July 14, 1999
East Texas revival touches 500
___CENTER--Five hundred public decisions for Christ were recorded in an area-wide evangelistic crusade in East Texas last month.
___The crusade, organized by 20 churches in Shelby-Doches Baptist Association, was held in Center, with evangelist Rick Gage.
___Of the 500 public decisions recorded, 268 were professions of faith in Jesus Christ.
___About 300 of the decisions came during the Thursday evening youth rally at the football stadium in Center, promoted as "the largest pizza party in East Texas." Gage and one of his associates had spoken to all public schools in assemblies focused on drug and alcohol prevention.
___Stormy weather had forced the relocation of the crusade from the football stadium to the sanctuary of First Baptist Church in Center on Sunday, the opening night. But instead of squelching the crusade, the relocation built enthusiasm, according to Bill Holmes, pastor of First Baptist Church in Tenaha.
___"Because the weather scared away so many people, it would have looked like a very small crowd at the stadium. But when we relocated, the same number of people was an overflow crowd at First Baptist Church," Holmes said.
___Momentum continued to build, and by Thursday the stadium was filled, he added.
___Among those who came to faith in Christ during the five-day crusade was the prodigal son of a non-denominational church pastor in the area.
___The young man worked as a DJ and bartender in a nightclub. His father invited him to the crusade, hoping he might change his lifestyle.
___Although the young man had spent most of the day before on a drinking binge, he felt drawn to the service, he said. After hearing a presentation of the gospel, when the invitation was offered, he was among the first to the altar.
___The next day, he called his boss to announce his resignation.
___His employer offered to double his salary, but he responded, "This isn't about money."
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