Part of the vision God gave us for this ministry in 1993 involved what these young men and women called themselves. In Isaiah 44:1-5 the Lord said:
In the application of this passage for our ministry I believe God was telling me to listen. He was reaffirming that I was His servant, and that He had chosen me.But now listen, O Jacob, my servant, Israel, whom I have chosen. This is what the Lord says — he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. One will say, 'I belong to the Lord'; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, 'The Lord's,' and will take the name Israel. (NIV)
Four things stood out to me in this passage. The first was that God made me, He formed me in my mother’s womb, and chose me.
I had a lot of health issues following my birth. I was a twin, and both my twin sister and I had a life threatening stomach disorder. I was the sickest one and was constantly being rushed to the hospital. I wasn’t expected to live. But God was gracious to me. My twin sister, however, was not as fortunate. By the time they discovered the severity of the problem with her it was too late to save her. So I know God’s hand was on my life from the beginning.
From this passage the Lord promised to help me, and told me not to be afraid; promising to pour water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground. Pouring water on the dry ground always implies salvation to me. Our ministry was about young servicemen and women coming to know Jesus Christ as their Savior.
The second thing that stood out to me referred to the Pentecostal nature of our ministry. God said He would pour out His Spirit on our offspring, and His blessing on our descendants. I believe the offspring and descendants He was referring to were the spiritual “sons” and “daughters” He promised to bring us.
The promise of pouring out His Spirit on these spiritual children meant that following their conversion to Jesus Christ, He would baptize them with the Holy Spirit. The initial evidence of that happening to the new convert is their speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives them the utterance.
The purpose of this baptism with the Holy Spirit is for the reception of divine power to be a witness for Jesus Christ in an increasingly hostile world. In Isaiah 44:8 says, “Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”
According to Acts 1:8 Jesus said when the Holy Spirit comes upon a person they would receive ‘power’ to be His witnesses. Both Yvonne and I have been baptized with the Holy Spirit, and believe that in this passage Jesus is reaffirming our being His witnesses, and that He has given us the divine power we need to be His witnesses in our city, state, and country, and even to the ends of the earth.
In John 12:32 Jesus said, “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” In ministering to young military men and women we are committed to lifting up Jesus Christ so that He can draw them to Himself. Jesus Christ is the Rock! As far as we are concerned there is no other!
The third thing that stood out to me in this passage was God’s promise that those who come to Christ and who are baptized in the Holy Spirit would be as numerous as grass in a meadow, and as poplar trees by flowing streams.
This isn't going to happen just through Yvonne and me. But as others respond to the call of God to participate in Pentecostal hospitality house military ministry, young military men and women all over this country will be saved, rooted and grounded in the Word of God, and be divinely empowered by the Holy Spirit as witnesses for Jesus Christ in their military units, among members of other nations’ militaries when they are in combined military exercises, and among the residents of other nations where they are sent.
Finally, the fourth thing that stood out to me was that these young men and women would call themselves by different names. They would come from many different groups and denominations. Currently we've had young men and women from 43 different denominations, and many from no denomination at all, come through our home!
It isn't our purpose to make these young men and women part of our denomination. As the line from Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet implies, it is not what denomination a person belongs to that matters, it isn't about what label a person wears. It is about knowing Jesus Christ personally as Savior and Lord. And, it is about receiving the divine power through the baptism with the Holy Spirit, to be a witness for Jesus Christ in a lost and dying world!