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An Open Letter/Review to the Sarnia Revival

After speaking to a number of people that I respect regarding this post on the Sarnia Revival, I’ve come to believe that some of the things I said were not said gracefully, or at the very least could easily be misinterpreted as ungraceful. I want to publicly, like I wrote the original post, apologize for my tone and style of the post. I don’t wish to cause disunity or dissension in the kingdom by my approach of how I disagree with things. Please forgive me. Bethel you will always be in my prayers and I pray that God will continue to use you to accomplish his purposes.

Since this post, I’ve been receiving a fair amount of e-mails and comments. I’m going to continue to change/edit my post so it reflects the truth and not just my rants so keep re-reading it to look for changes or something that I probably got wrong. Any additions or corrections have been italicized. Also keep stay updated on the comments section. If you don’t want to publicly leave a comment feel free to e-mail me here and it will be kept in private.

I want to attempt to review my experiences at Bethel for one of their ‘revival services’ as fair and gracefully as possible. I am not looking to attack anyone nor discourage anyone from attending them. I am simply offering some words that could serve as a sincere rebuke and also hopefully an encouragement.

As soon as I walked into the Bethel service on Saturday night I was flooded with a number of memories. There were probably seventy-five people or so at the altar area jumping up and down to a hip worship song. They looked happy. They looked excited. I really appreciate their enthusiasm. There were a few things however that I think could be addressed and maybe thought twice about with the whole Bethel Revival and hopefully I can do it in a way that is graceful.
IMG_0009When we pulled into the parking lot there was two men with bright orange reflecting gear ready to direct traffic as the masses flowed into Bethel. The only problem was there was no traffic, it was sort of a dead night and many people did not hesitate to tell me that the numbers were quite larger on other nights. Looks like I showed up on the wrong night to experience the best part of revival. As soon as I saw the two parking attendants (something that I don’t recall seeing once in all my 12 years at Bethel) I knew that Bethel was desperately trying to fit into what a revival was supposed to look like. I’ve seen Bethel have over 800 people packed in there and they never needed parking attendants, it seems as if they are trying to fit some sort of quota for what revival should look like.
Since I’ve posted this part, I’ve had a friend tell me that these two men volunteered to be out there to help any guests that might show up at the services and it wasn’t an attempt to just look cool or full. So props to the guys for wanting to make guests feel welcome, it seriously is an important part of any church community in making sure from the get go that visitors feel welcome.
Do overflowing sanctuaries and full parking lots means a successful revival? IMG_0011Revival push number one was a failure. They didn’t need parking attendants. This was more of a humorous observation than a serious one, but nevertheless, I feel bad for the two guys that had to miss part of the revival service.

The night that we showed up seemed like no different than any other Sunday night at Bethel all through my years of being there. Lots of happy people, jumping up and down, speaking in languages with no interpretation, a three point sermon, a three point altar call (always the last one going out to everyone to assure everyone comes to the altar) and constant clich├ęs from the microphone. Doug Nixon spoke, and I thought it was a pretty decent message. He did will at the exegesis of the text and encouraged people to continue to seek after God. He said that it should be normal to have services like this every night.

In the middle of the music segment, I found myself catching up with some old friends that I haven’t seen in a while. I looked at my best friend Darryl a few pews ahead of me and he was chatting happily with a youth leader sitting up on the top part of the pew with another friend of mine. As soon as the youth leader left, I saw Pastor Tim (the senior pastor) leave his original position (front of the altar on the far East side) and walk all the way to the back of the church on the far West side where Darryl was. He tapped Darryl and said “can you get down from there [remember he was sitting on the pew improperly so he could talk to his friend], that isn’t very reverent to the Lord.” Darryl said sure and got down. I’m not sure why Pastor Tim found the need to leave his worshipful stance at the front of the altar at one side of the church and walk all the way to the other (its quite a large church) just to tell Darryl that he was bring irreverent to God and to get off the pew and fail to see the person that was sitting beside Darryl who he had to pass doing the exact same thing. Especially since, more than once, I have seen Pastor Tim jump up on to stand on pews to pray for people that he could have easily walked around to. How in the world he was being irreverent to God is beyond me? Does he have it out for poor little Darryl?

A few minutes later Pastor Tim found himself at the front of the church with the mic in his hand. Praying, speaking in tongues, shouting and encouraging (kind of like a Chinese Pep Rally when you don’t understand Chinese). Then he started praying for the youth. And he said this to the youth.
“sitting on the pew isn’t going to get you there tonight”… he continues, “i saw some young people tonight who have been up at the altar praying and worshipping this week, and now that your friends are here, you’re back sitting with them, but you should be here to worship the Lord, not worship your friends, don’t let your friends determine how you’re going to worship…etc”

Every youth was at the altar expect for Darryl and I and a few youth who happened to be sitting with us. I’m not sure why he just didn’t say their names and point them out blatantly. So for only being there for a few hours, we were rebuked for being irreverent to the Lord and indirectly for causing others to backslide and being the source of worship of people who were sitting with us. I’m glad we are seasoned veterans at Bethel, because if that was a unbeliever or a new Christian, they probably would have left.

All this is just my experience with that night in particular, none of it surprised me because I experienced it for twelve years going there. I didn’t even mention the youth that prayed fire down on the mosque, Jehovah witnesses and Mormons (still not sure what kind of fire he was talking about) and if I was part of any of those religions it wouldn’t be much of a revival for me. But I won’t get into that.

Outside of the service, I am also a subscriber to the Sarnia Revival e-mail list. They, within a few weeks, had purchased a new domain name at www.sarniarevival.com and had audio and video links on there as soon as possible. E-mails were getting sent out by the dozens with healing reports and number reports of how God was moving in a mighty way at Bethel. I’m not sure why they feel the need to market the revival. Seems odd to me that if God was moving that they would have to market it like a new and exciting product for sale at Wal-Mart. It scares me a bit, because I know marketing and consumerism pretty well and I know that the advertisement is never as good or as honest as the real thing. And I don’t know what the obsession is about telling everyone repeatedly on e-mail and apparently a lot of the services where people are coming from. Did you know people have come from Ohio (4 hours away) to “experience this mighty move of God” and a “pastor from Calgary, hungry for a move of God, has made contact with our office and has altered his vacation schedule to take in revival services!” I guess you can add to the list now that a university student from York University has come to find out what all the revival is all about from Toronto, Ontario.

Also, Bethel has had a number of commitments that since the revival they have backed out on. When revival first started they had a sign on front of their lawn that said that the Uganda Fundraiser was cancelled (which I’m sure would have raised money for the team going there, but I was informed that they still took an offering and they were still able to raise money). It sucks that when God moves, he makes you break commitments to good causes.
Since I’ve made this post, a friend of mine left this comment (you can read it here) which explains it in a lot more and accurate detail.
Bethel has also backed out of hosting a night with a bunch of other churches in Sarnia because, well revival is moving. They have also cancelled out on another commitment within the city or with some other church (which I now know is the Annex, a local drop-in center); I’m not sure about the details.
RevivalSign001Bethel prides itself that in the last 25 or 26 days, they have had services for about 24 of them. I will hand it to them. Some of my very good friends have been healed at their services, and I don’t discredit God’s hand whatsoever there. They are saying also that people are getting saved every night there. Thank-you God.

I’m not sure why having a service every night for a long period of time is seen as a major accomplishment. Yes there are good things happening, but I think that these good things should be happening in people’s homes within neighbourhoods and around kitchen tables. Why do they have to bring it out to where no one lives to a big scary building? Why can’t they bring it into the lives of the people that are by definition supposed to be revived? They wouldn’t need flashy websites and new domains, and big e-mail lists and large number reports if they didn’t have services and each person involved in the revival simply took it back to their workplaces and their homes.

If Bethel is trying to reach the unsaved of Sarnia, retreating to a big building where 95% of the people in that building are Christians and aren’t speaking the language of Sarnia I don’t think the results are going to be very good. I am not saying God won’t move. I am not saying he hasn’t. I’m saying that they need to stop worrying about what looks like a successful revival and prepare to fail by numerical statistics in a sanctuary and start bringing this fresh excitement into the houses of everyone around them. Stop having services every night and keeping people away from their neighbours and away from their young children who can’t be out late every night and give people a chance to bring this revival to Sarnia, a city I am and I know they are in love with.

So Bethel, a church that I still consider my church home, a church that made me into the Christian and Christ-follower I am today in many ways, a church that I spent twelve years of my life at learning what it was like to be Jesus, I think that while this revival is certainly exciting and God is doing amazing things you need to stop hogging it all to yourself. Cancel your services that are intimidating for your neighbours to go to and instead do something that your city will love and want to participate in with you. Live life with your city, stop running away into your building, singing your songs, listening to your messages and speaking your tongues for no greater reason than to just do it all over again. Bring these healings to them. Be in the streets and homes of Sarnia. Befriend the prostitutes and the poor and show them what revival is all about. Stop marketing a product of revival and begin to usher that revival into fruition with your lives and into the lives of the people you live with. Don’t worry about if your sanctuary gets full or not. Worry if God’s Kingdom is advancing or not. There is no direct parallel between the amount of people in your sanctuary and the amount of people working with God in the Kingdom. You can’t count people that raise their hands and say a thirty second prayer, instead count people who are now using their lives to invest back into the Kingdom in Sarnia. I’m not saying that no one is doing that at Bethel, but I just think there is way too much emphasis on what God is doing in your big building than what God is doing in Sarnia. Stop trying to bring people to church and starting bringing the church to people.

I love Bethel. I love Sarnia. I want to see them work together and I want to see Bethel being a church that serves Sarnia and not themselves. I want to see Bethel be a church that is excited about the Kingdom, not their services. So Bethel, I pray that you would heed my comments and not take them as an attack but as an encouragement to take the amazing gift that God has given you and starting bringing it into the streets and lives of those in Sarnia. You are blessed to be a blessing and I’m excited to see how God blesses Sarnia through you.

63 Comments

  • It’s nice to know a bit more about where you came from, Nate. Darryl has told me stories before, but it’s neat to hear you give some reflections.

  • I appreciate your comments on what is going on at Bethel. It seems very much like Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship with services every night.

    I can relate to your thoughts on how it’s sad that the “revival” is stuck in the building and not being taken out into the city that desperately needs to see God at work.

    Perhaps something will change, but for now, it’s something to keep an eye on.

  • Hey Nathan very interesting observations. The one thing that I am worried about is I think your jumping to too many conclutions about whats going on. You went to one service dont you think you need to see a bit more before you can summerize and critique the things happening?

    You do make a lot of very good points however,but I think its important not to be so critical of whats going on instead embrace the move of God. I agree that we need to move beyong the 4 walls of the church and reach the community but first the church’s pasion and desperation for the community has to be revived which I believe is happening in these services.
    Those are just my thoughts about your thoughts.

    • I think Nathan may be talking not so much about “reaching” the community, as much as loving the community. No strings. Just showing that the “revived” person cares about people in real, tangible ways.

    • (That’s what I take away from the posts anyways. I don’t even sense he’s against the “revival” per se, just the notion that it’s all about this getting people to church – and not the other way around. I don’t want to put words in his mouth though either.)

  • Thanks for posting Tim. It was good seeing you on Sat night! Next time we’ll have to go out for a coffee or something.

    I am trying not to jump to conclusions that are inaccurate, and that’s what this post is for, and this comment section, so if I jumped to an improper conlcusion or am misinterpreting something than can you point that out for me?

    So when do you think that the community being revived from the inside is over and it can finally go outside the church? Because according to Doug Nixon on Saturday night, what is happening now should never stop and these services should always be going on, “it should be the norm” he said.

  • Thanks for sharing your insights and sincerity.–Danny Haszard

  • I think one of the things you may not be aware of from the one service Nathan is how far outside of the walls this church has reached in the last year or so. You know better then anyone how inward looking ministry drives me nuts.
    Things are not perfect but no church is. One of the things that has drawn me to be involved at the level I am is the fact that the church is in the streets and homes of Sarnia like no other time in this church’s history. The outward focus for reaching the community is ongoing and expanding.
    Pray it explodes this year.
    The passion and boldness of the kids to reach their classmates excedes anything I have seen ever from any group.
    The bottom line is that people that have done things one way for years will take time to learn how to do things another way. I am learning that no matter how much I want to see it happen that it is a work and a journey for many.
    PS
    You are right about Saturday night. It was a bit wacked in how things went down after I talked to Darryl. I don’t think it is an accident I had to leave early that night. I was not a happy camper.
    Things God is teaching me.

  • Thanks Rob.
    And You are right, I have also known and seen that at Bethel in the last year or so also. I think that’s why I was so thrown off by the whole revival thing, because I saw how much Bethel was getting involved in Sarnia and in the community and it excited me. It excited me to see all these kids be loved.
    Hopefully though, this revival doesn’t just pump them up to have more revival services but pumps them up to be in their community even more.

  • Hey Nathan,

    How are ya man! Long time, no talk! I know your heart for Sarnia and seeing God move but there are a couple of concerns that I want to address that must be put in order before.

    I want to address a couple things that I read in your blog that may bring clarification to what you saw. Now I am not there every night but I was there the night on the concert being cancelled, so let me address that first.

    Bethanie (My beautiful wife) was asked to come and sing for the concert to raise money for the Uganda trip (they didn’t have the choir from Uganda coming). God was moving and they decided to cancel the concert and stay with the service instead. Bethanie still had an opportunity to minister that night and we appreciate that. Even if they cancelled that it would have been ok because it wasn’t about us! They still had the silent auction and they also took up an offering that night. As far as I know they raised more than enough to buy the solar panels to install in the hospital in Uganda! The goal was met and at the same time God touched people! WOW!! I believe the team is there as we speak! Lord protect them and favor them!

    The second thing I want to discuss is the parking attendants. There is a pattern in the Word of God that we see through out its history that requires an ACTION before a REACTION. Elijah was a great example of this. Elijah went to a widow and asked for there last meal she had and he had the audacity to say that God spoke to him? If that were today we would call him a false prophet!

    What about the poor servant that had to run 7 times to check for a cloud? Who does Elijah think he is? This guy is really beginning to annoy me. He is doing things backwards!

    This is where I want to make my point. Gods kingdom sometimes causes us to have to do things different to get to the prophetic promise. Elijah understood a principle; the action would result in a reaction to her situation. What happened? She responded with the action and received a reaction of never running out of oil until the famine was over! She could have said, No way, I am not giving this to you! The result would have been death by starvation!

    The same goes with the servant and the cloud. He could have stopped after going after looking 2,3,4-6 times and told Elijah where to go, but he was faithful and the 7th time he saw the prophetic promise, the size of a mans hand. The result was an abundance of rain and the end to a famine. Think about it. She could have died 1 day before the rain came! She could have been so close to her miracle, but yet so far because she didnt allow for provision in between.

    The church has been in a famine to long and a prophetic word was spoken to get ready with parking attendants at Bethel. Put yourself in the sandals of the widow. Put yourself in the sandals of the servant looking for the cloud. Now put yourself in the shoes of the parking attendant. It may be 2,3,4,5,6 times before anything happens but the prophetic word will come to pass as they are obedient to grab a hold of it! A choice to follow through on the prophetic word must happen in order to see the end result

    Jesus followed through with this principle. He was moved by peoples faith as they reached out to him. The women with that had the blood issue had to reach past everyone to grab a hold. Jesus felt this, not her touch, but her faith. I am sure 100s were touching Jesus as he passed. Her action caused a reaction in her situation, total healing.

    My point with all of this: We must be careful what we say, without knowing the heart and the COMPLETE story. The beautiful thing about the Bible is that we get to see the end on the story. These people were real people and they didnt get to see the end of the story like us, but they followed through with what was told them and by FAITH they did it.

    The story isnt over for the Sarnia Revival, the story isnt over for any of dreams that God has placed in your life, and the story isnt over for me either. There will always be things that God asks us to do that will challenge us and others may not understand. The important thing is that we follow through with Gods directives.

    Revival must start in an individual before it can spread into a community! What we need to do is pray for the leaders of Sarnia for wisdom and understanding as they move forward! I know we need prayer as we move forward here in Brampton!

    Matthew 9:35-38 says this as I close, The harvest is ripe, but the laborers are few so what do we do to change this? Jesus goes on to say, pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into the harvest.

    This must be our prayer:

    “God send your Spirit to touch people! You say that only you can draw people to repentance according to Romans 2:4. This nation must be reached, Ontario must be reached, Sarnia must be reached, and Brampton must be reached! Lord send me as a laborer! I want to be a vessel that revives people back to YOU. Whatever way you choose to do it, whether through feeding the poor, meeting one on one with people at work or bringing people to your house, let your power flow through me that changes lives and bring people to YOU. We are your Body, reach through us, speak through us, and bring change through us! Most of all let People see how AWESOME you are.”

    Blessings,

    Neil Armstrong

  • Pretty interesting. When Benny Hinn was in town once I went to see him. Fairly similar.

    Perhaps what I find most disturbing though is the obvious attempt tp keep the thing going for as long as possible. Services every night. Why? Will the wine run out if people stop drinking it every night?

    Also from my reading it seems the case that many people’s “careers” as big-name charismatic itinerant preachers/pastors often derive from such revivals. What’s all teh publicity about then? Will bringing in Tom Scarella (not Tom Skerritt) bring credibility to the whole thing?

  • Great post Nathan.

  • I dont think anyone is trying to discount what God is doing @ bethel but we often wonder why it must be marketed so heavily. If God is doing something awesome then stand back and let him work, dont start putting up cutting edge websites and making it look like its the most professional thing ever to happen. God doesnt work that way. By doing this marketing the church is now obligated at all costs to keep this thing going. If it begins to slow and no one shows up each and every night of the week then whats the church going to do? THey’ve been spreading their message as far as they can and how what? Is it the people’s fault because they didnt pray hard enough or because they didnt give all their money or show up every night for each and every service?….no hard feelings but just some of my thoughts…

  • I would ask the question why did the evolving church conference you guys were involved with get so heavily marketed? I wish I could have gone. Not sure if you were there Phil. The same question could be asked. If God is doing something awesome then stand back and let him work, dont start putting up cutting edge websites and making it look like its the most professional thing ever to happen.
    The website is hardly cutting edge though.
    My point is be careful about letting personal feelings and bias cloud things.
    Phil, you know as well as anyone what I have been through the last few years and how I have felt about a lot of things that have happened in the church so I feel I can say these things hopefully without any hard feelings.
    Just a couple thoughts.

  • hey rob,
    The evolving church conference is just what it is. A conference and a conference requires marketing, thats the name of the conference game. THe church is a very different entity. It is the living breathing body of Christ. I’m just concerned that we as the church have focused so much on “arriving” we forgotten the journey and how the destination really doesnt mean anything if we havent spent our time on the journey. All my 18 years at Bethel Taught me one thing, always be looking for the next big thing, always be focused on “getting there” and we never ever focused on the here and now. When I stepped out of that environment it was like a breathe of fresh air.

  • That’s a good point Rob. I’m not even really against marketting at all. When Jesus said to go and tell everyone the good news, he was pretty much saying in their day and age to market the good news. That sounds horribly weird now that I type it, but would it be any different? What I would be hesitant about is what if the services stop in two weeks? What happens now to all the revival marketting? If daily services stop does that mean revival has stopped also? The idea of marketting revival is a bit weird to me. What exactly is being marketted? A move of God? A charasmatic service? I’d be hesitant at comparing the conference to a revival, I think they are two entirely different things, but all the same I think they are valid questions.

    Another thing maybe to think about is most of the marketting I see within Bethel is for what has already happened (lists of previous numbers, lists of where people are from, lists of healings…etc) conferences are more building up to a one time thing and then its over.

    Thoughts?

  • I’m not trying to bandage anything. I truely want to see Bethel be a blessing to Sarnia, and hopefully they will be and slowly as it becomes a more stronger reality and grows I will be excited for it. If i have caused wounds, I sincerly hope that they can come to me to tell me. My assumption is though, that any wounds I have caused are that of pride and not of faith.

    The parking attendant comment was written to give people a feel of what the revival was all about. It wasn’t that big of a deal but was just one more thing that I saw what I interpret as typical revival action that would be imformative and happened to be humourous to share. Besides, the only person who has mentioned anything about the parking attendants wrote an entire post defending why they should be there, and I think the defence only proved my point.

  • Yes it is a conference and church is church. All I see in both of them is people that hopefully are passionate about advancing the Kingdom. To me the parallel is very similar. That is how I see it. A little bit of looking forward is a good thing as long as we are aware of the here and now. I know for a fact that that is happening. I’m in the middle of it.
    More maybe later

  • Have you ever seen the movie Leap of Faith with Steve Martin?

    Its amusing.

  • i demand an open apology from Nathan Colquhoun for calling me “poor little Darryl”…

    i have student loans which constitute as somewhat of a poverish state…plus the physical stature is not exactly large…thus your two adjectives are accurate…BUT do they need to be plastured all over your website??

  • Your ending to your comment sounded hypocritical to me. “Bethel you are blessed to be a blessing and you {Nathan} are excited to see Sarnia get blessed through Bethel.” That comment is just a fleshly attempt to bandage the wounds you are causing.Your tone throughout your comment was all critisism. You sound like those who where critical with Christ when all He was doing was good.The parking attendent comment, was really strainig at knats. If you want to laugh at someones choice for parking attendents laugh among your friends . I would’nt publish those tacky thoughts on the net. It’s unattractive to listen to badgering like that.Your not like that. Christ lives in you. Let me see Him…… Dad

  • I’ll remain anonymous because, well, it doesn’t matter who I am (though I’m sure Nathan will know right away who I am, but that’s besides the point)
    I don’t usually leave comments on blogs, and I don’t usually read blogs, but I used to go to Bethel, and I of course have heard about the whole ‘revival’ deal and about this post specifically so I decided to read it.
    It’s hard to explain my thoughts here without sounding simply against ‘Bethel’ and trying to chop it down by any means necessary. So, I’ll just say what’s on my mind, and you can decide how you want to take it…
    Looking at a website like the one Bethel has recently put up, with videos of every healing, getting those who were healed to run to show healed feet, or of a woman walking and taking giant steps to show healed knees, just looks ridiculous. Most would say I’m focusing on the completely wrong thing, but it is what it is, and I see it the way I see it.
    Bethel freaks me out, and I’m not just picking on Bethel, but that is the primary church I was going to when I was going to church, so it just naturally falls into place as my target, because it’s my only means of referral.
    In church I find a vast majority of them are there because they don’t have many friends and they aren’t ‘accepted’ anywhere else because they aren’t ‘cool’ enough so they end up in a pew and wait for someone to talk to them, and once they are ‘talked to’ they are instantly in love with the idea of church, because church is where they are accepted, it’s where they can go and hang out with people, and then they start ‘witnessing’ to anyone and everyone, not because they are genuinely in love with God, but because they found a place where they’re accepted. That is my opinion and it is not a fact, so you can agree or disagree it doesn’t make a difference to my observations.
    If a child is raised in a church-going family, they will go to church until they are teenagers, and after that, if they continue with any religion 95% of the time it will be Christianity, if that’s what they were raised on. And the same goes for every other religion. So how do the christians know for sure they are on the right road and vise versa with all the other religions.
    Why can there be different denominations who pick out the same passages from the Bible as other denominations but read it entirely different, and disagree with the other Christians 100%, and then ‘agree to disagree’ and then preach about Unity and blah blah blah.
    How can one denomination believe that speaking in tongues was in the Bible days and doesn’t apply to us today, and another denomination believe that it is the be all end all of Christianity, and if you don’t speak in tongues then you don’t have the ‘power of God’ in your life. How does that make sense?
    How does any of it make sense?
    How can you take a story of a man (my very short way of describing the Bible) and base your life on it without ever hearing, seeing, or touching God (speaking for myself here, if you’ve heard his audible voice, or seen an angel, my envy goes out to you, but because I’ve never had that experience I probably won’t believe you even if you say you’ve had it)
    and accept this story with no real logical reason, other than maybe the fact that the people at church are friendly. And then when someone asks you ‘why do you believe’ or ‘how can you believe in something that you can’t see’, you then tag it with ‘faith’ and say ‘you just have to accept it by faith’, which is basically saying ‘it doesn’t make sense, and I can’t explain it, so you just accept it by faith, because it sounds good, and well, it’s something to live for. As opposed to of course, being true to yourself, and only accepting things that you know for sure are ‘real’, but that’s just me.

    I don’t mean to offend anybody, but I’m just explaining why this whole idea about a ‘revival’ just kinds gives me the creeps.

    You probably got nothing out of my post, but it’s late, and I’m not tired, and I just killed a few minutes, so thanks for that Nathan,
    Later

  • When I first read this blog two nights ago, I called Nathan right away to say you had to go there didnt you.

    Lately, when in discussion with other people about other denominations or other religions I have made a practice of saying Well, some people do different things and if those different things spark people to do good and productive things for the Lord then my hat goes off to them for trying and ultimately acting.

    Thats what I thought about this revival.

    In regards to Bethel in Sarnia, I have had my time with them. GP, the youth pastor is a good guy and when you talk to him he has a real heart for the community. Lets be honest though, Bethel is totally whacked with some of the beliefs they hold and things they say and do. But lets also be honest, the bible is whacked as well as other communities.

    When the revival came to be, people were excited, curious or disgusted. Example: people that attend bethel – excited. Its revival time! People who attend other churches curious, they want to know more about this revival, what its all about and if it holds any weight. My Thursday night Beer league baseball team excited, curious and disgusted, Depending on who you talk to, Bethel either has a solid rep or a lousy one, they were acting on what they have heard.

    Myself – a little bit of all three. I am fairly new to this Christian thing so I wouldnt know the slightest about revival, healing or the power or tongues (false or correct).

    I do know however that in the past Bethel has been accused of being self centered to themselves and they have this idea of being the powerhouse of Sarnia for Christianity. All that to say that I know in the last year that hasnt been the case, from what I hear and see there doing a bang up job.

    Thats what surprised me about this revival. If they were out there in the community and firing on all cylinders, why the need for a revival? Why the need to cancel everything your doing to have a rival? Technically, if you were placed in the community and doing things for the lord, werent you already having a revival?

    Maybe Revival means something else, so I looked it up, I got two definitions.

    Revival – A meeting or series of meetings for the purpose of reawakening religious faith, often characterized by impassioned preaching and public testimony.

    Revival – A restoration to use, acceptance, activity, or vigor after a period of obscurity (darkness) or quiescence (stillness).

    So if this is a revival in dictionary terms, it seems that Bethel is saying Sarnia is in hurting times, its up to us to get the ball rolling, the cylinders firing, the troops trained.

    I am interested to see what the rest of the community of faith think about the revival? Was it supported, is it needed, is it making a difference out side of London Line?

    Either way, anything that is done in Christs name will always cause controversy. And I like that. You can compare this situation like that of the Divinci Code (on a smaller scale.) There is huge controversy surrounding this movie but I love to see people, talking, asking and seeking the truth.

    Thanks Anonymous for the comment and although I am pretty sure who it is, I feel yah buddy.
    Also, thanks for who ever clarified that the silent auction was carried out and did raise enough money for what they wanted to complete. That would have been a disaster if that was over looked.

    Cheers.

  • Interesting Post Ron.

    You Said
    “Technically, if you were placed in the community and doing things for the lord, werent you already having a revival?”
    Amazing question, because in a lot of ways I feel like Bethel was already going through revival. Kind of weird that their numbers were I beleive were dropping from overhearing some things and attending a few services, but in my opinion they were experiencing revival. They were getting out there in the community, getting their hands dirty, etc. I can only pray that these services revive them to go back to were and beyond they were and aren’t just for the sake of big services.

  • I hate when people say they don’t mean to offend anyone when their words clearly say otherwise. So many of these posts are saying that thet disagree with what’s going on at Bethel. Take a step back an look around at Sarnia, at the world. How can you possibly deny the fact that this generation is going down the tubes and desperately needs a touch of God.
    I totally disagree with Anonymous! What is with that anyway? I’m 16 and i go to St. Clair. I have a ton of friends at school and i do not need to go to church in order to find acceptance. I have a bunch of close friends who i love dearly who dont go to church. I dont go because i’m accepted and i dont go because it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. Alot of times i end up feeling like crap because God shows me more things that i’m doing wrong! I go to church because i need the fellowship and encouragement from other christians. It is extremely hard to go to school and see all the drugs and other crap that teens are turning to. Yes we do need to get out into the community and reach people, but first we need to get a passion and a love for the people in this city. We cant do it on our own strength so we need to spend that quality time in God’s presence. God is doing amazing things, i have been to all of the services except 2 and i’ve seen incredible things.
    Don’t tell me that it isn’t God and it is all a fake. My dad broke his back 8 years ago—–8 stinkin years ago and it never healed properly. Ever since he’s taken pills and worn a back brace to do work. He wasn’t able to stand up for over 20 mins. because the pain would get so intense. Ever since the revival services started, his back has been improving every time he goes. He is now standing up for over an hour and not taking pills or wearing the brace. Don’t tell me that im not seeing God’s hand move at Bethel because that is totally miraculous!
    I dont see why you come into one service and then start complaining about what is going on. Did u totally miss the fact that God was moving all across that place. Why are you focusing on the stupid little things. There is so much more that you totally missed!
    One night i just sat off to the side and watched people worshiping God. They were all standing, laying, kneeling, sitting or w/e before the same God. They had open hearts and were crying out for his mercy.
    Whats wrong with a little advertising?? Why can’t we help get the word out. The people around us need to know all that God is doing and that they can be a part of it as well. Sure, God can do it on His own, but maybe He wants to bring people in using that website. Why should it really matter??
    Those stories keep getting told because they build up our faith. We don’t have to keep these services going forever. If they do kind of die off, then we’ll just keep pressing in. But there have been prophicies told about Bethel and the move of God so we continue to wait on Him night after night.
    Personally, i think that you should come to another service and this time just focus on God and ignore everything else. Dont spend time thinking and the little imperfections, just get touched by God! Your choice……

  • Thanks for the post Heather.
    I appreciate your honesty and your straight-forwardness.
    I honestly did not intentionally try to offend people, if it happened, then Im sorry. The stories I told were all truth, I didnt make anything up. My assumptions were stated as assumptions and anything that I have been wrong about I have corrected if someone has pointed it out to me. So if whats left is truth, then I am sorry it is taken as an offence, but that is what happens sometimes. Being offended usually isnt a sign of the person offending anyway, its usually a sign of weakness in the person being offended.

    Heather, I fully agree that it looks like our generation is going down the tubes and I fully agree that we need a touch from God. Unfortunately, I think we disagree in that I dont think revival services are the answer.

    The anonymous comment on my site was left by someone anonymous and it was not me nor in ANYWAY does it hold to the beliefs of myself or most of my friends. They left that comment as a little rant, so dont take it personally and dont make anyone else the author if it either.

    I truly thank God that He is healing your dads back and that people are being healed and touched. I never attacked that, nor do I intend to.

    Thanks again Heather, I hope there is no hard feelings.

  • Nate …
    You said that you agree that this generation definately needs a touch from God, right? Well I agree with that, but who are you to say that having revival services aren’t Gods way of moving through this generation? You cannot say that God is not touching the youths lives through this revival. Thats where I disagree, you see there has been many youth coming from St. Clair (and I’m sure other highschools) who’ve been invited by their friends, and have had their lives changed. Theres been so many chains broken there, including some in my own life (that I’ve struggled with for around 4 years) and its finally gone. Those people from St. Clair aren’t goign to keep this in either, I’ve heard that the numbers of youth has increasing over the past few weeks (I haven’t been able to make it to the past few services unfortunately).
    Can you say that this revival is not an answer to the cry the youth of this generation have been calling out to God for? I believe that it is because lives and changing people are getting changed internally.
    And regarding the revival being held within just Bethel, that’s changed a bit. Temple Baptist is going to be having a prayer and healing meeting this wednesday I beleive. The senior pastor said how God is moving through Bethel and how we’re expecting to recieve some of the blessings as well. Which I am excited for, being a memeber of Temple.
    Also, you said you were getting the emails, well so am I. I agree that they appear to be quite professional and that thats not nessessary, but its not a huge issue. But, since you’ve been getting them have you not been reading them also? it said in the one sent 3 days ago that they’re having an outreach this Saturday:

    “Outreach In Canatara Park

    For those of you who are in the Sarnia area and desire to reach the lost, on Saturday, May 27th at 4:00 p.m. anyone interested can meet us at the band shell at Canatara Park where we plan to witness for 1 hour to those in the park and invite them to the revival services.

    Pray for us as we seek to reach the lost in this region.”

    So, they’re not keeping it in their church. Well…thats all I really have to comment on right now. Talk to you later Nate,
    peace and God Bless

  • Well I agree with some of the points you made, about us needing to go out of the church and into Sarnia. And I should know! Like even ask your sister Naomi. She’s known what I have been through this past year. She has helped me with stuff. Like ok now i am almost done my second year at st.clair. and in my first year I wasn’t saved anymore, I got saved when I was in the second grade and then grade 7 or 8 I started doubting God and my christian life. And grade nine I made a lot of non-christian friends who are into drugs and drinking. And then I was basically forced to go to Crave..and started to like it..then I gave my life back to God..cos I knew what I was getting myself into..basically the same things my brother got into..but is not out of. But I agree with Heather, she is amoung one of my bestfriends and i am glad she’s a strong christ follower whom I can talk too about things. I use to not rele like goin to church either but now I love to go..not just to hear about God, but because I have such a hunger for him, and I know hes calling me to out reach to all the hurting friends I have. But church isn’t a place for me to go fellowship but for me to go and get stronger with God, he’s healed me of depression and wanting to turn from it..and i’ve been praying for that for over a year and finally at atf some of that was gone&& at a revival service..i repentend b/c i knew God wasn’t moving as much as I was hoping for b/c a)i was depressed still and b)i was holding bk & was rude alot to my parents. sos i repentended that night and asked God to not only move in me but in my twin brother who is going through something but i dunno what. and that night i got the holy ghost. now with my depression being gone, god is showing me things that i have never thought of and my bestfriend got healed she hada back problem and took like 12 huge pills a day, and she hasnt done that for like a month now. God is moving in the services but what alot of our youth want is to help our friends, and so thats why alot of us go everynight and pray god would take away the fear of that. but the sarnia revival is taking off and people are getting healed, delivered and everything and the next step for those people is to grow more in God and then out reach too the hurting without the fear. But if people want too see more of these then we do need to get out of the comfort zone of our church and do it. Thats what i think of this blog. but u said uve only been there one night..well maybe you shouldn’t of bashed it until you went to more services and then give ur oppinon on the revival..you cant just go to one night and then bash it.

  • Can anyone tell me what reaching the poor looks like? We make it sound like reaching the poor looks like an outreach event.
    Alright poor people, line right up, were going to have an outreach for you because you need it you miserable poor people! Come quick, have some Jesus.
    Is that what getting out in the community looks like? Organized out reach services? Define a poor person anyway. Do you even know what youre looking for? Is a poor family one whose parents both do not work in the plants? Does a poor family consist of a family with one car?
    I think in Sarnia you wont find poor people. The government system is good at helping those who dont work. Welfare keeps peoples head just afloat.
    So what are you offering these people at these outreaches? Im sure it isnt sandwiches.
    I think there are a lot of poor people in Sarnia. They are mentally and spiritually poor. In fact they are starving. And if you want to reach these poor people, its going to take more than an invitation to a revival or outreach service.
    You want to talk outreach, move into neighborhoods with these people. Spend your time with them, open your door, have them over for dinner, talk to them, care for them and be vulnerable. Expect to get burned. Dont be so nave to think that the pulpit is going to help your friend get saved. When you really start caring for the community around you, you will find out how ridiculous this saved notion sounds.
    Lets suppose that people go to these services and get saved. Then what? Oh crap, they didnt fill out their name and number on the first time out pamphlet so we cant call them to make sure there still saved.
    I dont doubt for a second that people go to the services and get excited and even see a miracle or two. But I think the real miracle occurs when a person is willing to lay it down on the line for another person they care about and support them all along the way, through thick and thin.
    I wouldnt be writing this today if it wasnt for certain people letting me crap on them for years in and out (or the occasional punch, thanks Nathan).
    I think Nathans frustration comes because he was in the Bethel hoopla for years and for him, its just more hot air.
    I dont know though, is this just more hot air?

  • Hey Ron whats going on? Long time no see. Interesting post. I can tell you haven’t been out to bethel in a bit. One thing I think you need to be aware of is our grocery outreach. It is exactly what it sounds like, we go into areas of Sarnia that are in need and we hand them out groceries. We don’t say “here have some groceries but first you have to promise to come to church on sunday” no all we do is show God’s love in a practicle way. We have done this about 4 times now. Another thing you also don’t know is about our bus ministry where we pick up around 40 kids from all around the city and feed them breakfast before kids church every sunday. And the last thing is that this past Easter sunday we invited these kids entire family to bethel and fed them a turkey dinner. I don’t think that these things are Bethel hoopla were doing exactly what you said handing out sandwiches.

  • I know you guys have been doing that. It’s been quite exciting to see actually. I’ve been staying up to date on Bethel in the past year or so especially and have been impressed with how much they are reaching out into the community!

    My worry is that all these services was going to hog up your time to do that kind of stuff.

  • Ron. I’m gonna give you a punch instead of Nathan. Your post makes some assumptions about what people are or are not doing or that we have predefined narrow ideas of what the poor look like or that we have no idea about anything when it comes to reaching our community. The truth is some don’t but many do.
    You make it sound like you got it all figured out and Bethel doesn’t. Step back, give people credit and see what happens. I think you assume too much.
    Pray for our community to be reached for the kingdom whether by Bethel or whomever.

  • CHeck back a couple posts where I commended Bethel for there work. I know what you guys are up to. Good job.

  • HA! well i love it (no surprise to nshurr).. i think ill copy and paste it on my own blog so i can be a christian slim shady as well..one specifically good point that you made is that having services everynight does take alot away from people’s personal lives where alot of the witnessing takes place, not to mention people sacrificing time spent with the family.
    but like you i am very greatful that God is healing people at these services and thats great. God knows that a couple of weeks ago, there were alot of people there who comforted me and held my father up in prayer and to this day his recovery is steady.

  • Nathan can a man who speaks the truth acually be sinning? Is a man who offends someone because he has told someone the truth always right in what he says.Does truth spoken make our heart right? That is what it sounds like your saying when you say that your not worried about offending anyone because all you’ve done is spoken the truth and truth will do it’s work. I know I’ve had to hold my tounge many times because I’ve known truth but my motives were not right. I’ve also spoken truth many times from a prideful heart and burned many bridges. The bible is true when it says without love we are just a lot of noise…..Dad

  • Dad,
    I don’t believe I posted that with wrong motives at all. I thought about it for two days before I posted it. I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone for the sake of hurting anyone or even out of bitterness. Your comments make it seem like your saying my heart is wrong. I’d ask a similiar question, can you really interpret my heart by what I said? Can yu blame Jesus when he told the disciples to just leave those that were offended in Matt 15?

    Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’ “

    Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”

    He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides.[e] If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

    Why is people being offended such a horrible thing?

    I would maybe point you to my post I posted a few days about people being offended – http://nathancolquhoun.com/blog/index.php?blog=2&title=i_feel_insulted&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

  • I’m not calling myself Jesus, Naomi you nutbar. That is heavily reading into my statement. If you would have read all the comments and my post you would know that I said it as a person who didn’t know everything and asked people to correct me where I was wrong.

    Jesus spoke what he believed to be truth. Lies don’t offend people, truth does. If I spread around a lie that you were really a boy, would you really care? No. Why? Because you know that you are completely a women. Everyone around you knows for sure you are. There is nothing to offend. It’s when I touch on a bit of truth, that’s when people get defensive and offended.

  • I hope, that if you were offended by what I said, that you can at least trust that it was said in love and that my wish for you is to be in the will of Jesus. If your heart is pure then you won’t need anyone asking you to check your motives.I would believe that there is no better person in your life than your dad to give a little heads up now and again. My love for you goes without question.

  • Oh I wasn’t offended at all, I appreciate very much that you come and challenge me on things, especially posts like this which I think should be challenged. I wasn’t talking about me being offended, I was talking about other people being offended at a post like this. I just titled it “I feel Insulted” as a catchy title, not a feeling, you’d have to read it to know that I guess a bad choice of titles.
    Thanks Dad.

  • “Can yu blame Jesus when he told the disciples to just leave those that were offended in Matt 15”

    Nope you can’t blame Jesus..he was always right

    What if you’re wrong? You’re saying that you know 100% that you are right in everything you’re saying in this post?

  • Thanks for your comment Michelle.
    I guess we just come from two different histories.

    One, you see value in one hour evangelistic crusades through Canatara; I do not see them being the way that we are to love our neighbour. I see it as a quick sales pitch to people you don’t know.

    I am glad you had a good weekend there, after all that is where I worked for a year and a bit and went to church for 15, I’m glad that you were welcomed and experienced grace with the leadership there.

    Im not so against marketing in general, I’m all about telling people about what God is doing. However, I’m was asking why they are marketing these services and why is there so many? I guess I would disagree with you when you say God chose to pour his glory on a church building, God already sent his glory and his presence and it is accessible to all anywhere, why in the world do you need to travel two hours to go experience it? That’s the marketing I’m against; as if they have something you do not. Any kind of marketing that tells me in the style as ‘come and see’ I am going to be weary of. We are done going and seeing, the kingdom of God is for the taking where we are now, it is at hand, it is among us, not in Sarnia.

    I don’t doubt Jesus is moving. I never said that. I am not doubting even all the good that could come from this ‘revival.’ Some of my friends have been healed and I praise God for that. However, what I pointed out is wrong I believe and needs to be dealt with because while maybe a bunch of people are being healed, they are doing much damage also.

  • Hi Nate,

    I share many of the same concerns you express about Church, churches, meetings, revivals, etc.

    Darryl had already shared with me some of his experiences so I was aware of some of what you wrote here and wasn’t completely surprised when Ron pointed me to this blog last week.

    I’m not going to comment on Bethel, Sarnia Revival, your heart or your motives. Instead, I’m going to comment on what I see, which is all I can ever honestly do, isn’t it?

    This blog in particular reads as more than a young man seeking and asking questions, tough questions. It reads as a past attendee, dissatisfied with where Bethel could take him on his journey, that has been offended with how leadership has both treated him and his peers and the general direction the church is taking.

    That doesn’t mean any of that is the intended message, but if that is the message that is received, then does the intent matter since it is lost?

    You begin the blog saying you want to review gracefully. I’m not sure you hit your target. Mark had some very wise words I think.

  • (Clearing throat) Excuse me. I think I’m an outsider who stumbled here.

    Nathan, I read your post and didn’t think your were being anything of the sort of what most people in the comments have said. I have no idea what type of church this is, but it sounds like they don’t like to be criticized and they are playing the victim (strikes a nerve in me). I find you father’s comments real interesting as well.

    What is it with these types of churches who refuse to let people think and have an opinion? Is it mandatory to attend every service in order for someone to have an opinion? I haven’t been to one service I find this church irritating.

    What bothers me as well is it seems like you feel like you’ve done something wrong. Are you wrong for making observations? Having thoughts? It all just leaves me wondering. :)

  • I am pretty sure this is Nathan’s blog. His own personal space to express his opinion and wonder aloud. Perhaps his only mistake was titling the post “An Open letter…” Nathan – If all of the responses to your original post had been neutrel, positive and/or agreeable, would you still have apologized?

  • I think the thing to keep in mind is the place Nathan holds. Some may not say Nathan is a leader (at least not for now) but it would be a lie to say that Nathan isnt influential, hence the uproar on the site. If Nathan was writing some thoughts on my space and only a view people tuned in, maybe. But this isnt the case. Go to Google and type in Bethel Sarnia, Nathans site owns the field.

    I do agree with most of the things Nathan is talking about. If we were in his living room and bouncing thoughts of each other thats one thing, but to publicly announce it on a website with the kind of views it receives is another. Nathan can reach more people on his site than he could if he sat in front of Bethel with a microphone, spurting off his thoughts.

    Nathan made an apology, which in some peoples eyes will be seen as see, even he knows he is wrong about the rival, because its so right, God sure showed him but I look at is as Nathan saying yeah, there are other ways to voice these thoughts, I slipped up. Nathans apology doesnt cancel out the fact that some things going on at Bethel and the whole revival are a little sketchy.

    On a side note, how is Way of the Master going? The last I heard, getting kicked off school property while trying to heal people, having the police called on you and telling your teachers dont stop the lords work might not be helping things. But, if youre so sold out for on the revival then all of these incidences say is that the pharoses and other haters are out to get you because Gods presence is so direct and youre in his will. Push on brothers!

  • If there wasn’t a comment left, I probably still would have gotten to the apology. There were a few comments (by my dad, and John) which stuck out a bit, but mostly it was from conversation with people I respect outside of the whole comment section. Though i still always want to take in account the people that leave responses, but when it came down to it it really didn’t have much to do with anything left on this site.

  • For those who haven’t seen it yet (or who haven’t read Nathan’s post about it) today’s headline of the Sarnia Observer
    is “”Faith Healer” sent home” and “School halls buzz over faith healing”

    Basically this guy goes over across Murphy road to the church parking lot and starts praying for a bunch of kids (healings in general). “Eyewitnesses” say that there was anywhere from 50-100 students over there by the time the crowd was dispersed. Apparently a lot of them went looking for a fist fight and experienced a spiritual fight in progress. (Darn that was a good line…why don’t I write for the Observer…I’d kick their Gr. 3 reading level “bums”) Below are some quotes.
    For those of you who have already read the article my quotes are in the last paragraph on the bottom.

    Kyle Lubbers, a 16 year old St Clair High School student is quoted as saying, “I asked him [Mr. Keane] if I could pray and preach in my school and he told me I couldn’t. Mr Keane [school principal who suspended him] said it’s my job at school to get credits and I understand that. But it’s my job in life to pray for the sick. My dad says I should keep healing. Three weeks ago, I became a born-again Christian and started going to the Sarnia Revival at Bethel Pentecostal church every night. I started praying over the sick and healing them through God.”

    Pete Lubbers (his father) is quoted as saying this. “His [Mr. Keane’s] great concern is not what Kyle is doing but he’s worried about the safety of the kids. I respect that but I won’t tell Kyle to stop being the person God wants him to be. Kyle is entitled to his perspective. I’m not getting into it. He prays for kids in class, in the hall, and in the cafeteria. He’s called on God to heal a sprained ankle, cramps, headaches, anything. I really don’t think I can contain it. We live in a country where we have freedom of religion. I encourage Kyle to respect the rules of the school and he should not be preaching during class. But if Kyle goes off property and people gather and pray about God, I don’t think there’s anything you can do to stop that. If he get’s suspended again, we’ll have to assess it again”

    Now obviously the Observer needs to sell papers so they’re really going at it with the slant of “this guy is nuts” The sub headline underneath “School Halls Buzz…” is “Many students skeptical” and the quote by Stephanie Cottrell “I think he’s making it up for attention” is intentionally a bigger font and stands out. So I’m going to assume that this guy is living the life of the martyr at the revival service tonight (and yes I do state that humorously and with a bit of tongue-in-cheek). The students are understandably a little confused.

    Allison Carter, a Gr 10 student is quoted as saying, “Everyone was in groups talking about it. Kids were talking about it in class too. He told kids that, through God, he was able to heal them. Yes, many [students believe what Kyle is telling them]. I believe he has the power to make people believe in him, but I don’t know if he has the power to heal.”

    Gr. 9 student Stephanie Cottrell said, “I think he’s making it up for attention. I think a lot of people think he’s making it up.” She also claimed that he [Kyle] was calling himself the “St. Clair Jesus”.

    Kyle’s former friend Gr 9 student Patrick McKay said, “I believe him. He’s never lied to me before. Everything he’s ever told me is the truth.”

    Gr 11 student Kaitlyn Northmore said, “A lot of people were really offended by it[particularly some of the other religious students]. He’s forcing his faith on other people. He’s taking it too far”

    A 15 yr old Grade 10 student [anonymous] said, “He was saying he had special powers. He said if you pray enough he could heal”

    Now for my short thoughts in case you’ve gotten this far. I think more power to him. Too many high school kids fit into whatever consumeristic mold they’re told to fit into or risk their identities (or lack thereof) in the sake of something a little different. Try marketing to healers and prophetic visionaries, Nike…I dare you. I know that everyone is on a journey…all experiencing different chapters at different times. I think that if your good intentions (no matter how ignorant compared to anybody’s zeitgeist) are in a true devotion to God…ups to them. I hope this guy continues to experience God in new and exciting ways and (if it happens) to influence those around him for the outcome of good. Oh, and to any of his friends, don’t worry, you don’t need to convince me how cool he is…I’m sure he’s pretty cool…I mean, you’re his friend right. :)

    Love,
    Dave

    ps Nathan, thanks for putting up this post…it is much needed to encourage growth and maturity for the church of Sarnia.

  • Re: Anonymous 05/25/06

    Those were some great questions. It’s unfortunate that a lot of kids who grew up in the church cannot intelligentally defend their faith in Jesus, and default to the frustrating “you just have to have faith.” Well, its true that faith is required, but even if you are an atheist, that still requires faith. It’s almost rediculous how much little faith you need to have to believe in God anymore because the more he allows us to learn through science and such, the easier it is to believe in Him. Atheists for the most part only believe in the physical world. But how do you explain metaphysical phenomon like thoughts, your mind. These are metaphysical phenomenon. You can do surgery on someone’s thoughts. Your mind is not your brain. Therefore, the non-physical realm is clearly there, and everybody is a part of it, not to mention there are plenty of document miracles. So much in science disprove’s evolution, such as the 2nd law of thermodynamics. You can cross atheism off the list. So what are we left with? That leaves us with a few main religions. Well there’s new age (eastern philosphy, budism etc). I am god, you are god, together we are all god. Right…If I’m god then why can’t I seem to make more then $10 an hour? If were god (by definition supreme beings, then why can’t we save ourselves from causing people pain. Clearly were not god.(Another one bites the dust). So to me that leaves me with, Polytheism (multi-god relgions), and the theistic ones, (single God religions like Christianity and Islam). When studying polytheism and ancient myths, nearly every primordial culture and tribe who believed in many gods had a belief in a Sky God, who was good or at best neutral and also created the world, and then there were a multiple of lesser gods, who did positive and negative things for human kind. This sounds to me like God, angels, and demons. Ok, well that sounds like Christianity. Without getting into it too detailed here as to why, I have narrowed it down to two possible true religions. Christianity, and Islam. Well there is Judisasm, which is basically the belief of everything in the old testament but that beleives Jesus has not yet come, or was not the true messiah. Historically he has come, for sure, just read any text of roman, greek, or hebrew history, not just biblical history. It’s just that some disbelieve his diety. Another thing, if his disciples ran away when he was taken to be crucified, then why were they willing to be martyred later on if in fact they weren’t absolutely convinced of his reserection? Obsiviously they believed Jesus was resurrected and also claimed to see him after this event, which is why they were no longer afraid of death. Another reason I have to believe in christianity over islam is the biblical prophecies fullfilled. Out of 700 some odd prophesies in the bible, 500 have been full-filled in history, such as the conquest of Alexander the Great prophesied in Isiah, or the re-instating of the nation of Israel near the end of the world prophesied in Ezekeil, ful-filled in 1948. Infact the only remaining unfilled prophecies have to do with the end of the world. Which is interesting because islam prophesies a period where the 12th Imam (a type of messiah of islam) will return to the world and will rule for 7 years before the end of this world. Where as the bible predicts the anti-christ will rule the world for 7 years before the end of the world, then Jesus returns to kick him and satan off of this planet for good! So there you have it. There’s a lot more than “it just takes faith” There are plenty of reasons to believe in God, the one true God, Jesus Christ.

  • Thank you Nathan for your apology. Apology accepted. We ALL say and do things we regret and our apologies need to be heard, respected and applauded. Thanks again.

  • I’m ashamed that you call yourself a Christian Nathan we should be be happy with whatever God wants to do in the church stop be so critical we dont need those types of comments against us. How can you say these things, you have only been to one service, you dont see what happens in the high schools or in the hearts of the people that attend the services.

  • Hi Nathan, my name is Scott and I live in Port Coquitlam, BC. Someone sent me the newspaper article on “Revival” in Sarnia and I looked around for some other info and arrived at your article. I grew up at Bethel and attended St Clair. I am now a full time firefighter and part-time pastor here in BC.I know Rob M and your dad and I recognize some other names in the posts. I just wanted to encourage you in your approach to the Kingdom. Your observations have merit and your questions are sincere. Some things at Bethel sound very much the same as during my years there. The Church (capital “c” church) is changing and it sounds like you have the pulse of the next generation. The challenge is to lead the way in “living” the gospel out of the “big building” and in the streets. I hope you are finding ways to practice what you preach. I’d love to hear some stories of how you are doing that. Say hello to Rob M for me and may God give you creative expression to communicate his love to those around you in Sarnia, and may he protect your heart from bitterness and cynicism.

    Your co-worker in his Kingdom,
    Scott.

    ps Have you read “Revolution” by Barna?

  • I’m from southern ON, and I recently had a guest speaker at my church that had witnessed the revival in Sarnia and reccommended looking up the Sarnia Revival on the internet. So, after a google search I ended up here. Well, actually I discovered the sarnia revival website first. Personally, after reading the testimonies my spirit was stirred up and I had to praise God! The so called advertising is getting out the word that God is moving in a powerful way and it is renewing the excitement and passion in other people far from Sarnia. I understand your critisisms. I too am guilty of critsizing my old church, I still do, God forgive me. There is no perfect church, only a perfect God. I understand that there are things that you would like to see change, but putting them on the internet is not the best way to do it. Passersby like me can read your comments and may be turned off by your critique, instead of seeing the work of God that is happening. Similar to what your dad said, truth is not always right when the wrong intentions are behind it. I appreciate your honesty. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind but remember to speak in love.

    Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.

    Jame 3:5

    Although you have not intentionally meant any harm, harm may been done.

  • Ok, you said you don’t want this to be like an attack, but seriously, you’re being waaaay too harsh for being there just ONE service. “…you need to stop hogging it all to yourself.” We never claimed to be hogging this to ourselves so don’t be saying we are. In fact other pastors and youth and people from other cities are coming, getting filled with the Holy Spirit and then taking that back to their city and spreading it. We have to do the same thing by coming out to these revival services, and get filled and then take that out into the community, to friends, family, neighbors, fellow workers etc. So don’t think even for a second that Bethel is just rejoicing over having services just for the sake of having services. Pastor Tim has said that if the presence of God wasn’t in the building/”in this place”, we wouldn’t be having servics at all. I myself am loving being in the presence of God, and then taking that to my friends, who have never experienced or heard of such things, so that they may understand what God is doing and then hopefully come to know God and learn to be His servants.

    And yes, this comment is a little late, and your apology is accepted…I just needed to say something about that.

  • Whoops..when I said “this comment is a little late” I was looking at the date wrong. So it’s not “a little late” afterall. My bad.

  • Hey Nathan,
    I finally decided to read the “open letter”. Interesting. It’s admirable you placed your tongue in cheek and apologized for wrong assumptions when others brought them to your attention. Good on ‘ya. I attended a service a while back as a pinch-musician to give the worship band some rest. I believe that particular sermon was about getting slain in the spirit.
    Like man other people that have posted on this subject, I too went to Bethel for many years. I was part of some “revival” services when I was high school. Although I never bought in to the speaking in tongues, (for various reasons…which I will not get into…) I fully accepted these “revival” meetings for what they seemed to be. Gods hand moving over the congregation to reach others. However, it never seemed to happen. The next morning in the school cafeteria, the kids that went up to the front and got “slain in the spirit” or started to “laugh in the spirit”, or, and I like this one, “birthed spiritual babies (?)” just sat amongst themselves eating their cafeteria food. Only to go again to another service, and have the same scenario regurgitated….until the services died out. Looking back now at those kids that were so taken by the servicesmany of them are no where to be seen in a church. Dont get me wrong. I AM NOT JUDGING. God knows their heartsend of story. But this was really written as an observation perhaps? Please to all those attending the services..dont let it fade. Take it away with you into Sarnia.

    Sometimes those that hit the ground running forget how to walk.

    Take care,

    Barry

  • Nate… I found this site by searching Bethal Sarnia…You really got some dialog happening with this one, eh? I couldn’t take the time to read it all… Don’t have that kinda time on the net here…
    I am in Brazil right now on a three month long medical missions (internship of sorts)and was just checking out the goings on…
    I too have a long history at Bethal before moving away to New York for school marriage, ministry, etc…
    I attended the services for a week or two before I flew out of TO…

    ***Wait, does that mean a have a better perspective than you with only the one revival service under your belt? Just kidding man… You know your loved***

    I have seen what God can do though willing vessels, here in Brazil…

    People are reaching their whole city (their friends, family, neighbors and co workers)and people are not forgotten about after salvation; there is immediate follow up; people get plugged into Cell groups and one on one discipleship… No one is left to stand alone…
    It’s amazing to see… sounds kind of like you mentioned about taking it out to the people…

    Of course Revival doesn’t happen over night… Revival is carried in on the bent backs of a broken people…

    Pray… Pray that God will reveal to all of you what He’d have you do… Be aware it will cost ya… May God be glorified through your lives…

  • Has anyone ever considered that the implication of a thread like this goes much further than just those who attend Bethel? Sure this may all be hidden under the guise of “good intentions” and “trying to help” but lets call it what it is. This thread was started by a disgruntled congregation member and has become a string of arguments back and forth. Just because everyone is talking “politely” does not mean that this is anything more than childlike bickering.

    The Bible has a clear process for dealing with conflict… and I don’t believe that any of the steps involve taking it to the world and sharing your complaints for all to see and hear.

    Now, let me say that I do not, and have not, and likely never will attend Bethel. However I stumbled across this thread and regretably took the time to read it. If I can stumble across this while searching for churches in sarnia, how many other people can do the same. For a guy that supposedly wants to help… and supposedly wants to see God move through Sarnia… it seems to me that this thread does just the opposite. Why would anyone want to read this and then want what we have?

    Nathan… if you really want to see God move in Sarnia, then perhaps you should remove the thread that makes Christianity look like a joke. Whether your opinion is right or wrong is not the issue. The simple fact is that this thread can, and will, and likely already has become a stumbling block to some. If you are half as concerned about seeing the Kingdom advancing as you say you are, you will humble yourself, and realize that what I am saying is undeniably true and do the mature thing.

  • So, all said and done, are you taking this down?
    I am LOVING the comments!

  • You sound jaded Nathan.
    It seams like you and Darryl had your minds made up before you even walked through the front doors…that really sucks.

  • Most of you have confirmed what I have suspected all along…. that “the body” has a bigger ego than they have desire to do the work of God.

    Read this thread from beginning to end and then Google, “discord”.

    ’nuff said.

  • Hi,
    I am not sure how I stumbled on this article. I once lived in Sarnia and am proud to say that Bethel shaped me from the young person into the adult I am today. I find it very sad that this church I once called home has lost touch with the community and valuable members of the congregation. My own church here in Windsor has gone through some very painful issues that no church should ever experience. Sometimes we need to step back from our church and find a place to worship that shares our beliefs. God bless and I wish Bethel well.

  • Heyy…I don’t know how I stumbled upon this site but it caught my interest and once reading the posts I got a little bit yancy so I had to comment. I’m not that far behind as I notice one post for 2010 sooo, of course, their needs to be a post for 2011 so here goes :).

    Some of the comments on this blog aggravated me to no end. A young man gave his interpretation of a church service (revival..whatever) in a straight forward, non aggresive manner (perhaps some healthy sarcasm) inviting debate on his findings. Great! You may or may not agree with him, that is your right, but I ask what right do you have of judging this gentleman’s viewpoints with such offence and rightousness?? This is something that has always frustrated me about certain religions. I grew up in Sarnia, and I attended church for a good 20yrs at St. George’s Anglican, so I am no stranger to religion. The idea of judging another as lacking faith or being hurtful and rude just because he has a different viewpoint is really going off base. I see no proof of any lacking of faith or of any harshness by Nathan’s opinions. He is totally allowed his own views and if they differ from others great! Thats what makes the world such an interesting place. If you disagree, jump in and share your viewpoint. Thats how we learn, we think, and we grow. I think some need to lighten up a bit and open their hearts and ears and just listen. Definately, by no means take it as a personal attack. Quite frankly, I dont think it was even necessary for an apology.

    Now i have to address the individual who was ‘ashamed of Nathan’s Christianity’….what the heck is that?!?! Whom gave anyone the right to berate an idividual because they happen to not agree with you. However, i will say that i think, if im correct, that individual was young so i think we can mark that up to the innocent righteousness of a young adult.

    Although, I will say, its this judgemental menatality that really gets to me. Perhaps im being judgemental, but i am working from the above information, not coming out of left field. Does my differing viewpoints make me any less of a Christian? I dont know, I dont think so but that is not up to us to judge, I think we are forgetting our places in this religious family tree. I know I certainly dont want to be so ballsy as to assume I am of equal value to the Big Honcho and decide each and everyone’s level of faith based upon one’s opinions.

    So good on you Nathan. Speak your mind and speak it freely. Thats the beauty of being free. And I will promise to read some more up to date blogs!

  • Haha, just noticed this post was from 2006…that’s a long time ago…not even sure how I ended up here

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