Under what circumstances God works great and inconceivable things in my life?
Illustrated in a great experience about Revivalbooks
GOD HAS ALSO PREPARED A WORK FOR ME
To God’s glory, I would like to share what a great and exciting task God gave me in 2011/2012, without me even noticing it. He prepared a work for me, which fulfills my life more and more. In this process I experience great challenges and the greatest joy.
We need to remember that “our” work is and remains God’s work. In reality, our work is only a building block in God’s great work of reviving His church and finalizing the gospel quickly and gloriously. That is why the apostle Paul says in Romans 15:18-19 NASB: “For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit….” Paul was so successful because Christ was working through him.
Distribution of Revival Literature
The Lord imperceptibly set a work for me in motion of distributing revival literature. It has to do with the 40-Days books by Dennis Smith and the booklets “Steps to Personal Revival” and “Abide in Jesus”.
I see it this way: The Lord gave me a job as a coordinator. He provided many other people for “my work”, a second work of intercession, translation, correction, prayer, financing, sharing, establishing connections, distribution support, sharing testimonies, etc. It is wonderful that God gives His commissions to a group. Collaboration brings more than working next to each other. God wants to connect us with each other. Some for only a short time, others long-term. Altogether, it is valuable for all those involved to know that through God’s grace they are a co-worker in God’s work as a whole. – My part in this work started in the following way:
The imperceptible beginning
I attended a New Start program in our health center in Herghelia in Siebenbürgen, Romania. On May 28, 2011 sister Carol Squier came to me with eight books and said: “You have to read these books.” Almost all the books were on topics about the Holy Ghost by Dennis Smith, one of our American pastors.
About three months later, on August 14, 2011, while attending a hiking retreat in Kandergrund, Switzerland, I suddenly realized why our church was losing so many young people. I was very distressed and thought about my own children and grandchildren. Ever since then I have been intensely preoccupied with this plight. Now I am convinced that the same spiritual cause is not only behind many of our personal problems, but also behind the problems in our local church right up to the problems in our worldwide church. What is the central problem behind our problems? It is a lack of the Holy Spirit.
Another three months passed – on October 28, 2011 a brother, who was a stranger to me, greeted me in Bad Aibling and thanked me for a worship I had held on the Holy Spirit 35 years before at a meeting of the elders and pastors in southern Bavaria. He could still remember it. Back at home I looked through my papers and was astonished to see that already back in 1976 I had made a call for people to claim Bible promises in prayer for receiving the Holy Spirit. I then asked myself: “Helmut, how has it been for you during the past 35 years?”
Taken aback and ashamed
I was very taken aback and deeply ashamed when I realized that I had only practiced this for about 6 or 7 years. These years were years of great challenges and victories. How things went after that I can’t exactly say. I realized that at some point I only prayed in a very general manner without claiming any promises. A few years before October 2011 I had again started to claim promises in prayer and saw a great difference. When praying general prayers, I hoped they would be answered; when praying with promises, I knew my prayers were answered. By praying with promises for the Holy Ghost (and other blessings) there have been positive changes in my life and ministry as a pastor. I see a distinct difference.
After this meeting and the disturbing and shattering realization about the lack of the Holy Ghost in my life, I asked the Lord for forgiveness for all the losses and damage that had occurred because of my long-standing failure. Daily I ask the Lord to help me as far as possible, not only to repair the damage, but also to go above and beyond making it good again.
Publishing house contacts
In 2011/2012 I encouraged our publishing houses to release a book from Dennis Smith about the Holy Ghost. But due to several different reasons they didn’t see themselves in a position to take on this book. So on April 1, 2012 I prayed: “Father in heaven, no one is taking on this book. Should I do anything else?” I received the answer: “Tend to the matter!“ I had never before taken care of a book project. I knew absolutely nothing about it. So I prayed that the Lord would give me the necessary help to publish the book “40 Days – Prayers and Devotions to Prepare for the Second Coming” Book 1.
God sent the necessary help
I couldn’t and can’t do this work from God alone. God has given many a Nehemiah-work and connected our works to each other. I was able and may be the coordinator in a way. To outside appearances those rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem looked like they were Nehemiah’s employees, but in reality, they were co-workers with God and were living in the work that He had prepared for them. It is the same today.
The Lord led me successively in various ways to the different project partners; sometimes at the last minute, but always at the right time. There were six people from Switzerland, Germany and Austria, who contributed with their special talents.
40 Days: Prayers and Devotions to Prepare for the Second Coming“
Alexander Konrad and I thought we could venture printing 1000 copies. Just at this time brother Konrad met Markus Kutzschbach from the Adventist Book Center (ABC) in Bogenhofen, Austria. He said that we should print 2000 copies and that the ABC would take 1000 of those copies. The Austrian and Swiss publishing houses also participated and in the end, four publishing houses took care of the distribution and sales. When I think back: God’s starting signal in prayer was on April 1, 2012 and only four months later, in August 2012, the book was published. Clearly God’s leading.
Back to the fall of 2011
All of this led me to prepare several sermons on the subject of living with the Holy Ghost. I provided churches with copies of these sermons. They were sent everywhere. Two leading, theologically experienced brothers also received these sermons. One of them wrote to me, “The Lord gave you a great gift for us all.” Both of them recommended that my sermons should be printed. I thought about it and concluded that the sermons would only make up one booklet and that no publishing house would be interested since they would only have more work than profit with it. Therefore, I did absolutely nothing. However, God saw it differently.
God put it upon another person’s heart
A few weeks later, I received an inquiry from Christian Ströck, the homeland mission secretary of the German-Swiss Union (DSV). He asked if I would consent to having my sermons published in a booklet. Only a few additions would be necessary. I naturally agreed. They took care of the corrections, verifying the sources, commissioning a designer, securing photos and obtaining printing offers. In this way, the booklet “Steps to Personal Revival” came about.
Free Distribution of the Booklets
Christian Ströck and I discussed if these booklets could be distributed free of charge to all Adventist families in the German-Swiss Union (DSV). Since the Lord provided the necessary money, we were able to do it.
In retrospect, it turned out that the free distribution was very valuable. As a result, all families were reached and those, whose hearts had been touched, couldn’t keep the joy to themselves. They became witnesses and distributors. Since then this has been happening in more and more countries.
The German-Swiss Union invites others to Participate
Previously the German-Swiss Union (DSV) had contacted other German-speaking unions. As a result, the Austrian Union and the Baden-Württemberg Conference joined the project, so that 9,200 copies were needed.
9.200 copies were needed for the three fields. With “courageous faith”, as we thought, we gave a printing order for 10,000 copies. But the printer made a mistake – he unintentionally printed 13,500 copies. What would happen now? With reference to Romans 8:28 – that all things work together for good to those who love God – we accepted the additional delivery. Amazingly, the booklets were soon out of stock and unbelievably we had to repeatedly print more. In the meantime, six editions have already been printed in German making a total of 44,000 booklets. Many church members, whose hearts had been touched by the message, distributed the booklets as I already mentioned.
In the “Steps to Personal Revival” we advertised the 40-Day books, since they offer significant help for spiritual growth. In the meantime, this has led to four editions of the first 40-Days book – altogether 9,000 copies. The publishing house was also able to sell 9,000 copies of the 40-Days books volumes 2, 3 and 4. These have been a great spiritual benefit for many church members. In fact, there are now inquiries about volume 5. It will come out in the spring of 2017. And we have again to reprint Nr.1 and 2
The Lord intervenes continuously: seminars, videos, audio books, e-books.
As a result of these books, I have received and am still receiving invitations from churches abroad and at home with the request to hold the “Steps to Personal Revival” seminar. (The seminar consists of four hours: sharing experiences on Friday evening, the sermon on Sabbath and two hours in the afternoon.) The need is great and growing. Starting in 2017 an additional pastor will also be holding seminars. – While holding the seminar in Nürnberg, they asked if they could record it on video. This is how the video recording came about and has been distributed by Amazing Discoveries. – A brother from Switzerland called me and told me that they had a radio announcer as a guest for two weeks and if I would consent to the booklet being made into an audio book. He paid for the radio announcer, Hanno Herzler, so that Amazing Recordings could distribute the message as an audio book. – Jonathan Bäcker wrote me an email asking if he could publish the booklet as an e-book. He did it in two versions: “epub” and “mobi”. Since then the booklet is been sold as an e-book by Amazon. Thus, the Lord led on in an astonishing way step by step.
Translation into other languages
While visiting the church Altenmarkt (near Chiemsee) I learned that brother Leonhard Reband had translated the booklet “Steps to Personal Revival” into Russian. (In the meantime he has also translated “Abide in Jesus” and four of the 40-Days books and the 10 Days Book.) Sister Edina Fürj from Hungary wrote me that she had translated it into Hungarian. Thus, through church members, who were deeply moved by the message, one translation after another came about. Now it has been translated into 22 languages: Russian, Hungarian, Czech, Danish, Serbian, Croatian, English, French, Bulgarian, Romanian, Urdu (Pakistan and parts of India), Kirundi (Burundi – East Africa), Tegulug, Odiya, Hindi, Mizo (all four in India), Vietnamese, Kinyarwanda (Rwanda – East Africa), Filipino-Tagalog, Bahasa-Indonesia, Spanish and Polish. Translation is in progress in 6 other ones: Portuguese, Amharic (Ethiopia), Slovenian, Thai, Swedisch and Dutch. Altogether, that makes 28 foreign languages. (as of Dec. 15, 2016)
New Website for the Booklets
Ilja Bondar from the mission project Advedia Vision, is currently preparing a new website in German and English, from which the booklets can be read, printed or sent, in all the available languages. (www.schritte-zur-persönlichen-Erweckung.info and www.steps-to-personal-revival.info).
I am filled with joy and can only marvel at God’s great miracle. Serve the Lord with joy. The joy of the Lord is your strength.
God’s leading in regards to financing through offices and predominantly through private donors is just as amazing. I can only give thanks with my whole heart for all the small and large donations and also for the intersession for revival, helpers, resources, permits and money. The Lord will bless everyone who prayed and gave and they will also be a blessing to others. Deut. 28:8; Mal. 3:10.
With God’s help and the cooperation of Unions, Conferences, Publishing Houses and Churches we were able to distribute the booklets to the churches free of charge. Here are the numbers of booklets distributed:
German: 44.000 Germany, Austria, Switzerland
Ungarisch: 8.600 Hungary, Romania
Tschechisch: 7.000 Czech, Slowakia
Englisch 38.000, printed in Germany, USA, India and Korea, distributed in Australia, Newseeland, Papua-Neuguinee, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, Salomon, England, USA, India,
Serbian 5.000 Serbian, Montenegro, Bosnia, Herzogowina, Macedonia
Urdu: 5.000 Pakistan, some Indian Countries
French 15.000 France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Martinique, Reunion-Indian Ocean
Mizo: 9.000 Mizoram/India a. Myanmare
Tegulug 80.000 Andhra Pradesh/India
Oriya 8.000 Oriya/India
Hindi 5.000 Official Language India
Kirundi 100.000 Burundi/Eastafrica
Kinyarwanda 130.000 Rwanda/Eastafrica (only fort the more than 110.000 newly baptized 2016, the Elders and Pastors. The Rwanda Union has 820.000 members.)
A series of miracles of God has so far produced a spread of a total of over 500,000
(Situation on Dec. 15 2016)
We pray that the Lord will continue to lead and give us the necessary funds – gold and silver are His Hag. 2:8. Many believers have come to realize that the best investment is in God’s kingdom and the “heavenly bank” is the only bank that will with certainty never go bankrupt.
Further sermons led to the booklet “Abide in Jesus”
In connection with the development of the booklet “Steps to Personal Revival”, I wrote further sermons – a continuation under the title “Abide in Jesus”.
The messages in these sermons have been a blessing to me personally. And I am thankful that some have shared how this message has helped them find a complete surrender to Jesus. They recognized that we shouldn’t have any reservations concerning a surrender, but rather that it brings great benefit. Furthermore, they came to realize what great importance “Christ in us” has. Many found joyful obedience through Jesus and the power of God. There are now 22,000 copies of this booklet; it is also available in German as a video and audio book. It has already been translated into eight languages (French, English, Russian, Serbian, Croatian, Danish, Bulgarian and Czech.)
Great and mighty things
Who would have thought that more than 550,000 booklets and 40 Days Books would be printed, plus thousands of videos, audio-books, e-books and
Can’t we all see that the Lord is doing great and mighty things? Things, which are way beyond our possibilities and abilities. Does it surprise you that this makes it necessary to continually call to God so that He can do great and mighty things? Is it a miracle that the answers cause much joy, rejoicing and delight?
I am asked over and over again what kind of advertising I use for the distribution. Church members, whose hearts are touched by the message of living with the Holy Ghost, play a key role. They pass on the message. When we are transformed by Christ living in our hearts and being filled with the Holy Ghost, then we experience great and might things. We can’t keep this to ourselves.
What do the readers value?
To date I have received more than 80 written testimonies and have had hundreds of conversations with people in churches. This has shown that the booklet “Steps to Personal Revival” are especially valued for the following reasons:
- It opens our eyes to our personal spiritual condition: saved or lost? (more in ch. 2)
- They understood the necessary steps, which lead to a spiritual life: daily surrender to Christ and daily receiving the Holy Ghost. [DA 675] – The Holy Ghost reveals all the other personal steps. (more in ch. 3)
- By praying with promises they had the assurance that they received the Holy Ghost. (more in ch. 5)
- Their profound joy caused them to be witnesses and booklet distributors.
From experience we know that the “Steps to Personal Revival” together with the 40-Days books, volume one and two lead to the best results. The 40-Days books help to strengthen the good start and the new chapter in their spiritual lives. Furthermore, they help many to start having personal morning worship and to experience answered prayers. (You can read the testimonies at this website)
The message is crisscrossing the world via the internet.
For example, the women’s ministries leader in the Mizoram-Conference/India (20,000 members) received “Steps to Personal Revival” by email from Australia. At that time, she was fasting and praying as she was preparing a women’s conference. She immediately made a presentation and presented the topic at the conference. It was blessed like never before. The women asked for the material. So she spoke with the conference president. He decided that the booklets should be translated into Mizo and 8,000 copies should be printed so that each Adventist home could receive a copy. Recently she wrote that it will be translated into all the major languages if not all of them.
The brother, who supported the printing in Pakistan, came into contact with us through Brazil. A short time ago he wrote: “This is an extraordinary book. It changed my life and my families. I keep receiving more and more testimonies.”
Recently (May 2016) he shared the following:
Two months ago I gave a Christian pastor a copy of the booklet “Steps to Personal Revival”. I just met him again. He read the booklet and has been so greatly blessed that he studied the booklet with his whole church. (He requested a copy of the booklet for each of the church members.) He said: I am 40 years old. As a pastor and teacher I have read hundreds of books, but up till now only two books have had a great effect on my life and one of them is “Steps to Personal Revival”. J.S.
God plans well in advance
I booked an airplane ticket six months in advance for a trip abroad. At the travel agency they told me that if I returned on Sunday instead of Thursday the flight would be cheaper. I took their advice and consequently my stay was lengthened by three days. As a result, half a year later I was able to hold a “Steps to Personal Revival” seminar in a church. The pastor said: Let’s visit a businessman, a friend of mine. This brother had intensively studied the booklet and was now daily praying for surrender and the Holy Ghost. He said: Every Adventist family in the world should have this book. I want to help. He pledged a considerable amount. – God had set the course six months before so that we could meet in the first place.
God’s work in me, God’s work through me
I want to close with the thought from the introduction: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10
It is about two works, which are both accomplished by the Holy Ghost: God’s work in me – the new life – and God’s work through me – the Nehemiah-work. When Christ lives in us through His Spirit, then we can walk in the works that God prepared beforehand. The prerequisite is: to completely entrust ourselves to Him and to daily ask for the Holy Spirit and receive Him.
The fact is: What God has planned in me and through me, will also exceed my possibilities and abilities. But God always starts with the small things. He often chooses the weakest. Hudson Taylor, the great and famous missionary to China, once responded when someone praised the great influence of his mission:
“It seems to me that God looked over the whole earth to find someone, who was weak enough to do His work. When He finally found me, He said: `This one is weak enough – he will do it.´. All of God’s giants were weak people, who did great things for God, because they could count on God being with them.”
Praise the Lord
When we walk in God’s work, then this promise applies to us in a special way: “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jer. 33:3) While walking in God’s work we will experience again and again surprising, great and mighty things. Things, which exceed our possibilities. Rivers of living water will flow. (John 7:38) “Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness.” Ps. 100:1-2 Amen