The end of last week was awesome. Thursday and Friday we talked a lot about preaching God's Word focusing specifically on the presentation element. How we use our voices, the importance of words, and the overall presentation of a sermon. It was really good to stop and consider how we can grow in the presentation of God's mighty Word. I have heard Pastor James say that the greatest sin is to make the Word of God boring! If we get up and preach God's Word in a monotone voice with no passion we do a great injustice to God's Word.
Saturday and Sunday we were in Davenport, Iowa visiting the Harvest Bible Chapel there. They just celebrated their 5th anniversary. We heard of life after life that has been radically changed by the Lord. I entitled this blog, "What a Redeemer". If you look up redeemer in the dictionary it defines a redeemer as someone who redeems. To redeem is: 1 a : to buy back : repurchase b : to get or win back 2 : to free from what distresses or harms: as a : to free from captivity by payment of ransom b : to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental c : to release from blame or debt : clear d : to free from the consequences of sin. 3 : to change for the better : reform 4 : repair, restore. What a picture of what Christ does for the sinner who puts their faith in Christ. He frees us from captivity (Luke 4:18, Romans 7:6). Our ransom was paid by Christ (1 Tim.2:6). We are now new creatures in Christ (2 Cor.5:17). We have been radically changed for the better (Eph.4:24).
We were privileged to hear how God is redeeming people in Davenport this last weekend. Pastor Rob took time out of his busy schedule and talked to all the guys in the training center about their story and the things that he has learned along the way. The common theme throughout his testimony was stepping out in faith and seeing He who is faithful do His work again and again. Pastor Rob told of a weekend where he received a phone call on Saturday night and he was told that they couldn't meet at the high school the next morning because there had been a water line break in the school building. So they began to scramble. The easy thing would have been to just cancel church. However, that was not an option for Pastor Rob. So they looked into their options. They could meet at the football field which had seating, but they also needed portable toilets which were required by law. In the 11th hour it all came together and they had service the next day. 17 people repented of their sins that day and believed on the Lord for their salvation. We heard story after story of God's grace and mercy in the life of this young church.
With the blessing of quick growth also came the burden of needing a building to meet in. The whole story is amazing, but I will just say that the church needed 1.3 million in cash in 6 weeks in order to make it happen. The 600 adults and their children sacrificed in every way that they could and when the money was all counted the Lord had brought in 1.6 million dollars. God is great and greatly to be praised!!!
I gleaned a ton from the leadership team and Pastor Rob in our time at Davenport. It was a tremendous blessing and they are so supportive of our efforts to plant in Calgary.
They provided us with a lot of resources that will be very helpful in the months and years to come.