June-July, 2017 Ministry Update
Dearly Beloved Friends,
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise" (Psalm 51:17).
"For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones" (Isaiah 57:15).
Over the course of my many years in the revival ministry, I have rarely seen what could be described as real brokenness born of the Spirit of God in the revival meetings. But when I do see folks fall on their face before God in genuine brokenness and contrition, it is cause for rejoicing. This is why I thank God for the last round of revival meeting endeavors in that we were witness to several folks responding to the preaching of the Word of God in brokenness. It is so good to see folks acknowledge their sin, confess their sin, repent of their sin, and express a clear and absolute desire to forsake their sin. In every church where I had the privilege and honor of preaching this past few weeks on the road, there was an unusual spirit of openness and response to "what saith the Lord." That the Lord was working in an unusual way was apparent as the devil showed up on more than one occasion. He does not like it when God is at work and hearts are being spoken to. He will try to thwart, hinder, oppose, and disrupt where he thinks he can, but thanks be unto God that he is a defeated enemy and cannot stop the moving of the Holy Spirit in hearts when they are hungering and thirsting for revival.
AUBERRY REVIVAL MEETINGS
What a joy and blessing it was to be with the dear folks at Auberry First Baptist Church in the beautiful Sierra Mountains again this year. This was our 19th year with Pastor Larry Gibson and the church family for their annual summer revival meeting. The church is now 106 years old and still going strong for the Lord after so many years. This good work is located on the Big Sandy Mono Indian Rancheria and had its beginning as a mission work to the Mono Indians in 1911. This is one of the very few churches in the southwestern United States with church facilities actually situated on the reservation. I have known Pastor Gibson since 1977, having met him soon after he left active military service in the Air Force. His wife, Donna, was one of our teenaged young people when I served as youth director at Fundamental Baptist Church in Escondido, California, in the 1970s. This meeting was of great encouragement to me and the Pastor in that we had robust attendance each and every service, and a sweet spirit with many responding to the messages at the invitation season. In 2006 we witnessed a powerful moving of the Spirit of God that brought revival to the church, something that I shall never forget. This is a tough place to minister, so please remember to pray for Pastor Gibson and the church family. They are constantly under satanic attack in a very dark place.
TWO WONDERFUL WEEKS IN BEND, OREGON
Once again we had the joy and blessing of ministering to the church family at Victory Baptist Church in Bend, Oregon, where Brother Richard Peil serves as the Pastor. He was led of the Lord to plant this good work 14 years ago. Today the church occupies beautiful facilities located on the main highway through the city. This is a growing and vibrant work with one of the best outreach ministries I have seen anywhere in the United States. I have had the blessing of preaching revival meetings, a family conference, and other ministry endeavors here over the years. Pastor Peil asked me to come and fill in for him while he was absent on vacation with his family. As always, it was a joy to preach and do some teaching, speak for a men's barbecue, and engaged in some ministry helps. We had a wonderful Independence Day service complete with the Pledge of Allegiance, the singing of the National Anthem, and some patriotic thoughts regarding the founding of our beloved nation, the founders themselves, and the founding documents. I was encouraged yet again in the preaching in that the people came to the services with a ready heart and mind, and the response to the messages that God gave was a joy to witness. Praise the Lord for the great things HE hath done!
REVIVAL MEETINGS IN TOLLHOUSE, CALIFORNIA
I count it a real blessing to be invited by Pastor A.J. Billings to preach for the summer revival at Sierra Hills Baptist Church located in Tollhouse, California. This is the first revival meeting I have conducted for this good work. It was of particular blessing in that the church was observing and celebrating its 50th anniversary. We had a hallelujah time last Lord's Day with a full house. Many past members who have moved away over the years were present, as were the sons of the founding Pastor. A 12 minute video cataloguing the church history was shown prior to the preaching. Throughout the week we saw good attendance each evening with many making various decisions for the Lord. It was indeed a great week, and I came away from the meetings encouraged by those who spoke of personal revival.
Sierra Hills Baptist Church hosted the California Independent Baptist Pastor's Fellowship meeting on Monday evening and Tuesday morning during the revival meeting week. I always enjoy preaching for fellowship meetings, and enjoyed the fellowship of the other preachers who were in attendance. In addition to my messages, two other men preached on Tuesday morning.
ORDINATION COUNCIL PARTICIPATION
It is always a real honor to be asked to serve on an ordination council. Last week I had the privilege of sitting with several other preachers on the ordination council for two young men at Victory Baptist Church in Fresno, California, where my good friend Brother Rick Owens serves as the founding Pastor. These were two of the most well prepared young preachers I have had the pleasure of helping to examine. This was no easy pass as we had several seasoned men on the council including a Bible College professor and other men with many years of pastoral ministry. We not only examined these two men, but also interviewed their wives, hearing their testimony, etc. Ordaining a man to the ministry is an awesome and serious matter not to be taken lightly. Praise the Lord for the leadership of Pastor Owens and the wholly biblical approach to the ordination of these two good men.
WE ARE GRATEFUL!
Thank you, our dear friends, for your faithful support of the ministry that God has called us to. We rejoice in the goodness of God in providing for us wonderful ministry partners like each and every one for you. We are blessed and encouraged by your loving-kindness. You have a great part in every soul that is saved, every heart that is revived, every Pastor who is encouraged, every church that is strengthened, and every family that is restored (through the family conferences). We are grateful and we love you all.
Addicted to the ministry of the saints,
Paul and Linda Mershon