This is a series of stories that remind us of God’s goodness and faithfulness. When our faith wanes low, His faithfulness remains steadfast. And He reminds us that He is with us.
Starting a new church from scratch is not a job for the fainthearted. Even though we know God has called us to move back to Michigan to start a church, there have been times when our faith wavered. It is not faith in Him that wavered, but faith in ourselves, in whether we have heard correctly. Even though we’ve had new people visit the church regularly, and had successful outreach events (if you could measure the success of an event), it still can get overwhelming when we think about to grow the church. When we visit bigger churches, I think to myself, “How can we go from where we are to this?”
Just today I was thinking about how the church can grow. And here’s where my story starts.
As I was getting ready for church, I thought about how some of our regular members won’t be there today as they are traveling or have other commitments. I uttered a simple prayer and asked God to bring one new person, just one new person today, and it will convince me that we are where He wants us to be, doing what He wants us to do. In fact, I was thinking, if the man who has come the last 2 services came back today, it will be enough to tell me God is with us.
Almost half an hour before service began, he came. I was happy to see him, so happy.
20 minutes into the worship (I was leading worship so I had a vantage view of the main doors), a man walked in with 4 children, and another young man behind them. God did not just bring one man back, He brought 6 other people who were here for the first time! I prayed for 1, He gave 6. What came to my mind then was #mindblown! (I know it’s really strange that I’m thinking in hashtags. Blame the internet generation.) Only God can do things like that.
I was singing “Blessed be the Name of the Lord” and thinking how apt the song was. When I sang the bridge, “You give and take away, You give and take away, My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your name”, I sang it with much conviction. No matter who came or did not come, my heart will choose to bless the Lord, because He has brought us here, and He will sustain us. And He is the One who will bring the harvest in.
During our monthly prayer meeting on Tuesday, that was the verse that came to my mind. “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord” (Zechariah 4:6). And the image that came to my mind was from the story of the 4 friends who brought a paralysed man to Jesus. They could not bring him on a stretcher through the door because the room was so crowded. So they lowered him through a hole in the roof! They were that desperate to bring their friend to Jesus, knowing He can heal their friend. The thought I had was that we need to think out of the box when it comes to bringing people to Jesus. To do what exactly, I don’t know yet, but I believe He will give us wisdom to make the right plans.
My prayer also is that people will come to church and know that Jesus heals, and experience the healing that Jesus gives. Do pray along with us for that. We don’t want to merely run programs in church, but to be a place where the presence of God dwells: a place of hope, healing and holiness.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of #mindblown, more stories about the faithfulness of God, and how He shows us over and over that we are right where He wants us to be, doing what He wants us to do.