A Simple Man for a Great Mission: Jim Cymbala (Includes Story About His Daughter)
Fresh Wind Fresh Fire
Have you ever read a book that changed your life?
A few years ago my husband and I read a book that changed our perspective on Christianity so drastically, and on so many levels, that after reading it we were never the same.
This article is in honor of Pastor Jim Cymbala; A very simple man who has been called to a very Great Mission.
Jim Cymbala, Pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle
A Simple Man
I call Jim a simple man based on my impressions of him through reading the book, 'Fresh Wind Fresh Fire.' He comes across as a regular everyday kind of guy. There is nothing striking about his personality or looks. If you or I were to meet Jim Cymbala on the street, I don't believe he would stand out from amongst the crowd. He doesn't possess a flashy or charismatic personality nor is he the type of man to draw attention to himself.
In the process of gathering facts about Jim Cymbala, I was struck by how God's glory shone through this unassuming, simple man.
God chose Jim Cymbala, who had no Bible College training or any of the typical preparations for ministry, to do a GREAT work for Him. Jim was just a simple man who possessed BIG faith, and who loved God and answered YES to God's call on his life. God used this simple man to start a spiritual awakening in a very difficult, challenging and unlikely place.
Jim had never considered the Pastorate and he would tell you that in the early days of his ministry he had no clue as to what he was doing. It was Rev. Clair Hutchins (Jim's Pastor since junior high school and also his wife Carol's father) who convinced Jim that God had a call on his life. Rev. Hutchins urged Jim to shepherd a little struggling Church in Newark. Though Jim felt overwhelmed by this prospect he accepted the call.
I felt sorry for Jim yet humored as he relayed the situations surrounding his new position as a very inexperienced Pastor. As a newbie, Jim dug into studying the Bible and, as he states, "practiced" preaching before a live audience on Sundays.
The Brooklyn Tabernacle
As if his ministry in the little Church were not enough to overwhelm this novice, Jim's father-in-law entreated him to take on another temporary position for a Church in crisis. Rev. Hutchins asked Jim to preach at a Church in need of a Pastor. He said it would just be four Sunday nights. This Church was a multiracial congregation called The Brooklyn Tabernacle. Though Jim felt ill-equipped and very inadequate his heart of obedience to God led him to say yes. This decision proved to be the most pivotal of his lifetime.
Upon his first visit to the Brooklyn Tabernacle Jim knew there were big troubles in the Church. The young Pastor, who was already on staff, was very discouraged. The first service Jim participated in proved to be an unorganized mess. Jim wasn't too worried because he was thinking, "At least it's not my problem, I'm just here to help out temporarily."
During the course of this supposed short stint to The Brooklyn Tabernacle, the young Pastor announced that he was quitting. The Church was being left in the lurch with no one to shepherd it. Jim was stunned and knew he was being thrust into a longer commitment to travel back and forth between Churches.
Sundays were especially hard as he and Carol raced between Churches. It left them feeling spent and exhausted. They were getting burned-out quickly and knew they must choose between the two Churches. Though the Church in Newark was the only paying Church, their hearts were being drawn to the Brooklyn Tabernacle. They desired, first and foremost, to do God's will; They were convinced that if God was calling them to minister, at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, He would surely take care of them.
Jim and Carol made their decision and, by faith, moved to Brooklyn. The story of what happened, as a result of this couple's humble faith, is nothing short of miraculous. Packing up their meager belongings they headed toward Brooklyn to a broken-down church in one of America's meanest neighborhoods.
Carol Cymbala had a huge role to play in their new ministry. Anyone involved in Church ministry knows the crucial role the wife of the Pastor plays. A wife can make or break a ministry. She can encourage, build up, support and love or with her own hands tear down and destroy a ministry. Carol was a builder and a gifted servant of God.
Carol was a pastor's kid who grew up in the Church. Early on she felt music within her soul. Her gift to the Church was in her natural, God-given, talent as a musician. Carol started the church choir, known all over the world today as, The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. The music that Carol taught her choir is like none other.
Growing up around the city, Carol had absorbed the unique sounds of many cultures. Inside her head, the classics blended with black gospel and traditional Scandinavian hymns resulting in contemporary worship choruses which echoed Caribbean rhythms.
At the age of about sixteen, a dream had entered her heart, a dream of directing a large choir some day; Not a stiff, formal choir but a choir composed of the common people.
To this day Carol does not know how to read music; She figures the songs out in her head and then teaches the choir by rote. When she started her church choir, at Brooklyn Tabernacle, she began with only nine choir members.
The numbers climbed very quickly, eventually reaching about fifty. The Church platform was not large enough to hold the choir so the choir stood in the front of the auditorium. As the choir sang they totally overwhelmed the small building with their sound.
Practices were held on Friday's ... does that surprise you? Do you know anyone who would give up a Friday to practice music? The people of The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, that's who. Carol always began with a prayer asking God's spirit to fall upon them and for His music to come forth. The miraculous works of God that took place during their prayer times are written in the book by Jim Cymbala called "Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire."
A band of untrained players was growing by leaps and bounds; These players were as untrained as Carol yet they also possessed music in their souls. God used their musical gift in an unbelievable way to reach many lives and win people's hearts to Jesus.
The word about the music of The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir began spreading like wildfire. Soon Carol went beyond the church and formed the multi-racial, New York Challenge Choir. This choir was made up of people from the Tabernacle plus any others who wanted to sing - resulting in a vast number of eighty or more voices altogether.
In the process of this huge undertaking, Carol wrote her first song. She took the Christmas Carol "Joy to the World" and created a new melody. She didn't know how to write it down so she used her musical genius, the music bound up in her soul, to teach the choir by rote.
When you listen to The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir you will be convinced that Carol must possess a Master's degree in music (no degree, it was the Master who possessed her) or that the choir members were hired and incredibly gifted musicians. No, they never even attended college but are simple, common street people whose Master is Jesus. Their musical gift is from on high.
Please take the time to watch the videos of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir included in this article. I'm convinced you will be abundantly blessed by this choir and its director.
He's Been Faithful
This Is How It Feels to Be Free
God Speaks and God Moves!
In the beginning, there were many a day, as the Pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle, that Jim found himself very discouraged.
He was spending a huge multitude of hours studying and felt like his congregation was being gypped in some way by his less-than-perfect sermons. In the book "Fresh Wind Fresh Fire" Jim says "The embarrassing truth is that sometimes I didn't want to show up for service - that's how bad it was."
Jim knew that the Church desperately needed a visitation from the Holy Spirit or Bust. One day, in a spirit of brokenness, tired in body and mind He called out to God, "Lord, I have no idea how to be a successful pastor; All I know is that Carol and I are working in the middle of New York City, with people dying on every side, overdosing from heroin, consumed by materialism, and all the rest. If the gospel is so powerful...."
He couldn't finish the sentence tears were choking him. Then quietly but forcefully, in words heard, not with his ear but deep within his spirit, God spoke. "If you and your wife will lead my people to pray and call upon my name, you will never lack for something fresh to preach. I will supply all the money that's needed, both for the church and for your family, and you will never have a building large enough to contain the crowds I will send in response."
READ THIS NEXT PART CAREFULLY ... IT MAY CHANGE YOUR LIFE ... IT CHANGED MINE
Directly below this Text is a You-Tube of a message Jim Cymbala Preached at a Praise Gathering. It starts out slow .. BUT PLEASE stick with it. The message is POWERFUL and it is ANOINTED.
Jim speaks of how God comes to us and says: "Do you REALIZE how much you need me now? When you hit the stone wall for the 23nd time remember .. that YOU NEED ME! The Father says "I have all of this and you live with such scarcity..." " Come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest ... God asks "What are you so RUSHED for? ... when are we gonna talk?"
At one point in Jim's ministry, God showed Jim and his wife that the Prayer meeting night would be the barometer of His Presence in the Church. To this day, every Prayer Meeting night between 1200 and 1500 people gather together to worship God and unite in prayer.
In his book Jim states "If you can beat the Devil on Prayer Meeting night .. you'll beat him on every other level. On a personal level .. If you beat the devil in prayer you'll beat him on every level ... if you will read the Bible consistently you will have grace flowing on every level."
Jim shares life giving, life changing lessons he has learned about prayer. He shares a personal account of trials so heavy that most would have given up but Jim fell into Jesus' arms and found Him faithful.
This man shares a heart-wrenching story about his daughter and how he did not know where she was for two and a half years ... it was the worst kind of nightmare. Learn how God Rescues his Daughter, their family, and the Church Ministry.
Please take the time to watch this Simple man .. and witness GOD at work through this humble servant.
When we showed the VIDEO below to our Church family hearts were gripped and tears flowed all through the congregation. God moved in His peoples hearts!
I believe that if you take the time to watch this ... your heart will reach for Jesus and you will be filled with a fresh vision to serve and love God Forever.
Powerful Annointed Message By Jim Cymbala
God was working in unprecedented ways at the Brooklyn Tabernacle. As God's people began operating under the guidance and control of the Holy Spirit, God began to move.
The church people never knew who might come to Christ at the Brooklyn Tabernacle. There were junkies, the mentally ill, prostitutes and gays along with lawyers, successful business men and bus drivers; They all turned to the Lord at the altar of the Brooklyn Tabernacle.
All were warmly welcomed just as they were! There were Latinos, African Americans, Caribbean, Americans, whites; You name it they came. Once people were energized by the Holy Spirit they began to see differences in people as God's beautiful artistry.
Instead of railing at homosexuals they began to weep over them and the injustice and pain they lived with every day. Instead of looking down their noses in pride and arrogance at the less fortunate homeless or the druggies and prostitutes God gave them supernatural eyes to look past the sin and into the soul to see people as God saw them.
Danny Velasco's Story ~ A Beautiful Model asks Brooklyn Tabernacle to pray for Danny. Danny told Wanda he had gone too far - Wanda said, no you can never go so
Fresh Wind Fresh Fire
Since this is a book review and because I could never do justice to the writings of Jim Cymbala I urge you to read the rest of the story from the book. I am praying I have whet your appetite enough that you will want to pick up the book "Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire."
My Pastor husband and I were never the same after reading this book. No longer did we tell people, I'll pray for you and I wish I could do more. No, our eyes were opened to the power of prayer; There is No greater gift we can give a person than bowing before the throne in intercession for their needs.
God used the vision of this book to transform our own Church. As my husband stood in the Pulpit on Sunday mornings he told our brothers and sisters that Sunday Mornings were no longer the most important gathering of the Church. He shared the vision passed on to him by Jim Cymbala and as a result, our Wednesday night prayer gathering grew and evolved into a powerful group of prayer warriors.
We witnessed long time prayers answered, people humbled, praise erupting from hungry hearts seeking to know God. We were all drawn together and lifted to the spiritual realm. It was a glorious time as many tears rolled and hearts were changed. Love flowed from each heart like a river of life touching everyone in its path. It was a blessed experience like none other in my lifetime.
If you've skipped over the video's please go back now, and as you prepare to watch this sermon, pray that God opens the eyes of your heart. Listen and Watch the audience and the members of the choir; Notice their expressions and look into their faces as they worship God with singing ... Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lamb! Surely God's anointing is upon this music.
When God's People Pray
The featured video of Jim sharing his powerful story is a testimony to the fact that God hears and He answers when His people pray.
Jim tells the heart-wrenching experience of watching his daughter Crissy walk out of their lives and disappear for 2 1/2 years.
In this video, he shares the miracle of how God brought his daughter Crissy back home. It was the groaning and utterances of The Brooklyn Tabernacle prayer group that moved the heart of God to bring Crissy back to the fold and back into the love and protection of her family and her Church.
If you have a wayward child, let this story lift you up and strengthen your faith. That's what it did for me. God brought my own rebel child back to the fold too.
My prayer is that God will use this true story of a simple man with a great mission to entice you to read Jim's story in the book Fresh Wind Fresh Fire.
Who knows, maybe God will use this book to change your life too.