Wharton 2018 Special Meetings
The 2018 Special Meetings in Wharton, New Jersey, was held from August 19-26 with the theme “Without Me, Ye Can Do Nothing” based on John 15:5. There were representatives from seven states and one from Africa.
The prelude for the first Sunday morning service included “Revive Us Again” and “Beautiful Savior/Fairest Lord Jesus” by the orchestra. The choir then rendered the theme song titled “For Without Me, Ye Can Do Nothing.” Preceding the sermon from Alfred Ikotun, pastor of our church in Oceanside, New York, Taku Mhundwa sang “I Want Jesus to Walk with Me.” Reading from John 15:5, Bro. Alfred Ikotun stressed the need to have a good foundation in the Lord.
At the Evening Evangelistic Service, the message was given by David Adesina, the pastor of one of our churches in Nigeria. He took his Scriptural reference from Luke 19:8 and intimated that when seeking salvation, one should not only confess his sins, but also wait for God to witness that those sins are forgiven.
Monday and Tuesday were devoted to online prayer meetings for the success of the services. Bible teachings were held in the evenings on Wednesday and Thursday, as well as Saturday morning. The first was given by James Timbilla, pastor of the Wharton church. The topic was “The Divine and Permissive Will of God.” Using 1 Samuel 8:1-20, he said God’s permissive will may allow one to experience earthly success, but the divine will of God is what brings spiritual success. He encouraged all to learn to lean on God.
The topic of the Thursday Bible teaching, also taught by Brother James, was the theme of the special meetings: “Without Me, Ye Can Do Nothing.” He made a comparison between a drone that is connected to a remote control, and a Christian who is connected to God in spirit. He said that the drone has batteries that need to be recharged in order to receive signals from the remote control. Likewise, believers need to pray always in order to stay connected and to hear from God. Just as the drone cannot fly by itself, so Christians can do nothing without God.
The Friday evening service was devoted to the youth. The service began with a trumpet solo by Samuel Obatusin from the Orlando, Florida, church. Before testimonies, the youth choir sang “My Tribute,” and a mixed quartet sang “He Set Me Free” as the middle special. The last special was Ruth Mperey singing “How Deep the Father’s Love.”
In the message, Daniel Tetteh took his text from 2 Kings 2:8-14, using the example of Elisha undistractedly following Elijah. He admonished the young people to stay focused, and to be determined to follow God closely.
On Saturday morning, Lana Alofe, the pastor at East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, led the congregational singing. For the third Bible teaching, a video was shown of the Bible teaching on “Submission in Prayer” given at the 2018 Midwest Camp Meeting by Mark Staller (pastor of the church in Tehachapi, California).
A Revival Concert was held on Saturday evening, led by the choir director Daniel Tetteh. The orchestra started it off with a resounding “America the Beautiful” and “Marche Militaire Francaise.” The program also featured music by the combined choir, ensembles, and soloists. To conclude the concert, the choir sang “In God We Trust, In God Alone,” a fitting buttress to the theme of the special meetings. This year, for the first time some local Wharton residents attended the music concert, and one guest shed tears as the choir rendered their last piece.
On Sunday morning, the prelude was a piano/organ duet of “How Great Thou Art” by Daniel Adewoyin and Victor Oje. The orchestra then played “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord/Come into His Presence,” and the choir sang “Glorious Church.” Following was a ladies’ trio of “Bow the Knee,” and before the sermon, Abel and Joel Oni from Oceanside sang “Something Beautiful.” In his message, Brother Lana admonished the congregation to “do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God,” as stated in Micah 6:8.
To conclude the special meetings, a traditional fellowship service was held with visitors. It started with a piano recital by Victor Oje. As part of the prelude, Jennifer Ajayi played an inspiring “Gospel Medley” on the flute, followed by the choir singing “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Before the testimony portion, the men’s choir sang “Moving Up to Gloryland” and the choir sang “In God We Trust, In God Alone” as the last special.
In his sermon, Ene Ekpin, the pastor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, took his text from John 15:1-5 and made a comparison between the special meetings’ theme verse and the promise that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). He encouraged the congregation to abide in God, live a practical Christian life that embodies forgiveness, and show brotherly love.
Testimonies from the week of meetings included a young lady who prayed through to her Christian experiences after having struggled with some challenges in high school. One man who had been fellowshipping with the congregation for many years prayed through to salvation and said, “This is a new me.” A Sunday school boy who nearly drowned thanked God for His deliverance. A lady who felt sick on the way to the fellowship service said she was instantly healed upon entering the church. Moreover, many members testified that they were revived or received a re-anointing from God. The congregation is grateful to God for the outpouring of His Spirit during the meetings.