An Idea Reborn
In the time of King David and his son, Solomon, there was a 24/7-worship center in Jerusalem. It was so filled with the glory of the Lord that “when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. And the priests could not stand to enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’s house. When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the LORD, saying: ‘For He is good, For His mercy endures forever.” (2 Chronicles 7: 1- 3)
Our friends with the Emmaus Way Worship Center in Tiberias, Israel recently reported to us that just such a power of God came down in their worship center one morning, literally forcing each person to the ground in the presence of the glory of the Lord. We envision the same thing for Worship Central, near Middletown.
Plans are underway to build a simple but beautiful 24-hour/7-days-a-week worship center. The proposed site consists of 26 acres located on State Highway 175 just outside of Middletown. We are about two hours from the San Francisco Bay Area or Sacramento, and about one hour from either Ukiah or Santa Rosa. The site is within a mile or so of the “geysers,” a subterranean source of geothermal energy currently visited by tourists to Lake County.
Paralleling the physical geysers, in God’s timing, we envision a worship center that will be a spiritual geyser for Christ, a doorway into the heavenlies, open to all, whether they are believers in Christ or not. The Bible says “God inhabits the praises of His people.” We sincerely believe as we open our doors to worship Him continuously, the darkness of the world around will be pushed back by the presence of God’s glory. People locally and from the nearby regions will have hope for a new life in Christ, refreshed by the beauty of the site and the power of continuous, open Prayer and worship.
The participants in Jesus Christ Fellowship in Middletown will be stewards of the site. They will worship there on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. However, the Center is intended to be a sanctuary and a unique destination for believers attracted to the “spiritual geyser” we believe the Lord will create. The extraordinary beauty of the site will refresh all worshippers and confirm God’s awesome love for each of us. (Psalm 95)
We see hundreds of Holy Spirit-filled worship teams from all Christian denominations, throughout central and Northern California, offering their worship team on a particular calendar day to fulfill this vision. As the calendar days fill up with Worship Teams, 24/7 Worship will be an everyday reality, as it is in Heaven (Revelation, Chapters 4 & 5). 24/7 Worship will help to build unity of the spirit in the body of Christ: ( Ephesians 4: 3-5, John 17).
Scripture bears witness to the power and appropriateness of continuous worship to our Creator. Those closest to God worship Him full-time. (Revelation 4: 1-11) Verse 8 says: “And they do not rest day or night, saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!’” As well, God’s Holy Word in Luke 24: 52-53 says: “And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God.” Similarly, “And day after day they regularly assembled in the temple with united purpose, and in their homes they broke bread.”
(Acts 2: 26)
There are dozens if not hundreds of other Scriptures relevant to the vision, such as Psalm 84: 1-4: “How lovely is Your tabernacle, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” All of Psalm 150 and the first verse of 149 are other examples among many: “Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, and His praise in the assembly of saints.”
(Psalm 149: 1)
We sincerely believe that the troubled times we live in call for a Christ-centered, worship-filled new song to our Creator instead of the dead aspects of legalistic religion that have turned many away from the indwelling Christ. As we seek to fulfill our vision, we believe that the living God will bless our humble response beyond our imaginations: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”
(1 Corinthians 2: 9)
Confirming this vision, 24/7 Christian worship centers are now springing up throughout the world, from the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri, to Emmaus Way in Tiberias, Israel. (See Worship Centers for details.) According to the International House of Prayer, “the Holy Spirit is orchestrating a global prayer strategy far eclipsing any other prayer movement in history, resulting in an unprecedented harvest of souls completing the Great Commission. In cities throughout the earth, it will become common to hear of intercessory worship ministries that continue non-stop 24 -hours-a-day in the spirit of the Tabernacle of David.”
Beyond Our Core Vision
Additionally, in God’s timing, the 26-acre site is large enough to support a youth camp. We see young people coming from all over at key times during the year to attend a Christian-based, fun, outdoors experience that they will never forget. Our goal is to equip young people with a living faith in Christ that will strengthen him or her for the rest of their lives and prepare them to deal with a world that is increasingly dangerous and ungodly.
The Board of Directors of Jesus Christ Fellowship includes Pastor/Evangelist L. T. Bates, from Modesto California, who preached his first sermon at age 13, over sixty years ago. He has been a director of Jesus Christ Fellowship since the beginning, in 1999. John Parsons, a worship leader/ teacher now in North Dakota, formerly of the United Kingdom, has a passion for 24/7 worship and prayer, and has been a Director since 2013. Pastor Jeff Daly has been the pastor of Jesus Christ Fellowship since 1999 and also has served as a director since 2013. Years before he became a pastor the Lord gave Jeff a vision for Worship Central which serves today as our inspiration.
The Proposed Facility
Lake County has granted us a use permit to develop the site in a number of stages. In stage one, we plan, God willing, to construct the sanctuary and a caretaker’s cottage to protect the site. In latter stages we hope to construct a children’s church and kitchen/fellowship area as well as a TV/ media studio to support the worship teams that will visit. To enable them to come to Worship Central we plan to have RV sites and to construct three dormitories each holding six rooms to allow for up to 36 members of a worship team or the general public to stay overnight.
Financing the Worship Center
A series of financial miracles enabled the property to be purchased on September 13, 2003, including a payment of $8500, from a couple attending service one Sunday morning. It was the exact amount needed to close escrow the following week! We have never seen them since. Despite our very small numbers in the congregation, Jesus Christ Fellowship was given a mortgage by the Evangelical Christian Credit Union. Over the past few years a good portion has been paid off, and approximately $110,000 remains to be paid. Several foundation grant proposals are in the works and we continue to pray for the funds to have our vision realized.
Your prayers and your gifts of time and funds to implement this vision are greatly welcomed and appreciated.