Julia and I are in snowy Albuquerque enjoying a relaxing Thanksgiving morning. We are now two hours behind Athens. We crossed Mountain time last night and didn’t calculate travel time correctly (that is my responsibility) so we had an extra hour in the car with each other. Can you say … Tired!!!!!
I wanted to share with you about our time in Shreveport with our former pastor and his wife. Richard Exley was our pastor in Tulsa for 7 years. He retired from pastoral ministry years ago and has been working as an evangelist and traveling pastor for many years. He was recently called back into pastoral ministry at a church in Shreveport named “Gateway”.
Julia and I met with him at the church and while he was on a phone call, I made myself at home and I “explored” (snooping is probably a more appropriate word) the church. As I did, I talked to the Lord about the real “Gateway”. I shared my desire to see our wonderful church fulfill our destiny. As I walked around I saw a huge church. One that was split under the previous leadership team. They had a huge debt and a very small congregation. Yet under the right leadership, they have bounced back. They have grown from 200 to 300 in under a year. Their children’s ministry has gone from 11 small kids to 58 last week. Their homeless ministry has grown.
Richard bought our lunch and we left. On the way to Dallas, I thought about our ministry in Athens and their ministry in Shreveport. This is the second church the Lord has entrusted to Richard’s care that was in financial difficulty. Christian Chapel in Tulsa was the other one. Both churches were in desperate financial conditions. The Lord used different methods for deliverance, but deliverance indeed came to Christian Chapel and is now flowing through Gateway in Shreveport.
There are a couple of lessons here. The first one is that with God NOTHING is impossible. So lets set that as our foundation. NOTHING is impossible.
The second lesson is with the right leadership, a church grows and begins to flex her strength. Gateway will grow and will flourish as the Lord brings the right leader to us. I believe that leader is on the way.
God is sending us a man that I believe will enable us to fulfill the calling God has given to us: “Helping people experience God”.
As the lay leader, I’m going to make a plea to all of us. I am asking everyone to enter into extensive prayer for Gateway church of Shreveport. Julia and I will be on our way back from Vegas a week from this coming Sunday. We are going to attend Church in Shreveport at Gateway church. We are going to ask them to become our “sister” church and join us in prayer for our ministry. I am also telling them we will join in prayer for them.
I am very encouraged about how God is leading us. We’ve been through some storms for sure. Yet, the boat is still floating and regardless of the wind and waves we are beginning to get some positive direction and leadership.
Julia and I are sitting in a hotel in Albuquerque awaiting the roads to clear of ice and snow. She told me before we left that we would run into snow and ice. I told her no way. She wanted to go through El Paso. I told her no way. I would rather fight snow and ice than drug dealers, but, I assured her, it won’t snow and we’ll be fine. So much for my ministry as a prophet!
I hope all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Don’t forget to pray for Gateway of Shreveport!
One last word though …
I had seen a show on TV about a hamburger joint in Amarillo Texas that served a “burger from hell” with every kind of pepper and hot sauce you could imagine. Well we were going through Amarillo and I thought .. hmmmm … lets take on this particular burger and see what she’s got!
Well I found the place I told the creator of the “burger from hell” to “bring it on!”. They did!
And the deal was on as we dove in …
So much for the “burger from hell”!!!!
I just wanted you to know, we were spreading the Gospel and attacking Hell’s gates and Burgers where ever we travel!