I started reading a book the other day written by Jim Hylton, entitled “Supernatural Skyline.” Jim was the pastor of FBC West Plains, Missouri back in the 60’s and he referenced the time he was there in the first chapter of his book. In his reference he talks about the movement of God in that area and the fresh encounter people were having with God. It was a breath of fresh air and affirmation when I read it. He shared that the movement of God was one of the most significant of the day and in remembering it, I agree. You see, it was out of that movement of God that I accepted Christ. I was one of hundreds who received Christ during those days and the thousands affected in the years ahead all were connected to God moving during that time. Numerous full time ministers came out of that movement, not to mention all the individuals that experienced the life changing power of Jesus Christ. In reading the book, I realized that I had forgotten a lot of what God had done during those days and the memories started flooding back again. Memories of my salvation, my stand for Christ, and the life long change that became the pilgrimage of David Warren became fresh once again. Something started then, impacted me for now. My life was never the same again.
There were things God did in the town of West Plains that changed my life forever. I surrendered to full time ministry at FBC West Plains, and served the Lord there in two different six year time periods. My wife Andra accepted Christ there as well. Our kids learned to live a faith that makes an impact from the experiences there in West Plains. We were fortunate to see numerous young people surrender their lives to Christ during our times there and also saw God move in extraordinary ways. We saw a conference called Student Renewal, that started as a vision God put in my heart, grow from 120 in attendance to over 1,500 in attendance. During those conferences hundreds received Christ, or rededicated their lives to live for Christ. We were constantly attacked by satan with circumstances we could never plan for and God sent His people to protect and uplift us again and again. I was influenced heavily by the Godly example of men like Dow Felty, a Deacon at the church, and Clarence and Roberta Barber, two people who saw after me and my family and made sure we could be all Christ had called us to be. A dear lady by the name of Audrey Lea Stone prayed for me from the moment I accepted Christ until her death. When I stood in front of the church after receiving Christ, she came through the line and put her hand on my heart and said, “David, God’s hand is on your life.” Wow! What an affirmation! I also served with one of the finest Christian men I know, Jim Brill. We saw God do things that we couldn’t explain, but we will never forget in the area of church growth. We had Godly friends like Grayson Gordon, Helena Spencer, Jeff Barton, Chuck Smith, Craig Miller, Doug Pierce, Doug and Steve Page, Kevin Smith, Ward Franz, and many more who were a constant source of challenge and encouragement. So many people and so many great memories that seemed to, yes I believe, came out of that initial time of God moving in 1966. You may ask, “Can it be?” I have to answer, YES.
We tend to minimize the movement of God by thinking of what happened at that time and then moving on. In doing that we lose some of the attachments I believe we must keep with a visitation from God. It’s a lot like our salvation. Sometimes I’m around people who accepted Christ at one time and now they are “over” it. Over it!! You must be kidding. When we accept Christ a process starts that not only changes us, but everyone we meet. That process starts tying all the events of our life with other things and people. That’s when the multiplication starts kicking in. One life changed by Christ X the Holy Spirit = multitudes affected. That is a God thing…Truly!!
Which brings to mind…..what is God presently doing in your life that is first of all, tied to your initial salvation and your call in life. If you answer nothing, then you have missed the boat. What’s in the boat you missed? Things like peace, hope, direction, vision, and happiness. Many more than I can list, but the point is you want to get on that boat, called The Gospel Ship. You need to get on that boat!! If you have lost your fire for serving God. If you have drifted from the mainstream in your relationship with Christ. If you are a daily meal for satan because of your lack of prayer and faithful living. If you are an observer of this thing called life. It is time to change. You know, turn around and go the other way. You are headed in the wrong direction and God has a better way planned for you. Why? Because there are God moments you will experience that will not only affect you right now, but others down through time. Your faithfulness today will make a difference for someone else down the road. I was bound for hell in 1966, but God showed up and I repented and my life was changed for ETERNITY! Not only mine, but everyone I’ve met.
Turn the ship around and say, “Here We Go Again” and this time, DO IT RIGHT!! Today is another day for LIFECHANGE!!
Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
The Pilgrimage continues…..