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Look Around and Rejoice

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As a younger pastor, I didn’t see much room for denominations.  I grew up in one; honestly, I wasn’t a fan. It felt like there was another disagreement that led to a conflict, and there was religious pride that defied the reality of the gospel.  Over time, I started seeing that much of the issue was more me than others, and my tune changed quite a bit.  

Don’t get me wrong: I’m still not a fan of denominational divides or a ‘we’re the only ones who have it right’ mentality. However, I realized that much of my younger self thought very little about gospel work, and I was more of the issue than my church or denomination.  I wanted to be in a church that ‘made a difference’ and could accomplish the Great Commission.  Those are not wrong impulses, but I was very myopic.  

When we planted CLF in 2003, we planted with a desire to be a part of a denomination, Sovereign Grace Churches.  There are several reasons beyond doctrinal and governance agreements.  But one stood out to me:  it was important to be involved in the broader work of God’s work so that our church would not be myopic and self-centered.  Further, we desired that CLF would be able to play a part in serving indigenous churches and pastors around the world.  We aimed to see the Great Commission being accomplished and celebrate our small part in that vast work.

In the last month, we have seen that in action. 

  • As most of you know, I was in Bozeman.  I went there because that church is going through some leadership transitions and is struggling a bit.  We did a church and leadership team assessment and considered a plan for the future.  Please pray that God would help Micah Forsythe, the interim senior pastor, as he navigates the months ahead.  Please pray that we can find a qualified senior pastor for the long term.  
  • Dave Quilla just returned from a trip to Manila.  His primary purpose was to meet with pastors that SGC has been serving from a closed country. They got visas to the Philippines for a Worship Conference led by Bob, Devon Kauflin, and David Zimmer.  One fantastic event while he was there was “Gathering around the Gospel,” where over 3500 came to worship Jesus.  See the attached video.  Dave will give a brief update on Sunday and possibly write a report for you to read. 
  • This past Sunday, we heard from Doug Hayes with Covenant Mercies:  https://covenantmercies.org. One of the unique connections with Covenant Mercies is their child sponsorship programs and the local church.  Fatherless children in Africa are cared for by local churches in those areas, and Covenant Mercies comes alongside those churches to sponsor those children for educational, medical, and social care.  What catches my eye is the distinct biblical approach to developing non-profit ministries.  Non-profits were initially started out of local churches for ministries that churches needed support or help.  Biblically, this is one way for non-profits to have care and accountability and another way for churches to accomplish the Great Commission broadly.      

All That We Need, His Hand Has Provided

Several weeks ago, the Lord stirred my heart about my discontentedness and impatience. This is one reason why the study of Genesis has been so good for my soul. It reminded me of God’s long-term work and that God never fails. He’s ALWAYS at work doing what He’s promised to do. 

One area of impatience in my soul has been our pursuit of a new building.  The amount of headspace that this has stolen from me is embarrassing to think about.  We have prayed for vision, but the Lord has been silent. We’ve prayed for funds, but the heavens are shut.  And I’ve found myself more than a little frustrated and discontented.  I can’t speak for anyone else.  

Upon re-reading Numbers 11, the Lord convicted me of this and gave me a perspective I had forgotten.  The Lord provided manna for them daily as the children of Israel were wandering in the desert.  After a while, they got sick of the manna and longed for meat.  They said, “Oh, that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”  

The Lord, angry with their ingratitude and discontentment, decided to give them what they wanted.  He gave them so much meat that they were sick of it, and that meat brought a plague to them.  We’re told that “33 While the meat was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord struck down the people with a very great plague.”  

As I reread this, I could sense the Lord showing me that this was where I was at with the new building. I was discontented with what the Lord had provided and impatiently waited for God’s new provision. Does anyone else feel this way?  Allow me to explain.  

Early last year, we obviously needed to go to three services or find another location.  We didn’t have another spot, so we made plans for three.  “It just so happened” on a Friday that I contacted the AD at UCC (a friend) and asked about Jacoby Auditorium.  Within hours, they were working on the specifics, and by Monday, we had an agreement.  They were incredibly gracious with what they offered us.  For the moment, the Lord provided.  He gave us wisdom, and we made the move.  Our church responded with joy and celebration (think 900 for Easter!).

But as time has waned at Jacoby, some of us (I’m one) have longed for what we USED to have or what we LONG to have.  Smaller services, good lighting, ease of set-up/tear-down, and a middle aisle.  Oh, we could have a middle aisle!  But Numbers 11 stopped me in my tracks.  What has the Lord provided for His mission of the gospel at CLF?  Jacoby Auditorium.  What has He given wisdom for in this season of our church life?  Jacoby Auditorium.  

It dawned on me:  look around and rejoice…all that we have needed, God has provided.  Let’s use it for the mission of the gospel.  Easter is coming, CLF…, and there are plenty of seats at Jacoby to invite friends to church.  

This doesn’t mean we don’t pray and plan for God’s vision and provision for a new building. But I, for one, will guard my heart more closely so that I don’t miss God’s hand at work for us, in us, and through us.  

Looking Ahead

This Sunday, Luis Castellanos will preach on Palm Sunday from John 12:12-26.  

Also, this is exciting:  we’re planning baptisms directly after church on Easter Sunday on the patio at Jacoby.  If you want to be baptized, please email Christina Luther at [email protected].  

From the Cheap Seats

  • I have no idea what the Dallas Cowboys are doing.  I wonder if they’re done with Dak and willing to let him go in free agency next year.  
  • March Madness is upon us. I don’t watch basketball throughout the year and usually only watch the Final Four if I can. I love tournaments like this, and College Baseball is similar.  
  • I love Oregon State baseball…but they don’t have much pitching.  Losing a game with a 9-run lead doesn’t seem good.    

Have a great week! Christ is King!

In Christ, 

Dave York

More To Explore

Musings

Navigating Uncertainty with Faith

Recently, as I was reflecting on the journey the Lord has had us on, I began to wonder if we, as a church, have become impatient and ungrateful and, in doing so, have lost sight of the mission of the gospel. 

Musings

Recognizing God’s Hand in Success

I have always been deeply affected by something the Lord told the people of Israel in Deuteronomy 8:17-18, when He said, “Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”  

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