Excited children, eager volunteers, great songs, cool instruments, and lots of food! These were the components of Kingdom Life Church’s second annual Summer Music Camp, held during the last week of July. And they made for an exciting five days! Building on the success of the previous year’s camp, this year we at Kingdom Life welcomed 119 boys and girls between the ages of 4 and 14 years old. Starting as early as 8:30 am each day, these children streamed into our church building with bundles of energy in their bright yellow Music Camp t-shirts. Each day, our church building was filled with high energy and the lively sounds of children singing (and laughing) and instruments playing (and banging)!
Participants in the Music Camp were exposed to the piano, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, flute, set drum, and Congo drum. They also received basic music lessons and voice training. But, above the musical exposure and training, our music campers heard the gospel and were taught about God as Creator, Provider, Protector, Savior, and King.
Although we focused on a defined set of instruments, we also introduced a new and exciting component to the camp this year: Bring Your Instrument Day. On this day, campers were allowed to bring their own instruments, and what a variety they brought! That day inspired us to consider how we might expand the list of instruments we feature in the Music Camp in the years ahead. It also encouraged us as we saw how parents are currently investing musically in their children by purchasing instruments for them and enrolling them in music classes.
This year, we experienced once again the benefit of gospel partnership as a group of thirty volunteers from four different churches and a short-term mission organization (Next Step Ministries) came together to serve at the camp. Without this group of dedicated men and women, many of whom joyfully sacrificed money and time to serve, it would be impossible for our church to offer this camp free of charge to our community. We are grateful to God for our volunteers’ sacrifice and gospel partnership.
Looking back over this year’s Summer Music Camp, our hearts are filled with gratitude for the many ways the Lord worked. He allowed us to reach out to our community and touch the lives of a large number of boys and girls, as well as their family and friends who filled our church building on the final night to attend the Music Camp performance concert. We also had the opportunity to pray for some who completed prayer request cards, and we are looking forward to welcoming six of them to our upcoming Christianity Explored course, the Lord willing. While we continue to thank the Lord for yet another successful Music Camp, we especially thank him for allowing us to reach out and touch lives, because, beyond the music, touching lives with the gospel is our ultimate goal.
See some highlights from the camp in this video:
Cedric Moss is the senior pastor of Kingdom Life Church in Nassau, Bahamas.
We had our first formal meeting as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Assembly of Elders (MA RAE) on July 29 in Bowie, Maryland.
As our first order of business, we formally approved and now have all of our regional committees in place.
Once our committees were established, we started working on our calendar for the coming months, as one of our major goals within our Region is to strengthen relationships and encourage fellowship and mutual care for the elders in our region. We are planning a Family Crab Feast hosted by Ed O’Mara at New Covenant Church in Arnold in September (Thanks, Ed!), an MA RAE Couples and Guests Lunch at the upcoming Sovereign Grace Pastors Conference, and a Senior Pastors Couples Retreat in March 2015.
We welcomed Mark Turek from Sovereign Grace Church (SGC) in Joppa as our newest RAE member. Mark worked full-time on the SGC staff from 1980–2003. Mark served in a variety of capacities but primarily as our Christian school’s administrator for over 20 years. Upon his ordination in 1998, he served as our Family Life Pastor. In 2003, he stepped out of his full-time pastoral position to care for his wife, Carol, whose MS had advanced to the point where he could no longer serve as a pastor and continue to serve his wife well. Last year, Carol went home to be with the Lord. Mark currently serves as a bi-vocational pastor while he continues to works as a speech-language pathologist. He has two married daughters and two grandchildren. We are both delighted and excited to have him once again serving SGC Joppa as a pastor and serving as a member of our RAE.
John Loftness, the Senior Pastor of Solid Rock Church, told us about his church’s plans to plant a church in Bowie, Maryland, where approximately 25% of his church members live. The goal is to make gospel connections with neighbors and connect them to the relational network of the church. Plans are moving forward for Sunday meetings to begin in the fall with the church becoming a separate congregation in early 2015.
Jimmy Cannon shared that SGC in Joppa is moving forward to establish a campus in White Marsh, Maryland in the fall. SGC has had a burden for a while to better position itself to reach out to the Baltimore County area, while continuing to reach out to the Harford and Cecil County areas through the Joppa Campus.
As we also share a desire to find ways for our churches to participate together in regional functions, we discussed the upcoming Northeast Regional Leaders Conference and the possibility of having a regional men’s retreat together.
During lunch, Bob Donohue and Joselo Mercado gave us an update on a recent missions trip to the Dominican Republic in which both of their churches participated. This segued into other discussions about what our regional churches are doing in the area of missions.
Larry Malament said he had recently returned from his 50th trip to India and also made another trip to Songhwan Kang’s church in South Korea. Jimmy mentioned that SGC in Joppa had participated in a medical missions trip to India last year and had visited our sister church in Zambia to explore opportunities to serve there. Joselo mentioned that his church was planning a missions trip to Bolivia, and Bob mentioned that our sister church in Australia had invited him to visit them.
It became obvious quickly that our churches are very passionate about advancing the gospel and building the church, not only nationally, but internationally as well. So the next time we meet, we will be discussing how to better partner together in the area of missions.
All in all, we had a wonderful time of encouraging, edifying, and envisioning one another as we seek to move forward together to fulfill God’s vision for us, not only as individual churches within our region but as a regional movement of churches called to co-labor together to glorify God within and beyond our region.
It truly is a great privilege for me and my wife, Daryl, to fellowship with and serve these seasoned pastors and their wives who are “men (and women) of a different spirit” (Numbers 14:24). They are men and women who are passionate for God and his glory, who daily lay their lives down for the churches they love and serve so well, and who are working together to advance the gospel both here and abroad!
Road photo from Shutterstock.
Jim is the Regional Leader for the Mid-Atlantic Region of Sovereign Grace. He also serves as a pastor at Sovereign Grace Church (Joppa, MD).
August 12, 2014 by
Categories: Church Updates
Like many churches, Crossway has a desire to reach our city (for us, it’s Charlotte, NC) with the gospel. Like many churches, we recognize that we can’t do that alone. Like many churches, we also recognize that there are fine churches and fine ministries serving in our city.
The question for us has been: How do we get to know other churches and ministries in our city in a meaningful way—a way that enables us to support and cooperate in gospel mission without creating artificial structures or awkward relational connections?
We certainly don’t have all the answers, but we feel like we got a good start with our recent Mission Sunday. We invited twelve local ministries to come and share with Crossway what they were doing and how we could serve them. We had ministries to the poor and homeless, pro-life ministries, refugee ministries, and a ministry in Charlotte working against sex trafficking set up at tables in the lobby with their information and a representative.
After the Sunday meeting, we served a lunch to make it easier for people to hang around and invited them to wander around and see what these ministries were up to. It gave folks in the church with a heart to serve in specific areas a way to connect with existing, successful ministries without us having to reinvent the wheel and create a bunch of programs that didn’t do it as well and took us away from our primary mission to make disciples of Jesus.
In addition, Joe Lechner preached a message on “Reaching our City” (available at our website) and we took time to pray for each of the ministries that came. The feedback we got from both the church and the ministries was great. Our hope and prayer is that connections were made and relationships built that will serve our city in the years to some.
Charlotte skyline photo from Shutterstock.
Mickey is the senior pastor of Crossway Church (Charlotte, NC) and serves on Sovereign Grace's Executive Committee. He and his wife, Jane, have three married children and a growing number of grandchildren.
We are rapidly approaching our one-year anniversary as Redemption Hill Church. Planting this church with these dear friends has been one of the great highlights of my life and a treasure trove of stories about God’s grace. Here is a bit of our narrative in this first year:
September 15, 2013 was our first public Sunday. Team members had moved from Arizona and North Carolina and Juarez, Mexico and Louisville and had joined us from communities around Austin itself. We spent last summer studying our core convictions as a church and remembering the privilege we have to build a biblical foundation for future generations. We met on Sunday mornings in homes for several months in a relatively casual format, hearing teaching, discussing, praying, and anticipating together. We held several interest meetings, inviting neighbors and new acquaintances to come and find out about the church. Lifegate Church in Seguin, Texas, led by Bob Odom and Josh Jordan, hosted us for a Sunday barbecue to encourage our church plant team.
Then, on September 15th, our church was born. Our first message came from 1 Corinthians 2:1–5 and celebrated the gospel of Jesus Christ as our permanent first priority, proclaimed in dependence on the power of the Holy Spirit. Since that day, a number of new members have become central to our community—people we did not know a year ago are now an integral part of our church life. We enjoyed our first two baptisms and many occasions of celebrating the Lord’s Supper.
We have been blessed by a large number of Sovereign Grace leaders who have been in town and have taken the time to greet our church and express affection and support. Tim Kerr, Craig Cabaniss, Pete Payne, Billy Raies, Rich Richardson, Steve Tong, Chris Daukas, Adam Prather, Carlos Contreras, Rob Tombrella, John Loftness, Ian McConnell, and Josh Jordan all either visited us, encouraged our church publicly, or gave an entire message on a Sunday—a remarkable parade of support from our family of churches. We also benefited from two different worship team substitutions from Grace Church in Frisco, as well as a Grace Church evangelistic team that came down for a weekend to spread the word about our church and to also spend an evening serving a member of our church.
Our pastoral intern, Aaron Mayfield, has been a particular gift to us, shouldering the weight of engaging in pastoral ministry while also working another full-time job—an amazing display of faith and love for the mission of Jesus Christ. We have journeyed through the book of Colossians, as well as an evangelism series, a series on Jonah, a series on membership, and currently a survey series through the Pentateuch. God has answered our prayers for provision miraculously—including a church donating a large amount of equipment and assets to us along with faithful, generous giving from our church community. We’ve also enjoyed the amazing provision of a rented facility that has plenty of space, including storage capacity, and is easy for guests to find—once again, a miraculous answer to prayer.
God has also sustained our team through unique challenges and difficulties, which we believe to be spiritual opposition in relation to the planting of our church. Team members have faced unique spiritual temptations and physical challenges, along with the normal shock of moving away from dear family and friends and an established church and job. Their enduring faith and godliness is a testimony to the grace of God in their lives and God’s incredible love for the people in our community who are benefiting from their service and example. I know some heroic church planters face the daunting task of starting a church without a team, and I pray God will surround them with support soon. For me, life without this incredible group of friends and partners is the definition of a nightmare. These “saints in the land” are the “excellent ones, in whom is all my delight” (Psalm 16:3).
As our second year approaches, we are praying for boldness in evangelism, endurance to face fresh trials, further richness in our community life, and greater passion to know God in our public meetings and private worship. If this first year is any indication, year two will be full of stories of God’s grace, stories of partnership, and stories of the power of the gospel again.
To all of our dear friends throughout Sovereign Grace: Many thanks for your faith, your generosity, your prayers, your encouragement, and your affection. We are grateful and indebted to you and count it a privilege to be partnering with you as you have partnered with us.
Jon is the senior pastor of Redemption Hill Church in Round Rock, Texas and is a member of Sovereign Grace’s Executive Committee. He and his wife, Lory, have three children.
In early July, Crossway Church of Lancaster, Pennsylvania took 27 people on a week-long evangelism team (e-team) trip to serve King of Grace Church in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Both churches have come together for the past five years for gospel ministry. God, through our partnership, has enabled us to build some sweet and lasting friendships. Getting together feels like a family reunion.
Each year, we have the privilege of helping King of Grace Church with one of their biggest evangelistic outreaches, Vacation Bible School (VBS). Over the years we’ve seen young kids place their faith in Christ and families added to the church through their VBS program.
The following is a recap from Caitlyn Rivera, one of the e-team participants:
“We spent the week serving in a variety of capacities. At King of Grace Church, our team aided the church’s dedicated volunteers in setting up and running the church’s annual VBS. This year, the theme of the event was “Weird Animals,” a program seeking to highlight the one-of-a-kind love of our only Savior, Jesus Christ.
Serving at King of Grace’s VBS brought me abundant and overwhelming joy. Not only did I experience the joy of connecting with my own crew of children, but I had the privilege of watching the e-team members, each a confessing believer in the finished work of Christ, become a ready participant in his continued work in the world.
Outside our work at VBS, the team provided practical service in several other areas throughout the trip. On Tuesday afternoon, a number of team members held a complimentary car wash on the front lawn of King of Grace Church. Commuters and community members alike stopped on their drives through town to take advantage of the free service, and while sections from our group stood on the street corners around the church ushering more cars in, several others worked tirelessly to slather and scrub the vehicles until their surfaces shone.
While they waited for their cars to be cleaned, passengers and drivers were greeted by the final segment of our team, who handed out free bottles of water and offered friendly, compassionate conversation. Meanwhile, I joined with two other young women on the trip to lend a hand cleaning the house of one of the older members of King of Grace.
On Thursday afternoon, the team spent two hours serving at The Common Ground Cafe and Thrift Store in the inner-city neighborhood of Haverhill. The Common Ground Cafe is an outreach seeking to connect to the poor and the homeless. The cafe, an outreach of the already 15-year-old Common Grounds Ministries, partners with its neighbor, the thrift store, in order to provide services to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the neighborhood’s poor and displaced.
For our final adventure in outreach, the team spent Monday and Thursday evenings along the beach and boardwalk at New Hampshire’s Hampton Beach, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with the spiritually diverse vacationers along the oceanfront. In this effort, we received more than our share of grace, as our team members stepped out of their comfort zones and, in doing so, experienced the humbling power of evangelism. The seeds we sowed in this time hold untold promise and potential in the hearts of those who heard us, and to those sowing the seeds, the Lord gave his grace to speak clearly and boldly for his kingdom. For me in particular, this became a time where I experienced his overwhelming faithfulness, as speaking his truth greatly fortified and fueled my faith in him. In this, and in all of our outreach activities in Haverhill throughout the week, Christ showed his love not only in reaching the lost and disheartened, but in building up his people to become active vehicles for his kingdom work.”
It’s clear that God used our time together with King of Grace Church to build our faith and advance his glorious gospel. There is great satisfaction in serving and working hard to promote the saving work of Christ Jesus.
I’m grateful that we have other churches that we are closely tied to, through Sovereign Grace, with whom we can work together in advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ in the lost world. Paul Buckley, senior pastor of King of Grace Church and chair of Sovereign Grace’s Executive Committee, along with the other leaders, are doing a wonderful job of spreading the gospel in the New England area. Please pray for them as they launch new church plants this coming year.
Kurt is a pastor at Crossway Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Barbara, have six children.
Crossway Church of Lancaster and Kingdom Life Church in Nassau, Bahamas have worked together and grown closer over the past number of years. Our churches became knit together when we sent Keith Bunting to Sovereign Grace Pastors College so that he could, with his family, relocate to Nassau to serve on the pastoral team. Since that time, Keith and his family have returned to the states to serve another sister church in Florida.
Because of our partnership in the gospel and in Sovereign Grace Churches, we have, for a number of years, wanted to serve Kingdom Life Church by sending a short-term team from Crossway to the Bahamas. This past May, we had a chance to do that.
Here is a recap from one of the team members, Lisa Evans:
Fourteen of us from Crossway Church traveled to New Providence Island, Bahamas, in May to serve in many capacities. The major project that faced us was replacing the roof at Kingdom Life Church. A crew of nine, with limited roofing skills but unlimited determination, worked tirelessly in the heat for four days straight, replacing about 40% of the roof and focusing on the areas that were in desperate need of repair.
While the roof team was sweating it out at Kingdom Life, the remainder of the team served at All Saints Camp. The Next Step Ministries website describes this camp best when it says, “The crumbling sidewalks and dilapidated cabins…tell the story of a neglected community, suffering from AIDS and HIV. Shunned for their illness, the residents have been placed in an area on the Island separate from the hustle and bustle of Nassau’s tourism and commerce. Despite the dreary conditions, many of the residents still find time to praise God for each and every day. Gospel music can be heard from almost every cabin.” It was a privilege to serve at All Saints. They are in the process of replacing housing for their 30 residents, so, under the able direction of Tim and Felicia Ryan (members at Kingdom Life Church), part of our job was to finish some of the last painting and help with the lunch program.
We also shared the gospel during our weeklong trip on one of the local beaches with members from Kingdom Life Church. It was wonderful linking arms with other believers to tell lost souls about Jesus Christ.
God certainly used our time together to build our faith. It’s wonderful to know that there is a sister church in the Bahamas proclaiming and advancing the gospel of Christ.
Partnership is sweet. Cedric Moss is a man of faith and faithfulness. Please pray for him and the church in Nassau as they continue to do the tireless work of gospel advancement.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. —Ephesians 4:15–16
Watch this slideshow to see more photos from the trip:
Kurt is a pastor at Crossway Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Barbara, have six children.
One of the reasons I love being a part of Sovereign Grace is because of our shared desire to reach the lost with the gospel through church planting. I want to tell you how God is using our small church plant in the Wissinoming section of Northeast Philadelphia to do just that.
God gave us favor to host 500 people for our Easter celebration at Grace City Church-Wissinoming. He provided a unique platform for us to listen to our neighbors as they shared their concerns for our struggling neighborhood. And he gave us the opportunity not only to listen, but also to speak the hope of Christ. We have already seen fruit from these conversations, as a few young believers have been faithful participants in our church family.
We also strive to serve our neighborhood. Recently, we took part in a cleanup day in which we helped our local elementary school. We received a big bundle of handwritten thank you cards from the kids, and we are continuing to develop relationships with some of the teachers and volunteers.
Likewise, I couldn’t be more encouraged by what God is doing in our church family. We have several young parents—many of whom are young believers—who are so eager to know what God says about parenting. We have started to gather together to discuss these matters and explore what heart change looks like personally as well as in parenting. It has brought tremendous joy to hear that these parents are actually doing what they are learning, by God’s grace. And they are finding joy in doing so!
The constant flow of unbelievers into our gatherings has also given us great delight. People are coming in the most unexpected ways. For instance, one teenage girl who has struggled through a difficult family situation has recently brought most of Pizza Hut’s evening shift with her. And each of her friends from work have commented on how they want to know more about how she leans on God to get through her difficulties because, of course, they are suffering similar pain. On Sunday, a few of her coworkers were in tears during the songs, and they were eager to ask me questions after the service about forgiveness. What incredible opportunities!
Besides all of this, we have needed to baptize numerous people. So we are getting ready to celebrate God’s amazing grace in the lives of several new believers, and we can’t wait to do so!
While God has been working in so many ways, much of what he is doing he is making possible through Sovereign Grace. There is no other way around it. Without our family of churches, this wouldn’t be happening. God is changing individual families and individual people as we continue to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ!
If you’re interested in supporting work in our Northeast Region like this, prayerfully consider giving to our Mission Fund and designating your gift for “US Regional Church Planting.”
Thanks to Chris Graves of Cornerstone Church for his help in gathering the information for this post.
For the fourth time in four years, Cornerstone Church of Knoxville is sending a team to support gospel work in South Korea starting this Monday, June 2.
A partnership began between Cornerstone and Lord’s Grace Church in Seoul when senior pastor, Bill Kittrell, went to Seoul with Larry Malament in 2011. Larry introduced Bill to Songhwan Kang, who pastors Lord’s Grace Church, and his wife, Miran, and they quickly hit it off.
Cornerstone Church has since adopted Lord’s Grace Church by taking up special offerings to help their ministry, and Songhwan has preached twice in Knoxville at Cornerstone. Even at Cornerstone's most recent members meeting, Songhwan sent a video message about the trip. Both churches work hard to make the partnership more than name only.
Cornerstone is sending 17 people on this year’s team, including Bill and his wife, Cheri. They will host a conference focused on the gospel while they also lead an English camp for the children and youth.
Please pray for safety as the team travels to and from Seoul, for the church conference and English camp which will be take place from June 5–7, and for encouraging and fruitful times with church members at Lord’s Grace Church.
If you’d like to support gospel work like this, considering giving to our Mission Fund and designating your gift for South Korea.
+ original header photo from Flickr user Emmanuel DYAN.
On Sunday February 9, Christ Community Church celebrated our first year of public meetings. In the fall of 2012, around 35 faithful servants (adults and kids) moved to the “north shore” of Lake Pontchartrain, which provides a natural barrier to the north of New Orleans. We were sent from Lakeview Christian Center in New Orleans where many of us had been established for 20 years and more!
We were drawn to the Mandeville/Covington area of St. Tammany Parish (on the north shore) to plant a church with some folks who had been commuting to attend Lakeview. St. Tammany Parish is an affluent area but also an area desperate for gospel hope and healing. The parish has maintained the highest suicide rate for the state the past couple of decades. Churches marred by splits have left believers disillusioned and wandering from church to church.
We began our public meetings at a church on Saturday evenings and, after six months, we signed a lease for the building that we met in on Saturdays. We have had front row seats to experience the faithfulness of God in astounding ways. Since we moved into our own church home, we have been well received in the surrounding community. We have gone door-to-door introducing ourselves to the community on numerous occasions and have sensed a unique opening for the gospel that we are seeking to be used by the Lord to advance in the coming months and years.
In planting Christ Community Church, we prayed to see conversions. And the Lord has answered our prayers for conversions in ways beyond our imagination!
Our first conversion was the sweet moment when my daughter, ten years old at the time, came to the awareness of her own sinfulness as we continued to cast the vision of our family's involvement in planting a church to see people come to trust Christ for salvation. We had spent months before and after our move envisioning our five kids still at home about God’s call on us to plant a church to see people come to repentance. My daughter began to ask deep questions about her relationship with God, and she prayed with us in her room, surrendering her life to Christ. A couple of months later, the same thing happened to my younger daughter, who was eight years old at the time. I never anticipated our first converts coming from my own house, but I am overjoyed!
This past October, we moved into our own church building, allowing us to move our worship gathering to Sundays. We spent a couple months renovating and personalizing the building in preparation for an Open House Sunday on December 22. A mom in our church had been praying for years for her two daughters to come to faith in the Lord. She invited them both to the Open House, and they both came. The married daughter brought her husband as well. That Sunday, we had a couple share their testimony of coming to Christ during the service, and then I preached a message targeted to the lost. The invited couple couldn't stop crying the whole time. Benny, the husband, shared that when they came, the emptiness they had been trying to deal with and fill was finally gone after God touched them both. They haven’t missed a Sunday since.
Our most recent conversion occurred in late January. The men of the church met to discuss our study of The Godly Man's Picture. Ten minutes into a discussion on forgiveness, a guy named Brad interrupted me. Brad had come to church the previous two Sundays with his family as a result of an outreach in his community about two miles from church. He was sitting right next to me and asked for prayer because of the hatred and anger he had for his dad. He said that if he died that night, he knew he would go to hell because of his anger. I asked him a series of questions about his salvation, and he prayed with us all on the spot to repent of his sins and trust Christ for salvation as the men gathered around him. It was a glorious moment indeed!
The new believers added to our church family has served to reignite passion and zeal that reminds us of the sweetness of our own conversion experiences. We pray for more conversions. We pray for our growth as disciples. We pray for Christ to be preeminent in all things!
Jeff Ehrhardt is the senior pastor of Christ Community Church in Covington, Louisiana.
If you’re like me, there are certain verses that stick with you because they call you to live your life in a certain way. One of those verses for me, and I believe for Sovereign Grace is 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” This verse calls us to remain steadfast in the work of the gospel. The faith-stirring truth is that our labors for the gospel are not in vain!
As the Executive Director of Sovereign Grace, I have the unique vantage point of seeing how God is using our family of churches in the steadfast work of the gospel. I want you to see what I see, because our labors for the gospel are not in vain. So here are some snapshots from my last few weeks. As you read these stories, I hope they not only stir your faith to continue to labor for the gospel, but also remind you of the mission we share as a family of churches.
A few weeks ago I attended Grace City Church in the Wissinoming section of Northeast Philadelphia. This church plant, led by Dan Birkholz is meeting in a 90+ year old church building that they were given last year. The church building gives them a presence in the community from which they can reach out to the people living in the surrounding neighborhoods. Through the faithful labors and outreach of the members on the Grace City church planting team, this church has grown in attendance from 30 to 60 in the last couple of months! On the Sunday I was there I met Doug, who is from Northeast Philadelphia, and was attending for the very first time. As we talked he told me about the rough life that he had lived, and that he decided to come to church because he had been invited and because he “wanted to come back to Jesus.” I told Doug if that’s what he wanted, he was in the right place. You see, that morning we sang the truths of the gospel, and Dan clearly preached the gospel in his sermon from Ephesians 1. The labors of Grace City Church are not in vain because Doug heard the life-saving message of the gospel that morning. I drove home that afternoon reminded again of one of the reasons Sovereign Grace exists. We exist to plant churches as a means to proclaim the gospel to those who don’t know Jesus!
Two weeks ago I received an e-mail from Jeff Ehrhardt. Last year Jeff was sent from Lakeview Christian Center in New Orleans to plant Christ Community Church in Covington, LA. In his e-mail Jeff told me of a man who recently was born again. This is how Jeff recounts the story: “Our most recent conversion occurred last Thursday. The men of the church met at church to discuss our study of The Godly Man's Picture. 10 minutes into the discussion on forgiveness, Brad interrupted me. Brad had come to church the previous two Sundays with his family as a result of an outreach in his community about 2 miles from church. He was sitting right next to me and asked for prayer because of the hatred and anger he had for his dad. He told us that if he died that night he knew he would go to hell because of his anger. I asked him a series of questions about his salvation, and he prayed with us all on the spot to repent of his sins and trust Christ for salvation as the men gathered around him. It was a glorious moment indeed!”
Why did Brad attend this study? Because the members of Christ Community Church were abounding in the work of the Lord by reaching out to their community. As I read Jeff’s e-mail, tears filled my eyes because we serve a God who still saves!! And Brad’s story reminded me again of the mission we share in Sovereign Grace; to reach those who don’t know Jesus with the good news of the gospel.
This past week I had a phone call with my friend Carlos Contreras. Carlos is the Sr. Pastor of Iglesia Gracia Soberana de Cd. Juarez, Mexico. One of the reasons we scheduled a call is because in a couple of weeks Carlos is traveling to Spain, on behalf of Sovereign Grace, to talk with pastors about planting churches in Spain and the Canary Islands. We don’t know if those churches will ever be a part of Sovereign Grace. We simply want to serve them, and I know we have much to learn from them. I’m telling you about this conversation for a couple of reasons. First, please pray for Carlos as he makes this trip. In particular, ask God to give Carlos wisdom in knowing how to best serve these pastors as they consider how to plant churches in Spain. Second, Carlos told me that only about 1% of the people in Spain are evangelical Christians. That statistic alone is a reminder that we are living in a post-Christian world which only makes our labors for the gospel more necessary and more urgent. You see it is vital that our family of churches remain steadfast and immovable in our labors for the gospel.
I hope these stories remind you that God is at work all around us. I hope these stories also encourage you to remain steadfast and immovable in your labors to make the gospel known. Let us not grow weary in abounding in gospel work because our labors are not in vain!