Sunday, November 27, 2011

"When God is Known in the Land: The Story of the Glory of God in Cape Cod"

Egyptian Prologue

For 27-year-old Mamdouh Riad, revival was the last thing on his mind as he walked Cairo’s crowded streets.

Mamdouh grew up in Cairo in a Coptic Orthodox Christian family.  He attended medical school in Egypt, where he met his American wife, Cynthia.  While he was a student, he attended a conference hosted by a vibrant Presbyterian church that had an active campus ministry. Unsure of what to expect, Mamdouh left the gathering radically changed.  Years later, the experience is still fresh: “All I can say is that I once was blind, but now I see.”

In the midst of a spiritual awakening, Mamdouh still had to pass his rigorous medical exams in order to be able to practice medicine in America.  The exams were so difficult and rigorous that they consumed all his thoughts.  He had nothing on his mind regarding spiritual matters.  

He had no idea he was on the verge of a transforming encounter with the Lord.

Now, as he walked the noisy streets of Cairo, totally focused on his exams, he suddenly heard God speaking to him in an internal audible voice: “Do you know what revival is?” The words literally reverberated through his body as he walked.  “I was very surprised by the question. Revival was the furthest thing from my mind at that moment.  It is almost embarrassing how uninterested I was.”  Thankfully, God had an answer ready. He heard the Lord say:Revival is when I am known in the land.”

Mamdouh took note of this experience and moved on with life.  “As I studied the scriptures, I came to understand that this was a very Biblical definition of revival.  It occurred to me that someday I would be involved in a revival movement that would lead to God being known in the land.

The Glory of God

Mamdouh and Cynthia moved to America and settled in Cape Cod. “We moved to the US, began to attend church, raise a family, practice medicine.  I was just minding my own business.”

In the midst of minding his own business, the Egyptian doctor had another strong stirring from the Lord in June of 2004:

“I was stirred with a very clear message and a particular phrase ‘the Glory of God on Cape Cod.’  By ‘the glory of God’, I understood specifically ‘the manifest presence of God’ both on His people and visible to unbelievers.  This was the message that stirred me: We’re called to have his glory upon us, it’s our inheritance, but we are not living fully into our inheritance. When the manifest presence of God is upon his people, unbelievers recognize who God is.  In contrast, when the glory lifts off his people, unbelievers mock and reproach the church saying, ‘where is your God’?  It’s not right for things to be like this in the Church. We’re in the spiritual equivalent of Israel’s Babylonian captivity.  Church as we know it is our norm. It’s all we’ve experienced and we’ve never seen anything else.  But this is not the way things are supposed to be.”

Gathering for God’s Glory

Having a message is one thing; the challenging part is figuring out what to do with it.

“I began to ask myself, ‘what am I going to do—I’m just a person in the marketplace’.  So, I started speaking with pastors, inviting them to breakfast, and then began to share what God had put on my heart.  One pastor would respond, then the next week I’d meet with two pastors.  Some resonated with the message and others did not.”

By September of 2004, this group of like-minded believers from a few area churches had started a prayer meeting twice a month at Mamdouh’s home.

Pastor  of New Life Christian Center in Dennisport remembers those breakfasts in 2004. “Mamdouh put voice to what was already resting in our hearts…We started meeting every second Wednesday to pray for one item only…that the glory of God would come on Cape Cod.”  That Wednesday prayer meeting has now been going on twice a month for 7 years.

In March of 2006, the pastors that were involved in the breakfast prayer meeting wrote a letter together to all the born-again pastors they knew of on the Cape.  They even scoured the phone-book.  Pastors all over the Cape were invited to join together and pray for God to be known in the land; some began to respond.


“We had no plan, no blueprint; we didn’t know what to do.  We just showed up.  We didn’t want to initiate from our good ideas; we just began to pray, and followed God.”—Mamdouh Riad

In January of 2007, the group began to sense God’s leading for a Cape Cod Sacred Assembly—a Cape wide gathering for repentance and intercession.  The gathering happened on Sept. 22 (Yom Kippur) at a local high-school with close to 700 participants.  This 2007 Sacred Assembly would serve as inspiration for the New England Solemn Assemblies from 2008-2010.

Pastor Bob Condon of Gateway Christian Center was surprised by the hunger and the number of the participants at the first Assembly.  “Sometimes as shepherds we feel like we have to drag the sheep to the water—we were amazed to see how people responded and their hunger to be involved in something like this.”  

The Cape Sacred Assembly was followed by other Cape-wide gatherings in 2008 and 2009 and the bi-weekly prayer meeting continued at the Riad’s home. In 2009, the group was stirred to take the prayer meeting outside the Riad’s home to move it from church to church.  Since 2009, there’s been a corporate, multi-church prayer meeting once a month. This mobile meeting has moved all-over the Cape from Wareham to Truro—the last town before Provincetown.

Ed de la Cour, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Pocasset for 25 years, loved hosting the meeting at his church.  “When the monthly prayer meeting came to our church, the place was packed!  There was a whole season of prayer for our church.  It was a God thing and God showed up…I mean, When a Baptist says he ‘feels the presence of God’, you’ve got to pay attention to that!”

However, this “God thing” seems to happen everywhere the meetings go.  Ed says, “One of the indications that ‘it’s a God thing’ is that music style, denominational background, whatever, it doesn’t matter—God shows up everywhere and everywhere is different.  It’s never the same; it’s always different but always very beautiful.”

Starting in the fall of 2011, the group has initiated “Cape Vision Sunday.”  “Two pastors from churches not like yours will show up on Sunday morning”, says Ed, “demonstrating to the congregation that here are two pastors that are willing to forgo their own worship service to stand up with our pastor and declare ‘we are one with this guy.’”   This effectively gets the vision into the hands of the people and also demonstrates the unity of the pastors who stand together, speak together, and even sacrifice being at their own churches to do this together.


“Part of our testimony on Cape Cod [to the outside world] is that the walls and doors in the church are coming down.  There’s an acceptance of one another; a reaching out to each other that’s happening.”—Stephen Russell, New Life Christian Center

As in other movements around New England, Unity is a hallmark of what’s happening on the Cape.  About 20 churches are involved from a diverse denominational background including Anglican, CMA, Nazarene, Vineyard, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Non-denominational, and Pentecostal congregations.

For pastor Ed, the unity is all-about friendship. “What’s happening is based on relationship—there’s a sense of long-standing relationship with people of integrity.  I’d love to be their friends and hang out with them. If they prosper and I don’t prosper, I’ll still say ‘Yeah God!’” 

For Bob Condon, who has pastored on the Cape for 10 years, the growing unity is the greatest visible fruit of the last seven years.  “It’s very different than it was 10 years ago with guys competing with each other, judging one another.  You really just don’t see that anymore at all.  The journey to get to where we are has been difficult at times, but we’re coming to a “wide open place” of peace and rest among us.”

Dwelling Place

“Unity positions us to be a dwelling for God’s presence. Together, we’re becoming a place for the Holy Spirit to be comfortable—a dwelling place for God.”—Mamdouh Riad

The goal of the Glory of God in Cape Cod is to see genuine revival, where God is known on Cape Cod by everyone, whether they follow Him or not.  Believers are sensing the tide rising on the Cape as the Body of Christ cries out and is knit together in love through these united gatherings.

While a lot of progress has been made, Ed also sees room for growth.  “We’ve got a long ways to go.  We only have 20 out of 60 evangelical churches on the Cape involved, so there’s a ways to go, but God has been faithful.”

Mamdouh sees what’s happening on the Cape as part of a much larger picture of God’s activity around the world in these times, times where God is shaking everything that can be shaken: “We believe that these stirrings are God preparing His people to come together ahead of a time of both great glory and great darkness in the world.  We believe the whole earth is heading toward a time described in Isaiah 60, a time of birthpangs, both great difficulty in the world and great glory on the Church.”

“It’s important for us to recognize that we need to prepare an infrastructure so we can be positioned to be a prophetic voice and a place of refuge for the world in the coming season.” 

At a time when it seems the whole world holds the church in contempt, Jesus continues to build His church, filling it with such love and power that “the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”  He’s building something unshakeable, something that darkness cannot touch.  On Cape Cod, throughout New England, and around the world, dry-bones are coming together as the Lord fashions life from the dust once again.  Let’s give thanks as before our very eyes we see stone joined to stone and bone to bone.

By: Jonathan Friz, New England Alliance

From interviews with:
Mamdouh Riad, The Glory of God on Cape Cod
Pastor Ed de la Cour, First Baptist Church, Pocasset

For more information on this movement, please visit

Friday, November 11, 2011

When God Throws a Halloween Party

Dear Friends,

Sometimes, God does things that are so good they're almost hard to believe.  This Halloween, over a dozen ministries from around NE and the country partnered in "the Love Project", 60 hours of sustained prayer combined with outreach on the streets of Salem, MA.  While the groups sustained worship and prayer in a local church, teams went out on the streets of Salem to minister to the revelers.  

During three days, the teams saw over 150 physical healings, more than two dozen people make professions of faith, and were able to minister personal prophecy to over 200 people.  Some groups reported that everyone who came to them for healing was healed.  Many people who were ministered to left blown away by the experience of God's love that came through these young people.

Now, I know--Christians in the past have had a reputation for exaggerating numbers.  Growing up in the church, this would drive me crazy! In order to combat that, we've deliberately estimated the total numbers "down" rather than "up".  Just one group of around 8 people saw 70 healings in just three hours time on Halloween night.  Many of the people who reported being healed that night were openly mocking the team--they came in skeptical, they left rocked by God.  Our point is this--In what seems like a very dark place, a lot of people who were not expecting it were getting powerfully touched by the love and power of Jesus.  We were able to capture hours of testimony, most of which we were not able to fit into the video update.

For some, this kind of outreach and it's results may not fit into your theological grid. You may see "this kind of thing" as representing some other kind of Christian group other than your own. If that's you,  I'd like you to consider that miracles accompanying the proclamation of the gospel is actually central to how the gospel is preached the Scriptures.  This is a highly Biblical way of doing evangelism.

For others, it may just be so far outside of what you've experienced personally, as to be almost incredible.  I'd ask you to watch and listen with an open mind.  We have to let Scripture and the Holy Spirit, not our experience, determine what's possible and what's normal.  God is transforming the culture of the Church so that what once was unusual or exceptional is becoming normal.  And yes, even if you haven't experienced it to this point, God is wants you to do "this kind of thing" too!  

I hope you're encouraged by God's work in our midst.  May it continue and increase!

Jonathan Friz

Report on 10 Days Boston from Kelly Steinhaus

10 Days of worship, prayer, and fasting, building up to the Boston Night of Worship on October 9...

From September 29 to October 9, I worked with two other leaders in the area to organize and plan 10 Days Boston, which involved two daytime prayer sets each day, as well as evening gatherings happening in churches throughout the city. In the planning, we intentionally reached out to a variety of denominations and people groups throughout the city. I felt that each night I experienced a different part of the heart of God - it's not every day you get to worship with Koreans or say Psalm 133 in Arabic. It truly gives you an understanding that truly it is Christ who binds the Church together.

One huge blessing was that a gentleman in the area offered to video updates for us during the ten days. So even if you weren't here in the Boston area, or weren't able to participate, you can still check out what God was doing!

Here's a video about the vision of the 10 Days - graciously prepared by the video team at Pentecostal Tabernacle and beautifully done:

Here are the video updates that Brandt Gillespie of prepared for us. I served as the "on-scene reporter"...I never imagined that I would be on some sort of televised production, but sometimes God surprises us with the opportunities that come our way!

Personally, I feel completely grown, changed through this experience. It was an incredible season for me - not simply from the ten days, but from the entire process of working with my brothers Jonathan and Frank - catching the vision and running with it to mobilize leaders of congregations in different churches. Each evening gathering had about an average of fifty to one hundred people in attendance - so to think that this vision touched 500 to 1000 people in the area is pretty incredible. I sense that there is a fabric that is being interwoven, knitted together among the body, and that rather than the end of the ten days, this is the beginning...

I have also experienced a greater understanding as to the transformative power of prayer and fasting. There is something about fasting that enables you to completely die to yourself and rely only on Christ. That, coupled with spending 7+ hours a day in the presence of God, praying, worshipping, journaling, being with God's people - my heart feels completely soft to the movings of the spirit. Right now, I don't want to do anything to quench His spirit, His leadings. As the fast concluded, I feel a sort of resurrection to new life. I now have a greater sense of what God is saying and doing, a clearer voice, greater intimacy than before, and I praise Him for that.

Corporately, what I am beginning to understand is that there is something released between individuals when they decide to pray and fast together - deciding to consecrate not only their time but their physical nourishment for the sake of Christ together. This engages hearts, minds, bodies, and souls and begins to bring them together into a spiritual union. One tangible expression of this was during the Arabic and Messianic Jewish gathering where Pastor Khokhlan washed the feet of his Arab brothers as a symbol of reconciliation among the people groups (see video update #3 for real-time footage)

Jonathan remarked how he now doesn't see the colors of people's skin anymore - as though there is no difference at all, or that the differences are something highly valuable. I feel similarly - and it was a running joke that Frank called Jonathan and myself his "twin brother and sister." As the ten days progressed, an incredible sense of brotherly love began to emerge between Frank, Jonathan, and myself - and we couldn't even sit at the Boston Night of Worship in separate seats without texting one another, longing to worship together as we had for the past ten days.

Colossians 3:14 says "Beyond all these things, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity." My question is - what could God do with a church that is united like that? What if not just dozens, but hundreds, thousands of Christians were able to experience that spiritual union and the cords of love that bound us together...What if, instead of just joining in this movement for one evening gathering or a few daytime prayer sets, what if people decided to truly devote and dedicate the ten days to God and to the Church in this city? When the Church is truly united as one, we will be a force to be reckoned with...

--Kelly Steinhaus, Unite Boston