involving our worship ministry, numerical growth and our finances. At our regular Sunday morning service this Sunday, our attendance was 164; almost seven times the number of adults we had when the outpouring began. Although it is not about numbers, it surely did encourage a lot of us “River-soakers” that God is causing others to grow hungry and thirsty for the River of His presence, too.
Those churches in Tulsa that have asked for “more” from the Holy Spirit are seeing some powerful events. God is causing us to genuinely want revival for our city. The pastors have truly befriended each other and are praying for revival in all the churches in Tulsa. Tulsa Harvest Church is giving away its love, finances and friendship to other area churches.
Before the revival came in 1994, our local church was so hidden that very few knew us. The revival River that began to over flow upon us so greatly that we shook, cried and could not stand at times is still flowing today. But I am convinced even more now than ever that the Holy Spirit has come to change the hearts of people. When the hearts of people are transformed, revival comes to the local church and everyone around it. We at Tulsa Harvest Church are living proof of that!