Author sees area as 'green island of survival'

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Ken Uptegrove will likely be sharing his vision of Northwest Arkansas as a "green island of survival" as the Second Coming of Christ nears when he signs copies of his new book this Saturday, July 17, at Sonshine Christian Bookstore and Coffeehouse in Eureka Springs.

His new book, Dawning the Next Great Move of God ---- Bringing the Church to Spiritual Awakening, Spiritual Power and Spiritual Victory, has been described by store owner Shelley Enyart-Kelley as "covering applied Christianity." Uptegrove characterizes it as a review of biblical predictions.

Uptegrove, of Springdale, is well-known in Christian circles in northwest Arkansas. He describes himself as a seeming contradiction, being a big man and inclined to being intellectual. "Dawning" will be carried by two chains, Books-A-Million and Mardel, and possibly others, along with individual bookstores, including a Barnes and Nobles store in Tulsa, Okla.

While living in Illinois in 1982, Uptegrove said "the Lord told me to move to Northwest Arkansas because it is a 'green island of survival' and I was to move there to form an end-time ministry." That message was confirmed to him from independent sources, he said.

At 67, the author sees the hand of God operating in his life since birth ---- a breach birth, due largely to his size, in which the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck three times.

In 1982 he was a civilian computer programmer at Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Ill. God put together a series of events that made the move to Northwest Arkansas come together in minute and miraculous detail, he said.

In 1983 and '84 when he was looking in Northwest Arkansas to see where the lord was sending him, he met Cliff Dudley, founder of New Leaf Press north of Green Forest. Dudley had ghost-authored a book for Corrie ten Boom, whose family home in Haarlem, Holland, became a refuge for fugitives and those hunted by the Nazis during World War II.

Ten Boom lived just across the border in Missouri at the time, and Dudley told Uptegrove that while strolling across a pasture at The Great Passion Play grounds with some cast members, ten Boom had an open vision of a band of angels, five high and swords draw, forming a circle from horizon to horizon.

Confirmation of that vision apparently came through Chinese evangelist Nora Lamb. who, while on a commercial airliner over Northwest Arkansas while on her way to Tulsa, Okla., suddenly saw a massive ring of fire stretching from horizon down below.

The so-called Ten Boom Prophecy has since become the Christian equivalent of Urban Myth, with a common element of angels being set at the four corners of the Ozarks, or the four corners of Northwest Arkansas, guarding what will become the source of a major outbreak of revival.

The occasion of the prophecy varies widely, however, from an utterance at an Episcopal church in Seattle, Washington, to a drive between Harrison and Omaha, to a fly-over of area.

Regardless of the veracity of the ten Boom Prophecy, Uptegrove is convinced of the need for revival throughout Christiandom. The book is an attempt to cut through the disappointment of Christians who have prayed for decades for revival.

"What many Christians are calling revival is actually a harvest," Uptegrove observed. "Revival is bringing back to life what was dying; harvest is a reaping of souls.

"Therefore, the church must first be revived before she can participate in a great harvest of souls," he said.

Christians in America, particularly, lack visionary revelation from God because they do not understand or experience the revival they pray for, he continued. Spiritual awakening must involve a process of reformation and restoration, understanding the state of the church, as it is today, and where God is going in the latter part of these "Last Days."

Uptegrove draws on insights from Martin Luther and his own self-directed study of eschatologies (teachings on end-time prophecy), church history and Bible manuscript history, as well as archaeology, cosmology, paleontology, anthropology and psychology, to develop his book.

"Can the church today understand where we are spiritually if we do not know our history?" he asked. "And can we see where God is taking His church in these last days if we do not know our history? That is why I wrote this book, to show where the Bible says God is taking His church just prior to the Second Coming."

"This book is written to all Christians who believe that the Bible is written to all Christians who believe that the Bible is the Holy, infallible Word of God," he continued. A lot of research and quotes from the Bible, and more that 40 notable authors were referenced in its creation.

Uptegrove hopes "Dawning" will provoke thought, and stretch, inspire and greatly encourage the reader. He avoids attacks and defense of any doctrines, trying to present ideas and scripture in a gracious manner.

The book-signing will be held starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and the public is invited, Enyart-Kelley said. Complimentary coffee will be available.

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