|I Would not be Denied|
The following testimony is an account of the sovereign grace of God.
This is a story of Godís divine intervention in the lives of His saints
in a small rural community which was touched by the power of God.
In the fall of 1969 after graduation from Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri my wife and I were faced with what to do and where to go and were praying about this situation. Our purpose in life and our preparation in the four years previous was to serve the Lord and His people, wherever He may send us.
My pastor, Rev. Boyd H. Bryan, of Evangelistic Tabernacle in Hialeah, Florida had moved back to North Carolina. Brother Bryan knew that there was a church without a pastor near him in the North Carolina District. Realizing that we were facing this major decision after graduation, he contacted us and gave us the name of elder Brother Whidden who was the Sectional Presbyter.
I contacted Brother Whidden by phone and he made arrangements for us to go to North Carolina and speak at the Eagle Mills Assembly of God Church near Hamptonville, North Carolina. In the fall of 1969 we drove to Eagle Mills for a morning and evening service at the church. The people were very leary of us because they thought we were Ďnorthernersí being that we were from the Ďnortherní state of Missouri. During my sermon I mentioned that my motherís family were from the Charlotte area and that my wifeís family was also from North Carolina. This immediately put the people at ease and therefore they accepted us as being one of them. After speaking at the church the people requested that I return as their pastor.
Pastor and Mrs. Charles Jennings and son Duane
The Lord had laid a tremendous burden on our hearts for this small church and these people. We returned back to Missouri, sold our mobile home and as soon as we could, we packed up and moved to this small rural community.
In October 1969 I was installed as the pastor of Eagle Mills Assembly of God Church.
The first Sunday as pastor there were nineteen people in attendance and the offering was $19.00. But the spiritual burden was intense for this community to experience a real genuine move of the Spirit of God . We were soon informed of the fact that the use of alcohol, both legal and non-legal (moonshine) was wide spread in this community and was the ruination of many men and families. I began going to the church everyday and staying most of the day in earnest prayer. During prayer one day the Lord spoke to me and gave me the verse in John 15:16 "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain:" I knew then that whatever souls we saw brought into the Kingdom of God would remain and be faithful.
Soon after we moved there, some of the ladies came to my wife and expressed a desire to start a weekly prayer service. Their main concern was the salvation of their husbands. The ladies met once a week on Friday mornings in earnest prayer. They made a prayer list of the relatives that they wanted to see saved. This was a very faithful band of intercessors with a real burden for those husbands and others who were slaves alcohol and the things of the world. They prayed without ceasing.
The womenís prayer group
With out seeing any results of our prayers for approximately five months yet, there was no disappointment on the part of the prayer warriors but an expectation that God was going to do something special in the lives of many people.
While my wife and I were eating breakfast on Friday morning, March 13, 1970, (Friday the 13th) there was a knock at the door. Our neighbor Silas Mitchell, one of the husbands which was on the prayer list, was standing at the door with his little dog. It was very obvious that he had been drinking. When I asked him, Ď what can I do for you,í he replied with a clear straight forward answer, "Preacher I am here to do it." I responded by asking him, "do what?" To which he said, "I am here to get saved!" Meanwhile, Flossie, his wife was fearful as to why Silas said, "I am going to see that preacher." She thought he was up to no good. Silas proceeded to tell us that he had been drinking with a friend of his for three days and was miserable. Silas was the type of man who was mean and somewhat violent when he was drunk. From the human standpoint, I was somewhat hesitant after being informed to his reputation, but spiritually I was prepared to help lead this man to Christ. As we sat down on the couch together, I opened my Bible and pointed out to him his need of salvation and Godís plan for his redemption. But he seemed anxious to kneel and pray and soon dropped to his knees and did he ever pray. He prayed like a man who was desperate to be delivered, not only of the alcohol but of the bondage of sin.
After being gloriously delivered from the bondage of sin and slave master of alcohol, this man was immediately sober but still reeked with the offensive odor of moonshine liquor. He needed no prompting to raise his hands in praise and declare his deliverance and his commitment to his Savior, Jesus Christ. He pointed to the radio on the shelf and declared, "someday my testimony will be broadcast over that radio" and approximately one year later that came to pass.
He was so anxious to tell his drinking buddy what had happened to him that we got into my vehicle and went to the cabin where his friend was living. When we arrived at that cabin that cold morning it was difficult to awaken his friend from his drunken stupor. After we finally got inside, Silas began to declare the wonderful works of God and the change that had just transpired in his heart and life. I sat there in utter amazement and wept as this man proclaimed the salvation of Jesus Christ and His transforming power.
Silas and Flossie Mitchell and sons
Silas was scheduled to go to work that afternoon and therefore we left this cabin and went to Silasí barn where he had one half gallon canning jar of clear Ďwhite lighteningí in a milk pail After finding one jar there, we proceeded to go to his equipment barn behind his house, where he had another jar hidden under the seat of his tractor. He had kept them hidden so that his wife would not find them and pour out the contents. He and I walked out into the woods with each one of us carrying a jar. We found a large rock in the woods and he told me to break the jars on the rock. My response was, "this is your victory, Silas, I will be a witness to your declaration of deliverance. You break them." After breaking each jar on this rock he would raise his hands towards heaven and shout, "Iím free!"
We then went back to his house where we joined both of our wives who were anxiously waiting to hear what had happened. Silas hugged his wife and cried like a baby. He got dressed and went on to work a sober and a changed man. Before leaving for work, he told his wife where a third jar of liquor was hidden, and we went with her to dispose of the contents of that jar. He never drank another drop of liquor from that day forward.
Needless to say that following Sunday morning Silas was in church and gave his testimony. He was indeed a changed man with an anointed testimony and this did not go unnoticed in the community where he was well known. That was a glorious service which was the beginning of a spiritual breakthrough in that community.
The word spread rapidly and other husbands and friends began to inquire as to what had happened to Silas. Other family members began to attend our services and there was a great spiritual expectation in each service. The Spirit of God was real and among us.
As the Word of God went forth a great conviction filled the church each service. People began to come forward and repent. One Sunday morning, Bill Norman, another man who had been bound by alcohol, ran to the altar crying out, "I donít want to go to hell, I donít want to go to hell." There was no need to assist him in repeating the sinnerís prayer. The Holy Ghost was upon him in strong conviction.
It was not long after that when that country church building was filled to capacity during Sunday morning and evening services. Prayers were being answered so quickly and dramatically that it was hard to conceive what was happening. It was truly amazing.
Not long after that James (Jiggs) Gaither, another one of the husbands whose name was on the prayer list, went to a Labor Union meeting. As soon as the meeting was over he came straight to the parsonage. Later he told us, that he was under such strong conviction that he could not wait to get out of the meeting and get to church that evening so that he could seek the Lord. His mother, Ruby Gaither, had been part of the womenís weekly prayer group and his wife, Wilma, a faithful Christian.
One man, Glen Crews, while at work one day, was under Holy Ghost conviction so heavily, that during his shift he went to the restroom and cried out to God to forgive him for his sinful life. He was gloriously converted. His wife, Doris, and their family had been attending the church prior to this experience.
One day I received a call from a wife whose drinking husband, Bobby Brown, was on probation and had broken his probation. The Probation officer had just left their home and had threatened to send Bobby to jail. We quickly drove over to their home and we found Bobby Brown sitting in a chair so drunk that he could not stand up. I immediately felt the Holy Spirit take over and I rebuked Satan and the liquor that had him bound and started to pray over him. Shortly he was praying with me and before we left the house he was completely sober and was rejoicing in the salvation of the Lord. The next morning I went with Bobby to visit the probation officer and after telling him the story of Bobbyís conversion, I assumed full responsibility for Bobby in lieu of jail. I never had to worry about seeing that probation officer again as God had done a miraculous work in Bobbyís life.
All the above conversions plus many others all took place within a matter of a few months. There were sixty people saved in a little over a year. The word of these miraculous conversions had now gotten around throughout the community and as far away as Winston-Salem. Relatives of some of these men came from several miles away to check out and confirm the rumors that they had heard. The Lord was real in every service as people came expecting for God to do the unusual and the miraculous. It was my great pleasure to hold a water baptismal service in a near-by creek with† Pastor Boyd H. Bryan (standing on far right).
The services were filled with joyous singing and spontaneous praise. Several songs became representative of the experiences of individuals and of the Holy Ghost was doing in the church. The song that seemed to express the feelings of the people the most was the song written by Charles P. Jones, "I Would Not Be Denied."
When pangs of death seized on my soul, Unto the Lord I cried,
Till Jesus came and made me whole, I would not be denied.
I would not be denied,
I would not be denied,
Till Jesus came and made me whole,
I would not be denied.
As Jacob in the days of old, I wrestled with the Lord;
And instant with a courage bold, I stood upon His Word.
Old Satan said, My Lord was gone And would not hear my prayer,
But praise the Lord! The work is done, And Christ the Lord is here.
As the Lord continued to work in the lives of both the new converts and the established saints, many changes were made, both spiritually and physically. The church attendance grew numerically and a Sunday School addition was built onto the existing church building.
Pastor Charles Jennings points to the attendance record
as Evangelist Stephen OíShields looks on
The promise that God had given me when we first came to pastor Eagle Mills Church was that He would give us fruit and that fruit would remain. He was faithful to His Word, as the new converts became strong workers for the Lord. In one revival with Brother Boyd Bryan, who was pastoring in Mooresville, North Carolina, some were delivered from the use of tobacco and others received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. Mischief in the community, such as regular barn burnings ceased. Many lives were affected and many homes today still feel the affects of Godís powerful move in that community.
Throughout the history of the Church for the last two thousand years there has been many miraculous spiritual moves of the Spirit of God in different times and places. It is difficult to explain why the Lord in His sovereign wisdom chooses where, when and how to send a wave of His saving grace. It is nothing that can be accredited to the goodness of any particular man or group of people, but we do know that the Lord responds to the prayers of His people. In Acts 12:5, concerning the story of Peterís deliverance from prison, the writer, Luke, tells us that, "Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him."
The months preceding this outpouring of Godís Spirit in conviction for sin, there were many saints that had sought the Lord. There were many faithful saints who had sought the Lord for years with a heartfelt burden for a genuine move of God in this community. The Apostle James tell us in James 5:16 that, "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
To our recollection Eagle Mills Assembly of God Church was established in about 1943. Some of the original members such as Raymond and Myrle Templeton, Mrs. Lizzy Grant, Mrs. Ruby Gaither and others were still attending the church when the above wonderful events took place. Their faith was rewarded as a result of their steadfastness and stability in the Lord.
As we read historical accounts of revivals and refreshings sent from the presence of the Lord, we are often left with the desire to have been there and to have seen first hand the wonderful works of God. The revival which took place at this small country Pentecostal church never made the headlines nor will ever be recorded by church historians, but the reality of the genuineness of Godís power was as evident as in any revival which has ever taken place.
If the Lord never heals another person, I will always believe that He is the Healer. If the Lord never saves another person, I will always believe that He is the Savior.
†David and Ricky Mitchell
Jesus said, "Except a man be born again,† he cannot see the kingdom of God."
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† John 3:3
A. Admit that you are a sinner and that you need a Savior. The Bible says "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Admit that you are unable to save yourself from your sinful condition which has separated you from a holy God.
B. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:31). To believe on Jesus Christ is more than simply to acknowledge that He exists. To believe on Jesus as your Savior is to accept His sacrificial death as the only means of your salvation and that He conquered death by His resurrection. You must believe that it is "by grace are ye saved through faith, and not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8).
C.† Call upon the Lord. The Bible says, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13). To call upon the Lord means to cry out to Him in repentance for your sins. The Apostle Peter said, "Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" ( Acts 2:38). The Apostle Paul said, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:9-10).
Ask Jesus right now to forgive you and to save you. Repent of your sins and ask Him to come into your life Ė and He will!
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"TO SERVE THE PRESENT AGE,
MY CALLING TO FULFIL,
O MAY IT ALL MY POWERS ENGAGE,
TO DO MY MASTER'S WILL!"
MAYNARD G. JAMES