Our church is going through an exciting period of growth. Any way you look at it - physically and spiritually - we’re blessed with a thriving congregation of believers, dedicated to upholding our church’s mission, which is also Jesus’ great commission to us in Matthew 28:19-20: to make Christ-like disciples in the nations. The church board has looked at this growth and identified some core areas that we need to continue developing to better serve our mission. In an effort to do what I Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” In the next few months, we’d like to specifically focus on developing our spiritual formation and discipleship process, our connections process and coordinating volunteers.
As we continue pursuing ways to enhance our growth and take advantage of opportunities to connect to our community, our leadership has granted permission for Pastor Nate to pursue a bi-vocational role in order to both be on staff at the church and pursue opportunities in the community. Over the next nine months, Nate’s responsibilities will adjust in order for this to happen. He will still be leading our small groups, connections, and volunteer ministry, just in a different capacity.
This move will give us an opportunity to raise up local experts in these areas. We’re excited to share more information as we continue to develop these focus areas. We’re also excited to see Nate fill this new role. His title will not change, and for all intents and purposes, most of you won’t see him any less. While he’s transitioning to an advisory role, he’s still going to maintain a very active and hands-on presence in each of these areas.
If you have any questions, I encourage you to talk to any of our church board members or see me. Throughout all of this, we just ask that you continue keeping our church, our vision and our mission in your prayers. Together we can praise God for His guidance and direction as we move forward.
Sunday also begins our Revival. In the morning we will have our regular scheduled service times at 9:15am and 10:45am. Sunday Evening is at 6:00pm. Monday through Wednesday is at 6:30pm with a delicious supper between 5:30pm and 6:30pm. Sunday and Wednesday evening will be a special event for Preschool up through Pre-Teen. Nursery and Toddlers care will be available each service. There is something for the whole family. Consider setting aside this week to grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ. Will you join me for this annual event?
Joy in Jesus!
I was thinking the other day how America is hungry but they promote a menu that lacks substance. You see people trying to find fulfillment in many things other than God. How did that come to be you ask? Let me take a stab at it. “We all like sheep have gone astray, each one has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all”Isaiah 56:3.
It wasn’t until Truth started to be removed from everyday life and then our educational institutions that we started seeing a slippery slope falling away from God’s original design. The fingerprint of God was removed from elementary and secondary education and was also stripped from colleges and universities. Many forget that Higher education was founded as Christian institutions. Take Harvard for example. Harvard University was began because John Harvard willed some money and his library collection of 320 books to be used to educate young Christian men in ministry. The official motto in 1692 was Truth for Christ and the Church. Later it simply turned to Truth.
The original Rules and Precepts in 1646 was this instruction: “Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and Learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, Let everyone seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of him (Proverbs 2:3) [The Founding of Harvard College by Samuel Morrison].
Many of the Ivy League institutions were founded for the purpose of furthering the Gospel of Christ. Many of the founding presidents were pastors. Society has followed suite and has moved away from Christian roots seeing a downward spiral of moral and biblical decay. We need to get back to our roots and honor God in our learning and living.
Starting on Sunday, September 30, we begin our Fall Revival. This is a high priority at our church. We come and focus on the Truth of God’s Word from our children all the way through the adults. The services are powerful and we provide meals Monday through Wednesday to make it a little easier for families to attend during busy schedules. It is important to always make it a priority to get into the Word of God especially when the world seems to be de-prioritizing it so much. As society becomes more hostile to the Christian faith, make sure you do all you can to counteract this by setting aside just 4 days for spiritual renewal. It may not counteract everything you encounter but it’s a start and a continuation of putting God first.
What would it be like if we said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I can’t go to that school event tonight because I have a service to attend.” What a concept. Who knows, something may happen to influence a future decision or an eternal destiny. Let’s pray for our services and children’s events that will happen on Sunday and Wednesday nights. Pick up an insert on Sunday and share it with some friends. Let’s grow together!
I am looking forward to worshipping with you on Sunday.
Joy in Jesus!
In just a few days Hurricane Florence will be coming on the Eastern shores around South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. There are millions of people leaving those areas under a mandatory evacuation. People are nervous and are wondering what they will return to in the aftermath of this category 3 Hurricane.
Meteorologists have so much equipment now that will predict the effects of these massive storms many days before they actually come on land. Unfortunately in life, we do not have any technology that will warn us from the many tragedies that hit our lives. You hear about families giving up and ending in divorce, tragic accidents that happen, unforeseen personal tragedies, and diagnosis that hit us like a ton of bricks. No matter what the tragedy, we are always reminded that the things of this world are not meant to last forever. Even our temporary tents we live in fade away. If you can see it with your eye then it has an expiration date.
Every day the rain and winds come. Flooded rivers and flooded basements. Sometimes the storms in our lives are inescapable. Sometimes the storms we suffer are of the soul. What does the Bible say about God’s protection in the storms of life?
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” Psalm 56:3.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” Deuteronomy 31:6.
“1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday” Psalm 91:1-16.
There is a song that was written by Ryan Stevenson called “Eye of the Storm.” Everything in his life was turning upside down. His mother died from bone cancer, his wife had a miscarriage, his church was under attack, friends were addicted to drugs, and he was at the end of his rope. As he was by himself, he wrote a song to help him direct his faith back to Jesus and how he does not stop paying attention to the details. Jesus cares about all. He feels what we feel and he is never taken by surprise. So look at the words of this song and be reminded of how God protects us and keeps guard of soul. We can all take courage in Him.
“Eye of the Storm”
In the eye of the storm, You remain in control.
And in the middle of the war, You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor, When my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me, In the eye of the storm
When the solid ground is falling out from underneath my feet
Between the black skies, and my red eyes, I can barely see
When I realize I've been sold out by my friends and my family
I can feel the rain reminding me
When my hopes and dreams are far from me
And I'm runnin' out of faith.
I see the future I picture slowly fade away
And when the tears of pain and heartache
So remember those who are in the path of Hurricane Florence. Pray for their safety. Pray for the ones who are going through different types of storms. Just pray for each of us to keep our eyes on the Lord.
I am still praising God for all of those who have been baptized these past few weeks. My heart is overflowing with Joy and love for the Lord who cleanses us from within. I look forward to worshipping with you this Sunday.
Joy in Jesus!
As many of you know, the highway in front of our church is in the process of expanding from 4 to 6 lanes. Since it is expanding, they have decided to put a sound barrier in front of the church. It is supposed to be 18 feet tall. It is twice the height of Goliath.
I have enjoyed watching their progress as they have been preparing to pave this side of the highway. Vaughn, John, and I walked out where the wall will be built and I was able to take a few pictures. I never dreamed I would ever stand out in the middle of the future highway. In the middle of construction you can get away with a few things that you would never be able to do after the completion of the project.
We did not ask for the wall and they certainly didn’t ask our opinion. Their minds were already made up when they invited us to hear what they were planning on doing a few years back. I will have to admit that I was a little upset at first because it was nice to have visibility along the highway. This church purposely chose this piece of property because of the location. God quickly reminded me that there is no wall that will ever get in His way of reaching the lost.
In Joshua 4, there is a story where Joshua was leading the people of Israel to the Promised Land. Shortly before, Moses, one of the greatest leaders of all time, passed away and left the baton to Joshua. Joshua was nervous because he had to fill big shoes. On their journey they followed God and consecrated themselves to Him and was able to cross the Jordan River. Again, Joshua could have been tempted to think, “Oh this is great. I am following in the footsteps of the greatest leader Israel has ever had and we are facing insurmountable obstacles. It was at flood stage and very deep. When the priests stepped their foot in, the waters upstream stopped flowing. The people walked across on dry ground. Nothing was getting in their way because the Lord was with them. He has a way of making obstacles building blocks.
Now we come to Joshua 6 where they are looking at big walls surrounding Jericho.
“Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men’” Joshua 6:2.
They could have been overwhelmed with the task of defeating Jericho with those big walls. Especially with the God’s plan of attack. To walk around the walls 6 days and then on the 7th day to walk around 7 times and give a concert (MLM translation)? Joshua was not hesitant because the Lord had already delivered Jericho into his hands. He had total trust in the Lord.
From that, I am confident no wall will ever get in the way of this church making Christ-like disciple of all who travel the highways and byways of this community. If God says it, we faithfully follow no matter what obstacles get in the way.
Maybe we can form a committee every Saturday night to put graffiti on the walls that just so happen to resemble our logo. “No officer, I have no idea how that got there!” We will call that man’s attempt to reach out. My confidence lies not in the ways of man but in the ways of my God. His ways are perfect and they always work out in the long run. There is no wall too tall for God. The mission of the church will continue to move forward.
I am excited for another Sunday where several people will be walking in the waters of baptism. God is moving amongst our church and it is an exciting place to be. Come with great anticipation and pray for His Spirit to move our hearts to revival.
May we live our lives in such a way that there will be no barrier in the way of us totally committing to the ways of God and growing deep with Him.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene