It has been eight years since the Lord laid this simple vision in our heart -worshipping every Sunday morning in our own building with our loved ones and friends, and to be the salt of the world. Many of our friends did not understand this vision. They felt that there was no need for another church because there are hundreds of great churches all around us. But some of us disagreed with them for a couple of reasons. First of all, we have been called to this nation to reflect our true Biblical family values and to be a light to this part of the world. We have a very important role to play as God’s church, a church that stands against casual dating, pre-marital sex, and open ended marriages that can be easily dissolved at will. Unfortunately, we seem to be compromising our values. It is true that we have no control over our school environment, but nowadays, we do not have control in the churches also. Parents get the shock of their life to see the sudden change in their children’s behavior, and their bold rebellion. They think that they can discipline their children without the help of a good church, but most of them are in for a real shock when their children grow up. An uncompromising true Bible believing church is our best option. There has to be a church that takes a firm stance against unscriptural cultural practices, and it must train the children in the way they should walk Biblically.
Secondly, some of us yearned for a church that is very personal, intimate, and close to one another. A church should never be an impersonal experience. A church should become a true extended family, and not a mere institution. The Lord indeed prompted us to start our journey in this direction.
The minute our journey began, we felt as though, we were white water rafting. Things moved very rapidly! Here we are, after eight years of toil. By God’s grace, we did get our own building, and we do worship in the morning. But it did not come easy. We had to make some hard turns and move from one stage to another. At each stage of transition, we had to start all over again. At last we have accomplished part of our vision by the grace of God, and it calls for special thanksgiving.
It is not by flesh, nor by our power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord. We could have easily fallen apart at some point, if it was not for the mighty wind of the Holy Spirit. We really thank God for leading us. It was a very tough journey, but it was worth the effort. As one evangelist remarked wisely,” The bride’s maid became the Bride at last!” It was a journey from insignificant, secondary church to significant, primary church. Finally we have moved from minor league to major league now. All glory and honor goes to the Lord!
We learned a very beautiful lesson from this church planting experience: all we have to do is just obey the voice of the Lord, yield ourselves, and the Spirit of the Lord will take us where He wants us to go (John 3:8). It is a fascinating experience to be part of His Divine plan. He will build this church for us. “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. (Psalms 127:1) This church is a living testimony that it is standing here today because of the Holy Spirit. We must resist the temptation of building this church through some marketing gimmicks or some promotional strategies. We want this church to be built purely by the power of the Holy Spirit, and not by cunning human schemes.
Long time ago, one saint shocked me with this thought in our Sunday school: What would happen to all the churches if the Holy Spirit suddenly withdraws Himself from the earth today? 95% of the churches would go on as though nothing happened! Only 5% of the churches would die. We would really like COI to be one of those churches that stands because of the Holy Spirit. Let us just humble ourselves, come together week after week, yield ourselves in prayer, and do outreach, as the Spirit leads. But the Lord, in the meantime, will prune COI (real short!) one last time, and make it grow again in His own time.
We have great praise and worship! The Word of God is indeed preached word for word from the Bible. We do break bread (Communion) every Sunday, and we do fellowship in the Lord. But we would like to see one more thing as we move along. We want this church to be a real praying church. Whether 2 people or 200 people come every Sunday, we want this church to move toward serious prayer. Some of us have already started praying about this matter, and slowly, it will catch fire. We really want to thank God from the bottom of our heart for providing our own building, and making it a primary church. Thank you Jesus for steering us in the right direction! We know for sure, You will lead us all the way (Philippians 1:6).
We Thank You O Lord
by Rev. Daniel Israel