2019 Wharton Special Meetings

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The 2019 Wharton Special Meetings was held from August 18-25 with the theme “Back to Bethel” taken from Genesis 13:3. There were representatives and visitors coming from Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, District of Columbia and Oregon States. The first Sunday morning service began with the orchestra playing “Surely the Presence of the Lord is in this place”, the choir singing “Come Thou with Us” and a quartet titled “Take Me Back”. Preceding the sermon, Brother Akinola Fawole sang “Back to Bethel.” Brother Ene Ekpin, pastor of our Philadelphia church took his text from Genesis 13:1-4. He encouraged all present to diligently seek to return to Bethel - the house of God where there is an altar of prayer - to receive various blessings.

In the evening, the orchestra played “A Friend to Jesus” and the choir sang “I Have Pitched My Tent in Beulah Land.” Before the sermon, a mixed quartet sang “Yes I Know.” Brother Ene preached his second sermon of the day on God’s love and good thoughts towards mankind. He admonished all to endeavor to forgive and make restitutions where necessary in order to receive God’s blessings.

Monday through Thursday evenings were marked by Bible teachings by Bro. James Timbilla, pastor of the Wharton church. The teachings covered “How to Become a True Christian”, “The Danger of Apathy”, “What Brings Revival” and “Back to Bethel”. Before each Bible teaching, selected members of the Wharton congregation shared their salvation story. The main theme of the Bible teachings was to encourage the congregation to search their hearts and fully consecrate their lives in order to be in a place where they can speak to God and also hear from Him.

On Friday evening, Samuel Obatusin from our Florida branch church played a trumpet solo and the choir sang “Salvation Has Been Brought Down.” Brother Robert Downey, our North America Director was in attendance and preached on “Memorial”, taking his text from Joshua 4:4-7. He intimated that the whole purpose of the meetings was to bring lost souls back to the Lord. He also stated that going Back to Bethel is going back to a place where a spiritual memorial was setup in one’s life. He emphasized that just as God did not want the children of Israel to forget the miracles He wrought for them by asking them to make a memorial, God also wants us to remember aspects of our lives where we had an encounter with the Lord. He concluded that looking back encourages us and strengthens our faith in the lord. The Altar call that followed was well received.

On-line prayer meetings were also held in the mornings and at noon from Monday through Friday where specific requests were read and prayed about and also for the spiritual success of the meetings. A special intercessory prayer meeting was organized on Saturday morning from 10:00am to Noon. It was a privilege to have the North America Director of our work and his wife Sister Cheryl join us for the prayer meeting and also in the evening for our Revival Concert.

The Revival concert was held on Saturday evening, led by the choir director Daniel Tetteh. Bro. Robert Downey gave the opening remarks and the orchestra began by playing “Allelujah from Exultate Jubilate.” Throughout the evening, the program featured sacred music by the combined choir, youth choir, young emerging musicians, and instrumental ensembles. The choir concluded by beautifully singing the famous “Hallelujah Chorus.” The concert was well attended and all were blessed.

On the second and last Sunday morning, the service began with the orchestra playing “Beautiful Savior/Fairest Lord Jesus” and the choir immediately singing “I’m Standing on the Solid Rock with The Solid Rock (My Hope is built).” Before the scripture reading a mixed quartet sang “You are my All in All” and Tayo Ajayi sang “Come Home Running” as the last special. Sis Josephine McElveen, our East Coast District Superintendent brought the message. She took her text from Genesis 35:1-5 where God called Jacob to put away all the strange gods in his midst and return to Bethel. She said it was God’s and not Jacob’s idea to return to Bethel. In the same way it is the Holy Spirit that is working among us today to return to Bethel. She emphasized the point of everyone searching their hearts and putting away any strange gods in their life in order to come back to Bethel and worship God with a clean heart.

The revival ended with a fellowship service on Sunday evening. The orchestra played “This is My Father’s World” and the choir sang “Glorious City of God/We’re Marching to Zion.” Immediately following the choir, Veronica Adewoyin and Samuel Obatusin sang “There’s Just too Much to Gain to Lose.” Before testimony, the choir again sang “Let all the People Praise Him” and Jennifer Ajayi sang “The Altar” as last special. There were testimonies of God’s power to save from visiting saints and those in Wharton. Bro Downey brought the message and took his text from Genesis 13:1-4. He began by telling the congregation that just as God called Abram and had a plan for his life, God has a plan for our lives too and we can put our trust in God whenever he calls us. He gave a personal testimony of his call to the ministry and emphasized that submitting to God’s call brings blessings. He stated that every Christian needs a place or time in their walk with the Lord where they can always look back to when faced with difficulties. Just as Moses had the burning bush experience, his Bethel, as Christians we all need to have our Bethel experience. He stated that our back to Bethel should not end with the meetings but continue in the days ahead.