Sunday, October 25, 2009

Steps of Faith: A Lesson At The Red Sea

As I look upon this journey of building a new faith community, I sometimes feel like Moses when he and Israelites stood between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea.

Looking back, the Egyptian Army, the old life of bondage and slavery, the old ways of doing things, was quickly advancing.

But looking forward, a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, the Red Sea blocked the way. It seemed like they were trapped. Their options quickly narrowed.

In the same way, our journey to plant Encounter has led us out of old, lifeless, religious routines. We have discovered the newness of meeting people where they are, and sharing God's live in simple and tangible ways. We have served our community selflessly and begun to gain a reputation as people FOR Helena, not just IN Helena.

And just like the pillar of smoke and fire that led the Israelites in Moses' time, God has been faithful to guide us on our journey as well. People have been encountering Jesus in fresh new ways, throwing off the chains of ritual and self-improvement and refocusing their steps to follow an amazing Savior — people who would not step foot in an established traditional church have encountered Jesus in our discussions and begun to form friendships and relationships.

We've connected with those who have been hurt at or disengaged from churches to find an authentic faith community relevant to their life-stage. New babies, young couples, new marriages, and searching for God's call as they serve in international mission fields are some of the experiences of our regulars in these past months. We're now a small gathering of broken people who are doing life together to find out what it means to follow Jesus.

God has promised to lead us into His vision for impacting this generation and beyond in Helena and yet, we find ourselves at our own "Red Sea."

As we look across the sea to that distant shore, we can see that launch team of 25-45 people. They are key team members in the areas of worship, kids, students, small groups, and more that will help us launch in a significant way. We can also see the additional $3000 per month salary support and $90,000 needed for a dynamic worship gathering launch.

But there is a huge Red Sea standing between us and that distant shore. And now we're here, having followed God all this way and we might begin to question ourselves and even God. Did He make a mistake? Did He know what He was doing? Will we ever get to the place He has promised?

The answers is a resounding YES. Even now, He is preparing a way that we cannot see, something beyond what we can even hope or imagine.

Maybe YOU are part of God's miracle of parting the Red Sea. Maybe YOU are part of the dream that gets us all to that distant shore. It's time to get involved. It's time to take that first step of faith. Picture yourself as part of an Encounter ministry team. Picture being part of a community that truly cares for people and want to see the broken things healed. Picture financially giving of yourself to allow so many more to encounter Jesus in a significant way. And then take the step.

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