Last weekend was a long but rewarding weekend in the life of our church. As many of you know, we hosted ABC’s first ever marriage conference on Friday and Saturday. Pastor and best-selling author, Gary Thomas, did a wonderful job teaching us how marriage can become a doorway to a closer walk with God and with each other. I was encouraged to see the Great Hall packed with multi-generational couples who were committed to strengthening their marriages. It has been refreshing to hear positive reports and testimonies come back from several of the attending couples. Some spouses told me that the conference led them to talk through some important things they had never discussed before. Others told me the most impactful moment was them praying together as husband and wife, as they had not established that routine into their homes. I have no doubt that God sharpened many marriages and homes were strengthened because of the ministry that took place here at ABC.
I believe the momentum of the conference carried over to Sunday morning. Dr. Stearns, Noah Hartwell, and our worship teams led us beautifully in both services, and I was encouraged by the response from many in attendance. We once again had several new members added to the family, and we also had one gentleman surrender his life to Jesus Christ. He explained to us that he attended the 9am service and sensed God calling him to salvation. However, he left church following the service telling himself that he would consider it further. But he said that he then remembered the entire sermon was focused on the idea that, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:7b-8a). He said he knew the Holy Spirit wasn’t calling him to surrender tomorrow, He was calling him to respond today. So he turned around, came back to church, and gave his life to Jesus Christ.
I share these stories because I want you to be encouraged by what God is doing in our church. There is a reason why we do what we do. It’s to fulfill our church’s mission, “to make believers out of unbelievers and disciples out of believers.” I believe we met both of those objectives last weekend. The name of Jesus was lifted up, marriages were strengthened, and believers were discipled as we were all challenged to continue to seek His rest daily. But unbelievers were also called to repentance and faith, and thankfully one gentleman entered into His rest for the first time (cf. Matt 11:28). Our church’s mission statement is rooted in the great commission that Jesus gave His church: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).
When we “go” and obey Jesus’ directive on our lives, I believe the church begins to see a profit its efforts: changed lives. Life change is the motivation that should drive our church. We want to see God continue to progressively change our own lives to look more like Jesus (Philippians 1:6). But we also want to see God light up the lives of those who are still walking in darkness. Gospel transformation is our motivation, and my prayer is that you will help us carry out that mission. How can you help make believers out of unbelievers, and disciples out of believers this week? How can you share the hope of Jesus Christ with those who are currently trapped in darkness? And how can you help spur on other believers in our church “to love and good works”? (Hebrews 10:24). When we each answer those questions well, the church begins to truly shine as that city on a hill.
Thank you in advance for your prayers as I head out to Africa at the end of this week. Please pray for our group of Pastors traveling together, and pray for Bethany and the kids as they hold down the fort without me. I look forward to joining you online from Kenya, as Dr. O.S. Hawkins delivers a powerful message from God’s Word this Sunday. Please help he and Susie feel right at home here at ABC. God bless you and your home, and I hope you have a great week.
Onward and upward,