I usually don’t write a mid-week blog. Usually I write on Sunday mornings something that is pertinent to the sermon I am about to preach. But this morning I couldn’t help myself because God is moving in mighty ways at Joy Baptist Church.
Sometimes we get bogged down in all we do at church. We work tirelessly trying to get things done that we believe are going to impact the Kingdom of God with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We do this over and over and over. We look around and there doesn’t seem to be any fruit for our hard work. We get discouraged and even sometimes bitter and angry. If we stay caught in that attitude we may even drop out and quit. Some of us have even questioned God “What is all this for God? I’m done!” This is not unusual for the Christian servant. It is what we do and we do it because we know that God is control and has a purpose for us and his kingdom. However, our frustrations sometimes seem overwhelming. Let me encourage you today that God is very much at work here at Joy Baptist Church and his Spirit is actively changing the hearts of men and women, adults and children.
Let me see if I can put my excitement and gratitude into words. First, let me begin with the hard work our Associate Pastor Stephen Deason has been doing. Sense his arrival back in February he has been diligently working trying to build a student ministry that would bring honor and glory to God. He was only starting with just two or three students who really were unsure at first what this new Pastor was all about. Stephen has been doing the hard work of going to the schools and just engaging with students in whatever way he can. As God began to lead him, he actively started seeking to build relationships with Middle School students. Now you must understand that 6-8th graders are a very difficult age group to reach. Yet, Stephen goes and haves lunch with them every week inviting them to church and building relationships. Finally, yesterday 12/13/2017, a young man takes him up on the offer. Stephen even goes and picks him up for the Wednesday night Student Service. Here, as Stephen does week in and week out, preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Last night he was in John 1. Taking the first words of the Apostle John and relating them to the Advent of Christ. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God!” Having illustrated how the Light of the World has overcome the darkness this young man that Stephen went and picked up after months of building relationships with middle schoolers gave his life to the Lord Jesus Christ!!! AMEN! How awesome is the God we serve???? WOW! Again, I say AMEN!
Now wait, you may think that is all I have. It is not! So as this is taking place in our youth service. Our kids are upstairs in the sanctuary going through a live practice for their Christmas program next week. So, I have my adults downstairs in uncomfortable folding chairs as we go through our third week in examining the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Last night we just really examined the parable and discussed how Jesus was redefining our whole concept of sin. That there was a deeper understanding to be had especially considering the story was not just about the younger brother but more so about the older brother. Both sons were lost, both sons were offered grace from the father, yet only one son was saved. We talked about the reality of the tragic circumstance to be in the position of the older brother. How the older brother could not see past his own foolishness; that he too was in desperate need of being rescued. The story of the prodigal is really a story about lostness and the horrible situation the older brother found himself in. Refusing the grace of his father.
So, we had a great discussion. We had about 16-20 adults in our little kid’s room last night. One of those adults had been coming to our church for a while. He and his wife had even gone through our New Member class and had become active members of our church. He was sitting there having been convicted of his desperate situation. The Holy Spirit opened up his heart and he realized that he had been the older brother this whole time, never having actually reached a point of his life that he needed to be rescued. Now get this… He doesn’t come forward there in our bible study. He waits until we have all eaten and left church and then he calls up another guy that was there in our class. Now this guy has been really growing in Christ. Really just figuring it out, what it means walk the Gospel Life. He calls me later, I had already gotten ready for bed. And says “Hey, Marcus just called me, he really got a lot out of what you said tonight, he doesn’t believe he is saved and has been walking around this whole time as the older brother. He is coming over right now and we are going to talk about what it really means to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior!” Of course, I prayed for him right there on the phone and told him if he needed anything “I am right here.” Let me just share with you the text messages I got this morning, with permission of course.
Now as you read through those text messages I want you to see the reaction of both men. The wonderful, amazing work that the Holy Spirit is doing in both men! WOW! Praise be to God for his indescribable GIFT! AMEN! I want you to know right now church that God is one the MOVE! The only question is will you join him in his work? Don’t get left behind. Come and be a part of this new awakening right here in the midst of our little country church! I am so grateful to be your pastor!