Just have to give a brief report on our first weekend as official Pastor of the New Day Fellowship in Haugan, Montana!
On Saturday we received a call that one of Vern's neighbors had died of a heart attack at 5 AM! We are the ONLY church within a 32 mile stretch in this valley of any denomination--so later that day we went to meet Martha (not her real name), prayed with her for a minute. But she was still pretty much in shock. The family has no church background and will not even be having a memorial service. PLEASE pray for this widow and her grown sons.
Sunday we almost maxed out the church (40 chair capacity right now) with 33 in attendance!!!! Of course, 20 of those were from a family reunion. But, we believe God gave us a glimpse of what it CAN be! During the sermon introduction Alan asked if anyone could remember the first time they ever went to church... one young man raised his hand and indicated that his 6 yr old son was in church for the first time that morning! Amazing! One lady raised her hand during the invitation indicating that she had prayed to receive Christ. We will follow up on her this week! These mountains are so spiritually dark, it really is an amazing opportunity... God continues to confirm almost daily what He is calling us to do here...
With that in mind, I can't resist sharing this devotional from Henry Blackaby's "Experiencing God Day by Day":
"ASKING FOR MOUNTAINS"
"You heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said." Joshua 14:12
Caleb's faith in God never waivered, though everyone around him doubted. God convinced Caleb that the children of Israel should enter the Promised Land, but the people were intimidated by giants and fortified cities (Num. 13:28-33. Their disbelief forced Caleb to wait forty years in the wilderness before he finally entered the Promised Land. Even after all those years, Caleb was as confidant as ever in God's power.
When God was dividing the land among the Israelites, the people were asking for the lush valleys and grassy plains. Caleb asked for a mountain. The Israelites had driven their enemies into the mountains, where they had built fortresses. This did not intimidate Caleb, he asked for a challenge! He did not trust in his own strength but in God's presence. Caleb longed to see God work in power, and he knew he would be less likely to rely on God if he dwelt in the easy places. He chose a situation in which he would have to trust in God. Caleb knew his inheretance from God was on the mountain. He refused to allow the difficulty of gaining it to stop him from enjoying all that God had promised him.
If you always choose the easy way, asking for the peaceful valleys, you will never see God's power displayed to enable you to take a mountain. Seek out the mountains, and you will see God doing things through your life that can be explained only by His mighty presence.
Now how timely is that? Give us these mountains, Lord, and the valleys within them in Jesus name! Remove the strongholds and fortresses of gambling, substance abuse, and lack of the knowledge of You, we pray. Let Your Light and Love shine through our lives 24/7...