God’s Hand in Ethiopia
March 30, 2008
(For printable version click here.)
Praise the Lord. I am very much aware this morning that the mercy of God endureth forever. We are very thankful to be home from Ethiopia. I want to share with you some of the things that transpired and that the Lord has spoken to us concerning Ethiopia.
I want to start in Acts 8:25. This situation in Acts happens right after an encounter with Simon the sorcerer. Verse 25, And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans. 26And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. 27And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, 28Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. 29Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. 30And Philip ran thither to him… I like that. He didn’t hesitate. He didn’t dawdle around. He didn’t wander back and forth wondering what the will of God was, but he had determined to do the will of God. It says he ran. Can you imagine what the Ethiopian must have thought? Here comes this man running through the desert almost out of nowhere, coming down on his chariot. I could imagine it.
30And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias… So, he must have been reading out loud. 30…and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. 32The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: SometimesI think it would be much better for us if we said nothing. 33In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. 34And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
Then Philip began to expound to him the gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. It wasn’t just a word of salvation. I believe that there was more imparted unto the eunuch in that encounter. Quite frankly, I think it was a preordained time for the message of Christ Jesus to be given unto the Ethiopian. The reason I am reading this to you is because this Scripture is something that the Lord spoke to us as we were going in to Ethiopia.
We were very, very, very blessed. The Spirit of God was quite evident. I asked one of the people there about this situation that is in Acts. He said that during the Communist rule of Ethiopia, a lot of their historical literature and historical information was destroyed. Of course, they were not teaching any of this in the schools, so you almost have a whole generation of people who don’t know of the favor which God had for Ethiopia. I don’t know how you think about God, but I don’t think you can really think about Him as “random.” You cannot think about God as “random.” It says that there are seven days of the week and on each day of the week God did something orderly regarding creation. He did not do something one day and then jump over and do something else and then come back and do what He was doing and finish it up. No. The Bible says that when God did something, He saw the fullness of it, not so much the fact of its completeness at the time, but He knew that it would come to completion. God wants completion. God doesn’t want partiality. God doesn’t want piece-meal. God is not a part-time worker. He wants completion. He wants fullness. The fullness was in God when He created Adam. The fullness was in Philip when he drew near unto the chariot and there was fullness in the message that was being shared concerning God’s purpose and God’s plan. There was fullness in the message that God gave to Philip to give to the eunuch.
That means that there was something in the heart of God concerning Ethiopia from the time of the encounter that Philip had with the Ethiopian. Now, the apostles were busy doing their business. They were running around ministering to the Jewish community, doing all of the things that they were supposed to do with the responsibility that had been given to them. They didn’t know anybody by the name of George Herrig. They didn’t know anybody by the name of Burt Asbill. They didn’t know anybody by the name of Brother Chijokeor Brother Iberie or any of the other ones that have been or are now in Ethiopia. But God knew in His mind that there was a company of people that were going to come at some point in time. He had to lay a foundation in the hearts of the people so that there might be something on which to build when this company of people would come. Now, He didn’t pick a beggar. He didn’t pick a lawyer. He didn’t just pick this one or that one, but He picked a man that was high up in a position of governmental authority and it says that this man had charge of all of the Queen’s wealth. My goodness. Can you imagine the position of influence? Can you imagine the position of importance? Also, the man was reading the Scriptures, so it means that the man was not only in this position or in this place, but he also had something in his heart that wanted to know God.
So, God delegated Philip. While everyone else was out preaching to the Jewish nation or the Samaritan community, He told this one man to go south down a road out of Jerusalem. Hallelujah. Philip, hearing the voice of God, arose, went out and God began to lead him.
I have been to a few places in Africa. It is hard for me to explain to you. I don’t know that I really have the vocabulary to do it, but the feeling of the environment that I was in in Ethiopia is different. They are one of the poorest nations in the African continent. They have recently gone through many years of drought, although I think the drought broke in the last year or two. They have gone through many years of drought, both spiritually speaking as well as physically speaking. They were under the Communist rule for about 14 years. Of course, the Communists do everything they can to eradicate the knowledge of God. Then, on top of all of that, they have the prince of darkness that is residing over the continent of Africa, as well as the different countries that have an interest in Ethiopia working to enforce their position of authority, working to bring people into subjection to their power and at the end of the day, into hell. Ethiopia does not have the same feel as other places in Africa that I have been to.
As we were sitting down on the little veranda in front of the hotel one day, I said to George, “You know, it seems to me that there is some favor that God has extended to these people.” They seem to be a very soft people. Now, I am not talking to you from meeting with them and talking with them. I am talking to you from the sense that I had in the Spirit. But they are a people that have many, many needs as some of the other places in Africa have. Addis Ababa, which is the capitol city, is not as run down as some of the other cities that I have been in in different countries, in spite of their poorness. Of course, as I said, we did not go outside of Addis Ababa, but I was asking the people that we were associated with many questions as far as the roads and traveling was concerned. One person said, “For an African nation, they aren’t too bad.” Of course, if you have been to Africa, you might know. I was traveling with Brother Johnson one day from Calabar up to Owerri (Nigeria) and he had a certain model of Volkswagen. It wasn’t like the Volkswagen that we know now, but on the back of his window he had this little thing taped and it said, “Built for Nigerian Roads.” I have to say, though, the biggest pothole that I have ever seen anywhere was not in Nigeria. It was in Kenya. That one you had to drive down into and your car completely disappeared before you drove on out the other side. I told that driver, “I’m glad it is the dry season.” I think we would have had problems had it been the wet season.
Anyway, as we came into this land, we began to pray and seek the Lord for His will for us in that short period of time. It was very short for us. Usually, we go in for at least two weeks. Sometimes we want to go into new areas for three weeks or so and have some intensive times of training and teaching and Bible study, as well as question and answer times. But we didn’t have the time so we knew that we needed the power of God to move with us in a very strong manner for the timeframe that we were given. I can very much say that we were not disappointed.
The first meeting we had no electricity. Nevertheless, the Word of God went forth with power. We were in meetings that probably had 200-300 people. I don’t know just exactly how many, but what the church there has done is quite unique. They have a space of land that they rent and they also rented these tents that they put up and it was wide open so that all the benches were scrunched up in there. By the end of the meeting, most of the seating space was full. Hallelujah.
God began to lead us. He began to talk to them about the intent and purpose for which God created them , which I think is very important, not only for the church in Ethiopia and Africa, but also for the church in the United States in this hour. We began to express to them the desire of God to talk to them individually concerning His plan. God wants a personal relationship with them and whatever God was telling them, it would be in harmony with what God was telling those that were round about them when they came together to worship the Lord. Many of the things that we were teaching they did not know. You just have to really depend upon the Holy Ghost and be sensitive to the hearts of the individuals because you are using terminology that they are not familiar with. You know, I have been hearing this word for a long time, and maybe you have also for all of your spiritual life. We’ve had an experience in God that has enabled us to grasp hold with some understanding the things that pertain to the tabernacle and their symbolism. But these people have not had that teaching, training, or upbringing, so it was very necessary for the Spirit of God to move in the way that He moved, so that what we spoke could be translated in such a way that it would excite them, and excited they got! My goodness! Excited they got! Hallelujah.
Praise the Lord. Now, I am just witnessing to you about what God did. Like I said, the city of Addis Ababa is approximately 3½ million people. Ethiopia is one of the poorest nations in the African continent, according to the information that I got off of the internet while doing my investigation in the very beginning. But it is also one of the last strongholds of resistance against the Muslim influence. They are not Muslim dominated, but the Muslims are coming in and bringing millions of dollars to propagate their religion. They want to encapsulate the people’s minds, encapsulate the people’s hearts and they want to establish the religion of Islam as the national religion.
We flew from Amsterdam. It was a very long trip, 33-36 hours of travel. If you want to fly direct, you go from here to Detroit, to Amsterdam, to Addis Ababa. But we made a stop in Khartoum. My goodness. We did not get off the plane in Khartoum. I wouldn’t have gotten off even if they would have let us. As we were flying in I don’t know that I have ever seen any place that looked so desolate. Now, it is not just the terrain, but it is a spiritual feeling. About every five or six blocks George would say, “Did you see that? Did you see that? Did you see that? Did you see that?” I said, “Yes, George. I see it.” Then he would say, “Did you see that? Did you see that?” I would say, “Yes, George. I see it.”
What he was pointing out was that about every five blocks or so they would have a mosque. So, everywhere you flew, you were flying over mosques until you came into the airport. Then, if you looked out the window, you could see the mosque over the airport. That particular religion was quite dominant and the city felt very desolate. But as we flew into Addis Ababa, the feeling was not the same. I told George over and over again… As much as he had been saying, “Did you see that?” “Did you see that?” Now I was saying, “Do you feel the favor?” “Do you feel the favor?” “Do you feel the favor?” I think basically that is the thing that I was sensing in the environment. I could feel the favor of God, because I truly believe that this is the time of visitation for the country of Ethiopia.
Now, I did not tell them this, but I am going to tell you. Usually the favor of God comes upon a people right before a great tribulation. It is very possible that in this little window that we are now being presented, we will have the opportunity to go in and begin to minister, to teach and to train and to bring forth this revelation of God before great tribulation comes. I believe that it is coming upon the land as well as upon the people, but that there will be a core group, a cell group of individuals who have grasped hold of the revelation of the Kingdom of God. Out of that seed that has been planted will come forth the tree of righteousness that God desires to bring forth in that land.
Now, if God went to such extents in the very beginning with Philip concerning the Ethiopian eunuch, then there is something in the economy of God, as far as Africa is concerned, that makes Ethiopia pivotal. I don’t see anywhere else in the Bible where God is dealing with an African nation besides Ethiopia, other than Egypt. Now, I could be mistaken – I don’t know all of the Bible and all of the things that pertain to it. It talks about the Middle East, it talks about Damascus, it talks about Syria, it talks about Egypt, and it talks about Ethiopia. But does anyone know of any place in the Bible where it deals with another particular land in Africa? If you find it, let me know, because there is something in the mind of God with regard to Ethiopia concerning the business of God for the entire continent of Africa.
Do you know that your God is not frivolous? My goodness. It is not “by gosh” and “by golly.” It is, “Thus saith the Lord,” and, “Thus it shall be,” or, “Yea, it will not be.” So, there is something in the mind of God concerning this people that are in Ethiopia. Now, I don’t know that I have ever been stirred up so much with regard to any place, and I have been stirred up about some places. In Africa, Nigeria has always been a favorite of mine. I even considered moving there and I was moving there until God stopped me. But Ethiopia has something of the favor of God. I cannot emphasize that enough, especially to us as a people, because there is a responsibility that we have concerning the issue of this word and seeing that it is perpetuated within the boundaries of that country.
I am very glad to say that there are those in the Nigerian church who also seem to be aware of this responsibility. Now, I did not get a very long time to talk with the brothers or with the sister who also came to Ethiopia. I received the blessing of seeing Sister Biri. She was passing through and when she was on the plane she heard that we were coming. She didn’t know beforehand, but God knew that we were going to be there in Ethiopia when she was coming through on her way back to the Congo. Along with her was Brother Chijoke and Brother Iberie. Brother Chijoke is from one of the fellowships in Port Harcourt and Brother Iberie is from one of the fellowships in Owerri. Both are places where we have spent a great deal of time. There is a place of favor that is upon Ethiopia, considering what God did in order to get the Word of the Kingdom of God to the eunuch. I cannot believe that this man just went home and sat on it. I don’t believe that he did. I believe that he had a sense of responsibility and began to share the experience of his encounter with Phillip. I would not be a bit surprised if he shared all of that with the Queen of Sheba also. For a long time, it was believed that the ark was somewhere secreted in Ethiopia. I don’t know. It doesn’t seem to make any difference, but there is something of God that seems to be attached in this dispensation toward the land of Ethiopia and because of our involvement, we have a responsibility.
The church in Ethiopia that we ministered to is basically a microcosm of the overall condition of the city. HIV is rampant. AIDS is rampant. I have a report that was done by the Ethiopian government on the city of Addis Ababa, which I am willing to share with you if you are really serious about reading it. I can even send it to you by e-mail if you are able to open PDF documents. It is a very good report that was done in 2004 and 2005 to address some of the problems that they were facing as a city. There were about 100,000-150,000 homeless due to one thing or another. Orphans were in the neighborhood of 60,000-70,000 – children who had lost their parents to AIDS. Unemployment – well, let’s say that employment is almost non-existent, so you can imagine what the unemployment is.
The elderly, as well as widows, are a major problem and, as I said, the church is a microcosm of the overall condition of the city. In their congregation of 250-300 people, I was told that they had at least 12 individuals who are in the advanced stages of AIDS, who are unable to take care of themselves, to feed themselves. When I say feed themselves, I mean they are unable to buy the goods and what not. Also, they have many elderly in their group. When I say elderly, you have to understand the environment in which they live. I sat across the table from a man who said he was 55 years old and he looked like he was 72. The conditions and the way of life there are very difficult. It has the ability to wear you down both physically, mentally and emotionally and to advance your age, even though you are not what we would consider old, yet you feel old, you look old, you act old. My goodness. I don’t know that I can really convey to you the reality of the environment.
The other Scripture that came to us while we were there was Psalm 68:31, Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God. Now, you have to understand that “soon” to God could be a few days, but the Bible says that a day is as a thousand years (II Peter 3:8). That means that within Ethiopia and in the hearts of the people there is something that desires to touch the hem of God’s garment. All Ethiopia has right now in the aspect of religion is just that – religion. It is not necessarily something that is living. The only thing that makes it valid is the desire of the people and their wanting to know God to a greater extent and in a greater reality. Hallelujah. So, here we have a Biblical promise with regard to the land of Ethiopia.
I might mention again that the Lord spoke this verse to us while we were there. Now, it is not that we don’t have other commitments; it is not that we don’t have other priorities. I do not believe that we have to put this one in front of that one or that one in front of this one. I think that we can put them together and move in accordance to the divine will of God concerning the issues God would have for this people at this time and what our position of involvement would be. I, for one, know that I want to go back, whether it is for 2 days or 3 days or 4 days. As long as I can have all 2, 3 or 4 days that they give me, I am willing to go back. I want to go back. I see the need. I see the position and the desire of God that is upon them and the favor that God is extending to them. I, for one, do not want to shirk my responsibility as far as the message God has given me and what I can do to impart that to them, because I know that up ahead of them great tribulation is coming. I know that the only thing that is going to give them the strength to stand in the face of that tribulation, to stop the devil, is the living reality of a living God. If you do not have the reality of God, if you do not have the essence of God’s character, you will not stand in the moment of tribulation. You will fold and buckle like a piece of plastic wrap that is caught in the midst of a flame. Have you ever seen it? It is nothing.
There is a reality that we have in the Bible, there is an experience, there is a richness that has been bequeathed unto us. We have had time to sit and absorb the reality of this message that God calls the Kingdom, sometimes much to our own hurt, because the Bible says in Luke 12:48, But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. I think that there is a requirement that is coming upon this church. I don’t say this Mahomet church in particular, but I am saying this church that has the message of the Kingdom of God, because I think there is a means by which we might begin to promote the things of God. Now, this doesn’t mean that you are not going to have problems in the logistics of all of it, because first of all, you have to find men who have integrity. Sometimes you have to go through men who have no integrity in order to find the men who have integrity. Does that mean that I sit back, twiddle my thumbs and wait for the man with integrity? Absolutely not. If God opens a door for me, then I have a responsibility to move in accordance to the openness of the door, the assurity in the Spirit that God is leading me, and I have that accountability to step in and to step through. I have news for you: what’s mine is God’s and how God is willing for me to expend it is well and good. It is none of my business after it leaves my pocket, after it leaves my soul, after it leaves my reserves, it is no longer my responsibility because I know that whatever it was sent to do it is going to do. Do you want to know something else? It will not return to me void. Hallelujah.
I think you would be excited to know that God did something over 2,000 years ago and we are now at the place where we can begin to be participants and be beneficiaries in helping to reap what God sowed.
I was lamenting to the Lord. I said, “God, I only have four days here.” You know, we spent three days traveling. We had three meetings on Sunday. I was sitting up there in the front, feeling a little frustrated with God. Maybe you don’t understand. Maybe you have never been frustrated with God. Well, sometimes I get quite frustrated. Of course, I always have to repent, but the fact is, I was talking to God. I was looking out there at this crowd of hungry faces. I don’t know how it is with most people, but I know how it is with me when I look out over a crowd. I don’t see faces particularly. I see needs, I see wants, I see desires, I see hearts, I see souls, I see maladies and sicknesses and different things and they touch something in me and I know that I have the power. If I had the energy or even the faith to be able to move to touch these different ones… my goodness. Hallelujah.
You know, I don’t know how we, as a group, look at prophecy in how it functions, but it takes a great deal of spiritual energy. Try it sometime. I can remember times in Africa when we would give an altar call. It wasn’t just one or two that would come up; half of the congregation would come up. We would have 500 people standing at the altar and every one had a special need, every one had a special desire, every one was seeking something from the Lord, every one wanted a touch from God and they are looking to you to touch them. You know that within you dwelleth no good thing (Romans 7:18), yet somehow, someway, God gives you some sort of energy or vitality by which you might begin to minister, but I want to tell you, at the end of the day, you are worn out. Hallelujah.
I remember one meeting in particular. You know, sometimes your spiritual defenses get worn down, worn out. We were in this meeting in Port Harcourt, at a little substation out there somewhere, kind of part of the University of Port Harcourt or something, but it was down this main thoroughfare. We had just come in off the plane. They had loaded our luggage and they had loaded us. The luggage went that way and we went the other way. Hallelujah. Now, we had been traveling for many hours, many days. We had gotten hung up in London and plane after plane was leaving that we were supposed to be on. We finally got on a plane and got there. They were in the meeting and they took us to the meeting.
I was sitting down in the chair and Brother duCille was ministering the message of God. What a powerful testimony it was that was coming forth. All of a sudden, he says, “Any of you out there that want prayer, come.” I was sitting there in my seat at about 11:30 at night. (If anybody wants to know how to spend their vacation or their holiday, come to me. I can take you places that you have never been before. I mean, some people pay good money to go to those places.) I would say that every bit of 300 people came up to the altar! Every one wanted a touch from God – now I could have sat down there in my chair thinking, “Well, he can take care of it.” But when you have the gift of God or the Spirit of God moving within your being, you know that you have a responsibility, in spite of the tiredness of your body, and there has to be some response from you in order for God to kick in. Hallelujah.
They had a young people’s meeting while we were in Ethiopia. Now, when I say young people, I am talking from about the ages of 12 to 22, but there were other people there that weren’t quite so young. I think they are young in mind! They had the meeting in a little room beside the main room. The place was jam-packed with people. These young people have nothing to do. Do you hear me? They have nothing to do. There are no jobs, but they can go down on the corner and watch soccer on a big-screen TV there. They can do that, but here they are, coming to the meeting. At the time, they were running some sort of competition on the corner in a tent and they had this big-screen TV up. They have this soccer game going and Brother George begins ministering the Word of God and the people are sitting on the edge of their chairs. They don’t get up and run around. They don’t get up and run for water. They don’t go out for the bathroom. They don’t do that. They are sitting there listening and they want to hear. Do you hear? Their ears are cocked, their ears are tuned and they want to hear what you have to say about God. I want to tell you that if you have ever watched Brother George minister under the anointing, under the unction of the reality that he has as far as God is concerned, it is a marvelous thing. It is not so much the words that they are hearing. It is the effervescence of his soul, the effervescence of his character and the quality of Christ that is in him and the excitement that he has about God as he begins to minister and begins to share and those are the things that are being picked up on. So he ministers for about 45-50 minutes and then he says, “Brother Burt, do you have something to share?” I said, “Oh, yes I do.” So I get up and share for another hour and 20 minutes. I was short, but the whole time, these kids are sitting there. They are not moving around. They are not talking to each other. They are not doing those things. They are glued to their chairs. Their eyes are glued right on you. They are watching your every move. They are watching your every action. They are listening to every word. Hungry people! Hungry people! They are in need of such training and the things that pertain to the Kingdom and the bringing forth of the revelation of God. Hallelujah.
The last day, Sunday, that we were in the meeting, Brother George ministered about his personal testimony and how God began to move in his life. We were talking about the reality of God and His desire to manifest Himself to you as an individual so that you, in turn, might grab hold of that excitement for God. Do you understand? We were teaching them how to grab hold of God and that God wants to talk to them individually. So, he was sharing with them. Now, I have heard George’s testimony as much, if not more, than anybody else in this congregation, but I want to tell you that every time I hear it, I get excited, especially under the anointing that was prevailing in that congregation at that time. Would to God that we could get as excited about God collectively! Sometimes I think that it is because we are too used to God. Or maybe it is because we have gotten from God all we really want and we really don’t want anything else from God. My goodness. That is truer than you think.
Many people come knocking on God’s door because they have a need or a want and when God answers the door, we say, like we’re talking to the postman, “Thank you,” and then we close the door and we lose our interest in God. Not that we forget about God, it is just that our enthusiasm for God begins to wane and finally we find ourselves as a man with a wallet that has holes in it. It holds nothing. When we dig down into it in the time of need, we find out either that it has dropped out the bottom or that we have expended all of it. We can find ourselves, not only spiritually bankrupt, but we can also find ourselves in a position of physical, mental and emotional bankruptcy and destitution. Although we have food in the cupboard, clothes in the closet, a roof over our heads and heat and cool in the appropriate season, we are still bankrupt because we have lost something of the reality, we have lost something of the fire, we have lost something of the enthusiasm that we had for God in the very beginning.
The indictment against the church of Ephesus in Revelation is pertinent to you and me because we are living in the last days. One of their transgressions was that they had left their first love. The church of Ephesus was a spiritual church. Paul starts out in Ephesians 4, I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called. What have you been called to? What have you been elected to? Have you been elected to live out your days working from nine to five? Or is there something in the aspect of service “as unto God”? The problem is that we always want to be remunerated for our services. We have the mentality of the hireling. We don’t have the mentality of the servant that desires to be a son. You know, there is a difference in those who expend something for the purpose of getting something back. What if you had a bank that you wanted to put your money into, but they weren’t going to give you any interest for it? Would you put your money in it? Well, our attitude is sometimes like that with God. We expect God to give us interest on the things that we put into Him. Whether He pays anything back, or even gives me what I put into it is really none of my business if I desire to do what He wants me to do. I have to do it with all of my heart – not because I want something in return, but because I love Him!
This was the character of the men that we were talking about in Acts. These were the men that were giving the essence of their lives and their livelihood. You take Paul. He was a Hebrew of the Hebrews. He had a lineage. Do you know what that means? That means that he was somebody important. Maybe we don’t put as much stock into our lineage; you know, we love our parents and all of that, but who are they? This man was a Hebrew of Hebrews. I mean, he had a lineage as long as your arm and he could trace his ancestors back and tell you what they did and how they acted and where they were and what kind of importance that they had within the kingdom of Israel was concerned. Do you hear me? He could probably tell you what his ancestors did as they trekked across the desert and what service they had with regard to the things of God. He could probably list it all out for you. I can hardly go back one generation, much less two or three or four. Maybe that is just as well for me. I got to the bank robbers and the thieves and I quit. I didn’t want to know anymore. I’m not a Hebrew of a Hebrew, I can tell you that. My lineage is nothing to be proud of. The only thing good about my lineage is to proclaim what God has delivered me from. My God! Now I will expound THAT all day long! I was in a hole. I was bound for hell and I was one of the devil’s minions doing his business with my mouth, my eyes, my ears, my hands, and my feet. In that condition and from that position, GOD RESCUED ME and elevated me up to a place where I might be able to do service unto Him. My goodness. We want to do service for Him, but we want to know what is in it for us.
Somebody sent an e-mail out and it had all these little sayings in it. Well, I found one that I really liked. I printed it out and I put it on the hood over the stove in the kitchen down at First Fruits Produce. It says, “Come work for the Lord. The hours are long, the work is hard, the pay is pitiful, but the retirement is out of this world.” Hallelujah. I think that is a good slogan for anybody who walks into my kitchen. I think that is a good slogan for anybody who wants to work on the farm. We should put that up in one of those arches, and put it over the road out there. I think it would be a great idea. You would have to drive through it to get here, so you are well prepared before you even get down here and get out of your car. If you are not interested, do a U-turn in the parking lot, like I see some people do. They are not here looking for church, they are looking for the RV place. I was standing outside one day and this big old bus came lumbering down. I said, “He has the wrong place.” He had a home on wheels. He had all the comforts – air conditioning, heat, hot or cold water when he wanted it. He could be driving down the road and he could get up and take a hot bath and come back and get at the wheel and keep on driving. Hallelujah. He doesn’t have to worry about stopping somewhere. He has a refrigerator full of food. I think that is indicative of the church in this hour. We are a bunch of RV Christians. We want things a certain way, we want a certain level of comfort, we want to have this and that and we have to have this and that, when the Kingdom of God is sitting out there in ruins. There is so much that can be done. Do you understand? God needs people who are willing to expend themselves, who are willing to sacrifice, who are willing to some way, somehow, grasp hold of the hem of God’s garment, that the virtue that flows from God would begin to translate itself into the desire that is in God’s heart for you and the world that is around you.
Is it something that you go out there and have fun and games? My God! I would challenge you to pick up the K.I.T. Bulletin and read the message that Brother Martin brought here. Brother Martin doesn’t know the situation here. Brother Martin doesn’t know the circumstances. Brother Martin doesn’t know the people. Hallelujah. I can guarantee that there is no information going to Brother Martin that would give him an insight to the condition of this place, yet he brings a message to this congregation that says, “Who are you?” There were some startling things that Brother Martin said that are very apropos to the condition that we, as a church, are in individually and corporately.
There are many needs out there. Now, you cannot work at this thing part-time! Do you understand that? You are talking about 200-300 people. You are talking about needs that need to be met and things that have to be done. Do you remember the business of the church in Acts? Do you remember that? Do you remember the widows? Do you remember that they were not being looked after, they were not being taken care of as they should? There was murmuring and they had to choose out seven men to take on that responsibility. Now, do you think that those were part time workers? How did those seven men live? I suppose that you could say it is God’s responsibility. Well, it is God’s responsibility. That is why God taps on my shoulder. James says that when you see your brother in need you can do one of two things. Your action can be, “God bless you; go your way. I will pray with you that God is going to meet your needs,” OR you can pray, “God bless you; go your way. I will pray with you that God is going to meet your needs and here is a little seed money.”
You know, people tell me that they want to do this and they want to do that, but they don’t have the means by which to do it. I say, “Start with what you have.” I’ll tell you something. You have more than nothing. It may be next to nothing, but you have something more than nothing. Take the something more than nothing and give it to someone who has absolutely nothing and see what happens. We are fighting with the spirit of self-preservation. We still have to deal with the instinct of survival of the fittest. We should be beyond that! Do you understand? We still have that mentality of self-preservation – with the message that we have received concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ. My God, we should be beyond that!
You know, I can talk big up here. It might be a different story when I get down in the nitty-gritty, but nevertheless, the truth is the truth and I have to adhere to the truth as much as the next person. I have to walk through my disappointments, frustration, anger, irritation, agitation – all of those things are qualities of my humanity that are below Christ. I have to be elevated in my position of strength and have the faith to believe that God is going to move in my set of circumstances, not only to deliver the environment that I am in, but also to deliver me while He is delivering it. Hallelujah.
You know, I like to take care of business when going out, because you just don’t know if you are going to come back. I am not so presumptuous, you understand. God showed that to me a very long time ago. We can be pretty self-reliant and think we can get on a plane here and get on a plane there the next day and fly back. Sometimes that doesn’t happen. Sometimes it may never happen.
I was sent an email from a woman while we were there. I was telling you about the last service that we were in. There was an e-mail that was sent and a woman was in prayer for us here in the States and she said that she saw rain falling. God says, “In the latter days I will pour out My Spirit.” He says, “I will pour out the former rain and the latter rain.” Joel 2:23, Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. She saw rain falling, rain falling, rain falling.
We were in that last meeting and by some means or another, God brought us an interpreter that they had never used before. He was a young man who was hungry for the Word of God. He was not only hungry for the Word of God, but he was hungry for the Word Giver. Do you hear me? He was very educated. I know he was a doctor. He gave me a card with “Dr. So and So” on it. Not a medical doctor, but a doctor nonetheless, so he must have had his doctorate in whatever it was that he studied in school. Hallelujah. I was very impressed with the young man. Do you hear me? I was very impressed with his hunger, his sincerity, and his humility. His humility, do you hear me? This man was translating for us and it was kind of funny. First, Brother George would get up and he would say something like, “God bless you. It is nice to be with you. I want to share with you the gospel of the Kingdom of Christ.” Well, that was about a 30-second passage, right? This guy would go on for a minute and a half. So I was sitting there wondering, “Maybe he is preaching his own sermon.” I leaned over to Brother Wondewossen and I said, “Did that jive?” He said, “Oh yes. There are many things that you say in your language that we don’t understand. They have to be broken down and explained. He is doing an excellent job.” So I said, “Praise the Lord. Give it to him, George.”
So, he rolled on and on and was preaching. You know how it is, George preaches and then he preaches. George preaches and then he preaches. Sometimes he preaches and then George preaches. The Spirit of God was flowing and flowing and flowing and they were moving together. I don’t know if you have ever translated with somebody, how difficult it can be, especially if you are translating for me. Was that an “amen” back there? Did I hear that?
I really believe that it has something to do with the anointing. I have met people that can flow with me and fit like a glove. There was a young lady that we met someplace in Europe. She was a very young girl in the Lord but she was very English-German oriented. It was amazing. I just loved to minister with that young lady. I loved it. I would jump; she would jump. I would move; she would move. Sometimes she was moving even as I was moving. I would turn to walk and she would be right there with me. I would have my hand up and I would look over and her hand would be up there just like this and the words were just coming and going and coming and going. Brother Martin is another one. I love to minister when he is translating for me. He always tells me, “Well, I knew where you were going.” I said, “Well, I will just be quiet and let you preach and I will just move around like I am preaching.”
So here they were flowing together, flowing together, flowing together. Then when they get done, Brother George says, “Brother Burt, do you have something to say?” I said, “Well, of course I do.” There were some things I wanted to capitalize on that George had said and I was bringing out these points, but I was also aware that there was a ministry that God wanted to do for individuals in the congregation. I don’t know that they have ever seen that type of manifestation to that extent or in that magnitude. Do you understand? So, here is this man; you know how I can’t stand still; I’ve got to walk around. They tried to give me a microphone with a wire on it. I said, “This will never work. I can’t do that. You have to give me something that frees me up.” So they gave me a wireless microphone and I was walking around and I began to prophesy. Now, you know, prophecy is different than preaching. Sometimes you just have to flow. You just have to go and hope that they catch it on the tape and the people can come back and re-listen to it. But this young man was right there behind me, going through the language translation, giving the Word of God. We went to this one and we went to that one and we went to this one and we went to that one. Then something happened that usually doesn’t happen. I began to bring a word of exhortation and prophecy to the whole congregation. Then I was done, and I took my seat.
After the meeting, the young man came to George and me and he said, “I want to tell you something. I have translated for a lot of churches. I have translated for a lot of preachers, both white and black. I have been in many meetings,” meetings coming out his ears. He didn’t say that, but that is what he meant. But he said, “I want to tell you something. I have never been in a meeting where I have witnessed the Spirit of God as it was flowing through an individual and the reception of the congregation as they began to soak it up.”
HALLELUJAH! It has nothing to do with who we are or what we are in the flesh. It has everything to do with what He is and the desire and the intent of God. The next morning that young man came to our hotel. He buzzed us up in the room. He said, “I would like very much to talk with you. Would it be possible?” I said, “Absolutely. Let us go down, George.” So we went downstairs and he had his coffee and George had his Fanta and I had my tea. Hallelujah. We began to talk to him about the things that are in the Bible. He was saying this and he was asking that. We were saying this and we were saying that. We were giving this and he was just kind of sitting there listening to George and me. He said, “I have never heard these things. I have been in the church for so long and I have never heard any of these things.” We were talking about numerology. We were talking about symbolism. We were talking about the tabernacle and George just happened to have a copy of The Tabernacle in his luggage and that is where we deposited it. They are hungry people.
Brethren, I want to encourage you in your prayer time and the things that pertain to your spirituality and the responsibilities that you have. I am not telling you to ignore the responsibilities that we have collectively or individually in our local fellowships, as far as the States are concerned. But there are other places of responsibility that God is laying at your door. We have a responsibility to move in accordance with the desire that God has. Hallelujah. As I was saying earlier, I am quite sure I want to get in touch with Brother Chijoke when he returns to Nigeria from Addis Ababa. That is where the team came from. We also need to remember the people of Ethiopia. God has a desire for them, a place of favor. Not that they are favored above other people, but in the timeframe of God, it seems to be their hour of recognition. We need to be cognizant of that and we need to be cognizant of our spiritual responsibility concerning the issues.
Thank you all very much for your prayers and support. We could feel the prayers of the saints. It was a very rough trip for George and me. We got very little sleep, but we didn’t really need it, I suppose. We were much in prayer during the night. In the night seasons we would be woken up at one, two, sometimes three o’clock to come against that spirit of darkness that was walking across the land at that particular hour. We were praying for particular needs that we were so aware of, the need for instruction and training and bringing them up so that they would be able to facilitate God in His will for that land in this hour.
God bless you all. Hallelujah.