One of Jesus' commandments in John's Gospel is for his disciples to bear fruits and fruits abundantly, It is by bearing much fruits one is to glorify the Father. For the 1st time in my 8th month as pastor, I felt at liberty to speak about the church expansion plans before the congregation. I was distracted several times in the course of my preaching when worshippers came late and ushers had to find chairs or seats for them. Where else can you expand when every seat in the house (of the Lord) is taken? I have not seen the church so packed before. The 2nd service is not that full but it is rarely below 120 compared to double the numbers in the 1st service. When asked how many visitors were in church for the 1st time, 10 hands or so were raised? I told the church that it is not impossible for the church to grow to 500 worshippers within a year if we have a larger space, at least a double shoplot unit.
That outcome of renting a larger unit still very much depends on the church council's decision and if small things take 6 months or so for a decision and action, I pray that it will not be long that we will be seriously looking for a larger unit. Space in Ranau is limited and rent is incredibly expensive, comparable to Kota Kinabalu rates. I was told only in Ranau of all places in Sabah, eating out is more expensive than KK. I wonder how a pastor like myself who eats out most days could survive in a place such as this. I guess the start of my 51st year has given me new impetus. The youths are close to me. They are eager and ready to serve. The women's folks are appreciative of what their pastor is trying to do and if they could influence their men to support their pastor then things could go far. Who can bring us into a fortified city? Unless you are on our side, we are defeated. But with You we can scale a wall and conquer cities.
The abundance of fruits comes not just church growth spiritually and numerically, but the evident growth in love and charitable works. God's word will not return void but will accomplish what He desires. I have many plans for the church, children's ministry cries out for space and more systematic teaching. I have not gotten my discipleship class going yet and is planned for next year. This year is still a new year for me in this new place of ministry. We have started our Friday home group meetings from house to house. Yesterday I started the book of the month, the book of Exodus. I wrote short notes and questions in the church bulletin which I hope will encourage members to read the Bible more systematically and grow in the knowledge of Scripture and through it God himself.
Over two services I preached on the God of Abraham, Isaac and and Jacob and asked the question why the god we serve is known as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. What makes Abraham special? What makes Jacob special? That God is not ashamed to be called their God (Heb 11,16). I had 10 points on Abraham for the 1st service and for the second, the sermon was cut short as power supply failed while I was preaching. Jacob was given 5 points as I preached the last 15 minutes in darkness and the heat rose as minutes ticked by. Even as the members left the church, I could sense their warmth in their smiles. In Ranau we not only have to contend with tremors but also water shortage and power outage which is now all too frequent. Lord have mercy on us.