The Holy Spirit, the Spectacular and the Ordinary



On Jan. 24, 1885, the front page of The New York Times carried an unlikely story about a little-known evangelist with Wesleyan roots who held sway in red-barn farmland, roughly midway between Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, Ind.

What drew crowds — and reporters — to Hartford City were the mystery and magic of Maria Woodworth-Etter, the “trance evangelist.” Her evangelistic meetings outgrew her grand tent, which accommodated 8,000 people.

Woodworth-Etter refused to prepare her sermons in advance and once preached without notes for 75 minutes. She determined rather to “take a text and trust God to lead me in his own way.” Sometimes, relying on Scripture, “I opened the meeting and repeated the text. As I did so the power came, and it seemed that all I had to do was to open my mouth,” according to her autobiography, “The Life and Experience of Maria B. Woodworth.” (For more on this fascinating woman, read Priscilla Pope-Levison’s “Turn the Pulpit Loose: Two Centuries of American Women Evangelists.”)

Which Is It?
No doubt many Free Methodists have wished for a similar experience of the Spirit — to be taken in a trance or to open our mouths and have the words flow. This is for some the pinnacle of spiritual vitality.


Is the Spirit in the Church?

At Winona Lake FMC we recently finished a teaching series on the Holy Spirit. Ironically, Light and Life Magazine just featured the topic in their recent publication. We will be posting articles each day this week on the topic for those who want to go deeper.

by Paul Alf

The first question most people ask about a church is: “How many people attend?”

In “Forgotten God,” Francis Chan says, “The benchmark of success in church services has become more about attendance than the movement of the
Holy Spirit.”


Extreme Hoarders

Today’s post comes from Youth Pastor Rick Nier’s blog. You can read more form him at

This is a picture of my daughter’s room. Well, not the whole room. It’s the floor. You might wonder why that’s such a big deal. Well, the floor in question had not been seen for months. I’d show you a before picture, but I’m trying to protect the innoc…er….the guil….uhh….my daughter.

The facts are actually in my daughter’s favor. She’s very artistic and crafty. She’s a bit of a pack-rat because she believes she can make something. She doesn’t always know what she’ll make or how she’ll use the stuff she has, but that’s her point. You gotta have a lot of random items in order to make masterpieces.


Photograph of the Free Methodist Publishing House

Here is a picture we found of the Free Methodist Publishing House in Chicago. It is the Franklin St. location and was taken sometime between 1886 and 1894.  The photo was taken in T. B. Arnold’s office. Arnold was the head publisher. Some of the people in the photo include Charles Rowe (far left man standing), T. B. Arnold (second man from the left), C. H. Southworth (man with hat), Matie Coffee, and Bertha Hardy (woman in front of Charles Rowe).

Chicago Publishing House

Follow this link to find a picture you can enlarge.

One Pillowcase to the Wind

by Bishop David Roller

The commercial ended with a somber voice reminding the revelers to “Drink Responsibly.” It struck me as a bit forced, given that all the visuals of the commercial had suggested that the vodka was going to free us from our inhibitions into a sexy, if blurry Bacchanalia.


Missions Sunday

This Sunday, October 21, is a Missions-focused Sunday for us. Mike and Vicki Reynen will be our special gustes.



9am     Breakfast 

Pancakes are on the menu!

9:30     Children’s Activities

Sean and Sarah Smith will be providing activities for 1-6th grade. Pre-K and Kindergartners will be with with Chris Smith.

Breakfast Presentation

Mike Reynen will be presenting for the adults and teens.

10:45    Morning Worship

We will sing and pray, with a special focus on our missionaries and fundraising goal. Mike will be sharing God’s Word.


Be sure to join us for a full morning of missions fun.

All Church Work Day

Do not forget about the work day this Saturday, October 20. The fun begins at 9am. There are projects for all ages, so bring the entire family for a morning of service. If you have questions about specifics, please call Joe Nelson or the church office.

DESCRIPTION: Noah pouring coffee from a gigantic coffee pot CAPTION: NOAH PREPARES FOR ANOTHER HUGE DAY

Bible Quizzing

A long appreciated part of our youth ministries has been the competitive events known as Bible Quizzing. Teams of 3 jump off quizzing seats to try to be the first to answer questions over pre-selected material.

This year our quiz team, consisting of Timothy Gensch, Morgan Smith and Kaitlynn Brower, will be competing in the Young Teen division. They are studying 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, 1,2 & 3 John and Jude.

We will be hosting a regional Bible Quiz Meet at our church on Saturday, November 3. Much help is needed. You can check out the needs on our youth ministry page.

You can find out more about Free Methodist Bible Quizzing at

Doing the Hard Work of Parenting

by Pastor Rick


I came across this video a few weeks ago.



It’s humorous, but it conveys an important message. Youth pastors and Church leaders were never intended to replace parents. God has given parents a very crucial job. It’s not easy, but important jobs are rarely easy.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. ~Deuteronomy 6:4-9

We are here to help equip you. Use us for that purpose. We love your children, so we want to help you do the best job you can; the job God has given to you as parents.


Learn to Linger

by Bishop Matt Thomas

The tendencies of humanity regarding work are toward one of two extremes- laziness and work avoidance on the one hand or overwork on the other hand.  Those who choose laziness find themselves dulled on many levels.  Those who choose or subject themselves to overwork are dulled on other levels.  The lazy lose any sense of expediency, vibrancy and vigor for living in favor of the dulled, emotionless drone of life without substance.  The overworked often lose appreciation for balance, relationship and  virtue by burying their lives in activity.  The end result is another kind of dullness- insensitivity toward the deeply humane.