Dear Oak Tree Family,
On Sunday, February 24, 2019, we had a family meeting for Pastor Bray to share with us his heart and future plans for the church. Unfortunately, it was brought to our attention that there were church members who did not receive the message about the meeting due to a computer glitch. We are truly apologetic to anyone who didn’t receive the notice and we are working to resolve the issue. The meeting itself was a great meeting and Pastor Bray shared some exciting news with us. Pastor Bray took time to write the details of what was discussed in the following letter.
“Oak Tree Church family meeting 2.24.19”
I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your faithfulness to Jesus and to our church. God is doing great things, and greater things are yet to be done. This family meeting could be considered the “state of the union” of our church. The state of the union is awesome! The church is growing, and God is moving. Miracles are happening on a weekly basis. We have such wonderful people. It’s a rare thing to see a church in any state that has such a diverse group of saints, as we do. Diane and I feel so blessed! Our leaders are some of the best that we’ve ever encountered. They are sincere, creative, energetic and gifted. Although they are still being formed, believe me, they are going to surprise you in the near future. We have a great history. We have existed as a force in this area for more than thirty years and have impacted the world. We believe the best is ahead of us. We still carry the same great message of Jesus and Him crucified, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. God has given us great opportunities and we feel honored to be in the kingdom for such a time as this. The season of reaping is upon us. Revival in America is immanent, and we are going to be right in the middle of it.
The first thing I wanted to discuss with you has to do with our identity. 32 years ago, the Holy Spirit led us to name our church “Harvest World Outreach Center”. That name turned out to be truly prophetic. God allowed us to see thousands of souls come into the kingdom and to be a part of what I would call a legitimate revival. Like many revivals in history, we faced a tremendous backlash after the fact. We passed through some difficult years. During those years, on our 25th anniversary, the Lord led me to change our name to Oak Tree Church based on Isaiah 61. This name also proved to be prophetic. This church was solid and resilient in the face of tremendous opposition. Even though the storms blew hard against us, the church stood strong like an oak. In this season, the Holy Spirit has been speaking to my heart about entering a new season of blessing and harvest. Based on this, I believe it is time to return to our original name “Harvest World Outreach”. As you know, we have planted a church in Baton Rouge and named it Capital City Church. Now that I’m pastoring in both cities, I believe it’s right to communicate that we are one church in two locations. One name, Harvest, will serve as the name of both, Harvest (Hammond) and Harvest (Capital City Campus). It will take a Holy Spirit strategy to communicate this clearly, but I wanted you to understand my thinking in advance. I value your prayers and input.
Secondly, a while back I heard an old spiritual saying, “God won’t bless what’s not in order”. I was in prayer and fasting early last year and the Holy Spirit began to deal with me about our current properties. He asked me what I wanted to do with the properties. I said, “Truthfully, I’d like to sell them to someone who could serve the community, and move on”. He said to me, “Good, it wasn’t yours to start off with. It wasn’t you who was attacked, it was me, and I’m well able to take care of what is mine”. In my heart that was a huge relief, even though I was exclusively in Baton Rouge at the time. Before that moment, I felt that I had to rebuild it all and that it was all my load to carry. At the time, I had no idea that I would be back full time in Hammond as quick as I was. I came back to reach a settlement with our partners in the ministry property, Trinity Properties. After a couple of months, Trinity made us a settlement offer that was extremely generous. It was a great offer, but we still had our work cut out for us. We worked extremely hard and sacrificed last year to make that deal a reality. However, due to unexpected costs associated with the New Orleans church project, we, in the end, were not in the position to execute our end of the deal with a clear conscience and spiritual confidence. The board and I communicated to Trinity that we would be looking for other accommodations for our church with the understanding that the strain of all the expenses associated with the property was simply too much for our rebuilding congregation. For any details concerning this difficult decision, I’d be happy to meet with you personally.
We have found an option that may just be perfect for us. Our original church property became available to us at a great price. In fact, it looks like we may be able to move to that property and avoid going to the bank at all. We are still praying over all our options, but know that God is on the throne and all things are working together for our good. I will never quit on you or on God’s vision for this church. We will win and see the glory of God no matter where we meet. The Church is not a building or a meeting. The church is the people, the body of Christ. We, the church, will conquer in any and every circumstance. We have not come to this place lightly or without prayer, fasting and counsel. None of this is easy. In fact, I know that the Holy Spirit is leading us step by step.
As I was praying about this matter, I decided after seeking the counsel of the board and the ministry leaders of the church to go visit my pastor and discuss it with him in Colombia. The nationally recognized prophet Cindy Jacobs was the guest speaker at the conference that was taking place. My hope was to get a direct confirmation for this important decision. Pastor Cesar spoke to me for two hours encouraging me to engage in spiritual warfare and applying the blood from the crown of Jesus. Fighting violently in the Spirit for the current property was the thrust of his sincere counsel. It was then arranged for me to have a private meeting with the prophet to receive a word and prayer. This encounter was recorded so I’ve included it below for you. I think you will find it quite clear and astounding!
The bottom line is, we are in a season of prayer and fasting in respect to the direction and location of our church. To God be the glory forever and ever! We are on track with the Holy Spirit and only good things can happen. I’d like to close with a prophetic word my daughter Leah sent to me this past week.
“A Message from GOD-of-the-Angel Armies...The Temple of GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies has been reestablished. The Temple is being rebuilt. We’ve come through a hard time: You worked for a pittance and were lucky to get that; the streets were dangerous; you could never let down your guard...But things have changed. I’m taking the side of my core of surviving people: Sowing and harvesting will resume, Vines will grow grapes, Gardens will flourish, Dew and rain will make everything green. “My core survivors will get everything they need—and more...I’m coming to save you. From now on, you’re the good-news people. Don’t be afraid. Keep a firm grip on what I’m doing...And you, because of my blood covenant with you, I’ll release your prisoners from their hopeless cells. Come home, hope-filled prisoners! This very day I’m declaring a double bonus— everything you lost returned twice-over! Judah is now my weapon, the bow I’ll pull, setting Ephraim as an arrow to the string.”
Zechariah 8:9-13, 9:11-13 (MSG)