Church Growth

33577_article_fullThree years ago this Thursday, I stood outside our home in Wake Forest pondering my future as I was to leave pastoral ministry in a few days and begin several years of disability leave.  I asked God, “Are You done with me now?”

In the next moment I looked up to the sky and immediately over our house, as if resting right on top of it was a full, complete TRIPLE Rainbow!  I have never before or since seen anything like it.  I immediately spoke again to my Father, “Well, I guess that is my answer!”

There was nothing in my circumstances that should have indicated that, as I believed in that moment, my best years of ministry were still ahead.  I was 62 years old and ending my 26 year career of being a pastor in the United Methodist Church.

When Jesus Christ died on the cross His few followers all fled to their homes and except for His mother, John the disciple and a few other women, He was left alone…. even by God!

Yet in more than two thousand years since no life before or since has had such a profound effect on humanity as His “One Solitary Life”.

What accounts for this?  What God did in resurrecting His lifeless body from the grave and pouring out His Holy Spirit on all who believe.

Last Sunday I preached and led a worship service for the first time in almost four years.  There were about 12 people present and all of them past the age of 65.  Yet I felt full of hope and joy.  I saw in their eyes Life as a result of hearing anew and afresh the Good News of God in Jesus Christ.

It is never what WE do that matters.  It is what God is able to do because of our sacrificial gift of ourselves in believing obedience to the one, living, true God.

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