Thanking God and Moving Forward in Faith
God has been very Good to us. We are in a sacred, special place and in a holy and wonderful time. God has brought us far, through so very much, pruned us, refined us, tested us, and humbled us.
These are all blessings. He had to prepare us for that which He has for us, what He is doing now, and what He has for us moving forward.
First, we must thank Him. All Good gifts are from Him. So, everything from the growing Saturday service, packed Sunday service, the changed lives, the new staff, the continued growth in prayer, the salvations and additions, the recommitments to Christ, the hunger and thirst for the Word, the doors opened in our public schools, our connection to unreached people groups in Brazil, and the possibility of even more mission opportunities both here and abroad, to be a part of His Kingdom work, all of that is nothing short of amazing. It is humbling. It is God being Good to Stonebridge Baptist Church. Praise Him for being our Great and Good Father and thank Him for all He has done and all He is doing and all He has for us.
We must also continue to pray that we will continue to walk by faith, not pushing ahead of God and asking Him to hurry up and bless our plans (a common error in churches), rather, we have learned the past year and a half that we will seek Him first in the Word and in prayer and ask what HE wants to do with HIS church and HIS people and we will then follow Him in faith and obedience together.
What we have seen over and over the past year and a half is that every time we do this (as opposed to dragging our feet and lacking faith or running way ahead before He's ordered our steps) is that He does what only He can do! We've learned a few things:
* He usually doesn't do things in the timeframe we would 'want' Him to. He is rather
insistent that we remember He is God and we are not and that it is good to wait on
Him. He has taught us what it means to 'wait on the Lord.' This is a good thing.
* He has then shown us that He has and will do far more than we even dared pray for
or even imagine in the first place. we've learned it's worth praying and waiting and
continuing to seek Him!
So now we are in that position where we are seeking to 'catch up' with the growth and opportunities He has given us. In the months ahead we'll continue to pray and go to His Word as we seek His will for us in every area. We are specifically praying now for:
* Adult Bible study platforms, asking God to show us how we can best equip the saints and make disciples who will reproduce themselves in the lives of others. That is the Biblical model of discipleship-not just sitting and listening to someone. It's hearing, receiving, acting on it, passing it along, training someone else and then they go and do the same. It's exponential.
* For God's wisdom and will in our children and youth ministries as we seek to not just draw the sub-culture that flits from one place to the next, but to equip our children and youth to be disciple makers who will exponentially multiply as well. We are also praying about how that Gospel best goes back into the family through the children.
* And, if current trends continue, we'll need to start praying about a third service. Our goal is not to enhance our 'brand,' or to simply 'grow.' Our desire is that God is glorified in us and that we are used by Him to impact the communities and nations.
* And we are praying now for that third portable for more education space.
From there? Well, that would be the next phase, breaking ground on Phase II.
That all requires a lot of faith and prayer and that we journey well together. At the end of the day, it has been our prayer that whatever is said of Stonebridge years from now will never be about this person or that person or this group or that group, rather 'they have a mighty God.'
That's our prayer. That's our vision. May it be so! Let us exhort one another to run well and finish well!
For the King and His Kingdom!