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Sister Vesta leads the church in a proclaiming prayer. She pleads for God to speak to us throughout the conference. She calls the attendees to give themselves over to God and His leading. As a segue, a montage of inspirational moments from BOTT is played over the speaker. We're off and roaring.
Sister Vesta continues to lead us to the presence of God. She recalls our dreams, hopes and desires. How sometimes it seems that they are afar off. Nevertheless, God can and still makes dreams, hopes and desires become reality. Peace and restoration are just a word from Jesus away.
More audio compilation is played over the speakers. We are being pumped up by the voices we have heard over the last 36 years. Men like Bishop G.A. Mangun, Rev. T.F. Tenney, Rev. Wayne Huntley and others are proclaiming promises and hope over all of us.
3000 souls are rising to give praise and plead with God to let their ears and hearts be open to hear the word that God has for us! Speak Lord! Speak!
As the opener closes. Pastor steps to the pulpit to welcome all attendees and officially open BOTT 2019. He claims that this year's conference will be a Mount Transfiguration experience for everyone in attendance. He calls for anointed and connected prayer. It is so powerful and the sound is like the voice of many waters. It's something that you will not experience at any other conference, this kind of anointed prayer. No music playing, just the voice of passionate prayer seeking to hear the voice of God.
Reverend David Bernard
Opening up testifying that Urshan College is growing and will need to expand to accommodate the growing number of students.
Quotes 1 Corinthians 12:13 and Ephesians 5:18. Tells us his title. "Filled With The Spirit"
He isn't bringing a word from David Bernard. He is bringing the word from the Lord. Be Filled With The Spirit. We must drink in deeply His presence.
Tells us to not conform to this world and to stay unified as the Body of Christ. We must work together on all levels. We cannot give in to the secular pull of the world. We will be challenged by those who oppose our faith, but we cannot give in. We may be attacked for our faith, but we must stay true to the cause. Hold fast to the Biblical teachings now so when the flood comes to your doorstep, you aren't swept away.
If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we will be able to stand against the challenges we face each day. That requires our vessel is constantly filled. We cannot let our spirit run dry. We will know what to say, think and do if we are filled with the Spirit. If we are filled with the Spirit! Don't let your vessel get too far from God and His Spirit. Stay near to Him and He will fill you!
Diversity is another new challenge we face in the church. It doesn't matter where we come from, what we look like or how we talk. We must put aside past biases and ensure that everyone can come under the umbrella of Christ. We don't have to compromise our doctrine to welcome outsiders. We don't have to abandon our faith to find new souls. We simply need to reach with love, conviction and unity.
We must be filled with God's Spirit. When we are, we will become true worshipers, prayer warriors, soul winners, accountable individuals within the Body of Christ. The breakthrough we are waiting on is coming. If we are filled with His Spirit.
Before Pastor speaks, a tribute for the late Rev. Tenney is played on the screens. Included are images and quotes from the Bishop. It is a touching and personal tribute.
Pastor Anthony Mangun
Pastor opens with a story about the Bishop. He had felt something in his spirit that led him to the church to pray. His prayers touched God and went into a hospital room to wake up a member of the church who had just coded. He didn't know it was happening. He just trusted the leading of the Spirit and it spared a saint's life.
Pastor tells other stories about the voice that he had heard from the time he was called as a boy to the moment he nearly abandoned the ministry. Each time he heard from God and obeyed, the voice of God didn't let him down.
Using the story of Moses and the burning bush, Pastor told us that God is looking to see if we will come after Him before He speaks the word He has for us. Moses saw the burning bush and turned aside. God is trying to get our attention. What is your burning bush? What is God trying to get your attention with? Whatever it is, pursue it and find out what God has to say to you.
When we turn towards God in our burning bush moment, He will lead us to a holy place. That place will lead us to a greater place of humility and worship. We will strip ourselves of pretenses just as Moses had to loose his shoes.
When we get close to God as Moses did, the Lord will address our shortcomings. Moses had a speech impediment, but God said He could overcome that if Moses would just go. Whatever you think is holding you back from being used by God, Christ has an answer to refute the doubt, fear and anxiety that has taken root in your mind. If we will listen to Him, God will uproot and burn up all of those things that have held us back.
Moses' burning bush experience led to a Mount Sinai experience. There, he attained the Law and a connection with God that no other man in the Old Testament ever attained. When we turn to pursue God, hear His voice, heed His voice and follow after Him, we will possess a close and intimate connection with God. We'll find ourselves receiving things that will not only change our lives, but the lives of those around us.
Pastor then turned his attention to Isaiah. The prophet was committed to being sent by God. He gave up every pursuit to be the vessel of God. As a result, he received insights into the coming of Christ that no man had received before. God will give us things that nobody else has. Insights, impressions and understanding will come to us. We won't just hold it in, though. We'll spread it to those near and far.
Next, he turns to Daniel. The prophet was so desperate to hear from God that he began to fast and pray intensely. God saw His commitment and sent an angel to speak to him. That voice included the redemption plan for Israel to go home as well as prophetic scriptures that would guide then and still guide us to this day. When we get serious about hearing from God, He will reward us with a word for us now, a word for us tomorrow and a word for the generations to come.
Pastor told the story of when he had the opportunity to build a new building. The money was being raised. The plans were made. Everything seemed to be lining out. Then God spoke. He told Pastor do not build the new church. Pastor listened and obeyed and it kept the church from financial crisis when the rest of the country plunged into the Great Recession. We must listen when God says no, even when it seems like we've got a great opportunity. Remember, He knows all and His thoughts are to usward.
Pastor brings up several examples of people who have made sacrifices to get alone with God and pray. People who have given of their time, their homes and their resources to connect closer to God. God has blessed these people and He has blessed POA as a result. God doesn't ignore the passion of those who would diligently seek Him.
The Holy Ghost begins to break out as people take hold of the message Pastor is bringing. He now has every person 40 years and younger to stand and prays an anointing over them to be loosed in the power of the Spirit. The service is now becoming a mighty prayer service as people begin to move around praying for one another. Again, the voices of these desperate prayers sounds like a waterfall. It's beautiful and powerful and amazing to be surrounded by such an amazing flow of God's Spirit.
Pastor closes out with the importance of prayer and seeking God. If we will set aside our own pursuits and go after God with a fervency and passion, He will meet us and lead us to the promises and desires that He has planned for us. Everything God has for you and I this year is waiting for us. It is just up to us to go after Him so we can attain it. What will I set aside for Christ this year? What will I take up for Christ this year? How much more will I seek His voice? What will I do when I hear it? Answer these questions with the humility of Moses, the commitment of Isaiah and the passion of Daniel and 2019 will become the year that changes our lives.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.