April 7 -8, 2006: First DOWNPOUR Conference held in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


The weekend of April 7-8, 2006 will be remembered by thousands of Canadians as the first “Walk In The WordDownpour outreach event sponsored by Lifeway Ministries. Pastor James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago gathered three other keynote speakers to help bring to fruition a dream birthed two years ago.


Three other Downpour gatherings are scheduled later in the year, all to be held in the United States – it was so fitting that Pastor James chose a city in his country of birth – Canada – to lead off this outreach. The event was held at Copps Coliseum in the city of Hamilton situated at the western end of lake Ontario. Pastor James’ wife and parents were in attendance along with many other special guests.


The keynote speakers were Beth Moore of Living Proof Ministries, Dr. Joe Stowell senior staff at Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago and Dr.Crawford Loritts senior pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell Georgia. Praise and Worship was led by Joe’s son, Matt Stowell, a young and wonderfully gifted musician. Matt and the rest of the praise team from Harvest Bible Chapel brought us into the Lord’s presence at the beginning of each session.


The idea and vision of Downpour was birthed a couple of years ago when Pastor James was being drawn closer to the Lord during a season of reflection and the image of five phases of blessing were seen. The Throne – a vision of Holiness … the Mirror – a vision of sin … in the Dirt – a vision of Brokenness … the Cross – a vision of Grace and the Holy Spirit – a vision of Power.


James spoke on the first element on Friday night and painted a powerful picture of God’s Holiness – God is Holy and worthy to be praised by His creation – we are made holy only by Him.


Beth Moore spoke first on Saturday morning on the second element – sin. She took us right back to the ‘garden’ making us realize that we are all ‘sinners’ but saved sinners. Sin is always routed in disbelief. (Gen 3:1). She continued by saying that we believe the lie of satan that God is holding out on us but God wants to provide our every need except desires that are “evil” or according the NAS Bible dictionary are “deformed” and not of God. (Gen. 6:6). Sin delivers: shame, fear, secrecy and a slow death. Our 1st step out of it is to acknowledge it, own it and get out of it.


Next James shared moving testimonies of having to humble himself and even ‘getting in the dirt’ to realize his position before the Lord. We need to go ‘down’ before we can he lifted ‘up’. We don’t stay ‘in the dirt’ but we need to realize that our ‘clothes are dirty’ in His sight but they have been made clean by Christ.


After lunch on Saturday, Dr. Joe Stowell took us to the foot of the cross and had us look at our Saviour paying the price for our sin – it was God’s ultimate way of showing His Grace to his creation. His descriptions were filled with emotion and brought tears to many eyes – we must never forget the price that Jesus paid – when we partake in His supper – we need to see what He did for us. At this Easter season, we know that He descended and then, praise God, ascended to glory.


Lastly but certainly not the least, Crawford Loritts showed us the living Holy Spirit within us and how it is only by the Holy Spirit that we can do anything. He urged us to welcome Him into every aspect of our lives in order to have the Power that God promised.


Together they all portrayed the essence of James’ vision of the Lord wanting to pour out on us in this season.


The conference theme Scripture was Hosea 6:1-3


1 "Come, let us return to the LORD
For He has torn us, but He will heal us;
He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.

2 "He will revive us after two days;
He will raise us up on the third day,
That we may live before Him.

3 "So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD
His going forth is as certain as the dawn;
And He will come to us like the rain,
Like the spring rain watering the earth.


Throughout the weekend from Friday evening to late Saturday afternoon, this theme of God’s outpouring or downpour was repeated in Word, Worship and Witness.


It was great to see these men and women of God humbling themselves in front of us – hungry after God’s reviving river to come not only here in Canada but in the US and the rest of the world.


Here are a few pictures from the conference.



           The Downpour image … receive His rain!          Pastor James introducing the event



                  Thousands filled Copps Coliseum            The Harvest Bible Chapel Praise Team



           Worship leader Matt Stowell – anointed!    Pastor James sharing the Word about Holiness!



               Crawford Loritts preaching on the                Lifeway’s bookshop was busy all day

                   Power of the Holy Spirit               



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