Issue 41, May 2023
Praying For Revival
By Pastor Joe O'Neill
"Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?" Psalm 85:6
As a church, we've had many special opportunities to pray thus far in 2023. From late February to early April we had "40 Days of Prayer". Last week, we had the opportunity to join in the "IFCA Week of Prayer". And last Thursday was the annual "National Day of Prayer". What a great privilege it is to call on the Name of the Lord! I hope that you joined in for these times of prayer because they help us to realize that God is in charge and that He answers prayer.
One thing that we can also pray for is revival.
What is Revival?
Simply put, revival is when the Lord stirs up His people and they draw closer to Him. The Bible teaches us, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). Revival is when God’s people turn humbly to God and His holy presence draws closer to them. Revival from the hand of God opens the spiritual understanding of His people. By God’s power the saints more deeply and more fully realize how great His love for them truly is (Ephesians 1:17-21). In one sense, God’s church already knows that He loves them and that He has sent His only begotten Son to be their Lord and Savior. But when revival happens, the people of God have a deeper sense of His great love.
Revival is like windshield wipers removing the rain or snow from the windshield so that the driver can see the road. Revival is like the blowing of dust off an old photograph so that you can see the picture clearly. Revival is like a teenager cleaning their room so they are organized enough to actually find what they are looking for! Revival brings God’s holiness into sharper focus.
Why pray for Revival?
The reason we pray for revival is because only God can make the blind see and only God can give a deeper understanding of His holy Person to us. Only the eternal One can enlighten our soul and spirit. So we must ask Him. We are to pray that He would revive us.
The Psalmist prayed for the revival of the nation Israel in Psalm 85:6 when he asked the LORD: "Will You not revive us again?" The Psalmist knew that Israel could not be revived by their own power. They needed divine intervention. And that is exactly our condition. We need the power of God to open our eyes to the greatness of His Name. That is why we are to pray to Him for this
blessing of revival.
What are the results of Revival?
One of the results of revival is that God’s people will rejoice in Him. The Psalmist prays: “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” When revival touches a heart, the spirit of the revived rejoice in the Lord. The joy of the Lord overflows out of their heart. And this joy is not just for 5 or 10 minutes, but for long periods of time because it is the joy of the Lord, the joy that Christ gives to His people (Philippians 4:4).
A second result of revival is hunger for the Word of God. God’s people realize when they read the Bible or hear the Bible taught, that it is God who is speaking to them through His Word. God’s Word “jumps off the page”, comforting, encouraging, correcting and rebuking. The revived Christian wants to learn and grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord (2 Peter 3:18).
Another result of revival is evangelism. When a Christian is revived, they want others to experience the forgiveness of God and His great comfort. The Christian has their heart more fully opened to the peril of lost souls who are outside of Christ. Revival begins with the house of God, the Church, but it quickly spreads to the lost who hear the Spirit-filled Christians testifying of salvation of God in Christ. Those revived are quick to invite the thirsty to the well of salvation, the only place where the thirsty can be satisfied (Revelation 22:17)!
There are many more wonderful results that come from revival, but we might never experience them unless we pray steadily with the Psalmist, “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” O saints of God, please pray for revival! For yourself, your Nortonville family, and our brothers and sisters across the nation. Revival can begin in you!
Spotlight: John Cook
Nortonville Gospel Chapel has supported John and Dee Cook, and their organization Indigenous Ministries, for many years. We were greatly
saddened to hear of the passing of brother John on March 30th, while he was serving the Lord in Iraq. While his race is finished on this earth, God was able to use him to touch many lives all around the world, and his life serves as a reminder to us of how God can use us if we submit ourselves to His plan.
John was born in Wisconsin and lived and served the Lord in a number of areas including the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Hawaii, India, Iraq, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, California and Colorado.
He knew he wanted to be a pastor in middle school and held to this dream until at the age of 19 he became a youth pastor in Honolulu, serving with his father at International Baptist Church. He also served as Associate and Youth Pastor at First Baptist Church, Turlock, California, Senior Pastor at Valley Baptist (now Church on the Hill) Church, Montrose, Colorado, and Senior Pastor at Shepherd of the Hills Church, Monument, Colorado which he and his family planted. He loved the Church and it was his passion to serve the Bride of Christ.
John and his wife, Dee met when they were 12 years old, in 5th grade. Soon afterwards, they became best friends through their teen years and fell in love in Bible College, and married in Honolulu Hawaii on June 3, 1977. They enjoyed almost 46 years of
marriage and served the Lord in ministry their entire lives together. They welcomed four beautiful children into their lives, Christa, Carolyn, John and Jeffrey, and later welcomed seven wonderful grandchildren.
John attended International Bible College, Honolulu, Hawaii and went on to complete his Seminary degrees, later taking doctoral studies at Trinity Theological Seminary. He was conferred a Doctorate of Ministries by the Bible College in Central India which he co-founded, Grace Bible College.
His passion for his family was evident and he relished the time they were able to spend together. Every year as a family the Cooks camped and hiked deep in the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains. He taught the children many outdoor and survival skills, as well as a passion for God’s creation around a roaring campfire.
He loved the outdoors, camping and anything that was connected to adventure. Not one to take the easy path, he was famous for driving off paths, glancing down cliffs and smiling, climbing, hiking, hunting, horseback riding and four-wheeling in places most people wouldn’t dream of going. This may give you a clue as to how ministering in difficult-access areas was something he truly enjoyed.
In 2003, he and Dee co-founded Indigenous Ministries International, continuing a ministry in India they as a family had worked on with a national in 1997 on the central east coast. He co-founded two Bible Colleges in India, a church planting ministry and a children’s home. What began in India with church planting and child sponsorships, expanded to a place God called him to during the Iraq wars; the Middle East.
Beginning in Jordan, John worked alongside national pastors, encouraging them in any way he could, and developing relationships that continue to this day throughout the Middle East.
John’s “secret” was that he surrendered to God a part of him that broke when he was just a 2 1/2 year old child watching his dear mother die as a result of their family work on the mission field in the Philippines.
Later, as he and his family moved to Sri Lanka and were caught in a government coup and revolution; he and his brother, Jim lived under a kidnap threat, watched killings and were traumatized by terrorist activities. Decades later, in January 2004, John kneeled next to traumatized children in Bagdad listening to their stories with tears running down their cheeks. He understood their fear and terror and wanted to help.
Indigenous Ministries began field work in Baghdad in 2004, working with the first Baptist Church in Iraq. John was there the night it was formed and born. He loved working with and encouraging the pastor and staff throughout very difficult years to come. Soon after, the doors opened for Indigenous Ministries to move into Egypt with church planting and later child sponsorships which would stabilize relationships with widows, giving them and their children a covering of protection under the local churches.
In 2014, as ISIS ravaged N. Iraq, John received a call asking if he would come and help. He went six days later. Helping hundreds of thousands of refugees with aid, resources, comfort and the gospel, John and Dee guided the ministry to establish the now thriving Child Sponsorship Program with refugees. His dream was to establish sustainable relationships and help national pastors minister to their own people more effectively; all programs revolve around this directive. In 2022, John founded Middle East Theological College in Erbil, Iraq, a fully accredited arm of Grace Bible College in India, which attained accreditation in 2021. This was the third Bible college the Lord allowed John to start, and John was thrilled. He always gave God the glory in all these steps.
Pastor John was a man of faith and a warrior. He understood the price of following Christ, spiritual struggles and felt it a privilege to serve his Lord. His faith was unmistakable. He was a prayer warrior and held many around the world daily in prayer before the Lord. He was an encourager; often identifying the under-dogs and lesser knowns, lifting them up, discipling, mentoring and encouraging, for decades he quietly ministered one by one to countless people.
Indigenous Ministries is continuing in India, Iraq, Egypt and The Philippines; John’s 26 years of vision in missions work laying the foundation for Indigenous Ministries is strong, and the reason the ministry is able to transition well now to fruitful ministry. The national teams of Indigenous Ministries are committed to the Lord and the ministry. They are confident that we will see God do great things in the days ahead!
Please be in prayer for the family of John Cook as they adjust to life without his presence. Be in prayer for the team at Indigenous ministries, that God blesses them in their efforts to spread the
message of the gospel to unreached peoples.