The Summit Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, has been experiencing an intense season of spiritual renewal since April 3. The following account by Pastor Bill Elliff is from a gathering that took place on Friday, April 22.
Last night, we began teaching Acts 2 and 4. It was beautiful to be reminded that we are experiencing, in a wonderful measure, exactly what was happening in the book of Acts.
But we pointed out that there is one component we are not yet quite seeing. “Not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own” (Acts 4:32).
This is hard for us to even imagine, because our thinking about our possessions, even among the most committed believers, is so Americanized. What would it be like if every believer in the city didn’t think of ownership, but was willing to give whatever God asks to meet the needs of the rest of the body so that, just as in Acts 4:32 and following, there was literally “not a needy person among them”? How it would amaze believers and create curiosity among unbelievers!
We have been burdened in our hearts for a long time that this Acts model would be an amazingly powerful tool of witness to a lost world if it occurred in our whole city. We have even prayed for this with our city pastors.
One of our other teaching pastors followed with an exhortation from the first verses of James 5, reminding us of our incredible wealth and how silly it is to be “hoarding” it as we see the Day of the Lord approaching.
Then another pastor was led to remind us from Matthew 17 that the Lord Jesus is interceding for us, individually, by name, at the right hand of the Father. Why should we worry about or fear anything? We should take courage and do exactly what the Lord prompts us to do. There is nothing to fear. Again we read from Psalm 27:14 that we should “be strong, and let your heart take courage.”
In a few minutes a precious sister came up, trembling. She had been prompted to do something, and she had prayed and prayed about it, and the Lord kept impressing her heart about it. She went to her husband, thinking he would disagree but, “he agreed with the Holy Spirit!” She then removed her (large) wedding ring and said that she wanted to give it to meet the needs of the homeless.
A few minutes later, a man who had come from another church came up and said that he wanted to help “buy back the ring” for this lady. He said, “All I have is $250, but I want to take this step.”
As he said this, one of the pastors was reminded that he had $250 in his pocket; this was amazing because he never carried cash, but that very day he had been given that money. They were able to put the $500 into the offering basket that contained the ring.
People began streaming to the altar, filling the basket with money. In a few minutes, when the basket was full and after several other wonderful moments of prayer and ministry, we asked the lady who had given the ring to come to the front with her husband, and we had a glorious “wedding ceremony”!
“You, like Mary, have given a beautiful gift that has anointed the Lord’s feet and filled the room with the fragrance. But now the King of kings wants to remind you that you are married to HIM. And HE places this ring on your finger as HIS bride.” The church erupted in celebration.
In a few minutes, another amazing moment of giving occurred. Several nights ago, a young woman came forward whose husband had committed suicide in her presence 30 days earlier. She was weeping and requesting prayer that God would deliver her from her anger toward God. People swarmed around her and prayed, and that anger was gloriously lifted from her soul.
Another sister mentioned that this young widow needed a car, and the people began to give. Then a man who came in later found out about that need. The day before, his father had told him he had a 2001 Ford Explorer that he needed to give someone, and he gave her that car. She also received the $2850+ that had been given in the offering.
She NOW came to the offering and said that the Lord had told her to give her wedding ring that had been given to her by her late husband. In a few minutes, another man came privately to me and said that he wanted to buy back her ring for her, and others followed.
We performed another “wedding” as we placed the ring on her finger and reminded her, again from Psalm 27, that “when my father and mother [or husband] forsake me, the LORD will take me up”! As we placed the ring on her finger, we reminded her that God the Father is her Husband and Provider, and she is married to Him. Two “weddings” in one night—and that was just the beginning!