It was a beautiful Launch Sunday. My heart is full. I am amazed at how great of a blessing God gave us in this first Sunday, first service, first of many other things. Five people responded to the Gospel message. Our heart’s desire for Hope Church is to see people find freedom, life, and hope in Jesus. And here we are, on our very first Sunday, and God is giving us a glimpse of these prayers being answered.
Today was a day to be happy about, a day to be joyful in God for, and a day to remember and cling to when a rainy day or stormy season happens.
It was all God. His fingerprints are evident in every good thing. But he has also been present in the tough situations, dark days, and sad nights leading up to this very day.
I am blessed to be able to “play the background” in a venture I never would have chosen for myself. The irony of God is astounding. Truly, his thoughts and ways are far above our human ideas and his purposes will prevail over any of our plans (Proverbs 19:21).
And I am infinitely blessed to walk this journey with followers of Jesus who are passionate about being a part of his great story. This story is far larger than any one of us and it wouldn’t be possible without him. I am thankful that for a sliver of time I have the privilege of being in this present moment, with these precious people. Jesus, I am grateful.
I am grateful that you have led us all this way. I am grateful that you have taken our hands and held our hearts for all this time. I am grateful that this is only the beginning, the genesis of something greater to come. I am grateful for your smile—felt and seen on days like today. I am also grateful for your hidden smile on the days and nights it is not evident and all around us screams that you’ve left us. Jesus, you are a greater reality than any perception we experience. And when you said that you’d be with us forever, it is just as true on perfect days like today and on awful, horrible days this past year or in the year to come. No one can take you away.
Tonight, my thoughts are captured with two things:
One of most beautiful response moments in history occurred in John 7. Jesus stands up on the last and greatest day of the feast and cries out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink!” While some people questioned, others responded by plainly saying, “This is the Christ.” The officers came back from a feeble arrest attempt saying, “How could we arrest him? ‘No one ever spoke like this man!’”
Jesus, still today, no one speaks like you! Your words are alive and full of grace and truth. You are the Savior of the world and because you were lifted up on the cross, you can and do draw all people to yourself (John 12:32).
Today was reminiscent of our first church service of the week in Le Vega, Dominican Republic. Ashley and Wesley sang “Lord, I Need You” in Spanish (which we also sang today) and Jordan preached. People came forward and made decisions to follow Christ. Tears and hugs all around in the sticky, hot evening—very unlike today with the cool, crisp fall temperatures. That was a favorite moment from the week in the DR—God calling his children from the depths of darkness into the blazing light of truth found in the Light of the World. And less than two months later, I was able to see it all over again.
Jesus, I am grateful. So grateful.