“This Valley Belongs to Jesus”
“…and you belong to Christ…” 1 Corinthians 3:23
I am told that there exists in an unnamed valley in western Montana a sign that reads “This Valley Belongs to Jesus Christ!” Several churches in the area reportedly have banded together with the sole purpose of not only praying that each resident there have a dynamic, life-giving relationship with the Lord, but also to consecrate (to make or declare sacred) themselves and their actions to the Lordship of Christ. The end result is that the particular valley under consideration indeed belongs to Jesus Christ.
This year—2022—marks the twenty-first year of the Ramsey’s being here at CBC. Literally my first week here I was greeted by Greg Bye, the longest standing pastor in the community. He invited me to pray with him once a week that God would pour out His Spirit upon the entire valley, that there would be spiritual awakening/revival never-before-seen. He quoted form memory Isaiah 64:1-3—Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at Your presence—as fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil—to make your name known to Your adversaries, that the nations would tremble at Your presence. When You did awesome things which we did not expect, You came down, the mountains quaked at Your presence.
What inspired Him quickly resonated in my own soul—that the Touchet Valley would experience a spiritually transformative event unlike anything that has ever happened before. In all my research, from the earliest days of white settlers to the present, I have yet to find anything that resembles a revival happening here. There were “Brush Arbor” meetings held at what is now the State Park between Dayton and Waitsburg. A “Brush Arbor” meeting is an outdoor gathering of citizens from a region assembling anywhere from one day to several weeks for the purpose of preaching the Gospel—presumably to encourage and strengthen believers and reach out to those outside of Christ. But there is no record that those meeting produced anything substantive concerning wide-spread spiritual awakening.
Now obviously for us to proclaim that this valley belongs to Christ, we must go further than an event where large numbers of people profess Christ for the first time. What would we expect to see? What should we look for? Let us consider the following:
I would expect to see that most of the churches that currently exist in the valley would be strong spiritually. Their membership is healthy; they have a keen vision of building God’s Kingdom in this place; they flourish not only in fellowship but certainly in reaching to those who are outside of Christ.
I would expect to see youth/young people having profound experiences with Christ that indicates a new generation of whole-hearted Christ followers are ready for their role.
I would expect to see an increase in spiritual warfare. Remember that Paul said our struggle is not against flesh and blood. Yet we must realize that the battle is often waged at the flesh and blood level. For example—the fact that the under sheriff of Columbia County recently came under attack by the “Freedom FROM Religion” group in.
I would expect to see a growing hunger and thirst for spiritual answers. As people become increasingly disenchanted with false promises and empty “rewards” they look for something of substance, truth substantial, that satisfies the needs of soul.
I hope you will commit to praying with me that we could one day post our own sign indicating that the Touchet Valley belongs to Jesus Christ. Let us make that bold proclamation and endeavor.
Blessings on the Journey, Pastor Dewayne