Uttiramerur Festival Exceeds Expectations

Greetings friends and prayer partners,

I am honored to share a great report with you about our work in Uttiramerur.

This area of Kachipuram (as you can see on the map) is one where there are very few churches, a history of ancient kings, and it lies in a forgotten corner about an hour from Chennais suburbs. Only one in twenty Indians in South Chennai have even been there, although it is only a half hour away from the District’s High Court and administration area.

As you will see from prior posts, we had originally intended to do a full three day crusade after the model of the past 4 years, but this time, everything pointed to the advantage of doing it smaller, especially the readiness of the pastors to organize a big event. Unlike the other cites/regions of Kanchipuram where we had done crusades before, Uttiramerur has a younger, more scattered church that first needed to taste victory on a scale that would be more manageable and have less opposition. If we had gone big, frankly the church would have likely scattered, and we would be vulnerable beyond a reasonable risk. In this ministry, it takes faith to step forward, and faith to also know when to scale back.

Anyway, the result of our one day meeting was way beyond expectation. At first, we thought it would be a great breakthrough to have 300-400 people, and then on Wednesday we discovered there would be over 1000! The pastors quickly rallied with our core leaders and managed to get a video crew out so that an overflow room could be arranged in the 700 max marriage hall we had rented. Yesterday, we actually slightly more than 1200 people at the Uttiramerur Festival! The whole church in this area, as well as many inquisitive Hindus came out gather and celebrate.

This was the first time in known history that the church has gathered together in this area. It stuck me as an amazing scene that only God could arrange. Crusade meetings are very different from these kinds of gatherings. I felt at the beginning that it was 1/3rd church gathering, 1/3rd evangelistic event, and 1/3rd pastors unity day. The worship was a miracle in that the whole church in Uttiramerur were worshipping together, and it was in no way a denominational/sectarian event. Behold how good and how pleasant it is for the church to dwell together, in unity! There was a power there that you would not find if the meeting had been underrepresented by the churches in the area. A spiritual dimension of honor, strength, dignity and glory was achieved for the local church simply by gathering together. Pastors Joshua, Joel, Caleb and Aruldass agreed, declared and prayed that the church there would rise to new heights, come out from the shadows or chaos and oppression and boldly grow into becoming a real influence in the community from that point forward. The pastors were visibly convinced, and later reported that it exceeded their expectations.

By the time I got the mike to preach, the most important breakthrough was felt and already achieved. I felt like the most blessed person in the room to be part of all this, and to have the honor to address and seal the deal by delivering the word of God. I was impressed to share on a theme of deliverance from shame. John 3:20 says that darkness is preferred by those who avoid the light, and this launched me into a passionate word about how Christ’s light frees us from shame. Ps 34:5 says, “They looked at Him and were radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed”. Without preaching the sermon again, shame is a sickness of the soul, and a tool of our cruel nature we use to make ourselves gain the upper hand. Christ delivers all of us from shame just like he delivered the woman in John chapter 8. By showing mercy and shining His light of hope on our soul. Ultimately, He bore our shame on the cross, so there is no need for any believer to carry it with them again. The promise is for a permanent deliverance. So stop worrrying about what others think about already, and let God make you radiant!

The people received the word and 55 came to give their lives to Christ. The message on freedom from shame is revolutionary for those under the caste system, and my continuing prayer is that the light of God continues to bear fruit in the dignity, honor and character of the church here in India long after this event. Please make that your prayer as well for the church gathered here yesterday. To finish the day, I laid hands on probably 800+ people one by one. Sickness was confronted and destroyed. Healing was reported back, but I will let Josh follow up with details in another post.

We had a great lunch, all 1200 of us and despite a bit of chaos, even that went better than expected. It truly was a great day for the church here, ending in joy and celebration. The first 6 hour gathering of the church in Uttiramerur is just the beginning of a great story here. We are praying about doing our crusade next year here, to help this gathering take its next solid step into becoming a transformational, mature local church.

Thank you for your prayers and support. Special thanks go out to Dave Ruskjer for trusting that we are indeed a great investment in ministry work, gathering the local church and helping leaders to work together in a way that glorifies God and builds the church.

Get ready for more posts about the conference that starts on Tuesday, and please continue to pray for that.



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