This was a great weekend! It began with a terribly fun youth group lock-in that my girlfriend and I helped at all Friday night and ended with me meeting some excellent folks out at Red Line Church of God near Palco, Kansas (they had me out there to share a message Sunday).
Sunday in particular was a blessing to me. I hadn't slept more than twenty minutes Friday night due to the lock-in, and while I got a four hour nap Saturday, I was still pretty tired. Then the ministry game night I lead caused me to get home about two a.m. Sunday night, and I had to get up at six a.m. Sunday to prepare some missionary profile packets for the congregation at Red Line with enough time to spare to get to Palco. Needless to say I could have been exhausted; thankfully, I had some people praying for me (thank you), and I felt pretty energized as I shared.
It is always a blessing to be able to share what God has done and to use it to highlight principles that He clearly speaks to in scripture that are not always emphasized in our society. My primary message was over giving up our lives to gain true life, but I also spoke some about obstacles to surrendering our lives, the power of community and of living a life trusting God, and several other things.
Afterwards, I was pleased to be able to meet many in the congregation and learn about their desires to reach out in love. It was very exciting to see a group who obviously honestly wanted to step up and serve and do outreach. I know many lead pastors who struggle (sometimes at the risk of their very careers) to get their congregations to live as Jesus did loving others and serving. To have a congregation in pastor transition so readily desire to reach out was very encouraging and spoke volumes about their health as a congregation.
I was also greatly blessed and encouraged by the congregation both financially and through their words. I knew that some churches offered speaker fees and some did not, but I did not expect a speaker fee; to my surprise they not only offered a speaker fee but even covered mileage! On top of that, several in the congregation anonymously donated money to support me as a missionary!! (If any of you are reading this, thank you TREMENDOUSLY for such a surprise blessing!). In all honesty, it was a stretch for me to afford the gas money to get out there to speak, but I had been willing to do it to serve the Kingdom without expecting any money to come in at all. What a surprise it was for me to receive not only a speaker fee but also mileage and an anonymous donation! God certainly is good, and I thank Him and those in the congregation who felt led to support this part of the Kingdom work! As I also mentioned, I was blessed by the congregation through their words. At some of the tables we sat at after service and also later over lunch it was exciting to see how God had struck some of them through the message/stories I had shared. It led to some great conversations about God and His Kingdom in real life, which I loved listening to and participating in.
All in all it was an extremely good weekend, and I thank God sincerely for the ability to meet the people out at Red Line and to share with them in community. It has been a tremendous blessing on my end, and I hope it is also a blessing to them, as well. Thanks be to God and I sincerely look forward to seeing what He does with this connection I now have with several there and their desires for outreach.
Please pray that God help the right connections form there and that He help them find where they can best reach out in Christ's love for the Kingdom and/or that He challenge their perspectives on the subject so that they better reach out where they already are. Thank YOU all for keeping up with me and for your prayers and encouragement--it is truly deeply appreciated!