Do Not Despise Small Beginnings

20 09 2007

by NORMAN S. LAO 

Written in 2004.

Personal Narrative

We started our fellowship back in 1989 with about 26 attendees with no workers, no musical instruments, and no money. This coming September 21 is going to be our 14th year anniversary. Now, we have five pastors, a 12-member music team, ushers, church officers, haulers, technicians, department heads, cell group leaders, etc.  The church has acquired a variety of ministry-related properties and instruments including a Toyota Panel, 2 personal computers, computer printers, 2 overhead projectors, 3 drum sets (2 are electronic), electric guitars (base and lead), etc.

Currently, we have planted two daughter churches (one in Maasin and another in Pavia) and we are in the process of planting yet another in Buenavista, Guimaras.  The church is also currently fully supporting two scholars and, throughout the past years, have sent more than 20 members to a local Bible School for training in the specific area of Inductive Bible Study (for cell group leadership).  We have very supportive members who have migrated to or are working in the United States (San Francisco, Florida, and Chicago), Saudi Arabia, Canada, and the Netherlands. Most of our local membership are fixed-income earners (school teachers, government employees, etc.). We also have medical people (doctors and nurses), many kinds of engineers (electrical, mechanical, electronics, etc) surveyors, a state auditor,  businessmen, etc. We are even on the internet! (www.geocities.com/jlrcm)

In the course of time, like all other fellowships and churches, we have also faced some devastating problems in the ministry; but by the grace of God, we remained and we remained strong and united.  We did lose some people in the process, but God, in his graciousness, brought more into the fellowship. God is good!

Reflection

The Scripture tells us not to despise small beginnings (Zechariah 4:10).  David was an ordinary shepherd boy, but God came and made him the king of God’s chosen people – the best king as far as the Jews were concerned.  Jesus started his church with only a handful of men and women, but the whole earth has been reached with the Good News of Salvation and churches sprang up throughout the world!  Small Beginnings can become Great Endings with God!

Indeed God has been faithful all throughout the years. When I look back to where we first began, I just can’t help but feel an intense and deep gratitude and appreciation for the goodness and faithfulness of God in bringing us through those years of hardships and darkness.  Jesus said that the smallest of seed (mustard seed) can become a great tree (Matthew 13:31,32). That’s what God has done for us. I know He is not yet through with us. There are still mountains to climb and valleys to cross. But, as God has been with us in the past, I’m sure He will be with us in the future (Hebrews 13:5).

Prayer

Dear  God in heaven, help us not to look back and dwell on our small, sad pasts, but help us to look to what you can accomplish through us. Help us to look beyond ourselves, beyond our shortcomings, beyond our failures and weaknesses to the great things you can do for us and through us.  Only help us to look back if it can help us to remain humble in the midst of the success and prosperity that you have so blessed and so showered us with. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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