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Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire: What Happens When God's Spirit Invades the Hearts of His People Paperback – March 31, 2003
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As though blowing oxygen upon the dying embers of a fire, pastor Jim Cymbala revived a broken-down church in a rough-shod inner-city neighborhood through Christian faith. Twenty-five years ago, the Brooklyn Tabernacle could barely draw 26 people to a Sunday service. Nowadays the congregation is 6,000 strong--filled with converted prostitutes, pimps, drug addicts, and homeless people, as well as yuppies and wholesome families. Although he's quick to give God credit for this miraculous success story, Cymbala admits that there may be a few human decisions that led to this Christian triumph. Most significantly, he made sure his church community embraced everyone, from all walks of life--no matter how distasteful or foreign. "Christians often hesitate to reach out to those who are different," according to Cymbala. "They want God to clean the fish before they catch them. If someone's gold ring is attached to an unusual body part, if the person doesn't smell the best or the skin color is not the same, Christians tend to hesitate." Thus, Cymbala encouraged his congregation to adopt the very same tolerant and accepting attitude as their God does. The results? Let's just say a church thrives in Brooklyn. Accomplished cowriter Dean Merrill helps this tender true story stay satisfying and highly readable. --Gail Hudson --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Twenty-five years ago, Cymbala, worn out from pastoring two congregations, devoted himself solely to the dwindling band of worshipers at ramshackle Brooklyn Tabernacle. Today, the old building has been replaced, there are 6,000 worshipers at four Sunday services, the church choir wins Grammies and sings for Billy Graham's crusades, and Cymbala is asked to speak all over the world about how he did it. Although he believes he didn't do it--God did--Cymbala does have a secret: the church is first and foremost a house of prayer, he says, a place where souls can call on God. Accordingly, Cymbala established Tuesday-night prayer meeting as the most important church function (later, church members began a "Prayer Band" to intercede round the clock for all and sundry). With professional Christian writer Merrill's help, Cymbala tells not his church's story as much as the stories of individual souls whose saving illustrates the truth of his testimony that God responds to prayer made in repentance and faith. Cymbala considers his work part of the revivalist tradition of nondenominational Christian evangelism, and he cites 300 years' worth of the great revivals and revivalists often, adding greater interest to a book that voices some of the oldest Christian wisdom with the vivid immediacy of telling tomorrow's news. Ray Olson --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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This is the story of how God took a struggling dying church with a struggling minister and turned it into one of the biggest churches of our time. This book is filled with story after story of how the Lord transformed the lives of people with the gospel and the power of prayer. What good is it to have the right teaching and doctrine, but no power from the Holy Ghost? Pastor Jim Cymbala not only teaches sound doctrine, but also emphasizes the importance of personal and corporate prayer without all the theatrics of the charismatics.
Pastor Cymbala does not just talk about prayer, he prays, his church prays. Even their choir practice is a prayer service! In most mega churches where thousands attend Sunday morning services, only about a few hundred usually show up for their weekday prayer meetings. Not so with the Brooklyn tabernacle, not only do thousands show up for Sunday morning worship, thousands also show up for Tuesday night prayer meeting. As a matter of fact, people show up and wait in line for hours before the church doors are open - for the Tuesday prayer meeting!
Through his sound biblical teaching and corporate prayer, the Brooklyn Tabernacle have been able to reach all kinds of people, from prostitutes to cross dressers to crack addicts, drunks and homeless bums, all have not only experience salvation, but a true change in their life styles with evidence.
Here are some quotes: " The more we pray, the more we sense our need to pray. The more we sense a need to pray, the more we want to pray."
"Prayer is the source of the Christian life, a Christian lifeline. Otherwise, it's like having a baby in your arms and dressing her up so cute - but she's not breathing! Never mind the frilly clothes; stabilize the child's vital signs. It does no good to talk to someone in a comatose state. That's why the great emphasis on teaching in today's churches is producing such limited results. Teaching is good only where there's life to be channeled. If the listeners are in a spiritual coma, what we're telling them may be fine and orthodox, but unfortunately spiritual life cannot be taught."
"If my church or your church isn't praying, we shouldn't be boasting in our orthodoxy or our Sunday morning attendance figures."
The book is filled with testimonies of lives that have been transformed through the prayer of the saints. Pastor Cymbala also shares a testimony of how God transformed a member of his family through the prayer of the saints.
Once you start to read this book, you won't be able to put it down. This is a must read!
Reading level: ages 18 and up
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