Recently my wife and I visited a house church that was severely struggling about three years ago. It was to a point where the shepherd wanted to throw in the towel and give up. I prayed for him and encouraged him to persevere just a little bit longer until he gets married. I felt that his house church could change and turn around when he gets married and his wife supports him in ministry. He listened and obeyed.
The house church slowly started to get better after the shepherd got married. They faithfully served their house church members by loving on them and at times speaking the truth into their lives. However, it seemed like they still needed a little more help and support from outside.
One day a college senior girl, who was about to graduate, asked me which house church I recommend for her to attend after she is done with school. I gave her two choices to choose from: a house church that will make her comfortable or a house church that will challenge and stretch her. She couldn’t decide on her own. She knew which house church she needed to choose in order to grow and mature as a Christ-follower but she didn’t want to go there. So, I made the choice for her by encouraging her to go to the house church that will stretch and challenge her. She listened and obeyed.
This house church continued to change and grow even more as a result of her obedience in choosing a hard and narrow road. God often uses one or two people to bring about amazing changes and growth in our lives.
There were 18 people on that night including me and my wife. During praise, we sang two songs, one of which was “Christ Alone.” I like this song. I looked around and watched how people were singing. One member caught my attention. She used to be a VIP for a long time but has become a Christ follower just about two years ago. She grew up in a Buddhist family. When we were singing words like “Christ is enough for me” and “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back” I was wondering what she was thinking.
I grew up in a Christian family and church. So, even though I have truly received Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was eighteen, I have never left church with the exception of two years when I was an upper classman in college. My before Christ and after Christ, therefore, are not all that dramatically distinguishable. However, in her case, it must be very clear. And I couldn’t help but to imagine that the words she was singing must have been very meaningful, personal and serious. It was an amazing and precious sight to behold.
Three words came to my mind: perseverance, obedience, and transformation. When we persevere by holding on to the promises of God and obey His words, then God does the work of transforming people.
It was another house church visit that reminded me of how privileged and blessed I am as a pastor. When I left the place to go home, it was very humid. But I drove home very refreshed!
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