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Sunday

Unity fans revival in Omaha

On a Sunday morning in Omaha, Nebraska, Glad Tidings Assembly of God virtually emanates a Holy Spirit vibrancy from its hill overlooking the city. The parking lot is packed. Inside, people are dancing, hopping, swaying and clapping to the praise music. "Yes, Lord; yes, Lord. Amen!" Pastor Dobie Weasel takes off his coat to fully praise the Lord, holding his arms out and turning around with a joyful abandonment before God. Even the balcony is packed.

The congregation begins to worship.

"Lift your hands all across this auditorium," Weasel says. Beautiful melodies continue, and there is a comfort in the air. All hands are raised. The service goes from lively to relaxing. There is no sense of hurry.

"What a friend we have in Jesus," they sing. "All our sins and griefs to bear … "

Weasel calls the people to pray for and lay hands on each other. Groups of two to five form — knots of vocal and fervent intercession. Black and white attendees mingle freely.

Downstairs, the kids church is revving up. Hundreds of kids participate in the multimedia presentation — video screens, lights, puppet shows and a children’s pastor pacing the aisles with a mike like a talk-show host.

In a room tucked behind the balcony, two men are spending the service in intercession for the people hearing today’s message. An easel with prayer points reminds them of needs. One man prays in tongues; the other, in English.

"Lord, help people to forget about their finances, their career and focus on their Creator. Let every person in the sanctuary focus on You. Have communion with Your people today. Let there be no hindrance."

One of the men, Dan Carl, says their prayers are meant for the city as much as the church.

"We believe that we are one of many congregations in Omaha that God will bring revival to," he says. "God is doing something special here."

Bruce and Carole Shead came here 13 years ago.

"It feels like a new day," says Bruce. "We’ve gone through changes as a church. We feel like we’re on the edge of something."

Archie and Carlose Talkington came here six years ago. Archie had been raised in the Assemblies of God, but had fallen away and begun to dabble in witchcraft.

"Fortunately, family was praying," he says. "When our first child came along, it was a wake-up call. I was heading nowhere good. We felt welcomed here right away. We’ve seen a huge shift in the congregation. It’s become racially and economically like the city itself."

Ninety minutes after the service began, the altar in the sanctuary is filled with people praying, hugging, weeping and rejoicing. Many linger in the pews.

Dobie Weasel, an Assiniboine Sioux Indian, came here a year ago after spending many years pastoring and on the evangelistic field, particularly among Native Americans.

"The people of Glad Tidings are a praying people," he says. "They love the presence of God. They are open to change and whatever God wants to do. I can’t put a great enough price on people who are willing to move after God, whatever that looks like. … You can have the greatest framework, but unless you have the Spirit, the life, the love, the passion for God and souls, it’s sounding brass and tinkling cymbals."

Weasel says the city is alive with interdenominational cooperation and prayer. He believes the unity will bring forth a great revival.

"This city is going to explode with the power of God," he says.

Spanish worship draws Hispanics to Little Rock church

David Gomez, pastor of Centro Cristiano Hispano, and his sons quickly move tables and chairs into place. Sunday services begin in 30 minutes. Gomez planted this church three years ago with the help of Hispanic Project 2000. Since then, the church has concentrated on reaching the Hispanics of Little Rock, Arkansas, and has grown from seven worshipers — the Gomez family — to 120.

"Hispanics are our focus," says Gomez. "Many are not fluent in English so we speak in Spanish. We also have a strong sense of belonging and family and that draws people."

This is evident in the main service where entire families including infants and children fill the pews. As the congregation worships, tired toddlers rest in their mothers’ arms. Throughout the sanctuary several boys rattle tambourines. A young man on the front row worships freely with arms raised. Every song is in Spanish.

"When the church is a church of praise, prayer and worship, others on the outside will notice because they will desire that in their lives," Gomez tells the congregation. "When people get involved at the church by playing an instrument, helping lead worship and giving others rides to church, that brings others to Christ."

Benjamin Salas agrees — he found the Lord here. With his wife by his side after the service, he says he has not been the same since.

"There has been a soul change in me," he says through an interpreter. "My life was totally in the world before I found Christ, and many times my wife had to suffer because of my decisions. But thanks to her prayers, I accepted Jesus. Since then my life has totally changed."

After the service most of the congregation gathers in the fellowship hall for lunch.

"God has blessed us," says Gomez. "But we realize we still have work to do in Little Rock."

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