“As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you."- II Thessalonians 3:1
Isn't it remarkable how much work must be done to move to a new place? Any type of relocation is taxing to say the least. To move to a new address can challenge and exhaust one's focus, energy, and patience. The excitement of moving to a new home can become muted as we deal with mountains of decisions and tasks that could fill up the largest moving truck: We become surrounded by boxes; we are busy filling out "change of address" forms; we make more trips to Home Depot than the local grocery store; and there is always one last document to sign.
With the imminent move to our new church home (just a few weeks away) there are so many details to oversee and decisions to be made, that it can become quite easy to feel completely overwhelmed and drained. Our leadership team is constantly visiting the site, reviewing construction progress, coordinating equipment purchases, overseeing church finances, cleaning out the current facility, and preparing our church family.
This 1.3 mile journey to our new home on Townsgate will begin a new chapter for The Shepherd's House, one that we believe will be marked and multiplied by new life! My greatest desire as we get ready for this new destination is that we would have a deeper understanding and clearer vision as to God's providing and leading us to a new home. In the physical realm our move is due to the SPACE issues we face in our small, yet special chapel. The challenge of having enough space is a valid reason to make a move. Even for Abraham and Lot, they had to separate and move from the land they occupied because it wasn't large enough to contain all their peoples and possessions. In fact, once the decision to take new space is made, God makes a promise to Abraham in Genesis 13:14-15, "The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, 'Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever."
But even with that said it is not simply a physical space problem that is propelling us onward and across the 101 freeway at Hampshire. In the physical realm the move is based on a SPACE issue, but in the spiritual realm the move is based on a GRACE imperative! We are called to be a "light" into our community, we are commissioned to "Go and make disciples..."; and we are created to "bear much fruit". Our desire, focus, and labor is to reach new people with the Good news, see multitudes saved and baptized, and make room for more people to call The Shepherd's House their church family. The above scripture from Thessalonians is a verse I have taken hold of as a promise of how God is about to move and multiply us. That God's Word would "spread rapidly and be honored" as we...
1) Enter into the Easter Season.
That there would be many people we invite to our church services to hear the hope-filled news of resurrection life. I am excited about moving to our new home during this special time of remembrance and rejoicing, because it speaks to the greatest victory and reality there can be. There are so many people we know, so many people we cross paths with, and so many people living in our city who need to know that Jesus is alive and in His hand are the keys to everything they will ever need to be satisfied with.
2) Enter into a New Neighborhood.
Another important task in our move will be getting to know our surroundings and our neighbors. We want to look for opportunities to serve others, to provide for the needy, and to take interest in their lives. We want to be a church that connects with and cares for those who do life on and around Townsgate. My prayer is that God's Word would spread in that area in such a way that we see an entire new batch of people arriving at our doors steps with prayer needs, with requests for assistance, and with attendance at our Sunday service(s).
3) Enter into a greater Service Commitment.
In Acts 6:7 we find a pretty amazing picture of the Early Church's vitality. It says, "So the Word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith." It is the last portion of the passage (the one I have underlined) that is crucial to this third point. As we are called by Jesus to be servants (Matthew 20:26) and a kingdom of priests (I Peter 2:5, 9), there is a great need that each of us can answer as we move to our new home. With the space being larger in size and different in layout, we will need more volunteers each Sunday. We will need help in Children's ministries, with Ushers/Greeters, a service set-up team, and even with parking. Over the next few weeks we will be providing more details as to where you can make a difference, but for now begin to pray how you can best fit in and better help us serve others.
This is an extremely busy season, but in the midst of it all, let's not forget that it is an incredibly blessed one as well. One that God has prepared, one that God has provided for, and one that God will perform so much more than we can envision today!