The School of the Circuit Riders in Kona, HI are preaching the gospel and seeing revival. 75 came to the Lord the first night from preaching on the beaches. What I didn’t know was this fun story behind the scenes:
‘Impossible’ Evangelistic Meetings In California at The Orange County Uprising
20 August 2011
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — Huntington Beach pastor Mike Harris said what was happening last night in the big white tent of meeting at the Orange County Uprising was “not possible.” But it was a letter from prison and a dream that finally caught the full attention of Harris after 200 young evangelists showed up in his “backyard” — Surf City — four weeks ago.
“When these guys came from Hawaii and Denver four weeks ago,” Harris, 44, pastor of Calvary Chapel Beachside said, ” they told me, ‘We’re bringing 200 people, we have no place to meet, we have no housing. What do we do? Oh, and we want a tent!'”
Harris shook his head at the recollection. He’s been pastoring in this area for years and knows what the city will allow and the restrictions.
“I said to them, ‘You’re not going to get a tent. The city is really hard on us. We’re the only church they allowed to have a big event downtown. You should have been here a year ago planning for this, and you have four weeks.'”
But Harris said he received a wake-up call from a prison inmate and a “crazy” letter.
“Two weeks after the Circuit Riders arrived,” Harris said, “I got a letter from a guy in prison I haven’t heard from in three years. He woke up at three in the morning and said, ‘I had a dream and I need to write to you and say you’re supposed to get involved with something evangelistic.'”
But the kicker of the epistle from prison was coming, he said.
“‘And I saw a tent in my dream,'” continued the letter writer, Harris said. “It was a white tent, something that used to be on Lake Street.”
Harris paused and pointed north on the Pacific Coast Highway saying, “The tent used to be right there on that corner.” He turned back and nodded.
It was “crazy,” said Harris, who had just finished his keynote address at the first night of the Orange County Uprising — in a white tent at the Hilton Hotel across the street from the beach on the Pacific Coast Highway.
“This was one week before they (Circuit Riders) got this tent, a week after they came and told me of their plan and vision,” Harris said.
“I shared the letter with my staff and said, ‘This is crazy.’ And I’m not one of those guys who gets all excited about those things. But that was a confirmation for me. The Lord woke that guy up to write me a letter from prison. That was the catch for me to really start praying.”
He didn’t keep the letter to himself.
“I told the congregation the whole story,” Harris said. “They got really excited and jumped on board and just felt like this was something that was really going to happen.”
There was still no tent, Harris said, but now everyone was praying.
“Two days later one of the members of our worship team told me just minutes before a service, “Hey, these YWAM people, they got a tent!”
Harris was the keynote speaker at Friday night’s kickoff of The OC Uprising, an event that shouldn’t have — and couldn’t have — happened, he said, because of the red tape.
“What they wanted wasn’t possible,” said Bill Welsh, pastor of Refuge Calvary Chapel church in Huntington Beach,”but here we are tonight with 200 people and the Gospel going out into the streets,” he said, smiling back towards the tent and his young daughter clinging at his knee. “It’s exciting.”
Welsh said that’s the way it’s been going for the past month. Welsh’s church is housing the women who are participating in daily outreaches from San Clemente to Huntington Beach and spots in between including the Newport Beach pier and popular surfing spots.
“There is just this sense that God is doing this and not man,” Welsh said Friday afternoon at Refuge chapel. Welsh had joined John Dawson, president of Youth With A Mission, at the church Friday morning. The pair of ministers spoke to the Circuit Riders for an hour, thanking them for making the effort to come to California. They then prayed a “blessing” on the young evangelists and sent them out.
“There is a different kind of poverty here in Orange County,” Welsh said. “It’s a poverty of the soul. We have so much, but it doesn’t fill us. There are really desperate and crushed people among us. We need this.”
The spontaneity of The Uprising appealed to him, Welsh said.
“We, in the church, have become so slick and so organized that sometimes we organize God right out of it, but this is different,” he said. “This feels like more like the Jesus Movement that was in this area 40 years ago — unorganized and Spirit-led, not a move of man, but of God. God is taking care of the details.”
At that moment, a phone call came in near where Welsh was sitting.
“Hey, Bill,” said the man answering the phone, “an anonymous donor just paid for the tent for the entire week.”
Turning back from the caller, Welsh shrugged.
“Things like that,” he said, smiling and falling silent.
Nightly meetings with the OC Uprising are being held in big white tent starting at 7 p.m. Saturday through Friday at the Hilton Hotel, 21100 Pacific Coast Highway, just south of the Huntington Beach pier. There wil bel no meeting on Thursday night, according to information from The Uprising.