Shortly after the 2013 FGBMFA National Convention in Dallas-Fort Worth last July I received an email from Peter Schnieder the convention speaker in the Friday Men’s Luncheon. Peter explained that during one of the worship times in the convention he had received an “open vision” concerning the Fellowship in America.
Since he did not have an opportunity to share it during the convention, he enclosed a written description of the vision in his email. Below is Peter Schneider’s Vision.
In the vision I was holding a large open book; I knew it was the “Book of the Fellowship.” The first half of the book appeared to have a great deal of writing in it. Then I saw the hand of the Lord begin to turn the pages… He turned the pages of the book to the next chapter! The pages in the next chapter of the book were all blank, but they were covered with His Glory. As I tried to look back through the preceding pages they were now all blank! The glory of what is ahead for the Fellowship is of such an exceeding glory, that all that has preceded it will now fade in comparison. The page was turned during this year’s convention, and a new chapter has begun for the Fellowship!
As a leader in the Fellowship in America it is your responsibility to sound the trumpet… God is moving in the Fellowship once again! You who attended this year’s National Convention are to “sound trumpet,” men far and near, need to hear of how the Glory fell in Dallas. How can they join in the battle if they do not hear the trumpet of the Lord call them to war!
Last month I told you that in the next several newsletters, I will be focusing on “the Vision” which God has given our Fellowship! The Vision is to reach men for Jesus Christ, get them born again, baptized in the Holy Spirit, and train them to fulfill the great commission. Is your chapter fulfilling the Vision that God has given our Fellowship?
God gave “the Vision” to the men of this Fellowship in 1952 though a humble dairyman, named Demos Shakarian. And for the first forty years this Fellowship prospered and spread to more 160 nations of the earth. And today in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America the vision is still advancing rapidly. Nigeria alone currently has some 3085 chapters. But in the mid-1980’s Demos Shakarian suffered a stroke and strife and division began to develop among the Fellowship leadership. That strife caused a number of splits that nearly destroyed the Fellowship in North America. The Fellowship in America has gone from nearly 1688 chapters in 1985 to less than 100 chapters in 2006. But the Good news is that in 2006 God raised up FGBMFA to re-energize and re-vitalize “the Vision” in America. The Fellowship in America is growing again, and as Peter Schneider’s Vision in the 2013 Convention so vividly portrayed, the future of the Fellowship in America is filled with God’s Glory!
Very few of the current members of our Fellowship and certainly none of the members of the Joshua Generation have ever met the Demos Shakarian the man through whom God gave “the Vision” that started the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship marching across the nations. John and Elizabeth Sherrill, the authors of The Happiest People on Earth, began their introduction of Demos with this question: “How was it possible, we kept asking ourselves, that this shy inarticulate man with the slow gentle smile, a man who never seems to hurry, never seems to know today where he’ll be tomorrow, could be having such an impact on millions of people?” Understanding the answer to the Sherrill’s question is important, and it is the reason that I have started this newsletter with an excerpt from the testimony that Rose Shakarian, Demos wife, gave to a ladies luncheon in the late 1970’s. I believe it will reveal to you, the heart of Demos and Rose, and why God chose Demos to reveal the vision and start the Fellowship.
“My husband, Demos, and I were very hungry for the things of God. As I look back now, I remember that everywhere the power of God was falling that Demos and I would drive over there; we loved to experience God’s anointing on our lives. If we heard on the radio that the Holy Spirit was falling somewhere in the city, we would get into the car drive to that meeting. We respected and loved the work of the Holy Spirit in such a mighty and wonderful way… We were married very young, I was 16 and Demos was 19. We were so hungry for the Lord and for the deeper life in Jesus. I remember one of the first steps of faith that the Lord asked us to take was to start a street corner meeting. Our family was well known in the area, and here the Lord called us to conduct street corner meetings. That was a most humbling experience for two young business people, to be out on a street corner witnessing about Jesus, but we did it. We learned a lot of things on that street corner. But most of all we learned not to listen to people, and to only listen to the voice of God. We learned that no matter what people said that we were to obey the spirit of the Lord.”
In his book entitled, A New Wave of Revival, the Vision Intensified, Demos retells in the incredible story of the evening that he received “the Vision,” the Vision that energized the Fellowship, and started it expanding across America and the world. In the next several paragraphs Demos shares the condition of the Fellowship the day before he received “the Vision.”
“After months of meetings, thousands of miles of travel, phone calls, letters, “free breakfast” adverts to entice men to attend, and 100 per cent of my energy, the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship seemed dead. Our most recent Saturday morning meeting at Clifton’s Cafeteria in December had…
SIX FEWER men attending than when I had started
the Fellowship, 14 months before!
Nothing man could do made a difference! No amount of careful planning, enticements, or even personal effort could launch this Fellowship.
And today, no amount of organization, money, or personal efforts will preserve it! ONLY God, and the Power of his Holy Spirit, can make the Fellowship ALIVE and Vital.”
So, on Friday, December 26th, 1952 a discouraged Demos told evangelist Tommy Hicks, a guest in his home: “Tomorrow morning is the last meeting of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship.”
Later, on that same lonely Friday evening, just before midnight, Demos told Tommy and his wife, Rose, “I’m going into the living room TO GET DOWN ON MY KNEES UNTIL I HEAR FROM THE LORD about this.”
When He started to walk into the living room, it happened. The air around him became suddenly heavy. Overwhelmed, he fell to his knees, then to his my face, stretched full length on the floor. Demos describes events of that night in his own words:
“I knew GOD’S SPIRIT WAS UPON ME, pulsating through the room in endless WAVES of power.
Time seemed to stop.
My sense of ‘place’ disappeared.
Then, I heard His voice: “Demos, will you ever doubt MY POWER?”
Those seven miracle words instantly made me realize how I had acted these past fourteen months – I’d acted as if my strength was the Fellowship’s hope. What a fool I had been! Nothing, nothing, nothing man can do, or will ever do, will ever make a second of difference in eternity unless it is energized by the Power of God.
“Lord Jesus, forgive me!” I sobbed.
He continued: “I am the One, Demos, WHO ALONE CAN OPEN DOORS. I am the One who removes the beam from un-seeing eyes.”
In those early months, I kept looking to other men for answers. Whenever I’d meet another businessman, or a political official, I used to think, “This man can help me launch the Fellowship.” God, in His loving way, was once again reminding me that HE ALONE IS OUR SOURCE.
“I understand, Lord Jesus. And I thank you.”
“And now,” He replied, “I will let you see, indeed.”
With that, the Lord allowed me to rise to my knees. He lifted me almost, as though the power which put me on the floor was now pushing me up. At that moment, Rose came into the room, did not say a word, but walked over to our Hammond organ and began to play.
The music swelled. The atmosphere grew bright. The ceiling of our room seemed to disappear. Instead, I found myself rising up into the sky – a daytime sky – although outside it was dark.
How long Rose played, how long I gazed at the sky, I simply don’t know. But all at once Rose stopped playing, and began to pray aloud in tongues, a lovely, flowing message: “My son, I knew you before you were born. I have guided you every step of the way. NOW I AM GOING TO SHOW YOU THE PURPOSE OF YOUR LIFE.”
As Rose spoke, I felt as if I were rising, leaving my body, moving up, away from the living room. Down below me, I could see the rooftops of the city of Downey, then the San Bernardino Mountains, the Pacific coast. I was high above the earth, able to see the entire country from west to east.
I saw people on the earth – millions and millions of them, standing shoulder to shoulder. And, I could see tiny details of thousands and thousands of faces. What I saw terrified me.
The faces were set, lifeless, and miserable. Though the people stood so close together, shoulders touching, there was no real contact between them – they were alone, their hands bound in chains. Their heads were boxed; their eyes stared straight ahead, unblinking, unseeing. They appeared cold, almost as if in ice from a winter storm.
With a shudder of horror, I realized that they were dead.
Then, the Vision changed.
Whether the world was turning, or whether I was traveling around it, I did not know. But now, beneath me was the continent of South America. Then on to Africa. Europe. Asia. Once more the startling close-ups occurred, and everywhere it was the same.
Brown faces. Black faces. White faces. Every one rigid, wretched, each BOUND IN CHAINS, LOCKED IN HIS OWN PRIVATE DEATH.
“Lord,” I cried, “What’s the matter with them? Lord, help them!”
Afterword, Rose told me that I said nothing. But in the Vision it seemed to me that I wept and pleaded aloud.
Suddenly Rose began to speak. Humanly speaking, of course, she had no way of knowing that I was seeing anything at all. But what she said was: “My Son, WHAT YOU SEE NEXT IS GOING TO HAPPEN VERY SOON.”
The earth was turning – or I was moving around it – a second time. Below me again were millions and millions of men. But this time, what a difference!
THE ICE HAD MELTED – THE CHAINS HAD BEEN BROKEN!
Eyes shone with joy. The once-bound hands, NOW FREE, were lifted towards heaven! These men who had been so isolated, each in his prison of self, were NO LONGER ALONE, but were now linked in a community of love and adoration.
Asia, Africa, America – everywhere death had turned to life. THE CHAINS OF BONDAGE HAD BEEN BROKEN!
And then, the Vision was over.
It was 3:30am in the morning.
When I described my Vision to Rose, she listened with tears glistening in her eyes: “Oh, Demos, don’t you see? He’s showing us that the Fellowship is to go on.”
After years of preparation, and being urged by the Holy Spirit to start the first Chapter of the Fellowship in the upper room of Clifton’s Cafeteria, Demos struggled for fourteen months to make the chapter a success with no increase. No one ever had enough interest to start a second chapter. It appeared that he had missed God…
Such is the story of all great movements recorded in the Bible. Moses and the children of Israel spent forty years in the wilderness preparing to enter the Promised Land, David was chased by Saul for years, after he was anointed “King of Israel” by the Prophet Samuel, before he actually became King. Jesus the Son of God trained in the marketplace for 30 years, and after he was anointed by the Spirit of God, He was tested by the devil for forty days before he would be ready to launch his public ministry.
And such is the case with FGBMFA, it was tested for the seven years, while God knitted His men together under the “Banner of His Love”, re-established our foundation on “the Vision”, and unified us together in the Spirit of God. God is rebuilding the walls of this Temple called the “Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America”. And He is re-building it with young men “Living Stones” prepared out in the quarry of life, men from across America with “the Vision” birthed in their hearts by the Holy Spirit.
On January 17, 2009, near the end of an FGBMFA Joshua Chapter Meeting in Seattle, Joshua Alvarez the young prophetic speaker turned to me and said, “When I first came into this room the Lord told me to tell you, “Strengthen the foundation, for I have given you the keys of David, and the glory of the latter house shall be greater than the former house – the best is yet to come.”
Then three months later in our 2009 FGBMFA National Convention in Portland, Oregon the same young prophetic speaker proclaimed, ‘I see four angels posted at the four corners of this ballroom, and I see a cloud of glory hovering over your heads… and then he suddenly turned to the head table and proclaimed, “This organization will be the catalyst to the greatest move of God to ever be poured out on this nation…”
In Atlanta in July of 2012 the Holy Spirit said, “I put the “Vision” given to my servant Demos’ in your heart six years ago, this Convention is the beginning of what I am about to do… Many from the Joshua Generation will come into this Fellowship, and I will do a great work through them, and many shall come into my Kingdom. And I will break out in this Fellowship in the seventh year.”
Then in the seventh year, at this year’s National Convention in Dallas – Fort Worth Texas, we saw First Fruits of the Prophesied Spiritual Break-out begin as the Glory of God fell on the first night of the convention. And that Glory was ushered in by a Joshua Generation speaker named Jamie Dickson”.
The powerful anointing that we experienced in the Dallas Convention attested to a paradigm shift taking place in the heavenlies.
Next Month more on fulfilling the Vision that God has given our Fellowship.
In Jesus Name,
Robert W. Bignold
Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in America