When the Storm Hits
Did you know that eagles have the ability to recognize that a storm is approaching and that they steps to prepare for that storm. Once the storm hits, the eagle sets its wings so that the wind will lift it above the storm. The eagle does not escape the storm. It simply uses the storm to life it higher. The eagle rises on the winds that bring the storm.
November, 2011 God called me to be the pastor at Moose Creek Baptist Church (MCBC). MCBC is a small Southern Baptist Church in the small residential community of Moose Creek. MCBC is located about 5 miles from North Pole, Alaska and literally 1 mile from the Front Gate of Eielson Air Force Base (EAFB). The people of MCBC are loving, caring, gracious, and determined to make a difference for the Kingdom of God in the place that He has placed us.
Between November, 2011 and the end of April, 2015 MCBC grew from a small group of people to averaging @75 in worship. That may not sound like a lot to my family and friends in the lower 48, but consider that the average evangelical church in Alaska averages less than 50 and you can understand the excitement that we began to feel. We were seeing first time guests each and every Sunday. We were seeing people receive Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. We were seeing people getting excited about living out their faith in their daily lives. We were beginning to make a difference in the lives of many people.
Like the eagle, we knew that a storm would be coming. We knew that the enemy would come against us. That's what he does!
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
We knew that what God was doing in and through MCBC would not please the enemy. We talked about how we needed to be prepared for the ways in which the enemy might attack. We talked about how the enemy would try and steal the joy of our salvation. We talked about how the enemy would try and kill our personal testimonies. We talked about how the enemy would try and destroy our witness, and even us. Little did we know how much we were underestimating the enemy's resolve and determination.
May, 2015 through January, 2016 was the most difficult season of ministry that I have ever experienced or seen. The enemy attacks on MCBC, especially our leadership, was as repetitive as the ocean waves crashing on a beach and as powerful and damaging as the most potent hurricane. We wept and grieved with our Youth Minister and his family as they lost their 3 year old son to a sudden illness. We were shocked when one of our Deacons and his family was involved in a single-car accident in which he lost his life and his wife was severely injured. We were saddened when another of our Deacons and his family had to move to the Lower 48 because of his health. Our church was shaken to the core when it was discovered that another leading member of our church was involved a criminal act against the church. During this season many lies and rumors were spread about the church, about the leadership, and about myself, my wife and our family. The saddest part is that many of those young families and new believers that we had reached were now confused, discouraged, and simply choose to walk away. Many of them walked away not just from MCBC, but from God and their relationship with Christ.
2015 ended with a small remnant of believers, but we were hurt, discouraged, and struggling with feelings of defeat. Personally, I was deeply wounded by the many personal attacks on me and my family. I was discouraged by the damage that the enemy's attacks had caused. I was tired, and I wasn't sure that I had the energy to go on.
That's when God reminded me about the eagle and how the eagle allows the storm to lift it higher. It still has to weather the storm, but in flying higher the winds aren't as strong and the current is calmer. God kept reminding me of a couple of verses.
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus
Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
1 Peter 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, then, under God's mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time. Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.
Isaiah 40:28-31 Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
MCBC is resolute in seeking the path that God has for us. We know that He has a plan and that His plan is good, pleasing and perfect. Our task…our desire…is to simply seek out His plan and then walk in obedience to it. We have determined that we will take no step without knowing that it is the step that God would have us to take.
MCBC is still a small remnant, but the raincloud on the horizon bringing the showers of God blessings is growing larger each and every day. We are praying on how we can better reach out to the young families in our Local Ministry Area. We are firming up the foundation of what remains so that what is built in the weeks, months, and years ahead will be strong. We are growing closer to God in worship, fellowship, and discipleship and we are a stronger church now than before the enemy's attacks. Not because of us, but because we have learned to lean on our God in each and every situation.
MCBC is preparing for a future in which we will be not just a strong, community church. We are preparing to have an impact on our region and an influence the world over. The point of this post is not to get your sympathy. The point is to get your prayers!
Over the next 12-18 months @2500 airmen and their families will be moving to EAFB. That means that @8000 people will be living within a 20 minute drive of MCBC! We are not ready for them, but with your prayers and with God's guidance we will!
Because of our size we currently don't have a children's or youth ministry. Many first time guests see this as a turn off and simply don't come back. We know that God will provide us with those families with kids and teenagers that will feel called to not only join with us, but called to help start those ministries. Pray that God will send those families.
We currently have no instrumentalists, but we are still worshipping and praising God with our voices. We know that in His time God will sent those individuals who feel called to use their musical talents to assist us in worship. Pray that God will send those individuals.
You see, what the enemy meant to steal, kill, and destroy has only reminded us that our God is stronger! The enemy can't steal what our God has given us, because our God is greater! The enemy can't kill what our God has given life to, because our God is greater! The enemy can't destroy what our God has built, because our God is greater!
If you are willing to pray for MCBC…please respond by typing "Amen" in the comments, it will be a great encouragement to MCBC to know that others are praying for us.
If you have a word of encouragement…please leave that in the comments as well.
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