I'm nearing the end of a spiritual retreat that has been riveting. I've never gone away alone with the Lord, and intentionally slowed down, limited or "fasted" on many of the things that like to steal my attention (can you say technology?). Why now? Because I felt it was a pivotal time in my life to hear from God about many of the life issues that I'm facing in my mid-fifties, and also to get a sense where God is leading our church planting vision.
Since my Parkinson's diagnosis two years, God has given me an incredible burst of energy and desire for urgency in His and our mission. And He has blessed ERC church planting's mission in ways many of us never would have imagined!
Executive Director Kevin Richardson and Planting's Rich Thornton meeting with a few of our Raleigh/Chapel Hill church planters recently, to share more about the ERC and God's vision.
Hopefully, the ERC Annual Conference left you praising the Lord for the amazing addition and positive change in our ERC Community, in terms of culture, ethnic, and socio economic diversity! And God's doing it all over the CGGC as now Toledo, Ohio is seeing African American church planting exploding and expanding our faith boundaries. Yes, these indeed are historical times in the Churches of God. And yes, that deserves a "Yay God!"
Staging a food distribution event, our ERC Transformation Church in Zebulon, NC, is helping all of "us" in our ERC ca"US"e for Christ feed the hungry!"
On my retreat, I was personally challenged by one of my favorite writers - Mark Batterson - with this question: "What miracles are you believing God for in your life?"
Wow. I was speechless and moved to pray, Lord: what miracles should I be praying for in the remaining years of my life? Specifically, what does He want me to be praying personally about regarding the miracles He wants to do?
This week God revealed 7 of those miracles to me . . . and I will be praying for them everyday of my life from here on out. Today, I feel downright foolish revealing the first one God spoke to me about . . . but I guess that's what makes a miracle a supernatural "never in my wildest dreams" kind of deal.
Also, I'm doing this with a lot of hesitation, since I don't want it to appear that I'm this big spiritual giant, coming off the mountain with a couple of tablets . . . you get the idea.
No, I just know God promises the miraculous pursuit of the desires of our heart. And I feel this applies to us/you/me here in our pursuit of God's mission to reach the lost for Jesus.
So here goes . . .
The first miracle and "desire of my heart" I felt God prompting me to boldly (foolishly?) ask for was . . . to be involved in 1000 church plantings by 2028 (15 years.).
Really. Really? Really.
Seriously, I'm embarrassed even reading that. 1000 churches? 15 years? Who do you think you are? Exactly. Kinda wish God would have given me a stick to part the Susquehanna first, just for a little more credibility!
I don't know if it's going to happen. I don't know how I can even publicly say that - maybe I need another retreat? And I don't know how I could even begin to tell you the other miracles? But I do know it seems absolutely foolish. I do know the Bible is full of all kinds of people who believed God for the foolish things in life - they were called people of faith. And I do know that God has made it the desire of my heart. So . . . talk to you in 15 years.
Here's another thing I know: I'm sure hoping that means a wild, supernatural, mind-numbing 15 years here in the ERC with you! And could you imagine how much glory the Lord would get if He pulls that miracle off! I'm game . . . if you are.
As you may be discerning, "Plant a Church" Sunday is involved in seeing that first miracle come true! Your support is one of the key pieces of our "2028: 1000-church initiative," (I kind of like the ring of that!) and gives vision and resourcing to God's miracle birth of churches.
So, all you "Plant a Church" Sunday churches, thank you for being a BIG part of starting to work one of God's miracles . . . and for joining the CaUSe of Christ.
Another key initiative is the "FUSE: churches multiplying churches and local church ministry" strategy that we're starting to unveil. Here's another new info video
we just released this week to tell you more:
FUSE Project Focus for all churches
Interestingly, FUSE has the potential to have rapid exponential multiplication of hundreds of churches. Can you think . . . miracle in the making!
Now, how about asking the Lord: "What miracles should I be praying for?"