Twenty-seven years ago, God allowed my family and I to embark on a tremendous adventure of faith as we came to Lancaster, California. At the time, none of us—our family or our small church—had any idea how God would bless our obedience. We just knew that we needed to follow Him in faith—to launch out at His Word.
In fact, our church theme for 2013 has been just that—“Launch Out at His Word.” Over the past six months, we’ve often considered the words Jesus spoke to Peter on the shores of Galilee: “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets.”
Peter obeyed, and the rest is history—a miraculous history.
To me, this is a similar picture of the history at Lancaster Baptist Church. Those of us who were here twenty-seven years ago could never have envisioned the miracles God would do in and through our church. He took a handful of people who were willing to “launch out” in faith at His command, and He has done exceeding abundantly above what we could ever dream!
Over the past twenty-seven years, we have watched God bless our church with miracle after miracle. And each blessing has followed a similar pattern to Peter’s experience on the Sea of Galilee.
Jesus told Peter to launch out, and Peter responded with an expression of doubt and then said, “Nevertheless, at Thy word, I will let down the net.”
Nevertheless—Our church has never had sufficient resources when God first tells us to launch into a new area of faith. Even from the beginning, logic would have concluded that a dwindling handful of people meeting in a foreclosed building wouldn’t be able to launch. Since that time, each ministry we have started and each building we have begun has been a project undertaken—not with great resources, but with faith in a great God.
At Thy Word—To me, a trademark of the Lancaster Baptist Church family has been a hunger and responsiveness to God’s Word. I give my best effort to preaching contextual, expository messages—often preaching verse-by-verse through books of the Bible—but I am privileged to preach to a church family who responds in faith.
I Will—I believe that God blesses a bias for action. As our church family has been obedient to not just hear God’s Word, but to do it, God has blessed each launch of faith with tremendous results.
Over the past twenty-seven years, we’ve seen a pattern develop:
- Insufficient resources
- The instruction and promises of God’s Word
- A choice to act by faith
And every time these three are present, God blesses.
It is a joy today to celebrate what God has done over the past twenty-seven years—and to Him be all the glory! But I believe we have only seen the beginning of what God can do. There are still more souls to reach, more families who need Christ, more miracles God can do.
And we have the benefit now of knowing how it will happen—when we launch out by faith.
I don’t want to stop launching now. I’m praying the Lord will enable us, by His Word, to launch out further.