I recently received an email from Rick Warren, describing what seems to be genuine revival taking place at Saddleback Community Church in California. Saddleback baptized over 1,200 new adult believers in April. 2,600 people joined Saddleback on a single day this year, signing membership covenants which require active service. 50,334 people worshipped at one of 46 separate Easter services offered by Saddleback and 45% of those people were under 39 years of age. Rick went on to talk about how the church is being used by God to minister to the community through meeting the needs of the poor and offering hundreds of thousands of volunteer service hours. That's neat. When I read the email I paused and thanked God for the revival He's sending to Saddleback. We rejoiced over what God was doing in Saddleback during our Wednesday night corporate prayer time. We get REALLY excited when God begins blessing our sister churches, wherever they may be located, and whoever may be leading them.
In a much smaller fashion, but in a similar spirit, God seems to be sending revival to Emmanuel. Two weeks ago we baptized twenty-five people during our Sunday night fellowship at the lake, and we have many more awaiting baptism. Each convert shared with our church family an incredible testimony of God's transforming grace. We are seeing a number of lives transformed through new ministries like Celebrate Recovery. Our youth pastor said we had more youth in the Sunday morning corporate worship this past Sunday than he can ever remember. We have young couples coming to Christ, older couples having their marriages restored, and there is truly a sense of God in all three of our morning corporate worship services. There is not a day that goes by that someone doesn't stop me and tell me how their Core Group (or their small group at Emmanuel) has impacted their lives. I think Rick Warren may be right when he wrote, "history often demonstrates the fact that difficult times are fertile ground for spiritual awakenings."
Our staff at Emmanuel deserves a great deal of credit, including Dan Heath, Executive Pastor/Worship; John Stam, Missions Pastor; Cameron Moles, Discipleship Pastor; Kevin Choate, Single Pastor; Ted Kuschel, Media and Senior Adults Pastor; Andy Wilkins; Next Generation Pastor (Youth and College); Adam Weatherford, Jr. High Pastor; Paula Minx, Children's Pastor; Jared McClellan, REFUGE Pastor and Associate Worship Pastor, and a host of support staff and volunteers.
Today, though, I would like to highlight Jared McClellan. Jared is in charge of our REFUGE worship service, an 11:00 a.m. worship service that is attracting a number of unchurched people. The contemporary music, the casual feel, and the small groups that launch out of the REFUGE worship service is making an impact on a part of our community that we have never before reached. Jared is a missionary kid, growing up in Guatamela. His father, Dr. Mark McClellan, is formerly missions professor at Boyce College (a branch of Southern Seminary), but is now Vice-President at Oklahoma Baptist University. Jared is a particularly gifted worship leader, and on REFUGE's my space page, there are a number of orginal songs that Jared and his band have written and led others to sing during worship in REFUGE.
I'd like to invite you to listen to one of my favorite REFUGE songs, one written and sung by Jared, entitled How Can This Be. Simply listen by clicking on the MUSIC button halfway down the REFUGE my space page. Also, if you from Enid or the surrounding area, let me encourage you to sign up to be a "friend" of REFUGE. God is blessing here at Emmanuel and we'd like to invite you to join us Sunday for corporate worship.
In His Grace,