Throughout 2019, Tim McLauchlin, who is the executive director of Adult & Teen Challenge of the Upper Cumberland in Livingston, Tennessee, says he felt the Lord impressing on him that a spiritual awakening was coming.
In January, McLauchlin spent 21 days fasting and praying, seeking direction as to how to proceed. God directed him to Matthew 22:9, which tells of inviting those from the street corners to the wedding banquet.
McLauchlin connected with his former pastor, Myron Greer of New Beginning Assembly of God in Cookeville, Tennessee, and evangelist Danny Bever to discuss launching a revival meeting. They determined Memorial Day, May 24, as the day to begin the meetings that would go for as long as God directed.
“We didn’t know when we started planning in January that Cookeville would be right where the tornado hit or that the coronavirus would shut everything down,” McLauchlin says. “But the week before we were to start the services, the governor of Tennessee opened churches back up to start meeting.”
Themed “The Wedding” after the passage in Matthew, the revival services have been going non-stop for 37 days as of Monday.
“When we first started, we averaged about 80 to 100 a night,” McLauchlin says. “After day 21, it tapered off a little, and we’ve been averaging about 60 to 70 every night.”
What’s impressive about the numbers, aside from many churches currently struggling to have 30% turn out for a Sunday service, is that the church normally only runs about 80 people (pre-COVID). Although the church and McLauchlin’s Adult & Teen Challenge, a U.S. Missions ministry, have a healthy number of people present, there are plenty of visitors and those just walking in off the street, responding to billboards, signs, and online invitations.
“We get phone calls every day inquiring about it (the revival),” Greer, 73, says. “I also spoke to a gentleman who had quit going to church several years ago, met him on the street and talked to him, and he told me he’s been watching online every night.”
McLauchlin says that online viewers for the revival have varied from a low of 200 to a high of 1,900 for each service. And the Holy Spirit has been present as salvations, rededications to God, Holy Spirit baptisms, and healings are expected and experienced on a regular basis.
Jessica Sandfilippo, 26, started attending the revival services with other Adult & Teen Challenge (ATC) women about a month ago.
“I battle my mind a lot,” she admits, “but every time we went to church, God reminded me of the exact reason I’m here . . . God showed up every night. It’s been life changing.”
McLauchlin says that Sandfilippo shared with him that several times she had thought about leaving ATC, but each night at the revival service it was like whoever was preaching was talking right to her. “She shared that testimony on Tuesday night and later that night she received the baptism in the Holy Spirit,” he reveals.
A few of the other healings include a man whose back hurt so badly, that he hadn’t been able to go to work and another man had a bulging disk that caused severe sciatic nerve pain — both men were healed.
A FAMILY IMPACTED
Travis and Tonya Severance and their three children, who regularly attend First Assembly of God in Monterey, have been attending the revival services in Cookeville nearly every night. For their family, the revival has been nothing short of a God-send.
Slade, the Severance’s 7-year-old son, has had severe allergies to eggs, pollen, grass, birds — and the list goes on. Doctors told him he would never grow out of his allergies to eggs and he was required to carry an epi-pen with him wherever he went.
“One night at the revival, Slade looked at me and said he wanted to go forward so he wouldn’t have to take his medication any longer,” Travis says. “Pastor Tim anointed him with oil and prayed. When Slade got up he said, ‘Dad, I’m healed.’”
The next morning, when Tonya called Slade for breakfast and to come take his medicine, he refused — reminding her he had been healed the night before.
“If he eats anything with eggs, he breaks out in horrible eczema and grass and pollen kept his nose always stuffed and snotty,” Travis says. “It’s been 2 ½ weeks now with no medicine and he’s eating everything under the sun with eggs in it and he’s had no reaction to grass or pollen — God healed my son.”
Landen, their oldest son at 12 and who struggled to freely worship God, followed Travis’ advice to immerse himself in praise and worship as that’s when the Holy Spirit falls and does things. That night, he turned to Travis in tears telling him that “Mom” needs to go forward to have her collarbone prayed for. “The longer I wait, the louder He’s telling me,” Travis recalls him saying.
Tonya, who broke her collarbone about 6 years ago, has had pain and limited mobility since the break. Following prayer, she now has full range of motion and no pain!
Travis had a pair of miracles occur. He had reinjured his hamstring — the one that he tore completely away from his pelvis in a freak accident a year ago — and for three weeks had been hobbling in pain.
One night at the revival, a minister described Travis’ pain exactly, so Travis went forward for prayer.
“When he finished his prayer and said ‘in Jesus’ name,’ the fire of the Holy Spirit entered my head, traveled down my body and into my right leg,” Travis says. “My leg went completely numb and I felt it was on fire the whole night — I haven’t had a pain since.”
If that weren’t enough, Travis, 39, admits that several years ago, he got serious in his relationship with God. He’s been leading his church’s youth group, but lately he’s felt that God was calling him to be a minister — or was that just him thinking crazy thoughts? He had discussed the idea with Tonya, but he wasn’t sure.
“One night at revival service, pastor Tim (McLauchlin) stops, looks directly at me, and calls me up on stage. Then he said, ‘I don’t know if you know this, but you are called into the ministry, you are called to preach.’ I just started laughing. God had confirmed His calling!”
Of course, what Travis didn’t anticipate was that five days later McLauchlin asked him to preach the Sunday night revival service — and he did!
“It’s been crazy,” Travis says. “This revival has been absolutely amazing — chains being broken, addiction being broken . . . what a blessing!”
Originally the revival has been booked through June 19, but was extended through June 29. Now the plan is to continue the revival, meeting weekly on Sunday through Wednesday nights as both McLauchlin and Greer feel the Lord still isn’t done with what He has planned for and through the revival meetings.
“I don’t think there’s any way to physically determine how great a success this has been,” Greer says of the revival, “only eternity will tell that. But I know it’s reaching several hundred people every night and to God be the glory for that!”
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