John Schmid Music

Culture

The Irish Revival of 1859

The Drimoleague Methodist Church in Ireland is a relatively small building with stone walls that are two feet thick. The sanctuary is about the size of my timber frame barn/office, maybe 24 by 36 feet?

“It was built in 1865 as a result of the Revival of 1859,” the locals told me.

“The Revival of 1859?!” I asked. And then I started hearing the stories of this amazing move of God.

The Revival started in Northern Ireland and spread over the whole country. A group of people got saved here in Drimoleague and began meeting west of town at the farm of my host’s relatives, the Kingstons. After several years of meeting there, The Drimoleague Methodist Church was built.

Pastor Greg came to Drimoleague from the town of Coleraine, in the north of Ireland. He said the revival crowds in Coleraine were so big in 1859 that the only building big enough to hold their meetings was the brand new, just finished, Town Hall Building.

After meeting there for several years, these “revival people” built their own new church building. Almost a century later, the people of Coleraine made a startling discovery in the Town Hall records: Because of the excitement of the Revival, the ‘new’ town hall had never had a Grand Opening! So, in 1959, the town of Coleraine had a Grand Opening Celebration for its brand new, hundred year old Town Hall!

The most amazing story I heard is what happened at The Harland & Wolff Shipyard in Belfast. This is where the Titanic would be built. Many of the rough, crude shipyard workers had conversion experiences and to clear their consciences, began to return tools that they had stolen over the years. The stolen tools began to pile up. So many tools came back that Harland & Wolff had to build a new warehouse to store them all! Our hosts in Donegal said that warehouse is still standing! (Think of how our economy would be affected if we would just be honest!)

There were (are) many more revival stories. Several of the churches where I sang were built during this exciting time in Irish history. The Coolkelure Anglican Church was built by the owner of the large estate whose life was transformed by Christ during this revival, so he built this beautiful church so his workers would not have to walk the 4 miles to Dunmanaway every Sunday.

I had 14 concerts in ten days on the “Emerald Island.” I performed in some amazing classic churches. I met some wonderful people. I was close to the ancestrial land of my great-grand mother (County Waterford). I was able to see some changed lives.

But as I sit back and reflect on my trip, the thing I think about most are the 158 year-old revival stories, and I am encouraged that God can break into any culture with His Spirit and change lives, change communities, change cultures–so much so that churches must be built to house the worshippers and warehouses need to built to hold the stolen goods returned by repentant sinners! Do it here, Lord!

Thank you for praying for Common Grounds Ministries and for my trip to Ireland. Pray for revival! It can happen!

AN IRISH PRAYER:

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
The rains fall soft upon fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Tidings of Great Joy!

No matter where you stand politically, you may have noticed that in the last few months that the main stream media has not been very accurate in their attempt at prophesy. They haven’t even done a very good job of simply reporting the news.

In the recent presidential election they reported that Donald Trump would not run. Then they reported that he would not last two weeks. Then they gave him two months. Then they reported that he was a fraud. He’s a decoy, just in the race to help his old friend, Hillary. He would not win the Republican primary. When he did become the Republican nominee, they said he had no chance to win the presidency. “You watch; he’s going to drop out.” And up to the last hour, rather than report news, they continued to prophesy the outcome of the election.

They had a perfect record: They didn’t get one thing right! The news was wrong. The polls were wrong. The politicians were wrong. The man who “had no chance” won in a landslide.

So… Now that I have lost all trust in the news media, what can I believe? Who can I believe? Where can I go for accurate news? At least I think I can believe the sports page. I actually listened to the Ohio State/ Michigan game, so I can testify that they got that news report right. But what about anything political? What about editorial opinion? What about the front page?

“When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Psalm 11:3

What can we believe?

Friends, I have good news for you! You can believe the Bible. It is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. And it contains Good News:

“Fear not! I bring you good tidings [news] of great joy… For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!”

Not only is the announcement of the birth of Christ real news that you can believe, but it is also the best news that has ever been reported on planet earth! It’s 2000 years old, to be sure, but it is also the latest, freshest news today! And it wasn’t the usual Israeli main stream media who reported this amazing event… It was angels! Sent by God! And it is recorded in the most reliable, best selling book in history: The Bible.

“With the angelical host proclaim, Christ is born in Bethlehem… Hark! The herald angels sing!

Christmas is a reminder of the wonderful news that God came to us. “Immanuel”–God with us. Christmas reminds us to trust not in horses and chariots (government; politicians), but to trust in the Baby who was born in a lowly stable just a few miles from the Palace of the most powerful, ruthless, wealthy, influential politician in the region, Herod the Great.

Who would have thought at the time that 2000 years later the little Baby would still be known and worshipped, but the only memory we have of the politician, Herod: He killed the babies.

Who can you believe? Jesus. What can you believe? His book. It’s reliable. It’s good news.

He rules the world with truth and grace and He makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness, and wonders of His love… Joy to the world!

What good news! You can believe it!

B.I.B.L.E.= Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth

Thoughts on Education

Si Hoc Legere Scis Nimium Eruditionis Habes (Per contra, Scientia est Potentia).”

Translation: “If you can read this, you have too much education.
(On the other hand, knowledge is power)

Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”

– Albert Einstein

Education Versus Learning

I’m reminded of the story of the Harvard professor who informed his class that he spoke five languages. “For example,” he said, “the word “horse” in Spanish is ‘caballo;’ in German, it’s ‘Pferd;’ in French, it’s ‘cheval;’ in Italian, it’s ‘cavallo;’… and of course, in English, ‘Horse.’ ” Just then the bell rang and class was over. As the professor walked out into the court yard among his students, a loose horse galloped by. “Oh, my goodness!” cried the professor. “What sort of beast is THAT?!”

Maybe I’m thinking of this because I have coffee in the mornings with very successful businessmen who didn’t go to high school. I live in a community where education is looked on with a degree of suspicion. For instance, my board is made up of very successful businessmen who love the Lord. None of them went to High School. If I would sit here and think, I could name 20 successful businesses in this county started and run by men with only an eight grade education.

Hundreds, maybe thousands of local people are given employment by men who can’t even be labeled “dropouts” because they didn’t go to high school to drop out of! I often ask, “If not for the folks who didn’t go to high school in Holmes Co. who would hire the college graduates?”

Don’t get me wrong. I think education is very important. I’ve got a bunch of it. When we lived in Central America, education was about the only way out of a life of poverty. In the prison system, lack of education, and especially lack of ability to read, is directly proportional to a person’s chances of ending up in prison. “Readers are leaders.” And by inference, non-readers seem to be losers. I always encourage an inmate to study for his GED. An ex-con has two strikes against him. An ex-con with no high school is almost an automatic “out.”

So… is education the answer? I guess it depends what the question is.There is in this country today an educated class who wouldn’t know what common sense was if it came in wearing a name tag. You know the type. They’ve never had a real job. They’ve never lived in the real world. They don’t know the challenges of everyday living that you and I face. But they have a diploma. They are the plumbing inspectors who never really “plumbed.” They are the milk inspectors who never farmed. They are the lawmakers who don’t have to follow their own laws. They are in government and tell us how to live our lives. They teach where our children go to college.

I guess I’m also thinking of education because college debt (school loans) has passed credit cards as the number one debt in America. Young people are graduating with six figure debt and they discover that their degree is not useful in the real world. They are prisoners of debt. That young person who cooked your Big Mac may have a degree in history or English or philosophy and a debt of $90,000. He’s been tricked! So… what are my thoughts on education (learning?) I agree with the farm wisdom I heard at the Moreland Feed Mill when I was a boy: “It’s what you learn after you know everything that counts.” Or Edwards Deming: “Learning is not compulsory… neither is survival!” Or eighth grade graduate, Ray J. Miller: “When you don’t have any education, you have to use your brains.”

So, every morning, I “study to show myself approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Tim. 2:15) Now and then I take continuing education classes in the form of seminars, correspondence courses, classes on CD…I want to be the best I can be. But, I am aware that “knowledge puffs up (makes arrogant). Love builds up.” (I Cor. 8:1)

When you quit learning, you’re old, no matter what your age. – Henry Ford