A Message to our Church and Others:
With the Lord's provision and your help and support, we have seen what is basically a semi-transformation in six months' time. We remodeled and made a new Pastor's Office and paid for it. We remodeled and built a new nursery and paid for it. We refurbished and painted our social hall and kitchen and paid for it. We completely renovated our stage in our sanctuary and paid for it. We are about 95% done with renovating and creating a Mini-Kids Church room and we've paid for it. We made a baptismal pool for the church and paid for it. We paid off our church van a few months ago. Souls have been saved. Lives have been changed. We've seen over 20 saved or rededicated in 6 months. We took 18 members into the church last month. We baptized 21 yesterday. I am in complete awe at what God has done and is doing. It doesn't make sense. He's just blessing us!
And the blessings continue. When I asked the church to prayerfully consider donating an offering above and beyond what was normally given each month, I had no idea what to expect. Coming in to the start of the "iSow" fundraiser in June, we had paid off about $1000 of a $4500 flooring loan while still working on so many other projects. I'm so happy to announce that the church gave approximately $3000 towards the payoff of the flooring loan through the "iSow" campaign. Going into August, we only owe a little more than $500. This is a great testimony to the church's faithfulness and its belief in what God is doing in the church and in the lives of your families and friends.
Thank you so very much for believing in our vision and being a part of what God is doing in His church. The best is yet to come. There are greater things on the horizon. As we pay off this carpet loan in August, we will now turn our attention to finishing the last bit of the Mini-Kids church room and to the remodeling and building of new bathrooms for the church that will be spacious, nice, and most importantly, handicapped accessible. This project is a long time coming, but just as the church has been faithful to support what God is doing and has been doing, I know together, we can accomplish this great feat. If God is for us, then who can be against us!
Let me also say one more time to those that were baptized yesterday how proud and happy I am for each of you. Many of you have been saved or rededicated your lives in the altars of Bell Street Church of God over the last six months. I've seen you grow in the Lord and your commitment to Him and the church. You're a vital part of this movement and I believe we've been brought together for such a time as now. I encourage you to keep moving forward in your faith. Find a daily reading plan and stay in the Word of God. Be active and assertive in prayer. It changes things. Many of you are where you are today because someone was praying for you. Stay strong in the faith and remember that you're not alone in your walk with the Lord. Not only is He a very present help in times of need, but your church brothers and sisters are here for you.
And one more thing, those who know me know that I can err on the analytical / cynical side of things. I say that to say that I'm not oblivious to challenges and failures that take place and have taken place. As great as things have been, there have been and will always be, challenges. I say this to remind us that God's blessings don't necessarily preclude challenges, failures, and struggles. Ministry is ministry pretty much wherever you go. There will always be the Tobiah's of Nehemiah's day that seek to discourage any progress being made. There will always be those who are attracted to what God is doing, but who are unwilling to truly commit to Him. There will always be ups and downs, highs and lows. The important thing to remember is that God is still sovereign in each situation. If God makes a promise, He keeps it. He has proven that over these last six months. Anytime the Lord blesses, the enemy will fight. God's people are called to be faithful. Stay committed. Stay strong. God's people can choose to focus on challenges or victories. We can become victims or victors.
If we will do just that, be faithful, stay committed, and stay strong, the best is yet to come. This is God's church. It doesn't belong to a pastor or anyone else. It's His. He bought it. He paid for it with His own blood. We belong to Him. Our purpose is to please Him, accomplish His mission, and be His representatives. Any other focus is tragic and sinful in the vein of idolatry. I'm so thankful for what God has done over these last six months and I'm so excited to see what He does next. I'm so thankful to pastor this great church in this great community. I'm excited to see what's next! Get ready!!