General John Gowans (Ret.) inspires youth at Long Beach United.

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Gowans speaks at youth gathering

by Candy Stennett – 

General John Gowans (Ret.) prays during Long Beach United.

Last year Lincoln Hawk, youth pastor at Long Beach Citadel Corps, sensed that the teens in his youth group needed to have a regular opportunity to worship with other teens. He launched the United meetings, hoping that teens and young adults would join them from all over the division.

Over 350 young people vibrated with enthusiasm at the recent Long Beach United Celebration. It was standing room only at the Long Beach (Calif.) Citadel Corps as soldiers and community members from throughout the Southern California Division gathered for praise and worship and to hear a message from General John Gowans (Ret.).

Christian musicians Passion for Souls, who recently released a CD, began the worship session, leading the congregation in an experience that rang true to the words of a song Mark Hood (PraiseWorks) wrote specifically for the United meetings.
United, excited, ignited by your love
Come see us, in oneness,
We know you’re so delighted
‘Cause we’re united.

There was a true spirit of oneness in the gathering of 12-year-olds to 80 plus-year-olds. Some were dressed in uniforms and others in jeans and t-shirts; all offered their songs, prayers and applause in praise to the Heavenly Father.Gowans spoke on the Christian’s need to be continually filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. “If a man does not possess the Spirit of Christ, he is not a Christian.” Reading from Romans, chapter 8, he compared the spirit of a man who does not know God with the spirit of one who does. Referencing recent public events, he acknowledged that some people have evil spirits, separated from God.

Then with great conviction Gowans exclaimed, “The world needs a Holy Spirit!” He urged the congregation to receive the Holy Spirit as he cited biblical instances where the disciples had been so urged by Jesus and Peter. He emphasized the need for those who know the indwelling Spirit of God to continually ask for his empowerment so they can be purified; have renewed spiritual strength; be more effective in their witness; and have Christ-like attributes. Quoting from the musical Oliver, he stated that our prayer should always be “More!”
About two dozen people flocked to the altar seeking more of the Spirit, while others prayed in the pews.

Following prayer, the congregation sang with enthusiasm: “Holy Spirit inspire our actions and goals. We’re begging you Father…Give us passion…passion for souls.”

José Segura, from the Santa Monica Corps youth group, regularly attends the Long Beach United meetings because, he says, “I’m inspired by the speakers.”

Raymond Ray, from the Whittier Corps, was a first-time visitor to a United meeting. He remarked, “I feel a lot of love. So many people have made me feel welcome. This is like a soup kitchen for the soul.”

Everyone is invited to the next United Worship Celebration on November 19 at 7:00 p.m. Fulton Hawk of the Territorial Youth Department will share a message for both young and old.

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