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Good news from Jena, La.

JENA, La. (BP)–The revival that started at Midway Baptist Church back on Feb. 17 is still going — only now with a new title: God’s Revival.

When the services were moved to East Jena Baptist Church in early March, it took on the title of the Jena Revival, and by Sunday night, churches from the northwest side of LaSalle Parish also joined in making it a Parish Revival.

On Sunday night, March 9, however, as the crowds attending forced the impromptu revival meeting to move to a location capable of handling the hundreds of people attending, it was clear to everyone that the spiritual renewal was the work of a holy God, thus changing the name to God’s Revival.

Ask anyone associated with it or who has been to at least one service and they will quickly tell you that this is not the working of any individual church or denomination. It’s not the result of a certain preacher or song leader and was not fashioned from the portals of some “how to” book on spiritual awakening.

No program or plan could bring about what has taken place throughout our community during these weeks. Nothing from the federal government or any motivational speaker could do what has been done. That credit is left solely to God Almighty.

It was God-born and is God-directed and God-sustained. There is simply no other explanation. I’ve quit saying, “I can’t believe that,” because after witnessing miracle after miracle during the past three weeks, nothing surprises me anymore.

I’ve watched as many people have come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. I’ve witnessed the power of God move upon people as they repented of sin in their lives and confessed that sin openly before all.

I watched as God took marriages on the brink of divorce and breathed new life and restoration. I’ve seen men stand before the church and confess things like drinking and unfaithfulness and women as they poured out their heart seeking forgiveness for sins of the past.

There was a moment when one church apologized to another church for a split that occurred over 70 years ago. No one in either congregation knew what the division was over, but they embraced each other with forgiveness.

I’ve seen daddies and mammas on their knees at the altar crying out for a lost or wayward son or daughter and I’ve witnessed God answer many of their prayers as those who were called out were saved by Almighty God.

The power of God has transcended all lines that we humans have erected. No longer are there social statuses in the revival crowds; no longer do people see each other as the “haves and have-nots”; and no longer are we looking upon the outward appearance. We’re seeing each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

I watched in amazement as the hand of God was upon one of our local black ministers as he preached before a mostly white congregation. As he preached a dynamic message from God’s Word, the white brethren often shouted in responsiveness.

Before he preached, members of the Jena Community Choir, a black choir, led the worship when many white Christians fell on their face at the altars. The healing of racial tensions, created by outsiders through all of the Jena Six turmoil, could only come from a mighty move of God.

If the change was limited to the revival meeting itself would be one thing, but there is plenty of evidence that people have taken their newfound convictions everywhere they go.

No workplace in LaSalle Parish has been void of the news of the revival. People are openly sharing their faith at work and at school and the love that is expressed during the revival meetings continues the next day no matter where people go.

Finally, some good news has come to our parish. In the wake of one of the greatest campaigns to destroy a town’s image by the media and others, a move of God rises from the ashes that leaves no doubt that God is the only one who can restore and make new.

Hear me closely on this next statement: If going through all of the Jena Six mess last year was what it took for us to come to this point where God is pouring out His Spirit among us, I would gladly go through it again.

The last month of spiritual revival in our community has been worth all of the pain associated with the past year. CNN may not cover what is going on, but I’ve come to realize that all that matters is what God thinks about us –- not CNN, the so-called concerned politicians, any celebrity or even the world.

Let’s keep focused on God and allow His work to continue. He will receive the glory for what He has done in our parish, and however He chooses to use this as a testimony for Him around the globe will be fine with me.

I’m just thankful to have witnessed such an outpouring of His glory.
Adapted from a column by Craig Franklin, associate editor of The Jena Times, on the newspaper’s www.thejenatimes.net website.

    About the Author

  • Craig Franklin