We are officially on tour! With our send-off concerts completed, we packed up the van and headed off for the first day of concerts Sunday morning. We did not have far to travel, and it wasn’t long before we arrived at out first concert: Hope Community Baptist Church of Cherry Valley. The church building was a small, modified modular with only about 75 seats. We soon learned that it was a church plant with a rather small group of regular attenders. As the start time approached, there were only about 25 people in the audience and we were very unsure what to expect. God is a God with plans and understanding far greater than ours, however, and the service ended up being a perfect start to the tour.
The pastor preached on Luke 4:1-14, the story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness immediately following his baptism. He spoke about how Satan attempted to attack the ministry of Christ in three ways, and these are the same ways he attempts to bring down the ministry of anyone who is rooted in Christ. First, he claims that our needs are more important than the needs of the people surrounding; second, he seeks to convince our hearts to settle for temporal gains of this world; and third, he wants us to take the easy way out in ministry. How appropriate of a message for the eight of us who were just setting out on a nine-week ministry!
Psalm 1351-2 reads:
Praise the Lord.
Praise the name of the Lord,
praise Him, you servants of the Lord,
you who minister in the house of the Lord,
in the courts of the house of our God
These two verses so perfectly sum up what our ministry is. We are traveling not to make CD sales or recruit hundreds of students to attend CBU, although these are essential parts of what we are doing. Ultimately, though, we are traveling to exalt the name of Christ in everything we do and praise the almighty God we are blessed to call Lord. As we travel we will be “[those] who minister in the house of the Lord”. But in order to be effective ministers of the Lord, we must keep our ministry rooted in Him. We cannot fall under these temptations Satan tries to use to attack the work of the Lord. It is important to take care of ourselves physically so we are able to work, but we cannot fall under the impression that our needs are more important than doing what God calls us to do. We cannot get caught up in the temporal gains of this world. The next nine weeks will be filled with opportunities to minister to countless people, but we cannot take the easy way out.
He must increase, I must decrease.