God is Blessing Stonebridge!
God prunes and refines and prepares a people He would use for His glory and the advancement of His Kingdom. That pattern is seen over and over in Scripture. God has to refine and test and sharpen a person or a people (or both), knocking off rough edges, pruning and molding and shaping for His use, His glory and His purposes.
Hang on to that.
We have had several seasons of prayer in our church since I arrived over 2.5 years ago. In those seasons of prayer, God has moved and worked in ways that only happen in seasons of prayer.
Out of one season of prayer, the Lord refined and sharpened and taught us much about spiritual warfare and His protection and provision. In that time, He refined and pruned and molded us. From that time we saw people later come to faith, join the church, follow through in baptism, lives and church transformations.
Out of another season of prayer, He gave us a clear and compelling sense of why we are here, to be 'a church in the community, for the communities and the world.' We knew that all of this was to be for His glory and His glory alone. We did not know what He would do to help us become this kind of church, but once more, He refined, provided, molded and transformed. Out of that came the opportunity to adopt two ministers along the Amazon who are taking the gospel to unreached people groups and the opportunity for us to have our own campus missionary to help us minister to our community, and to the junior high and high schools all around us. Then we saw mentoring opportunities develop for these public schools.
Then, from that we saw the need for two services and the Lord has been blessing us in that adventure as well. He has met our needs and has given us great blessings!
This last season of prayer, one of the things we prayed for was that the Lord would build His church the way He wanted to, and that certainly included staff. From that, He brought John Sudolcan to lead our worship, and we have been so blessed by that answer to prayer! And, from that, God brought Roger Perez to be our associate pastor, and that too is an incredible blessing from the Lord, and, after much prayer and many, many interviews (and many dead ends) and a lot of patience, the Lord has provided our campus missionary/minister of missions. We will be presenting him this weekend (Saturday and Sunday services)!
And, we are seeing God bring people to the church to join and serve, people come to faith in Christ, following through in baptism and God preparing us for what He has for us in 2018.
There is a common theme in all of this: God has taught us that to be a church that is used by Him for His glory and purposes, we must be a church of prayer and uncommon faith. We must trust Him for all things and in all things and pursue His will above all. This disposition keeps us humble and dependent on Him, which should be the natural state of any Christian and every church!
God is at work, and soon we will enter another season of prayer as we approach Easter season. We have much to thank God for, much to praise Him for, and so many reasons to rejoice in Him. He has been Good and Faithful and Wonderful to us!
He has plans for us and purposes for us and that is exciting!
Let's continue to journey well together and to invite others to journey with us!
For the King and HIS Kingdom,