Carrying on the Vision –Encouragements and Reflections from Hope of the Generations Church Leadership at Pastor Henry W. Wright’s Celebration of Life Service
A message from Pastor Donna Wright
Henry was always so amazed that all of you would trust us with your lives. That’s a big deal! Hurting people trusting us goofy people with your life.
We have always been very open people; we wanted to live our lives vulnerably, honestly, and openly. We weren’t perfect – we aren’t perfect. But we wanted to be as real as possible to show everyone that God doesn’t expect perfection from you right now. He does expect a motion towards perfection- a desire to have a heart that is perfect towards God.
Everyone knows that Henry loved me as deeply as a person could love anyone, and I loved him as deeply as I could love anyone. We fell very deeply in love with each other. I feel like we were the most blessed individuals in the whole world. We didn’t have a perfect marriage, but we had the perfect one for us. We truly were one flesh.
One of the things that people say is, “You guys really loved each other, and we’ll never forget what that looks like.” If that’s the one thing we did, score! We gave people hope that relationships could be real. We didn’t know we were doing that; we didn’t set out to do that. He would say that healing was just a bonus. Our relationship with Father God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit is what made it all work.
Trusting God in spite of circumstances
Honestly, I’m not sure what my life is going to look like without him by my side. And it kind of frightens me.
But when I stood beside him after I tried everything I knew, everything he’d taught me to try to raise him from the dead, at the very end I said to him, “None the less, I trust God, and I’m going to be okay.”
Later, when it was very apparent that he’d flown away and I had a chance to be with his body – earth suit as he’d call it. I heard God speak very clearly to me. He said, “He’s with me, and he’s good. I have, through Henry, deposited a part of who he was in every one of your eldership. And because of that, you’re going to be able to keep moving forward.”
A mandate to continue on
God has also done that with you. You all have your own stories of how Henry impacted your lives.
Henry gave me a mandate on a daily basis. He’d say, “You’ve got this, Donna. When I’m gone, if I go before you, you’ve got this.” I didn’t like to hear that then. But now I’m telling you that I’m ignited. I’m excited in my heart because I know it’s time to blast off!
We’ve been talking about this for years. I didn’t know that Henry wasn’t going to be with me for this. Trust me, if I had known, I would not have liked it. But this is the time for us to blast off.
The importance of the ACTS churches to Pastor Henry
The ACTS churches were on his heart. I’ll tell you why, when we would go to conferences around the country and the world, afterward people would say to us, “We’ve heard the truth, this is real, this is good, where do I go to get fed? Where do I go to keep this going?” and we would say, “We don’t know.” And that really bothered us.
So Henry said, we’ve got to have churches that teach what we teach. There’s a group of people that needs to be supported, and to move on, and be sanctified in their lifetime. And the only way to do this is for us to duplicate who we are, as goofy as we are. So that’s what we’re going to do; it’s already happening.
Find your place in the journey
Even if you are not called to be an ACTS Pastor or to host a gathering or Bible study, you are supposed to keep moving forward and moving toward the goal.
We’re all on this journey; we’re running together. We’re all fellows in a ship, going in the right direction. And even though Henry flew away, it does not hinder what we are going to do. He prepared us for this day; he prepared me for this day.
Walking through grief
Grieving is really important. Don’t be afraid of it, don’t stuff it, don’t pretend this big thing is not there, because it is! It’s like a wave: you go up high, and you remember, and you laugh and then all of a sudden, Bam! Reality hits and you’re down in the trough and sobbing and thinking that there’s nothing that’s going to make this better. Then somehow, God brings you back up again, and the cycle keeps on repeating.
That’s what this is about. I want you to be able to grieve. I don’t want you to be afraid of showing it, feeling it, being it. And that’s what I’m going to do.
If you see me break down somewhere, don’t try to fix me, just be there and love me. And I’ll do the same for you. If I see you breakdown in the hallway because you see me and don’t see him, it’s okay; it’s no disrespect; it’s honor.
There are benefits to grieving
Grieving is a very important part of life. But you know, we live to die. There’s a journey in between, and we better make the most of it. We need to number our days. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow.
1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth. 2 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. 3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. Ecclesiastes 7:1-4 KJV
The sadness that you are feeling right now is making you better. It’s making you understand God better. I’ve been talking to God on a regular basis, and I already talked to him a lot. But now my every breath is, “Father God, help me!”
A comforting thought
I find comfort in this thought: the day that Henry took his last breath was the best day that he ever had. Maybe not for us, but for him. After he died, I lay in my bed, and I said, “Henry, you made it! Oh my goodness! You’re with Him! This is what it’s all been about, you’re there! And I know that you’re filled with joy, and that’s the most amazing thing that anyone could ever achieve.”
That is what this is all about. When I call out to God, He grounds me.
This is a joyful time
When you know someone who has lived their life for God, doing everything he could to obey the Father, and he gets there, that’s got to be the most amazing day. He ran the race, and he did it great.
What would he tell you now? He’d say, “If you’re saved, act like it! Get up son or daughter of God! Get up!”
I’ll tell you that we are going places. When I stood beside his body, I told him, “I’m going forward with no fear and no fraud. Everything is going to be real. God will make sure I say it correctly.”
I’m going to trust God, and I’m going to be bold, and you can too. We have some people to help. There are people out there that need to hear about God; they need to get cleaned up and ready to move on. I want each and every one of you to hear, just like Pastor Henry, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
A Message from Jodi Parish
I want you to know that Pastor Henry put a piece of himself in every one of us. He was a very good brother to me. He was my biscuit- that’s what he’d always call himself. Do you know what that means? He was a little bit crusty on the outside but really soft on the inside, and a little bit flaky.
I’m going to be part of biscuit’s vision for what this world is supposed to be. We all need to.
A Message from Pastor Benny Parish
Pastor Henry Wright was an awesome man because he was filled with the Holy Spirit. He would wake up some nights at 3:30 a.m. and have these awesome conversations with God, and then He’d share them with the eldership of the church and ministry.
What you see happening here at Hope of the Generations Church is what God was birthing through Pastor Henry Wright and will continue to birth through the elders that he put in place here.
To be Holy Spirit driven is operating in the gifts of God and not relying on yourself but relying on God working through you. You are just speaking for Him, and then He does the work. That’s the way it’s always been around here.
Gifts in the church
4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 KJV
The Holy Spirit divides out these gifts to whom He will. These nine gifts represent the totality of the Godhead. Three represent the Holy Spirit, three represent the Word, and three represent the Father. When you have all nine gifts of the Holy Spirit working in your church, you have the fullness of the Godhead working.
Pastor Henry’s vision
That’s what Pastor Henry really wanted to see. He wanted to see the church grow up. That was a big part of his vision.
He also had the five-year vision which encompassed the growth of the ministry so that we could reach even more lives than ever and lead them back to health and wholeness in every area of their lives.
But the most significant vision that he had recently was the vision for ACTS (Association of Churches Teaching and Serving). Pastor Henry called all of the elders together recently for a meeting after he’d had one of those 3:30 a.m. talks with God. God had given him instructions for what He wanted ACTS to look like and to put it into action.
Pastor Henry’s vision was one of multiplication. God’s vision is one of multiplication. Pastor Henry taught us so that we could go teach others. That is part of the fruit that will be ongoing now that he has left the mission and the vision to us.
One of the things that was Pastor Henry’s vision for Hope of the Generations Church is that we would be a model for those ACTS churches. He wanted ACTS churches in this country and all over the world that would represent God the way that we do here.
A long-time vision fulfilled
Before he left us, Pastor Henry did see the fullness of something that he had been praying about for years. It’s found in Ephesians 4:11.
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-12 KJV
This has been developing for a long period of time for Hope of the Generations Church, and this was an important vision for Pastor Henry. This doesn’t happen overnight. So you ACTS church leaders, you need to be watching for the movement of God in your flock. Because God wants the fullness of the church.
Pastor John Shales was appointed apostle for the ACTS churches. Just recently, we appointed Scott Iwahashi as a prophet. Pastor Adrienne Shales is the evangelist for HOGC. “And some pastors” That would be Pastor Donna Wright, Pastor Benny Parish, and Pastor Scott Harper. And our teacher was ordained a few months ago, and that is David Levitt. (learn more about them here)
God’s way of appointing leadership in the church
To have all of those positions filled is a vision that Pastor Henry had that God fulfilled before he left. I think he also wanted to leave an example to the ACTS churches. But this wasn’t something that Pastor Henry was trying to make happen. It was something that he observed that was happening that God was orchestrating through the people that He had selected.
That is the way it’s supposed to be; you don’t go to prophet school or apostle school. God works that out within the body, and then leadership sees that happening, and they say, “Hey, you’ve been operating in the office of prophet, we want to make that official.”
Pastor Henry had a love for the church, a love for the people. His vision was to grow up the church, to see the fullness of God through the working of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and through these five blessings that Christ left for the church.
In his last days here, he was amazed to see how all of this was working out. That was part of him growing us up God could continue His work. His work is not going to stop here. Pastor Henry trained people how to do it; he left an inheritance for the church to receive.
A message from Pastor Scott Harper
From the time I met him, my relationship changed with Pastor Henry. He went from being my pastor to my girlfriend’s dad, then somewhere along the way, he and Mom adopted me as their own in a way I cannot articulate. They filled a void in my life. I cannot properly express the amount of gratitude and thankfulness I have towards them. I also cannot forget what Pastor Henry said to me when I asked him if I could marry Sarah, he said, “I want to see something in your life, I know God has something for you, and I want to be a part of it.”
When we came home the night that Pastor Henry passed away, God laid something on my heart that I cannot escape. Henry Wright was an amazing man. God gave him something that every one of us wanted, but here’s the thing, we have the opportunity to have it.
We received so we could share
No matter what kind of interaction you had with Pastor Henry, whether it was in a moment or over a longer period of time, he imparted something into each and every one of us that was completely different. But it was specific to me and specific to you. God wanted that to be imparted to you for a reason. It wasn’t happenstance; it wasn’t just by accident. He imparted something into our lives for a reason and now is our opportunity to walk in that reason. It’s our responsibility to now share that with others.
He did not want this to be a Henry Wright ministry; it’s God’s ministry. He instilled into every one of us so that we could continue the vision. Pastor Henry got to see a lot of the fruit of the vision, but there is still more to go. We’ve got some road to go, some ground to plow, and some work to do.
Pastor Henry was very adamant that we continue what he started. Everything that he put into us, we now get to show.
I am eternally grateful; I will not take for granted or forget what Pastor Henry invested into my life. I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t known Pastor Henry and Father God.
A message from David Levitt
When I first came to Hope of the Generations Church, I was a sniffer. The teachings were good, but I was watching Pastor Henry, and he knew that. And rather than that upsetting him, he understood that for me personally, it is what I needed for that season.
About eleven years ago, as I was still a sniffer, Pastor Henry shared with the congregation about a difficult situation that he was going through. He shared publicly that he had gone and sought out a friend who was another spiritual leader in the country to help him through it.
When he said it, that day, I graduated from being a sniffer to tasting him. Now I saw a man that I could trust. I saw a man that was honest, had weaknesses, and he wasn’t trying to hide it, he wasn’t trying to act perfect – he was just a guy, and he said that often. That’s when I began to trust him, and my heart really needed that.
What I learned from Pastor Henry
Pastor Henry taught me the importance of communication and being honest with yourself. He taught me that you did not have to be perfect to serve God; God could still use you in your imperfections. He taught me that God was my strength and not my own abilities. He taught me how to be long-suffering with others. He taught me how to pursue God and to destroy Satan’s kingdom with all zeal and seriousness. But at the same time, he taught me also how to have fun, and joke around, and enjoy life. He even taught me how to love my wife. He taught me all these things by the way he lived.
A safe place
One thing that I always appreciated is that he provided a safe place here at Hope of the Generations Church. It is a safe place to deal with the things of our life. We have interactive church services. We have an open mic where we can share testimonies, exhortations, prophecies, things like that.
But we also have an earnest section where we can deal with sin in the corporate body. I remember one time I went to the earnest section with something that I was very ashamed of that I had been hiding for a long time. Pastor Henry loved on me and ministered to me, telling me that I was a good son. But then I looked at him and told him, “I didn’t tell you this because I thought you wouldn’t trust me.” Then he said, “Well, how about this, I trust you with my life.” And then he held me.
Where healing begins
It’s been said that in the presence of his tears, devils could not stand, and that’s not a cliché at all. It’s very true. As he embraced me, the Holy Spirit did His work, and I was never the same again.
I hope all of you can learn from him that if we really would love one another, the devil couldn’t stand in the midst of your tears for each other, either. When they cry, you cry with them. Perfect love casts out fear.
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Romans 12:15 KJV
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18 KJV
Pastor Henry Wright knew how to love in a way that would cast out fear. Everything that he gave away was something that he’d received himself from God the Father.
A revelation added to a revelation
One time I told him that I’d had a revelation. I said, “I want to have better relationships. I don’t want to hold grudges and bitterness. I want to always hold out for relationship.” He said, “David, do you know why that’s important?” I said, “Yes! For my health and my sanity and all that stuff!” Then he said, “Yeah, that’s nice but listen, if you don’t hold out for relationships and you want to hold onto grudges, you will never be the gift for mankind that God has called you to be.”
That never left me. And that day, I began to believe that maybe I was a gift for mankind, as we all are.
Pastor Henry had a way of seeing things in us that we never saw for ourselves and then nurturing that and getting it to come out. We are learning to do that, too, and will continue to do it.
I am so thankful that I got to know Henry Wright. I believe that I was blessed among men to have served with him at the level that I was able to. It was an honor to serve alongside him here in Thomaston, and all over the country.
A Message from Pastors Adrienne Shales
My first year here, I wanted to know if this man was the real deal. And what I mean by that is was he a man that really loved God with all of his heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loved his neighbor as himself.
Within the first week that I was getting involved here, I was sitting in a meeting with several church leaders. I didn’t know why I was even in there, but I said to my Father in Heaven, “Father, I need to know, is this man the real deal?”
And as they were discussing situations and such, within a moment, Pastor Henry started weeping for someone’s life. I thought, “I thank you for the quick answer!” Because this was not about politics or positioning. This was not about exalting himself or trying to make a big ministry; this was about loving God and caring for people.
That was the beginning of a long journey of watching someone who really cared.
He honored women in the church too
One of the many things that I appreciated about Pastor Henry is his value for women being leaders in the church. He had Pastor Donna, Pastor Anita, and myself, and we did not name ourselves. He called us out in a society that maybe would not honor women that wanted to serve God and to fight and protect the sheep from the lion and the bear.
One of my favorite quotes of his if anyone gave flack about a woman up here with a microphone, he would say, “Philip had daughters who prophesied, where do you think they prophesied? Out in a cornfield?”
He would release us to do the work. And while many people in the church resisted that a woman would pour out and serve in the church, we were busy out there, setting people free, getting them healed, and delivering and helping them. Pastor Henry would cheer us on.
I want to say for all of us here, for all of the husbands, wives, men, and women that God will continue to raise up. Pastor Henry fought for that. He set the standard, and he called us out. He loved husband and wife teams, and he’d cover a woman that God would raise up to lead. And we will too.
Inspiration from his childhood
Recently Pastor Henry recounted the story of his childhood with our eldership team. He said that even as a child, when he’d see the older generations worshiping alongside the younger generations, it touched his heart. He said, “I never want this place to be any different.” He really wanted our church and what God’s doing in the ACTS churches to be a place where all generations are not just welcomed, but they are active together – we love the noise.
He said that it is in those times of fellowship, watching the church body care for each other that the seed of faith is deposited into the next generations.
30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. 31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this. Psalm 22:30-31 KJV
Passing on the blessings
What has been deposited in our hearts is a seed of faith coming down the generations from God. We all have this, and we need to develop it and pass it out, and live it out, and walk it out. You see what one seed could do, and how many hundreds of thousands of people this one life has touched.
That seed that is within us, from God, will be multiplied throughout the world and throughout the generations.
A message from Pastor John Shales
I want to honor someone who is also not here, and that is Pastor Henry’s mother. She died in the faith, not seeing Henry come to faith. But she saw him growing up in the church, hearing it all, seeing God things but still turning away from God. She died in faith, still believing that he would come to the Lord. Look what happened!
She, in her heart, birthed her faith into one incredible man who then reinvested that faith into all of us.
I love how Pastor Henry would just go for it. He’d say, “If you don’t pray, you get 100% of nothing. But if you pray, you’ve got a 50% chance!”
You’ve got to awaken and stir something in your hearts, folks. You’ve got to start thinking that God may actually want to work with you!
Standing up for his family
I appreciate how he fought the best he knew how, for every single one of his family members. This is what good Pastors have to do. They have to guard their own family before they even start serving the body of Christ. That’s a good pastor because they model to the church how they should be running their own homes.
Birthing – it takes a while to understand everything it takes to be sanctified, to get all the way out, and to start to do something. Don’t stop. Wherever you are at spiritually, in your heart, in your life, don’t stop, don’t turn back.
A message from Pastor Anita Hill
I came to this ministry of Pastor Henry’s about thirty years ago. There were only about five or six of us and Henry and Donna’s children. It’s amazing to me how he was never pretentious; he was just Henry.
I remember when he picked me up at the airport with a couple of his other staff members. We were driving back to the church, and he started crying. I thought, “Oh no! He’s worse off than I am, what is his problem?” I didn’t understand. He said, “God is speaking to me about you.” That was so foreign to me. It was so special. I was so moved, I was even led to become a pastor too at some point.
There is one song that kept coming up for me since Pastor Henry died. It says what he was to people and what he wanted them to get in their relationship with God. It’s also a message for all of you to move forward and to love one another.
“Love one another…as I have loved you.
Care for each other…as I have cared for you.
And bare one another’s burdens,
And share each other’s joys.
And love one another,
And bring each other home.”
A message from Scott Iwahashi
The spirit of the prophets is subject to the prophets. One thing I have to honor about Henry Wright is how often he operated as a prophet in our midst. He spoke the truth despite the consequences. What burns in my heart, and he’d say it often is, “Wake up church! Wake up, don’t sleep, do not slumber. Your God does not sleep. Prepare.”
These are all just snippets from Dr. Henry W. Wright’s Celebration of Life Service. If you would like to watch the whole thing click here! We hope that you are blessed and encouraged by the inspiration of Pastor Henry’s life.
The Be in Health Team