Jerusalem, Israel – Marking the first occasion in history for a truly international convention of The Foursquare Church, Pastor Jack W. Hayford, president of The Foursquare Church, welcomed nearly 3,000 ministers, delegates and guests to the opening session of “The International Congress on Worship, Prayer and our Global Witness” tonight at the Jerusalem International Convention Center.
Delegates from every continent of the world were called to worship in tonight’s session with Israeli leaders playing the shofar and by a Jerusalem rabbi speaking blessing over the convention and its delegates, a prayer taken from books of the prophets found in the Old Testament. Bridging traditional and contemporary expressions of praise to God, Foursquare’s own Tommy Walker continued leading conventioneers into the presence of the Lord.
Corporate worship, led by Walker and his band, united the hearts of people with cultural diversity and multiple languages under one common cause: the name and lordship of Jesus Christ. Walker is based out of Christian Assembly Foursquare Church in Eagle Rock, Calif., and has traveled internationally, holding worship concerts and mercy outreaches in places where people are in great need, including the Philippines, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Guatemala, Zambia and Brazil.
Featured during this week’s convention is internationally acclaimed recording and performing artist Ken Medema, who has long been a friend of The Foursquare Church and has ministered in numerous Foursquare events and conventions. Beyond the marvel of Medema’s keyboard talent, made more remarkable by his blindness, is the wonder of his keen spiritual insight. He has a prophetically creative capacity for bringing the word of the Spirit with grace and power.
Following Medema’s powerful ministry in song, Pastor Jack welcomed Foursquare representatives who minister in Jerusalem, Chuck and Liz K., to greet the convention. In his remarks, Pastor Charles shared of his personal calling to the people of Israel during the past 40 years and about the progress of The Foursquare Church in this city and the region. He also told of his ironic birth date—the same day Israel was declared a sovereign nation in 1948. Pastor Jack asked Liz K. to share a song with the convention body, the lyrics of which were inspired from the account of Matthew’s Gospel that beautifully portrays the tearful prayer of Jesus as He wept over the city of Jerusalem.
Following a brief pause in the service during which Sterling Brackett, vice president/corporate secretary-treasurer of The Foursquare Church, led the convention body through the necessary process of establishing a quorum in order to transact business during the convention, Ken Medema returned to the piano.
Medema presented a musical tribute to Foursquare ministers who have entered into their eternal reward during the past year. The lyrics of his song encouraged ministers today, on behalf of those who now enjoy the face-to-face presence of Jesus, to follow after the Lord and faithfully continue in the calling of God. Accompanying the musical tribute, the convention body once again honored the memory of these co-laborers in Christ by viewing photos and names of each minister and their respective places of ministry prior to their passing.
Pastor Jack invited to the podium the speaker for the evening, one of the most trusted prophetic voices in Israel today, Asher Intrater, director of Revive Israel Ministries, Tel Aviv, Israel. Intrater’s youngest son accompanied him to the platform, and at his request, prayed over his father prior to the keynote message. The speaker addressed tonight’s theme, “Pentecost: Past, Present or Future,” by first turning to Mark 16, then to Romans 9 and reminding the delegates of the words of Jesus Christ to take the gospel into all the world, and the prayer of the apostle Paul to go first to Jewish people with the love and message of Christ.
Intrater reminded delegates of the similarity between the assembly of believers gathered in Jerusalem this week and the 3,000 people who were filled with the Holy Spirit on the historic Day of Pentecost here in the same city 2,000 years ago. He challenged Christians from around the world to pray for the breakthrough of the gospel within the nation of Israel and specifically within Jerusalem. Then he promised the leaders attending the convention that his fellow-Messianic Jews in Israel would pray as well for God’s outpouring of the Holy Spirit in homelands represented by the convention delegates.
The heart of Intrater’s message became clear as he reminded believers to return to the place of the first Pentecost, but not merely to accept the historic experience. Instead, he challenged believers today to expect a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit and to move from the past to the present of all God wants to do in their personal lives. To move from the past to the present outpouring of God’s Spirit, according to Intrater, means that revivals will spring forth throughout the nations of the world. These revivals, he said, will impact the future salvation of people within the nation of Israel. He pointed out the apostle Paul’s declaration that all of the people of Israel will be saved.
In closing, he referred to Acts 2, comparing the text of the apostle Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost with the original text of the message from the Old Testament book of Joel from which Peter quoted. He pointed out that Joel’s prophecy included a verse intentionally absent from Peter’s message that, according to Intrater, has fulfillment yet in the future. It is a distinct promise for the people of Israel to be saved as Jews commit their lives to Messiah, Jesus Christ, he said. He pressed believers to anticipate a future revival much like the Day of Pentecost, not only in Jerusalem, but among the nations of the world as well.
The promise of a new Pentecost, he explained, begins with people receiving the promise of God through salvation in Christ. He said the fulfillment includes the infilling of the Holy Spirit and a commitment to help spread the gospel throughout the world. Asher’s message, while embracing Christians, also challenged them that according to the Scriptures, the future revival within the land of Israel is at least in part dependent upon Christians to reach the world for Christ. The next great outpouring of the Holy Spirit, he said, will precede the second coming of Jesus Christ. The congregation responded in applause and shouts of praise to God in affirmation.
Concluding the evening’s first session, Pastor Jack and Tommy Walker led the convention body in prayer and song. They called for a united expression of the need and desire of each minister and delegate to receive a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit. Then, Pastor Jack encouraged the body of believers to receive the equipping of the Holy Spirit for a new release of the life of Jesus, by His Spirit, in the world today.
The evening’s session concluded with an anthem of praise that clearly expressed the responsive heart of believers in attendance. Pastor Jack reminded the congregation that the dynamic service and the response of the people was not the ultimate fulfillment of the prophetic word shared by the speaker tonight. He invited delegates to return to the convention center each morning for devotional prayer and intercession. He likened the early morning sessions of concerted prayer, led by Robert Sterns, to the times of waiting on the Lord by the early disciples as they anticipated the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
The evening’s closing prayer by Pastor Jack declared that just as the people waited for a period of days to experience the outpouring of the Holy Spirit prior to the Day of Pentecost, so the people attending this convention should also wait, in anticipation, for a new, fresh and future outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God.
The convention, which bears the theme “On Earth as it Is in Heaven,” continues through noon on Wednesday, July 25.