I wrote this blog post back in 2009 and never published it.
A little over 90 days ago the door to the Church that I was created to Pastor finally opened. It should have opened much sooner (try years ago) but I got a little off track…so thanks be to God for His mercy and grace.
The first service I think we had about 8 people show up and frankly I was surprised that that many came. To tell you the truth It was more than a little surreal to be standing up there behind the holy desk, when just a few weeks ago I had been working on the sound board at the former Church I was serving at.
I went from sound man to Pastor with seemingly little fanfare, I mean it just happened.
So here 90 days later and its hard to put into words all that the Lord has done for us in this short time. The ministry gifts that He has sent to the Church to bless us. The revelation that He has deposited in my spirit and pull out of me on Sunday morning.
I can’t tell you how many time I’m just standing up there preaching and it will be like where in the world is this going? Scriptures are coming up in my heart that I didn’t even study for in the preparation the message are just coming out of my mouth, I’m off of my notes and I’m saying to myself, ok Holy Ghost how are you going to tie all this stuff together?
I’ve had to learn how to minister in a entirely different way. I pray, study, write out my little notes, but when I stand up I don’t know what is going to happen, I just open my mouth and He fills it.
Spiritual and Church growth happens from the inside out.
In the last few months we have put an increased emphasis on prayer at FCC and almost immediately the spiritual atmosphere of the Church was changed. We have a small group that’s get together on Sunday morning and prays for the service. The effect of them getting together and praying for the service produced an increased level of anointing during the services.
On Fridays which was supposed to be our prayer service we spent more time teaching and talking about prayer than actually praying. So this month we decided to change the direction to focusing on praying and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us on when to hit on teaching points. More prayer produced more power during our services.
So I would say in general that our services have become less scripted and since we are praying corporately more and more the anointing level has increased dramatically. There has also be an increase in the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit.
And This is The Record:
By the time of the Noonday Prayer Revival America was old enough to have a sense of history. James Smithson had bequeath an endowment to start collecting the antiques of US history in the Capital. Church leaders were aware that this event was an awakening, and they were diligent enough to chronicle the event. Even the secular newspapers provided many reports that still exist today on microfilm.
One eyewitness report was made by Rev. Dr. Talbot W. Chambers, one of the pastors at the Reformed North Dutch Church on Fulton Street in New York City. He was commissioned by the church board to write any authentic information about the origin and history of “The Noon Prayer Meeting.” It was completed November 4, 1858.
Samuel Irenaeus Prime was the chief editor of the daily New York Observer. He was one of the first to report the revival. He published twenty-five revival sermons by the city’s most prominent preachers with the title: The New York Pulpit in the Revival of 1858. In 1859 he summarized the events in The Power of Prayer, Illustrated in the Wonderful Displays of Divine Grace at the Fulton Street and Other Meetings.
Another contemporary writer was William C. Conant, who detailed the events at the height of the revival. His Narratives of Remarkable Conversions and Revival Incidents was published at the end of April in 1858.
James Gordon Bennett, a pioneer of yellow press journalism and the head of the New York Herald, began exploiting the revival news in February of 1858. His rival Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, began competing for the awakening news, too. In April Greeley devoted one entire special issue to the movement He even had reporters race on horseback from meeting to meeting for attendance totals. Because of development of the telegraph, the rotary press, and the new unified reporting of the Associated Press in the 1840’s newspapers had the ability to report the news nationwide. Most newspapers printed notices of the meetings and the results. Even the telegraph companies allowed “saints” to send free telegrams to their “sinner” friends urging them to be converted. Although the secular press preferred to report the YMCA activities rather than the church news, the nation knew about this “Great Revival.”
Every church denominations had publications that listed the revival news town-by-town and meeting-by-meeting. Even lists of the names of the converts were written in the secular and religious circulation’s. Many individuals kept a record of the happening, and even Jeremiah Lanphier had a personal journal of his experiences.
Romans 5:17 (Amplified Bible)
For if because of one man's trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God's] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
Started a new series last Sunday on the grace of God. The revelation of the grace of God changed my life…I always knew I was called to be a Pastor, but I never could see how God could use somebody like me.
For years I hid in the church faithfully performing my assigned tasks. I was the assistant Pastor, usher, praise team leader, sound man, janitor…but I always knew I was out of the will of God.
It was the revelation of His grace that set me free to be who he created me to be. I found out that in His grace is the power, might and ability to do anything He called me to do.
Habakkuk 2:2-3 (Amplified Bible)
And the Lord answered me and said, Write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may [be able to] read [it easily and quickly] as he hastens by.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end [fulfillment]; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait [earnestly] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day.
We’er having our first team meeting today before service and I’m excited about the opportunity to start to paint the picture for the ministry team of what our God ordained destiny should look like.
Hebrews 11:1 (Amplified Bible)
NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].
Leaders should be praying and fasting to get the download from the Holy Ghost about what “there” should to look like. Then they should paint a vivid picture for the ministry team and then the congregation about what God is going to do.
I’m expecting the Spirit of God to breathe on my words today and create a God given hope inside the hearts and minds of the ministry team. Then as each individual member seeks Gods face He’ll reveal their part of it.
I’ve done a lot of stuff in my over 12 years of serving here in the Bay area.
Prayed on a mountain tops, literature drops, vacation Bible schools, hits the streets (really hard), prayed on street corners, knocked on doors, laid hands on the sick, played the drums, ran the sound board, taught Sunday school, preached, cleaned bathrooms, more preaching, put together office furniture, visited the sick, bible studies at half way houses, more hitting the streets, all night prayer meetings (okay we got out at midnight) and the list goes on.
But in the midst of all that activity the only things that produced anything of lasting value were inspired by the Holy Ghost and empowered by the grace of God.
So after 12 years of much activity I’ve come to find out that this whole Church thang can be a lot easier if you let grace grow the Church.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7 (New Living Translation)
6 I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. 7 It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.
Some good Baptist brothers have put together an overview of the legal issues that you have to deal with to start a Church in California.
It’s in PDF format and includes links to most of the required IRS forms.
You can check it out here.