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Sundays are for Celebrating

On February 5 I was able to witness 2 incredible events, but one will be told about through all of history and deep into eternity. Late into the evening I watched Tom Brady orchestrate the comeback of a lifetime. After a year of obstacles coupled with a long term illness being battled by his mother Brady led his team to overcome what appeared to be an insurmountable deficit. As he hoisted the trophy and shared his comments I was reminded of the power of a team, the persistence of an individual, and the belief that it’s never to late to make a different. That was the second event, but it pails in comparison to what I witnessed some 12 hours earlier in the day.

Around 9:30 a.m. I, along with 5 members from the Church at Martinsburg, pulled into the parking lot of Orchard Park Middle School. After being directed to a spot, we carefully navigated the slick parking lot and made our way into the foyer. We were greeted by warm and welcoming friends. I say friends, because that’s how we were treated. It was almost as if we were being welcomed into a home. From that point all 6 of us began to take in the new experience. From handshakes to bright shirts we were immediately aware that someone or a group of someones had been preparing for this day…for this “event.”

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This first event of the day was the initial launch of Harvest Bible Chapel in Buffalo, New York. Pastor Ricky Beck and his family have been in the church planting process for close to a year with Harvest Bible Fellowship. It’s been marked with ups and downs, victories and defeats, and most of all it’s been carried along faithfully by the God who called Ricky to ministry years ago.

There’s so much I could share, but I’ll answer the question my 10 year old daughter asked me as we drove home. She simply asked, “Dad, what was your favorite part of this morning?” Initially, I told her I loved Pastor Ricky’s message from John 15…and I still do love it. But after further consideration I think I’ve changed my mind. What I enjoyed most was seeing God’s grace at work across the entire process that led to Sunday morning.

Ricky and I got to know each other in 2000 while we were both forming our understanding of pastoral leadership and calling to ministry. In those years God gave Ricky an unusually large dose of faith. From first being sent by a local church to study in North Carolina to working faithfully at UPS and earning a graduate degree from The Master’s Seminary in California Ricky has not been slow to respond to God’s call. It wasn’t a shock when he shared with me he was heading to Illinois to be equipped to start a church with Harvest Bible Fellowship. This step was the next step in faith…and did God ever answer!

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Sunday was celebrated by millions as the cultural spectacle of the “Super Bowl” took place. What’s more encouraging is the reality that all of heaven took notice as a church was birthed in Buffalo.

Both “events” had teams, opponents, and a hero. Years from now Ricky Beck and Tom Brady will be forgotten, but the hero who will be talked about for all of eternity was on full display in the auditorium of a middle school. Crowds gathered Sunday night to celebrate an incredible comeback and lift high the name of an impressive team and player…earlier that morning hundreds in Buffalo, and millions across the globe, gathered to lift high the name the one true King…Jesus.

Why not celebrate with me today the work that God’s doing in Buffalo? Would you pray with me and hope for God’s continued grace and presence as the team at Harvest Bible Chapel begin this journey to see the Gospel planted? Would you consider joining the effort to help people find and follow Jesus right where you are whether in Martinsburg or Buffalo?

The best is yet to come in both Buffalo and Martinsburg!