This incredible, almost unbelievable, true story is the perfect one to read for New Year's Day as the start of the year is one for hope and expectancy. The only question we should have is, "Why not?"
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John Glasser: Geographically, the unlikely messenger.
It was a sunny day in August, 2016 when a South Dakota youth ministry leader named John Glasser was walking downtown in Bethlehem, New York. He came upon a man kneeling on the sidewalk crying out in repentance. Glasser then proceeded to walk into a concrete, contemporary-looking church and to his surprise it was packed. There was praise and worship and yet there was something more.
“It wasn’t a normal service,” he says. “I had never seen people so repentant. People were falling forward in deep sorrow for their sin. They wanted to change.”
Glasser left and saw another church, heard similar music, walked in and observed almost the exact same thing in the sense that an intense work of God was happening - this time in an older, wooden traditional church.
“They were on the floor prostrate,” he recalls.
And then Glasser woke up.
It was 3 a.m. He dismissed it in his grogginess and went back to sleep.
He then proceeded to have a “replica” dream with the precise same flow. He woke up and it was 6 a.m.
It was at this point that he began to take the dreams seriously.
“I said, ‘God, if this is from you, I want you to prove it.”
He felt God say, “Go to your phone, and look up churches and call the one I show you.”
He looked up “Bethlehem, New York” and was surprised to find that it existed. He waited until 10 am Eastern Standard Time and serendipitously called Legacy Church in Delmar (part of Bethlehem, New York).
Pastors Dave and Laurie Gericke’s daughter, Rebecca, answered the phone.
“Sounded weird, telling her the story about the dream,” Glasser said. “But she responded that her parents had been praying for years about revival in the region.”
Many pastors have been praying for revival in the capital district despite
the Barna surveys that listed Albany as among the most unchurched city in the nation.
Glasser didn’t know what to do with this dream, but prayerfully pondered it and followed up months later.
"Has the revival broken out?" he asked when he called back.
Although no evidence of such a stirring had occurred, God wouldn't let the dream die within him.
Meanwhile, on a sabbatical to the Ukraine, he met a young man named Sergei and asked him where he was from.
“Bethlehem, New York,” Sergei replied.
This remarkable convergence mixed with his desire to pursue God’s purpose for the dream eventually led to arrangement that he and his ministry team would come to Bethlehem, New York where Legacy would host a prayer and praise meeting and invite local pastors to attend.
Glasser spoke at the meeting and encouraged individual evangelistic efforts rather than relying solely on church leadership.
“I believe that there is a unity among the body of Christ in this area that can transform the entire region,” Glasser said. “There is such a hunger for God to move, to awaken hearts, to love the brothers and sisters in Christ. What I saw, is that the churches need each other. I also saw a great need to come together to pray and to train the believers in evangelism and discipleship. God is already moving, but there’s a deep desire in the body of Christ to be mobilized, be put into action by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
The vivid nature of the man on the sidewalk crying out for forgiveness and the widespread repentants in both churches in the dreams could be a precise picture of what a revival could look like - in a cross section of churches with varying faith traditions.
Why a man of God from South Dakota would have a dream with such geographic, intimate and passionate details remains to be seen.
But faith must always be mixed with such things...
(TO BE CONTINUED)
…there remains very much land yet to be possessed…I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me…Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect…But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful…that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment…‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’…But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God…There remains therefore a rest for the people of God…Your eyes will see the King in His beauty; they will see the land that is very far off.
Joshua 13:1, Philippians 3:12, Matthew 5:48, 2 Peter 1:5,6,7, Philippians 1:9, 1 Corinthians 2:9,10, Hebrews 4:9, Isaiah 33:17
These passages were taken from the evening reading for New Year’s Eve in “Daily Light from The Bible,” a classic devotional.