“Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.” And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things.” (Matthew 17:9-12, NKJV)
After more than 21 years…it is time to be back.
The silver-hairs are BACK AT IT!
Laurie Martin – climbing the stairs to the worship team stage.
I just want to share this testimony, for it has become a fulfilled hope and promised day for us. I strongly believe it will also be an encouragement for many others who think the time has come and gone.
On Feb. 3, 2019, Laurie and I were once again on a Sunday morning church worship team. It had been almost six years since the last time that had happened.
By then it had gotten to the point where we thought our time was done. The days were over. The years had come and moved on. We didn’t sing in public since August 2013 – the last time with our group Ahava Love Band at a One New Man Saturday night meeting with Warren Marcus.
In fact, at times we considered, if not aloud but to ourselves, “Let the others do it now. I’ve done my part. I am tired, old, and time has passed.” I can speak for myself, that this thought was just to cover up the longing I still had from the Lord to lead others into worship. And now that it seemed to have finished, I wanted the inner longing to stop. It almost was as if I didn’t want to think about it, for it didn’t seem that it would happen again.
The Bible speaks of that happening to others. They have a call from the Lord, they do it for a time, and then they are set aside; distracted into other areas, or just quit out of discouragement and “lack of use”.
But the Lord has His plans, His purposes, and His faith, which is bigger than ours. If the time is not over with Him, then it is not over with us. That which He has put in each of us may have been buried for a while, and even considered as dead. But it is only taking more process time to pressure the soft coal into a hard diamond, more so to enable the finest to come forth, beyond what would have done if completed earlier ahead of its time.
The gifts may be there, but the fruit takes longer to develop.
We give thanks for the Lord God Almighty, bringing us back into the place of leading worship, as we had been gifted to do for so many years before.
We also give thanks to the leadership of Antioch International Church, with Dr. Peter and Joy Wyns, Pastors Jesse and Elizabeth (Liz) Enns, who have given us this opportunity once again.
Our hearts are that we, being 64 (Steve) and 59 (Laurie) respectively, will be an encouragement to others who are “silver-haired”- that the Lord has much yet to do in and through you too.
He is not finished with us yet! There is much to do, increasingly coming forth as we step out in faith and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and the FINISHER of our faith.
If you have been out of the game for a while, seek the Lord to get back in. You are needed on the team once more, to finish the race! With you in the Lord’s service!
And the rest of the story…
Another very important part of this restoration concerns the building that we sang in – the former Heritage USA/PTL Barn (Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker ministry). In November of 1997, I was the Administrator of All Nations Church/Mahesh Chavda Ministries (Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda), which had relocated from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Charlotte, NC on July 3, 1994. (Full details of this have been written in my book Prophetic Stories – Signs Along the Way, published in April 2014 through Martin Lighthouse Publishing. Available below.)
Having administrated many conferences since the beginning of my time with that ministry, in August 1987, (a grand total of exactly 40 in the 14 years I served with them) we had scheduled a national conference with the then current owners of the former Heritage USA property, to be held in mid-November 1997. The New Heritage USA (as it had been renamed) Barn venue was the specific location.
As was our joy, Laurie and I were also on the Mahesh Chavda Ministries conference worship team, along with Doug Goff, bass player. (Doug now plays bass every other week on the Antioch International Church five worship teams.) The three-day conference went very well. Though I cannot recall the name of the worship leader or conference speakers we had, it was an awesome time being in the Barn and on the worship team, leading the people into the presence of the Lord.
At one point during one of the worship times, the Lord gave me a prophetic word, which I spoke out from the stage at my singer’s position. In my mind’s eye, I could see an image of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, on the very back wall of the auditorium, high up, almost filling the entire space. As I remember in part, I declared that the Lord Himself, the Lion of Israel, was in this place, and His purposes were being accomplished. He was ruling and reigning in the earth. I will never forget that image!
After the completion of the conference, two weeks later the entire New Heritage USA shut down. The entire 2000 plus acre main grounds, consisting of the Grand Hotel, Pyramid administration building, the Barn and attached Studio where the PTL Club program had run, the King’s Castle, Kevin’s House, the Bunk Houses, Heritage Island, and the incomplete Tower were all left desolate. Over the period of the next 7 years, nothing was operational for public use. Only the former Fort Hope, located across the railroad tracks, which was a reformation, restoration ministry of the Bakkers, to give the homeless a place to live and earn a trade, was sold by the four Malaysian businessmen who had bought the entire property in those years (buying out Morris Cerullo, who half-owned with them at the time, but specifically wanted the PTL TV Network for his ministry.)
During this time, Hurricane Hugo came through the Carolinas, severely damaging the Grand Hotel and other facilities. A few years later, the north side of the Barn’s roof lost a good third of its roof, caving in down into the building itself. Water damage from frozen pipes destroyed all the carpet and interior lower walls in the former Heritage School rooms below, leaving that area quite unusable. Rick Joyner had prophesied in 1988 that the entire Heritage USA would die.
But he also prophesied that it would be resurrected. And as was in the Lord’s heart from the beginning, so it was!
The full history of the years from that time in November 1997 through this February 2019 are well documented in other volumes and websites, involving Rick Joyner and Morningstar, Mahesh Chavda and All Nations Church, Peter Wyns and Christians For Messiah Ministries/Antioch International Church (read my book, The Promise, One Man’s Journey To See God’s Word Revealed(published by Martin Lighthouse Publishing, Sept. 2013. Available below.) but I just want to share this following portion with you, to keep this short.
In the book I also document the time I met with the Malaysian’s Administrator of the property (which is now the current Morningstar’s Comenius School building) negotiating the sale/purchase of the Fort Hope 26 acres property, as Administrator for All Nations Church. We were able to purchase that for the church home in the late fall of 1999, for $900,000.
Now back to the future. When Laurie and I walked onto that restored Barn’s stage, Feb. 4, 2019, to once again be a part of a worship team leading the Lord’s people into His presence, it wasn’t just another time to sing.
After more than 21 years since the last time we had sung on that very stage, the Lord was returning us to a place that He still has deep in His heart of love. The place where we had given $3,000 in 1985 for three Lifetime Partner memberships; the place where multitudes, in the millions, came every year to witness, experience, and walk in the presence of the Lord with all the other believers who brought family and friends there annually.
This place is not just another big building. It is a place that is revealing the Lord’s tremendous heart of worship, intercession, restoration, and reformation for His people, and all those who are coming back to Him, to fulfill His purposes and plans for this area and the nations that will be affected from it!
We rejoice in this! We proclaimed the Living God Yeshua HaMashiach, the Mighty One of Israel, is on the move! He rules! He reigns! Nothing can stop Him from carrying out His will in all the earth! (That was part of the prophetic word He also gave me that morning from the platform.)
And one last word I want to share with you. I received this in an email from a long-time friend, Lisa Antonson, just a week before on Jan. 27, 2019:
“I told Ray I had a dream on Friday night & you were in it, it was on the PTL grounds and I remembered in the dream you said you were helping to restore PTL back to the great Christian place to come to as it was intended many years go…….and everyone was so happy in the dream.”
Bring it on Lord! Let Your Holy Spirit come and rule over this place, and in the hearts of all those Who You are bring back, for re-storation and re-commission!
Steve & Laurie Martin
Antioch International Church worship team (Photo by Ed Brigham, Prayer Pastor)
Shalom and ahava (peace and love in Hebrew).
Now think on this,
Love For His People, Inc.
Here are the two books I mentioned above, written in 2013 and 2014, documenting more of what I have shared in this edition of Now Think On This. I hope you get them and see what the Lord has done! We rejoice in His miraculous works, and all that He is restoring in the earth for His people!
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