Update about Pastor Dennis Watson training Pastors in the Dominican Republic.
I’m John Frady. I’m glad to be here with you on today’s connecting point. Pastor Dennis Watson is currently in the Dominican Republic training hundreds of pastors and leaders in multiple cities. He’s been joined by Pastor David Speed from Iglesia Celebration and now has Pastor David Ford from our Celebration Westbank Campus with him. Please be praying for Pastor Dennis, Pastor David, and those with them this week as they continue to train pastors, leaders, and church planters. You can check out what’s happening with Pastor Dennis and his training efforts in the Dominican Republic by clicking here.
I’d like to tell you a story. This past Easter, we shared an online Good Friday service on our website and on social media. In that service, we shared the story of a man who had been attending Celebration for over a year. He met with different pastors, attended all of our First Steps classes, listened to multiple sermons, attended multiple services, became a church greeter, and even joined the life group I was leading. One day, he met with me and said, “I want to join this church. I like the music, I like the sermons, I like the friendliness of the people, I like my life group. I want to be a part. I believe in God. I can comprehend the Holy Spirit. I love this church and I want to be a part of it, but I just don’t know what to do with Jesus.”
Interesting situation, huh?
You see, to those of us who have surrendered our lives to the Lord, Jesus is the reason we are here in the first place. We know that Jesus is God Incarnate who lowered Himself to be born in the most humble of situations, lived a totally sinless life, then died a horrendous death on a cross so that He could pay the price for the consequences of our sin. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through Him. Jesus is the Bread of Life. He is the Light of the World. Jesus is the Door. Anyone who enters through Him will be saved. He is the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. Anyone who believes in Him will live, even though he dies. Jesus is our Source! He is our Savior King! He is our Boss! Jesus is our Everything. He’s the only reason we have a church in the first place.
My friend, however, wanted the church, but he didn’t want Jesus. Many of the pastors and staff and leaders and life group leaders started praying for my friend. We kept inviting him to church services and to our weekly life group and we started talking A LOT about Jesus with him and around him. One day, when we least expected it, he turned to the rest of the group during our meeting and said, “I’m ready to give my life to Jesus.” We were blown away. We had been praying for him for so long and he was finally “ready” to become a Believer. We prayed together with him and were so relieved to see that he actually meant it. This man who once didn’t know what to do with Jesus is going to be baptized in a couple of weeks.
Life-changing stories like this one is one reason why we invite people to church, especially on Bring a Friend Sunday. We truly believe that what we have in store for them will impact their lives for the sake of the gospel and will help them grow, rest, learn, gain passion, or will simply strengthen their walk with Jesus. It’s never a bad thing when we strive to connect people with the Lord in church. When we engage with our God, our King, our Creator in corporate worship, there’s often a special sense of His presence that people, especially non-Christians, need to experience. We know that those we invite will receive an invitation to follow Jesus through the sermon, in the life group study, or through simple personal interaction. We want them to connect with a biblical community. Worship services and life groups are hubs for spiritual growth and people need to engage in that so they can get connected. These are just a few reasons we invite people to church.
Bring A Friend Sunday is just a few days away on August 21st. On that Sunday, we’re launching a new sermon series titled THE NEXT LEVEL. We’ll also be praying for those friends we invited. We’ll be giving away specially designed coloring books to our Downtown kids, erupting class made volcanoes in our Uptown classes, crafting lava lamps in our Midpoint groups, serving breakfast to our youth at The Social. It will be a great day to invite your friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors. Who knows, it may become a step in their spiritual journey toward Christ or toward Christian community. All we have to do is invite them.
Thanks for joining us for today’s connecting point. As I stated earlier, please be praying for Pastor Dennis and those with him in the Dominican Republic and please be praying about who God may want you to invite to Bring a Friend Sunday on August 21.