Last night was a great night at our Gathering. Our brother, Buddy Belew, brought the Word to us, speaking about the current state of the small “c” church in our nation. It was a bit heavy, but addressed some honest issues that many of us also see in the land that God has planted us in. I’d like to compliment Buddy on how much he has grown in his faith and presentation skills over the last few years. He, like many of us, is simply trying to find the right path to service that will best uplift and advance Kingdom work. I see many people out there in the ministerial world that seem to be following the lead of others, attempting to mimic what they have seen others do. Don’t get me wrong! I am NOT saying that we should not learn from others. What I am saying is that – in my opinion – it is much better to look inward and find the sweet-spot of service and purpose that our Creator God has endowed us with. Understand? I think you do.
Considering the church. We all need to be cautious and temper our words about the Bride of Jesus Christ. The capital “C” Church was established by Jesus and we need to show honor and recognize that this is the Way He wants us to operate in holy union with Him. If we are not careful, our critique and criticism of the church can be misconstrued as bashing a holy institution. I do not think that Buddy was trying to do that last night, but was pointing out the falling away and lukewarmness of some churches today. Revelation 3:16, 2 Corinthians 11:3, and 1 Timothy 4:1 speak to this. I must say that it is a fine line to engage in this discussion. I have heard many sound like they were simply bashing the church, as if they were “holier than thou” in their personal position. This is not good!
Occasionally, I have even heard people say, out loud, that they don’t like the church and don’t feel comfortable there. This is VERY dangerous and I would suggest that you have a spiritual heart-check if you feel that way. The church is the Bride of Christ and Jesus established it for us to enjoy. Matthew 16:18 says that even “the gates of hell” cannot overcome the Church. So, be careful. If you really have extreme disgust with the church, you may not even be a part of it… think about it. Ok, moving on…
Last night we honored our dear friends, Jared and Angela Okoth. This missionary couple has spent countless hours ministering to people in and out of our special Gathering of friends. The last few years have been difficult for them. Jared suffered a bad stroke and has been battling back from its effect for months. Thank God, he is doing much better. Then, they have dealt with the craziness of a COVID-19 world like the rest of us. Angela has been a faithful helpmate for Jared and together, they have continued to minister to people in West Tennessee and beyond, NEVER complaining about their needs or wants. This type of selflessness is rare, to say the least. So, several of us joined in to purchase them a little get-a-way, a retreat, to have some quiet time away with the Lord and each other. We added in a little spending money for their meals and other needs. It was a pleasure to do this and help a well-deserved couple get some rest and relaxation.
Jared and Angela, we love and appreciate you and all you do for the Kingdom of God… amen. I might add that there were a few of our Gathering friends who were not with us last night due to other obligations and ministry responsibilities, but we know your hearts were there in the spirit of love. Below are a few photos from the evening, enjoy.