A Caring Community

About a year ago I did a membership appointment with a couple that were new to this area. I was surprised by their story and I got permission to share it with you. They moved to Minneapolis area from a warm climate and did not know anyone. They had moved from their home where there was a strong community of extended family. They moved in the winter so most people were inside and not in a position to meet people. The woman felt isolated and lonely, it was a difficult beginning. Her husband came home one day and said he saw that a church was meeting right across the street at the grade school. He thought it would be a good idea to try it out. His wife wasn’t so sure. But he talked her into it and they showed up at Westbrook. They were shocked by the welcome they received. They kept coming back, met people and soon felt like it was a good community for them. The woman told me that she had grew up not really going to church. She had always believed in God, but it was at our church that she understood she could have a relationship with Him. That she could interact with him and feel close to him and feel like he was communicating to her. She took that step to trust Jesus with her life. Over the course of the last couple of years she has grown and developed her faith in Jesus. I contacted her to ask her if I could share her story and she said sure and then started telling me about her work. She is an ICU nurse and lately they have been seeing a lot more than serious illnesses and some patients have even died in the process. She wanted prayers for herself as she ministered and prayed with the families of these patients. She came to our church, was welcomed and loved came to know Jesus and grew in her faith. Now she is praying and communicating God’s grace to families who are in such pain. She is taking God’s kingdom right where she is planted. That is exactly what we want our vision to be.
We believe that God wants us to create a caring community for people who don’t have extended family in the area. Our primary focus will be reaching out, welcoming and loving people who are new to this area. We want to love them and share the gospel with them and help them to develop a deep and lasting relationship with Jesus. We want to train people and raise them up so they can go back in their areas of influence and impact the world around them for Jesus, just like this woman did. Will you join us?

Hope when God delays

In this blog post, I’d like to write about something that I believe many of us struggle with; hope. Hope comes alive when we are waiting or eagerly expecting something to happen. As Christ followers, our hope is different than the hope the world has to offer. John Piper puts it beautifully when we writes, “Our hope in God isn’t just a wish or a dream, but a sure confidence that what God says will happen will happen.”
For the Christian, hope and the assurance of a promise go hand-in-hand. Many times, the promises of God are delayed and hope stands courageously in the gap waiting for it. I’m reminded of God’s promise to Abraham that he would have a son. Abraham waited for years until that promise was complete through his son, Isaac. God does not express when these promises will be fulfilled. Instead, He assures us that He will “fulfill the desires of our hearts” (Psalm 37:4).
There comes a time when prayer and the fulfillment of the promise are long and hard. I can’t help but think of the Minnesota winter. Oh Lord, when will it be over?! 🙂 Rest assured, friend, that God hears us when we pray. Much like Daniel’s prayers, our prayers are not long on their voyage to God, but long coming back in a full answer (Daniel 10:11-13). It’s, therefore, our responsibility to wait. “Though it linger, wait for it” (Hab 2:3). Do not be led into temptation of questioning God; but rather have faith to believe in the promises He set before us. For hope gives us strength to wait. Know that in the midst of your trial and temptation that what God says will happen, will surely happen.