The Sanctuary holds 'Blessing in the Community'

March 30, 2009 – Nearly 500 people of different nationalities crowded into The Sanctuary church on Franklin Road Sunday afternoon to witness its "Blessing Our Community Through Giving" and participate in a different type of service for Lebanon.
Mar 30, 2009

March 30, 2009 – Nearly 500 people of different nationalities crowded into The Sanctuary church on Franklin Road Sunday afternoon to witness its "Blessing Our Community Through Giving" and participate in a different type of service for Lebanon.
Through flyers and virtual visits to the streets where they knocked on doors and invited to come to the church's vast giveaway of prizes and to try "the most exciting church in Lebanon."
"We've had Turkey Day and other days when we've given away hot dogs and other things," said Pastor Daniel Stirnemann, "but we've never done anything of this magnitude. We have over $900 worth of gift cards, cameras, bicycles, gas cards and such to give away. Everyone registers as they come in, so everyone is eligible for the drawings."
Dr. Jeff Stirnemann, the pastor's son, who classified himself as a "physician by trade and a preacher by the grace of God," was coordinator of the event.
"Too many churches just stay inside their churches and don't go out on the street," he said. "We wanted to bring a blessing on the whole community, so we went first to evangelist Tim Downs and his Go Win Souls organization and then we literally went to the streets for Christ. We started hitting the streets Wednesday night. We ran across people literally walking down the street with tears rolling down their cheeks. We ministered to them and invited them to come here today. Between 9:30 p.m. Wednesday and service time today (Sunday), we baptized more than 40 people. That's 40 souls we brought to God."
The church was overflowing. Services were a bit late in starting because various people, the pastor included, was running back and forth setting up additional chairs to handle the crowd. Everyone involved seemed to have a friendly, contagious smile on their faces. The crowd consisted of young, old and inbetween. Music being played before the service commenced by artists on guitar, drums and piano had the audience clapping and rocking to the beat.
Downs, the guest evangelist who holds these crusades around the country, opened the service by asking, "How many of you are here because of a gas card to be given away or because of what God is going to do for you?" The roar went up in God's favor.
Downs went on, "We promise you can't fall asleep in this service. Now, in Pentecostal or Apostolic services, we do things a bit different. We put our hands together and clap when we like something. Then, if you've watched "Cops," you know when they have someone put their arms and hands in the air, it's because they are surrendering. We want you to surrender to God today, so put your hands up!" There was a lot of hand clapping and hand raising throughout the service.
At one point between singing hymns, Downs said, "I was in New Orleans a while back, talking to Katrina survivors. This was a situation that emphasized the point that you have not because you asked not. I asked several of these people who they called when the disaster hit. They all said they called FEMA. Not one of them said they called God! If you're not afraid to call on your government, why would you be afraid to call on God?"
"Shadrack" got up to testify. He told how he used to walk the streets of Lebanon begging for dope and alcohol and sleeping in his car. He asked if anyone recognized him. A few hands went up.
"Well, I hope you came here looking for Jesus and not just looking for me," said the well dressed and articulate man. "I didn't know God could take a hunk of dirt like me and bless me." Classifying himself as an "ex-crackhead and an alcoholic", he said, "The devil is an Indian giver. Whatever he gives you, he will take away, just like he did my two Cadillacs and everything else I had."
After several hymns and more words from Downs, Pastor Stirnemann took over and spoke dynamically on how the devil wants to take over your life.
Then, a cash giveaway was done, followed by a large number of people stepping forward to be baptized. The rest of the prizes were then drawn.
It was a different type of service than the standard and drew nearly double the 250 people that had been anticipated. It was an exciting day for The Sanctuary, which declares itself as "a place of restoration and healing."

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