Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Silver" Church Anniversary

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matthew 18:20

In September of 1983 my husband and I and our three year old daughter gathered with three other couples and their children for a picnic. Now having a picnic with other families is not an unusual occurrence by any means, but this meeting together was special in nature. You see, this group came together that day to discuss the possibility of establishing a church in our area. We were all like-minded in our theology and in what we believed concerning what God required of His Church in its worship. For a year we met as a Bible Study, with the help and covering of an established congregation which "mothered" us and with continued growth in our number during that year. Then, in September 1984, we had our first worship service, meeting for another year as a fellowship. By God's mercies, in December of 1985 we constituted as an official church body and ordained our pastor, who remains to this day.

Tomorrow, we are having a celebration of our 25th anniversary as a body of believers. We started out in a school, have at times used borrowed facilities graciously lent to us by other congregations, and for the past eighteen years worshipped in a building of our own. The faces of the various people meeting at one time or another have changed over the years. There have been glorious days and painful days. We have been a people with feet of clay, as is the case with every single child of God in every single congregation on the face of the earth. After all, aren't we all sinners in need of daily forgiveness? We have pressed on, however, seeking to serve our Lord and doing our best to honor Him.

But this is not a post about us; it's about the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus Himself who has been kind enough to allow us to see this anniversary, still proclaiming His Person and Work. It's most of all an expression of my gratefulness to a Savior who has promised to meet with His people at each and every gathering in His Name on this earth, wherever that gathering may be and even if they're only two or three of them.

These are the words of my dear Bishop Ryle on Matthew 18:20:

"There is comfort in these words for all who love to meet together for religious purposes. At every assembly for public worship, at every gathering for prayer and praise, at every missionary meeting, at every Bible reading, the King of kings is present, Christ Himself attends. We may be often disheartened by the small number who are present on such occasions, compared with the number of those who meet for worldly ends; we may sometimes find it hard to bear the taunts and ridicule of an illnatured world, which cries like the enemy of old, "What do these feeble people?" (Nehem. iv.2) But we have no reason for despondency: we may boldly fall back on these words of Jesus. At all such meetings we have the company of Christ Himself." ~ J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Matthew.

Thank you, dear Lord Jesus, for your faithfulness to us these past twenty-five plus years. Help us to "persevere and not be ashamed," as Mr. Ryle further exhorts.

Our church website is here. Also the above picture is a drawing of our building.


LisaShaw said...

Hi Maxine, thanks for sharing this. Great lessons within the message. Enjoy the 25th celebration and may the Name of JESUS continue to be lifted up and be the focus for every believer in HIM.

You bless my heart always with your warm comments on my blog dear friend.

Love and Christmas blessings to you!

Susan said...

What a lovely physical building and what an honor and priviledge to be a part of this from day one. Yes, HE is faithful and will never leave us or forsake us. CONGRATULATIONS to ALL of you!!!!!

Linda said...

What a beautiful testament to God's great grace and blessing. It is such a wonderful thing to be part of a church family - to know that you are in the very place the Father would have you be.
Praying you will have many, many more years of growth and ministry.

Susan Skitt said...

I read this the other day and I guess didn't get to comment - LOL! What a nice tribute to your church. A great godly heritage that is teaching the Word! I love that pencil drawing too - how nice. Have a blessed Christmas dear sister in Christ!

Brenda said...

Congratulations on your 25 years together in the local body of Christ!

Amelia said...

This is wonderful Maxine. Glory to our Lord, it is so refreshing to hear the name of Jesus being written here. So many have veered from our precious Jesus even in the churches.


Laurie said...

What a joy it is to read how God nudged you and your friends to establish a church, and how He has faithfully helped you all grow more and more in His likeness these past 25 years. You said that it is all about His faithfulness - Amen! This is so true. I am going on over to your church website now for a little visit!