The Lord has done so much in our midst over the last three months. It's been a blur to tell you the truth. Another truth is that I'm tired . . . really tired, but I wouldn't trade it for anything almost. We've hit the ground running and I don't know that we had a choice. From the get go, we've experienced numbers of people, more than 20 to be more exact, come and get saved or rededicate their lives to Christ. New families have come in and with them, new children. With new families and new children come new needs. With all that considered and armed with a vision I know the Lord gave me for ministry from Luke 24, (Emmaus Vision), we've set our face forward and aimed at building an epicenter of God's love, grace, and power for our community. And God is pulling it all together. Oh we've not arrived. We've got tons more work to do. I'll admit that when I consider what's in my heart and how much there is to do, I do begin to feel overwhelmed. I do hear the voices saying we'll never get there. But I know my God is able. He never promised it would be easy. He never promised it would happen in my time. He just promised to honor His Word and be faithful. I'm finding peace in trusting Him completely and resting in His loving arms while feeling the security that comes from a relationship with my Savior.
So don't get me wrong. I'm not bragging. If I am at all, I'll say I'm bragging as Paul said he was in 2 Corinthians 11 or 1 Corinthians 1:31. I'm simply boasting on the Lord. I don't say these things as a seal of finality. Instead, I celebrate the ground we've taken as an emphasis on the vision and directive to continue forward to take more. I also seek to celebrate and give God glory for what He's accomplished. Nothing good that happens does so without God being involved. The apostle James stated that every good and perfect gift comes down from above. I did not do anything to deserve or cause what we've experienced over the last three months. At best, we've tried to be obedient and faithful, and God has given the increase. As Paul told the Corinthian church, we're all laboring whether it's watering or planting. Ultimately though, it is God and God alone that gives the increase. So again, as I brag on God, please understand that I truly desire to thank Him publicly for what He has done, is doing, and by faith, will continue to do in our church and community.
The over 20 saved / rededicated stands reason enough to celebrate. On top of these amazing experiences, God has helped us at the church reorganize some things and recreate some things. We were able to restart a new pastor's office and get a new church phone line. Publications are being made and new availability is allowing for counseling, volunteering, and other ministry endeavors to take off. With the Lord's blessings, we were able to completely gut and refurbish a room for a brand new nursery. The walls were stripped down to the studs in some areas and the concrete block in others. The floor was stripped down to the foundation. With the help of several men, we were able to run electricity, hang sheetrock, and paint. The four walls would eventually be painted in a complete mural of Noah's ark that every kid can enjoy. We were blessed to be able to stock and resource the nursery nicely and we will be officially launching it and the ministry to the children and families that will ensue on May 4th.
We were also able to completely paint our social hall and kitchen. In addition we recovered and resurfaced the kitchen cabinets. We also restored an old set of cabinets that actually date back from the church's original kitchen from it's start over 30 years ago and have them placed in the social hall near the kitchen for serving and storage options. Six twelve hour plus days finally finished this project off and the compliments haven't stopped coming in.
On top of the building refurbishing, the church was also blessed to be able to pay off its church van note about six months early. The church has an active van ministry and being able to have the van paid off free and clear gives the church peace and flexibility to continue moving forward into new areas and avenues of ministry. All of this on the heels of launching a new Chaplaincy program at Jeff Davis Hospital on Thursday, May 1st, and we definitely have something to celebrate!
On May 4th, we're going to celebrate God's faithfulness and abundant blessings in service and with fellowship after the service with a great meal. But in accordance with the service and lunch, we're going to recognize the One who made all of these things possible. We will be dedicating our new nursery and Nursery Ministry to the Lord after the service. We will also rededicate our social hall to the Lord for greater ministry. Lastly, we will be burning our van note as a visible sign of God's provision in our lives and church. One of the greatest blessings of all from each of these great things is that the remodeling, refurbishing, and reestablishing has all been paid for in full. Not only did the Lord help us get these things going, but He provided the finances to take care of everything with not doing any fundraisers except participating in the annual "Peaches to the Beaches" Yard Sale event on Highway 341 through Hazlehurst.
I want you to come celebrate with us on May 4th. This will be the first of what I believe will be many more days of celebration and dedication. It's important to me to mark our milestones and celebrate our victories. It's even more important to me to make sure we stop and give thanks to God for what He has done. The Lord is working for our good and certainly for His glory. What a privilege to be able to serve an awesome, risen Savior whose love never fails, whose grace is all sufficient, whose mercy is everlasting, and whose power is ever available!
Come celebrate with us at 10:45 AM on Sunday, May 4th. We're not resting. We're not sitting down after this day. No, we've got plenty more projects at hand. New ministries are being planned and popping up as I type this blog. I've adopted a saying that I typed randomly several weeks ago about our church: we're changing our community one family at a time. Indeed, we're about ministering to families, each member individually and collectively. We're moving forward and I want you to be a part. Come check us out and see what God is doing. Feel the change. Experience the difference.
See ya soon . . .