Thursday, February 18, 2010

Giving Glory to God...

One of my favorite hymns is “To God be the Glory” because it’s a reminder to celebrate the work of God in bringing us to redemption. It challenges us to praise the Lord, to let the earth hear His voice and let the people rejoice. The final phrase of the chorus is “Oh come to the Father, thro’ Jesus the Son, and give Him the glory, great things He has done.” Well this past Sunday, we saw the Lord move in tremendous ways in both services. First of all, I challenged us to be faithful to catch up on our tithes and offerings because we had to cancel the previous week  and only had one service the week before. God’s people responded and our offering was $36,596.53 which is huge considering we still had a number of people who could not attend because of the conditions. Our weekly budget need is $18,002.00 so we exceeded our budget need for the last two Sundays by a little over $296.00. In a tough economy, with lots of added expenses for groceries, snow removal and all the expenses that goes into dealing with a blizzard of the magnitude we’ve experienced in the last two weeks, I believe a holy hallelujah is in order to praise God for providing for His Bride this way. Many churches are struggling financially at this time and cancelling a service nearly means disaster for them because typically people don’t catch up on their tithes and offerings. I’m so proud of our church family for being obedient to bring the Lord’s tithe and an offering to Him on the Lord’s Day but this is not our doing, it is the Lord working in our lives and for that we must give Him praise!

Secondly, we must praise and give God the glory for the movement of the Holy Spirit in our services. Because it was Valentine’s Day, I preached on God’s Amazing Love from John 3:16 and at the end, I challenged the church to take two sets of two cards we had made, one a “My Influence Card” and the other was a simple “Invite Card.” With the influence card, we were to list the names of 3 people we believe to be lost without Christ. When we finished that card, we were to keep one as a reminder for us, and come forward and place the other card in a basket as an offering to God that we were making a commitment to pray for an opportunity to invite those lost people to come to Calvary and that they would come to know the Lord this year. The “Invite Cards” are simple business cards that we will use to invite people to be our guest at Calvary. It has our worship times, church info and a map of how to get here.  I had no idea what to expect but shortly, one by one, people began to leave their seats and walk forward with cards in hand, then groups of people began to come forward, whole families, young people, older people, children. In both services, I saw people with tears in their eyes as they were burdened for lost friends, family, co-workers, or even mere acquaintances, they were going to pray for to come to know Jesus.  At the end of the services, I held up that basket of names and we prayed right then for these people to come to know Jesus. This is the very heartbeat of God but sadly it is not the heartbeat of many Christians. Winning people to Christ is not a natural thing for us to do. I asked people to pray that God would help us see people the way He does, they are either saved or lost and all of the ways we segregate people do not matter. I was so amazed to see the way the Holy Spirit moved in people’s hearts.  We had 223 cards turned in with at least one name on the card and 210 cards with  3 or more names printed on the card.

Most of our invite cards were taken but we’ll have more for you to pick up here at church each week. This means we’ll continue to see guests come through the doors at Calvary. Remember church family, each one of these people is someone Jesus died to save. We only get one chance to make a first impression so be sensitive to guests, people you don’t know and don’t recognize. It matters not how they’re dressed, what they have tattooed or pierced, whether they are wearing a suit or their Sunday best and look like they stepped out of a magazine, if you don’t know them, please greet them warmly and welcome them to Calvary. Then pray that they’ll respond to the Gospel message I’ll be bringing that day.

I want to praise God for working in our hearts and lives, for challenging us and stretching us and I’m so thrilled to see the Holy Spirit’s movement here. Glory to God, from my little corner of the world to yours…

Ralph Green

Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church

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