May 5, 1999

300 came forward, and
the preacher hadn't spoken

___By George Henson
___Staff Writer
___WHITE SETTLEMENT--Things did not go as planned at a White Settlement community rally April 28, and the pastors involved could not be more pleased--because more than 300 people made decisions for Christ.
___The event, Cross Roads '99, was sponsored by the 33 churches of White Settlement Ministerial Alliance and was to begin with hot dogs served at 6 p.m., with worship starting a half-hour later.
___Pastor Jim Gatliff of First Baptist Church in White Settlement said he knew something special was in the works when he arrived about 5:30 p.m. and youth already were gathering in the stadium.
___Mike Tullos, pastor of Normandale Baptist Church in White Settlement, said the worship and music time was when he began to feel God move, but the time of his spirit quickening came during the performance of the dramatic group "Choice" from Dallas.
___As the group dramatized music selections, Tullos said, he felt God take charge.
___"You've got to picture this. Here is this black drama group performing for a totally white audience. As they acted out the words to these wonderful songs about what Christ had done for his people, you could just feel the Spirit of God move. When they finished, they were given a standing ovation, and at that point a real barrier was broken, and it was all go from then on. God was just pouring out his Spirit," Tullos said.
___So much so that evangelist Dave Edwards never got a chance to preach a word.
___"They were doing the last set of songs, and I noticed this group of girls, they looked to be freshmen or sophomores, go to the railing," Gatliff recalled. "They kind of looked around and saw their principal, Dale Brock, with a kind of questioning look, and he gave them a nod and they went on down onto the field. The next thing you know, the field was filled with kids praying. Then they started singing and holding each other's hands up in the air like they used to do at youth rallies 20 years ago. It was just incredible."
___Tullos and Gatliff agree that Edwards knew God was at work, and the evening's sermon already had been preached in hearts throughout the stadium without him opening his mouth.
___"Dave didn't preach a lick but just gave the invitation to accept Christ," Gatliff said.
___"He told those who needed to make decisions for Christ to go out behind the stage where the counseling would be done, and probably 75 percent of them went to that area," Tullos added.
___And it wasn't just young people who were making decisions.
___"Everywhere you looked, there were parents and kids hugging and both getting saved," Gatliff said.
___Gatliff said the event had been the object of intensive prayer from the outset, and the idea for it came out of a prayer meeting at Brewer High School.
___"We have been meeting, parents and students, to pray there after school hours for the school and its safety," he said. "It was out of one of those prayer sessions that this all came about."
___Those prayer meetings have continued, and churches in the community have cancelled evening services at least twice for joint prayer for the event.
___"The whole event is just a testimony to the connection between prayer and spiritual awakening," Gatliff said.
___The Baptist General Convention of Texas helped to underwrite the cost of the event, and Tullos said the investment was appreciated. "We appreciate Texas Baptists, and we want them to know what God is doing in our community."


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