the step of faith
Christine and I are thrilled to announce the beginning of
a new ministry. Let me summarize the details. After traveling for
seven years in full-time itinerate evangelism, the Lord began placing
an increasing discomfort in our hearts. As we sought the Lord for
the cause of this lack of peace, the answer came in a new burden.
The heaven-sent passion left no doubt that God was opening our eyes
to the need for a fresh outpouring of the Spirit's power resulting
in a sweeping revival amongst God's people and awakenings in unevangelized
communities. In the next three years, specific prayer brought clearer
vision that the Lord was pointing out the state of Nebraska.
We began stepping in this direction three years ago evangelizing
in the city of Pine Bluffs in far east Wyoming. We have been very
limited in our time there due to a demanding travel schedule. The
Lord convicted me that I would never be able to pursue the vision
He had given me while keeping one foot in itinerate travel. After
about a year of solid prayer the Lord made it clear to myself and
Christine that He has been waiting for us to take the step of faith
out of itinerate evangelism (as I have known it) and into the "Greater
Works Union." On July 3rd of this year the Lord gave me the
words of F. B. Meyer, "You do not test the resources of God
'til you try the impossible." We are settled in faith and ready
to take that step. Allow me to share in greater detail how this
came about and what we're planning to do.
of the burden
Count Zinzendorf established a Christian colony on his estate in
Germany hoping for a spiritual atmosphere charged with love and
the power of God for service. Persecuted Christians from many religious
backgrounds, nations, and cultures found asylum in this safe haven.
By early 1727, he came to realize his vision was crumbling before
him into an ugly mess of strife, spiritual emptiness, and increasing
carnality. He even gave testimony that he saw no evidence of salvation
or of the Spirit's work in the lives of those in his own Bible class.
Deeply burdened, he began to pray fervently and gradually others
joined in. He directed them to look to God to pour out His Spirit
upon them and turn their wretched captivity into glorious liberty.
After several months of intense searching, God met with them on
Friday, August 13, 1727 pouring out His Spirit's power upon their
lives. The results of that meeting cannot be adequately measured
in a few short sentences. In the next three decades, over three
hundred missionaries were sent out to evangelize the nations of
the world! (John and Charles Wesley were among their converts.)
A prayer chain for revival was established around the clock that
lasted for more than one hundred years; it began with twenty-four
couples taking an hour each day! Consider the great missionary movements
that took place between 1727- 1827! Consider the first two Great
Awakenings that occurred during that time frame!
It's wonderful to remember back to the great works of God in answer
to the prayers of Count Zinzendorf and the Moravians in Germany,
but the Lord declares, "Remember ye not the former things,
neither consider the things of old. Behold I will do a new thing;
now it shall spring forth..." (Isaiah 43:18-19) God desires
to manifest His power in the present tense; to do a new thing...now!
The burden for Pine Bluffs, WY really began there with a heaven-sent
to see and know the power of God displayed...in the present tense.
David spoke this way in Psalm 63:3, "To see (now) Thy power
and Thy glory, so as I have seen (in the past)..."
Our hearts began to grieve with the inescapable awareness that
we are not seeing now, nor have we seen in our generation the power
and glory of God fully manifested. How our hearts long for the full
vindication of God's glorious name in this sinful and unbelieving
Spurgeon echoed this burden: "We need a work of the Holy Spirit
of a supernatural kind, putting power into the preaching of the
Word, inspiring all believers with heavenly energy, and solemnly
affecting the hearts of the careless, so that they turn to God and
live. We would behold the fire descending from heaven in answer
to the effectual fervent prayers of righteous men. Can we not entreat
the Lord our God to make bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the
people in this day of declension and vanity?"
Long before we had ever heard of a little city called Pine Bluffs,
God was planting in our hearts a holy desperation. Then, the burden
began to take shape. Standing on the roof of a two-story hotel in
Kimball, Nebraska early one morning, God allowed me to enter into
His burden for this region. The following is from my journaling
during those days: "I believe it is God's plan for us to bring
specific shape to our pleas for an outpouring of the Spirit in demonstrating
God's power to an unbelieving generation. I began calling upon the
Lord concerning this about six years ago. Three years ago, God began
funneling the vision to an awakening in the midwest and specifically
Nebraska. I have great assurance that the revival fire will begin
in Pine Bluffs, WY..." and then, by the gracious wind of the
Spirit, continue blowing the awakening flames across the prairies
Greater Works Union
In John 14:12 Jesus promised all in the church age, "He that
believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also and greater
works than these shall he do because I go unto my Father."
We are personally claiming that promise and seeking to unite under
the banner of John 14:12 with likeminded believers. We are not now
seeing the greater works Jesus spoke of, but are asking and expecting
God to keep His covenant-engagement with us. We believe God desires
to use a team of fully surrendered, Spirit-filled Christians to
seek and know the promise of the outpoured Spirit to fulfill the
great commission in Nebraska. The full vision is for an undeniable
demonstration of the Lord's power through an outpouring of His blessed
Spirit, exposing the lost to the infinite holiness of God, drawing
them to true conversion, resulting in an awakening fire among the
lost and a reviving of the slumbering faith of God's people.
The philosophy emphasis of the GWU is defined in short: a rejection
of flesh-dependent ministry and a deliberate looking unto Jesus,
by His Spirit, to intervene supernaturally on our behalf enabling
us to live holy, separated lives (the power to be) and to evangelize
the lost with boldness and effectiveness (the power to do). In light
of that position, we believe the only means of effectiveness is
the promised outpouring of Holy Ghost power. With firm conviction
we declare that God's power is not being accessed as promised, and
consequently a ready harvest is being lost. Fervent, effectual prayer
is primary to the GWU. The field-work is not abandoned, but is always
placed in the context of the knee-work.
We are asking the Lord to provide land and the resources to build
small, modest homes for the team He is assembling. We are deeply
burdened for believers who long to yield their lives, gifts, and
energies to the cause of His great commission in our generation.
So many with this vision, encumbered by the cares of this life,
are not free to truly do the work they are longing to do. They are
bound by financial concerns and battle with worldly frivolities
in the constant strain to preserve the "American Dream"
for their family. After a full week of labor, handling the paper
work, and attempting to raise a family, most have very little left
to give God. One could easily picture the children of Israel giving
their life-energy building Egypt's pyramids. Personally, I think
there are plenty of Christians in the secular work force for some
to be spared for a full concentration on things that concern God
The GWU will operate on the ground that will demand divine intervention
and provide undeniable evidence of the God of power. I speak of
course of the ground of faith. Practical, simple living will replace
the modern life of trappings and complexities. The full attention
and focus will be given to prayer, the study of God's Word, the
seeking of fresh purity and power, and the evangelizing of lost
souls. Teams will be sent throughout the numberless cities of Nebraska
without a true witness. They will plant for as long as the Spirit
leads, waiting for His gracious moving. They will entrench in spiritual
warfare against the enemy, supplant him through believing prayer,
and then engage the people in practical ways that could include
tent campaigns, street preaching, door-to-door, and public testimony
in word and song. We go out expecting to reap fields that truly
are white unto harvest.
If you would like to become personally involved through prayer
and would like a bookmark to remind you to pray, send me an email.
We do have a prayer chain as well. If you are led of God to financially
assist GWU, all funds come through the home church of GWU:
Cornerstone Baptist Church
315 Shoup Ave. West,
Twin Falls, ID 83301
An account has been established for this purpose. Checks would
need to be made out to Phil Prettyman with Greater Works Union in
the memo section. All gifts are tax-deductible.