Friday, April 29, 2011


Last weekend on Good Friday my father and I went turkey hunting at the cabin. Upon our arrival the area had received close to 5 inches of rain in the previous 24 hours and all the creeks, branches and streams were way above normal levels.  Knowing this my wise father recommended we get up extra early to check everything out in case we would have to walk into the woods using an alternative route.
At 5:10 am Dad and I headed to the woods only to be stopped be a raging creek.  At first glance, although the water was moving swift it did not appear to be impassable.  We headed across the roaring water only to come up short the last 3 feet.  The far shore had been eroded away by the water and left about a 3 feet hole, of which we slammed into.  The truck came to a complete halt and I was certain we had broken something! Trying not to panic, Dad without his glasses was trying to put the truck in 4 wheel drive, but could only manage to turn the heat up. Fortunately, his Lasik surgery graduate son was able to locate the 4 wheel drive knob.  With a little gas and some rock flinging we made it out without a scratch.
Now what do we do?  Dad knew of an alternative route we could take that would require a little more walking and would mean we would not have to cross the creek.  Problem solved. Well, like many John Lewis plans there were some important details left out. The most important detail was that even though we did not have to cross the creek we had to pass this “dry branch” that was also gushing with water. So at 5:20 am in the pitch black dark, with nothing by a small head lamp light I sat down and began taking my shoes and socks off to walk across the water. With gun and boots and hand I delicately walked across the branch and trotted to a flat spot to put my socks and boots back on.  Right before I sat down, my head lamp caught a set of eyes about 20 yards in front of me.  My first thought was it is a deer or coyote.  But upon second glance, I notice the eyes were about waist high; so I naturally assumed it must be a deer.  I decided to talk at it to make it move away. Upon saying the traditional “Hey, get out of here!” method I noticed a sincere lack of response from the set of eyes.  No worries, I am standing next to loud water, I am sure it did not hear me…”Hey…Hey….get out of here!” this time the set of eyes slowly turned its head to the left and slowly turned its eyes back to me. OK…I have officially discovered that whatever this is, it is not scared of me.  I began to panic.  Keep in mind, it is pitch black dark…I am barefoot…and dad is in the middle of the creek.  I immediately dropped my boots and pointed my gun at the eyes and continued to ask it to leave.  I took a step forward to see if my light would pick up a silhouette of the animal.  It did! It was a bear!!!! My panic increased. Thankfully Mr. Bear decided he had something better to do and decided to mosey on down the road.  Huge sigh of relief.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Showers and Turkeys

I have not stopped moving for 3 weeks now! We spent the weekend at NWA visiting old work buddies, college roommates, and friends.  We had a great time and the weather was awesome too!

We were fortunate enough to attend the Fryar baby shower on Sat. In case you were wondering, yes...Matt and I were the only males there.  But, the food was awesome.  Specifically the iced coffee bunch Jen made.
I cannot say the same for the sausage balls.  You see...they were made with Jimmy Dean sausage. After pulling the knife out of my back, I politely asked Jen why she made poop balls for a baby shower?  The shower in general was a great education tool for me. As was spending the night with the Fryars and playing with their daughter Katie. I feel like I am getting a peak at the play book for what is coming in my near future. I was designated the picture guy for the shower so below are some of the shots I snapped.

This past weekend I went Turkey hunting with Jonnathan Davis and Marc Yount.  Had a great time at my in laws but was highly ineffective at killing a turkey.  We saw literally every turkey on their property, but could not convince one to get close enough.  I do believe we have created a new turkey hunter out of Jonnathan though, so the weekend was not a total loss.  If you are familiar with the Alpena landscape, you know about the hills in the this part of Arkansas.  My legs are a still sore from climbing hills chasing a gobbling bird! But, it was worth it!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Revival? Awakening? Something's Going on in Little Rock....

[Hi Guys-- It's Tory here.  I know, I never write on the blog.  Seriously, this is the first time.  But I thought I'd use the blog just this one time to share an email that I sent to several people today about what God is doing in Little Rock.]

I think the subject line says it best:  something great is going on in Little Rock, Arkansas.  God is working!  In ways I've never seen him at work before.  Dare I call it revival?  I don't know.  What I do know is the Spirit has stirred something here, and I feel very convicted to share it with each of you. 
I have read about the great revivals throughout history.  I've heard pastors speak about revival longingly.  I've prayed for it myself, sometimes eagerly, sometimes fearfully.  But this past week I've seen something I've never seen before:  a mercy drop.  A tiny glimpse of what it looks like, feels like, when the Holy Spirit mercifully reveals himself to a body of believers. 
It all started last Sunday-- well, at least, I became aware of it last Sunday--when our pastor, Bill Elliff, gave his final message in a sermon series about the Holy Spirit.  The verse was 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22:  "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  Do not quench the Spirit.  Do not treat prophecies with contempt, but test them all.  Hold on to what is good; reject every kind of evil."  I don't think I was the only one who began to feel convicted about how quick we are to quench the Spirit-- when he tells us to pray, and we don't; when he convicts us of sin, and we don't immediately confess and repent; when we are given opportunities to share the Gospel, we ignore them.  Bill referenced a message from the Welsh Revival that we had heard a couple times before:  Four steps to loosing the Holy Spirit, by Evan Roberts:  (1) confess all known sin; (2) abstain from any doubtful habits; (3) obey the Spirit promptly; and (4) proclaim Christ openly.  
Bill couldn't finish his sermon-- about halfway through, he stopped.  As he was closing, someone in the congregation stood up and said, "let's take time to obey the Spirit now-- we can't afford to wait!"  in just a few minutes, people were moving around the room, talking to counselors or other members of the congregation to whom they needed to confess.  The microphone at the front of the room became an open forum for people to share, confess sin, praise God, ask for support, etc.  The Spirit was moving!  Our 11am church service, which usually lasts a little over an hour, did not let out until 3pm that day.  In that time, people flooded the alter for 2 hours, 5 people spontaneously got baptized (jumped into the baptistry with clothes and all!), and a deacon who is currently unemployed gave his unemployment check (which prompted much more giving and a reverse offering where over $5,000 was given and $3500 taken out),
On Monday night, over 200 people came back and stayed for three hours praying and confessing and praising God.  On Tuesday, over 300 people came for another 3-hour prayer meeting.  Children laid hands on their parents and prayed for them.  More spontaneous baptisms took place.  (in the last 8 days, our church has seen 38 baptisms.)  Prayer meetings took place at The Summit Church every night last week, lasting 3-4 hours each night.  On Friday night, after the meeting ended at 11pm, college students moved the meeting downtown and prayer walked around downtown Little Rock.  At 4am, they went home, made 100 sandwiches and bought bottled water, and at 10am Saturday morning were back in downtown feeding the homeless and telling them about Jesus. 
At the risk of this sounding like a "Summit Church thing," we've also heard about the Spirit moving at other churches in the area.  At Oasis Church last Sunday, 18 people were baptized.  At Mosaic Church on Wednesday, they held a spontaneous prayer meeting.  At Fellowship Bible Church, high school students met on Friday night at 9pm for prayer; when the church had to lock up for the night, the prayer meeting moved to the parking lot.  Things are happening in Little Rock-- it has nothing to do with our church, and everything to do with God's mercy!
Which is why I felt compelled to share this with you.  If all that results from what we've seen at The Summit are a few extra baptisms and one week of prayer, then it's not enough.  Sure, the purification of the saints is an important step-- but it's not the end goal.  The end goal is that God is glorified around the world.  I can already see with what has happened this past week how God is preparing us for the next step:  we are being cleansed, confessing sin, and being filled to overflowing.  The next step is that we do overflow-- that we minister to the lost with the kind of tenacity today's church has yet to see, and that the Spirit of God moves freely from one church to the next, and from one city to the next.  We have interceded in prayer this week for churches throughout Arkansas and across the country.  I am praying for your churches, and that the Spirit would give you an even bigger mercy drop than what he has given us this past week.  I pray believing, and cannot wait to hear how God moves in your churches over the coming days and weeks. 
If you'd like to know more about what's been going on at The Summit, there are a couple videos, as well as a blog on the church website: 
God bless!