Rev. Austin Miles, a chaplain in Northern California is a writer and historian. He is the author of Santa's Surprising Origins, a story that received worldwide circulation and resulted in him being cast in the 2004 Hallmark Christmas Movie titled, Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus. He played the mall Santa who magically received the gift of sign language.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Religion • The Cat That Started A Revival!

Revival begins in the heart of a church. From there, God may employ mysterious ways to have it ignite.**  Here is a purrfect example…

The revival was to start in a decaying Neighborhood in Staten Island, New York. The pastor had talked to this evangelist during a sectional minister’s conference. A revival was needed at his church but the church couldn’t afford the expenses involved since they had only a handful of diehards who still attended.

Since I lived in the Bureau of Queens, it would take only a subway ride, then a ferry boat to and from Staten Island, so no living expenses would be necessary.  The church would have no financial demands to meet, which met their budget perfectly.

We started on a Sunday morning, with a lot of free newspaper notices and publicity heralding the revival. After the Sunday morning service, the only response was from a little old woman with a sad face who said to me, “Young man, you talked so fast I couldn’t understand one word you were saying!”

Off to a great start, the same handful of worshipers gathered…no more…no less for the night service. Monday night was the same. After the Tuesday night service, I asked the pastor to walk around the outside of the church with me to pray and claim victory.

The next night, Wednesday, we were met with same handful of people. Then, during prayer, The Lord put it in my heart to pray for a cat that was sick. “Oh no Lord,” I thought, “this will really finish it off.” God prompted me to describe the cat as more than a cat, it was family to somebody in the tiny congregation and the cat was going to die. Then, The Lord gave me the description of the cat…white with two black spots on it. I then prayed that The Lord would send His word and heal that cat (Psalm 107:20). There was absolutely no reaction. At the end of the service, I left quietly.

I had asked the pastor to meet me at the church earlier the next night, Thursday, so we could again do a prayer walk around it. I was surprised to see some traffic as I approached the church…then more surprised to see that people were parking and going inside. The church was already filled, 30 minutes before starting time. “Well,” I thought, “finally all the advance publicity has kicked in and people are responding.”

As I started the service with a greeting, the little old woman in the front row, the same spot she sat for every service, got up and said, “I’ve got to speak…I’ve got to speak.” She always had what I thought was a sad look on her face, but now there was joy in it. I said, “Of course,” and extended my hand toward her.

She got up, faced the crowd that was now jammed into the church and said, “Last night you (glancing back at me) talked about a kitty cat that was sick and going to die…and that kitty cat was more than a cat, but family to someone in the church. Well…that was MY kitty cat…and you were right…she was sick and was going to die. And yes, she was more than a kitty cat to me…she was my family…the ONLY family I have. Well…I went home after the service and my kitty cat was running and jumping around and is just fine now. I was so excited that I called up everybody I know and told them about this miracle that happened in this church.”

The revival turned out to be a huge success. A youth group was formed and many, many blessings and healings were documented along with countless people giving their hearts to Christ, which is what a revival is all about. The church was filled from that time on. All due to a cat that started a revival and its owner who told the whole area the marvelous thing God had done.

Dr. Cho, the famed Korean pastor once said to a minister’s conference in New York; “Shepherds.do not make sheep…SHEEP make sheep.”  A big AMEN to that!

**  “God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.”  From the poem, God Moves in Mysterious Ways. William Cowper (1731-1800)

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