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Calvary Chapel Church on Willow Street is building up for a major event that planners hope will drive engagement in faith, and a new outlook on eternity.
A series of “Faith Fest” events will start Monday, May 15, and continue nightly through May 21 at 7 p.m. for one hour. The events will also be livestreamed and broadcast by radio at WLEB 93.1, 97.7, 98.7, and 106.3 or Truth93.1.com. They’ll also be on YouTube and on the church’s website.
In some ways, Faith Fest is a throwback to another age, when “big tent revivals” brought people to hear pastors and others speak about faith. In other ways, Faith Fest will reflect the unique realities of our current time.
One of the overarching messages, says revival coordinator Michael Sobol, will be that God is in control.
Sobol is involved in putting together these sessions, which build on an established tradition of offering places for people to come together in turbulent times.
Initially, Sobol told LebTown, people got a lot out of some streamed presentations that were done during COVID.
Read More: Calvary Chapel to produce online broadcast of ‘Old-Fashioned Revival’
“People were calling,” he said. “There was a lot of enthusiasm.”
Since then, he suggested, many people are putting faith on the back burner.
Citing numbers from famed pastor David Jeremiah, Sobol said that one third of churchgoers stopped going to church after COVID.
“That’s a concerning figure,” he said. “People are so busy living their lives, they completely forgot about the eternal aspect of life.”
Sobol spoke about the need for a “Great Awakening” in America, as in colonial times.
Noah’s Ark and the faith
Sobol also mentioned levels of violence in the U.S. and around the world right now that remind him of the antediluvian days mentioned in Genesis.
“I just see times are really getting challenging,” he said, noting that many people are worried about their safety and security
“When you think about Noah’s Ark,” Sobol said, “when the ark was being built, people had 100 years to repent.”
After that, he said, it’s hard to imagine people’s mentality as the storm approached.
“When you see all of these animals walking toward a boat without trainers … can you imagine on the looks on people’s faces?” he said.
In thinking about the church’s message to the world at large, Sobol suggested that the involvement of countries like Russia, Iran and Turkey in areas around Palestine is also a warning sign.
“The dominoes are lining up,” he said.
A biblical roster
As for other speakers at the revivals, Sobol said he knows many of them and their love of people, and their knowledge of the Bible.
However, he said, it’s a diverse set of presenters, some from Berks, and some from other areas.
“It’s eclectic,” he said.
There’s Tony Billota, who runs the One-Luv.org program in Reading, PA. The organization helps provide for the basic needs of local residents including food, clothing, and toys, and “helps people to connect with God.”
Paul Virta, another speaker, has spent 40 years in radio ministry, presenting the gospel of Christ to audiences. Keith Maxcy, the pastor of U-Turn, will also be contributing. U-Turn is a men’s program that helps with addictions and spiritual goals.
Other speakers include Mark Abrams, pastor of North Philly Word of Life church, and Thom Keller and Jeff Wong of Calvary Chapel.
Then there’s Sobol, who organizes, coordinates, and speaks at the revival events.
“The Lord spoke to me (back in 2020) about giving people hope during that challenging time, which led to our first Old Fashioned … Radio Revival back in June of 2020. They have grown from the radio, to YouTube and now are also ‘in person’ at our church!”
One thing Sobol said will be front and center is the idea that faith can add to our feeling of security.
Giving the example of sitting in a chair, Sobol suggested faith should be easy, too.
“We either pull (the chair) out from a table, or walk over to the chair, and we sit down,” he said. “Nobody looks under the chair, or tests to see if the chair is safe! We have abundant faith to just plop down in the chair! Our faith feels pretty good while in that chair … faith should be like that.”
Stay tuned to any of the above stations, or visit the church for those events coming soon.
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