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Things I Have Learned

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
May 21, 2023 7:00 pm

Things I Have Learned

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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May 21, 2023 7:00 pm

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Beacon Baptist Church, Pastor Greg Barkman speaks from Psalm 67. He explains why we should desire God's blessings, and some of the results that flow from His blessings.


Well, we have been on a 50 years journey. When we began in 1973, we could not have anticipated where we would be in 2023.

That would have been impossible. And when we began in 1973, we had various ideas and goals in mind, some good and not so good. And the Lord has been sorting those out over all of these 50 years. But looking back, we can see God's hand guiding and directing and changing and sustaining. And in fact, all of life's journeys are like that, not just the one for this church, but the one for your life, the one for various endeavors in your life along the way. We begin with a certain destination in mind, but have no guarantee that we're going to arrive at that destination. We cannot know what unforeseen circumstances will befall us along the way. But we know that whatever circumstances do come, that they are given to us by our wise and gracious Heavenly Father.

He has a purpose in it. As far as our church is concerned, it has been a good journey, unexpected in many ways, but a good journey as far as I'm concerned. And now 50 years later, we are able to look back. In 1973, we looked ahead. We couldn't see very far ahead.

We really couldn't tell what was coming. But in 2023, we can now look back and see what the Lord has done over all of these years. And so in keeping with that theme, I have entitled my sermon today, Things I Have Learned. And I'm going to divide it really into two parts. First of all, things I have learned from God's Word and secondly, things I have learned about God's Word. The first will be a short exposition.

The second will be a testimony. But first of all, things I have learned from the Word of God. And of course, the Bible is a big book and I couldn't give you all the things I've learned from God's Word today.

But we picked one portion, Psalm 67. We're going to give a short exposition of that portion today because that's what we have been doing now for 50 years. Sunday after Sunday after Sunday after Sunday, someone gets behind this pulpit and opens a portion of God's Word and says, here's what it says, here's what it means, here's how it applies. And the next time we gather together, we do the same thing all over again. That's what exposition is. It's an explanation of the Word of God. And that's what we have been doing. And it is amazing how the effect of that grows and builds in hearts and lives over time.

It really is. So looking at Psalm 67, things I have learned from God's Word, we see in Psalm 67, first a prayer, secondly a purpose, and third a prospect. The prayer is in verse 1. It is a prayer for God's blessing upon our lives. God, be merciful to us and bless us. And please may God cause His face to shine upon us. A desire for God's blessing.

That's not surprising. Everybody, I think, in one way or another, would desire to have God's blessing upon their life, even if they don't understand what that means. In fact, even those who aren't sure they believe in God would say, but if there is one, I hope he'll bless me. We'd all like to have God's blessings. And most of us have the mistaken idea that we deserve God's blessings, which actually isn't very accurate as we learn more about ourselves from the Word of God. But nevertheless, we in a general way would desire for God to bless us.

But those who know the Lord and know His Word have a more realistic desire, realistic expectation that God in fact will bless us because He has made us many promises that indicate that's exactly what He intends to do. And so this opening verse of Psalm 67 is really in reference to the priestly benediction in Numbers chapter 6, where God instructed Moses to tell Aaron that he and the other priests were to bless the people of God using these words. The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. And so when the psalmist comes to pray for God's blessing, what does he do? He prays the very words of blessing which God has already bestowed. We might say he prays the Word of God back to him.

He reminds God of the promises that He has made to His people. God be merciful to us and bless us and cause His face to shine upon us. That is the prayer of blessing from the people of God. A prayer for mercy. Some translations say grace.

May God be gracious to us. My translation says merciful to us. Mercy is an emphasis upon God giving us good in the place of what we really deserve, which is judgment.

In other words, withholding judgment and giving us blessing in its place. A grace carries the idea that God gives us what we do not deserve and what we could never achieve for ourselves. Salvation is by grace because we can't do it. That's the most important lesson in life, that we are unable to save ourselves. We are unable to do what is necessary to please a thrice holy God and therefore to come into His presence.

That is impossible for fallen sons and daughters of Adam. And so salvation from first to last is all by grace. It is God bestowing upon us and within us that which we do not have and could never have on our own. But His grace continues on from there. His grace not only saves His people, but protects and guides and provides and preserves. And so yes, we desire God's grace to be upon us. We desire God's mercy to be upon us. We ask for His blessing. Blessing is divine favor.

That's what we want. And we who are God's people know that we don't deserve divine favor. But oh, if God will be gracious and bestow it upon us, how blessed we will be, how thankful we will be. And so that is what we pray for. His mercy, His blessing, His kindly disposition toward us, cause His face to shine upon us.

That of course is Hebrew idiom, Hebrew idiom. But it simply means the opposite of God frowning upon us. Again, what do we deserve as sinners?

Rebels who have willfully broken His law and defied His rule. What do we deserve? We deserve His frowning judgment upon us. Oh, but what do we desire? We desire His face to shine upon us. And so the first verse is a prayer, a desire for God's blessing. But the second verse is a purpose. It tells us the reasons why we should desire God's blessing.

Why? That your way may be known on earth. Your salvation among all nations. That's why we should desire God's blessing. For most people, the desire for God's blessing is really a rather selfish, self-centered desire. I want God's blessing cause I want to feel good. I want God's blessing because I want to be healthy. I want God's blessing because I want good things in life. I want God's blessing so that I can enjoy as much of life as possible. But God's people come to understand the reason we desire God's blessing is so that we can be instruments in God's hands to make His way known on earth, His salvation among all nations. Our desire for God's blessing is not for our comfort and enrichment, though in God's amazing goodness, we get that as a, as a, what should I say, a spillover. It does come to those who serve God and put Him first, but that's not our main purpose. God, if, if you take away all of the temporal blessings of life for me, but allow me to be used as an instrument to bring salvation to others, that's fine.

That's good. I desire that. Oh Lord, bless me. Cause your face to shine upon me that your way may be known throughout the earth. Your salvation to all people. To be able to make the true God known to others, to make your ways known on earth. Most people in America today have no clue as to who God really is. They hear about Him, but they don't really understand His ways.

And certainly beyond this nation and throughout the world, there are billions of people who have no idea who the true God is and what He's like. But that's what we're here for as His children. Oh Lord, bless us that we can make your ways known to the ends of the earth.

That's our purpose. And that's why we desire to be blessed, to make God's ways known to others, to be instruments, to bring God's salvation to others. And then the rest of the Psalm, we could call a prospect. That is, it tells us some of the results of God's blessings.

And what are they? Well, when God blesses us and enables us to make His ways known, what happens? There will be universal praise to God. Verse three, let the peoples, this is for all the peoples. When the Old Testament scriptures talk about the people of Israel, it's in the singular, let the people, but here it is in the plural, let the peoples, followed up by the first part of verse four, oh, let the nations, plural. So he's talking about the peoples of the world, the nations of the world. And what does he say? He says, let the peoples praise you, oh God, let all the peoples praise you. Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy for you shall judge the people righteously and govern the nations on earth. Universal praise to God. Is that possible? Yes, it is.

Yes, it is. And our prayer ought to be, oh Lord, bless us, cause your face to shine upon us. Make your ways known unto us that we in turn might be your instrument to bring others to praise you as you ought to be praised. Universal praise to God is one of the results of God's blessings. Universal joy and gladness, another result of God's blessing. Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy.

Those words don't characterize the world that I live in. How about your world? Is your world filled with gladness and joy?

Or is it filled with suffering and misery and complaining and fault finding? But one of the results of God's blessing upon his people, and yet he says blessings upon the people of the world, is there will be universal joy and gladness. In other words, people will be given a heart to worship God, a heartfelt worship for God. They won't worship him because it's the time to do something religious, so I'll do something religious.

It's a heart swelling up with gratitude and praise. God, you are so good. You are so great. You are so gracious. You are so merciful.

You are so wonderful. Let me gladly worship you. Let me gladly praise you. I rejoice.

I'm glad in who you are and what you have done. And the third result, another final prospect of God's blessing, is universal submission to God's rule. Again, verse 4. For you shall judge the people righteously and govern the nations on earth. Now, in a fleshly, unconverted condition, people aren't going to long for God's rule and his judgment. That doesn't sound like good news to an unrepentant, unbelieving sinner, does it? That God's going to judge righteously.

If he judges righteously in my present condition, I am in big trouble. And that's the truth, isn't it? That is exactly the truth, and people need to understand that. But God is going to judge the people righteously and govern the nations on earth. And what that requires, of course, is everyone coming under his rule, giving him submission, giving him acknowledgement that he has a right to rule.

It is every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. That's the prospect of God's blessing. And all of these things will develop at God's appointed time. They are coming. They are coming.

I promise you they are coming. Universal praise to God, universal joy and gladness, universal submission to God's rule. Those things are all coming according to God's appointment.

But God's people long for them now, and God's people labor to move toward that now, waiting for God's perfect appointment for the time to come when these things shall be a reality. That's my exposition. Now let me give you my testimony. I move from expositional to topical.

You don't mind my doing that once in a while, do you? At least for half of a sermon, because I know no other way to cover this. And so, first of all, things I have learned from God's word, and secondly, some things I have learned about God's word.

And let me cover these as quickly but helpfully as I am able by God's help. One of the things I have learned, and it took me a while to learn it, and I'm probably still not all the way there, trying to learn it more fully, but it is to trust the power of God's word to do His work. That shouldn't be so hard for a child of God. That shouldn't be so hard for a preacher, but it is to trust the power of God's word to do His work. God's word, we are told, is like a two-edged sword that can pierce to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and the joints and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. God's word is a powerful, powerful, powerful instrument that He places in our hands to proclaim and to use to accomplish His purposes. But we need to learn to trust God's word. God's word has power to save.

God's word has power to change lives. I spoke just briefly with Pastor Rick Lesh before the service this morning to ask him how things are going at his church in Florida. And he says they are going well.

They are going well. The word of God is doing its work. Amen, amen, amen.

Sometimes it's hard to learn that, isn't it, Rick? But we do gradually as God brings us along. God's word is able to do God's work. We trust Him. God's word has power to save. We trust His word. God's word has power to change lives, to sanctify God's people. We trust His word. God's word is sufficient alone to accomplish these things, and that's the hardest part.

It doesn't need human devices to accomplish these things. In fact, human devices added to the word of God to accomplish God's purposes actually end up stealing some of the honor and glory that goes to God and to the power of His word and makes our efforts less effective rather than more so, though sometimes we can organize them in such a way that it almost looks like they're more effective, and we can count and proclaim, but when all things said and done, it proves not to be the case, and we've got to learn to trust the power of God's word alone to do His work. And I've had to take a journey in learning about the power of God's word. If you had asked me in 1973 before I came to Alamance County, do you believe in the power of God's word? Do you trust the power of God's word?

I would have said, absolutely I do, but I also had quite a few notions about how God's work ought to be carried out that I brought with me, baggage that had to be sorted out and to really get to the place where I trusted God's word. I had to learn about the power of expository preaching upon people. Now I had experience in my own life that for me sitting under preaching from week to week in the places where God had privileged me to be, I had learned that it was indeed expository or expositional preaching, whatever you want to call it, that had its most powerful impact upon my soul more than topical preaching. Topical preaching can be effective and used by God.

I'm not saying that it's wrong or that it's unusable, but I just say in my own experience, I learned that over the years. Sitting in church, sitting in chapel, sitting in Bible conferences, listening to the preaching of God's word, I would have to say it became slowly obvious to me that expositional preaching is more powerful, generally speaking, than topical preaching. So I learned what I could about expository preaching to prepare myself for ministry and came to Alamance County to start a church and thought I was going to try something pretty much brand new, different from my background in all the Baptist churches that I had been accustomed to. Most of them had virtually no expository preaching.

Some of them had a little bit. So I said, we are going to do something new. We're going to do half expositional and half topical.

That'll really ramp it up. And we did that for a while until it became clear to me in my preaching, it's the expositional preaching that has the greatest impact. Why am I wasting my time with this topical preaching? That was half of what I did.

I can still remember clearly one of the first series I did. Expository preaching can be unconnected from sermon to sermon. Take a text, exposit that.

Take another text from another place. Next time, exposit that. That's a form of expository preaching. But consecutive expository preaching, preaching through a long section of scripture, continuing next sermon where you left off the last sermon.

I can remember the first expository series I did on Sunday nights in the little building over on the corner of Trail 8 and Moran Street. And it was a series on the kingdom parables of Matthew chapter 13. So I went through those seven parables.

There's actually even eight. So I went through all of those and enjoyed it. And afterwards, a man came up to me who was fairly new to our church at that point. Our church was new, but he had not started with us. He had come from another Baptist church and he had never heard expository preaching before. And he really was just helped and amazed.

And he came to me and he said, what are you going to do next? And at that point, I didn't know. But I was sensing the feedback. Expository preaching is really the most powerful, the most effective, the most God blessed form of preaching. I had to learn that. Another reason why expository preaching is so significant as far as I'm concerned is because not only the effect it has upon the hearers, but the effect it has upon the preacher who has to prepare those sermons in order to deliver them to the hearers. Those who spend their years in ministry and topical preaching have whole portions of God's word they never touch. And they don't understand. They don't know what's there.

And they avoid certain portions. I had a preacher friend, now with the Lord, who announced to his congregation that he was going to preach a series through the book of Romans. And he started out well. And he got to chapter eight about the last half and he started struggling a bit. And when he finished chapter eight, he announced, folks, this is difficult and probably too, I don't know what word he used, too difficult for us at this time. So we're going to skip over chapters nine, 10 and 11.

We'll move up to chat. We'll move on to chapter 12. Some of you don't even know what that's all about because you don't know Romans well enough to know. But chapters nine, 10 and 11 are the chapters that most clearly present the sovereignty of God and salvation in such a way you can't get away from it. It's there. And I'm sure there are pastors, godly men all over America who have never in their lives preached a single sermon from Romans chapter nine and never will.

They're not going to grapple with that. I remember years ago hearing John Riesinger, now with the Lord, Bible teacher. And he said he was teaching a Bible class. And he said, today we're going to examine Romans chapter nine. So open your Bibles to Romans chapter nine.

And he read the chapter. And before he could even begin to teach, a lady shot up her hand. She said, I don't like that. I don't like what you just said. To which she replied, I haven't said anything. I just read the word of God.

To what she replied, well then I don't like the way you read it. So the effect of expository preparation for preaching on the life of the preacher enables him to get a better understanding of God's word. And who more needs to understand God's word than the one who's preaching it, the one who's proclaiming it. And so yeah, expository preaching. The impact of expository preaching is not only important to individuals and to preachers, but also to churches.

And just one thing to mention, an understanding of God's word will begin to shape the elements of our public worship. What should we do when we come together to worship God? Well, whatever we like would be the answer of some.

What do you like? We'll do it. What shall we do when we come together to worship God? Well, whatever will attract people. They'll make them want to come to the church. So we, in many cases, churches organize the elements of worship according to their concept of what men want instead of what God has prescribed.

Did God have anything to say about what are the elements of corporate worship? You say, I don't know. I thought so. Get into the book, find out.

Cause a lot of people don't know, but we need to know. Well, I've learned to trust the power of God's word. I've learned to trust the promises of God's word in many areas, but God's promises to protect and sustain his servants in a lot of ways from the assaults of men. I've had a couple people ask me, have you had any difficult times in the 50 years you've been here? It seems like everything's going well now. Has it been smooth sailing like that the whole 50 years? Nope.

Well, could you give a few examples of some of the problems? I'd rather not think about them. I told you about one recently where I thought the church was over. I thought my ministry was over. I'd already told Marty, we better start packing our bags.

We're not going to be here any longer. And in that day, I'd already told you, David Graham, a member of the church in those early years, stood up in the congregational meeting and said something like, I believe what the preacher said tonight is true. And I stand with him. And he sat down and everything changed from that point forward. And the vote was taken and they voted to keep me. So here I am 50 years later, 40, 48 years later after that.

And I could tell you other times when things looked rocky, what's going to happen here? And God has brought us through. Could any of us imagine that the same preacher that God used to start a church in 1973 would still be pastoring that church 50 years later in 2023? I could not have imagined that.

Most of us could not have imagined that. And if you think that time's come for me to step down, tell me. I don't want to stay too long, but I don't want to go before God is ready for me to either. He's been too good to me. He sustained me. I'm alive today because of God's grace in my life.

Many of you know that. I talked to Michelle Fox at the doctor's office Friday. She said she was going to come. Is Michelle here?

Her mother Hazel Fox was a dear friend of some of our charter members back in the early years. And she knows she works for Dr. Moriarty, who's my primary care physician. And she knows that about eight years ago now, Dr. Moriarty said to me, you know, I call you the miracle man, don't you? And I said, no.

Why? He said, because you shouldn't be alive, much less in decent health. I know the cancer you've had. I know the treatments you've had.

I know what it does to the body. I know you shouldn't be alive and well. And here you are. I call you the miracle man. And I said, yes, sir. And I know who's the one who performed the miracles. It's God.

To trust the promises of God, to protect and sustain his servants, trust the promises of God, to provide resources for God's work, for the work of missions, for the ministry of the church, for the needs of his people. A few of you who are charter members, we don't have that many who are alive and able to be here. Most so many are struggling and not able to get out who are still alive. But a few of you are here. Am I looking at Betty, BJ Massey here today?

So good to see you. BJ is one of our charter members. Are you going to be able to give your testimony today? Praise the Lord. On the first Sunday we met, I made a proposal to the congregation. Let's determine right now that we're going to give 10 percent of whatever comes in the offerings to missions. We didn't have enough hardly to pay the rent on the building.

We didn't have enough, hadn't even made any provision to pay the preacher. But I had a conviction that if we would commit ourselves to the work of worldwide missions, that God would bless and honor that and provide our needs. And He has down through the years wonderfully, wonderfully.

God does that. He provides for the work of the Gospel around the world. It's so good to see Tim Easley, one of the men of missions that we're able to partner with, and he's in the service today. What a blessing to see God provide.

Isn't it, Tim? It's just amazing how God provides for the work of missions. God provides for the ministry of the church, whatever we need, the people we need. In the early years, we needed some buildings. So what did God put in our church? A whole handful of construction men.

P.J. Coble had a thriving business building commercial buildings and church buildings across Alamance County. Al Vestal, one of the most skillful bricklayers you will ever hope to know.

And so good to have his daughter still with us after Al and Betty are with the Lord. And Ralph Fawcett, a carpenter and so forth and so on. And so this building that you're in now, which was the first one we built, was built not totally with volunteer labor, but a great deal of it was.

Just people getting out here and pounding nails and doing what they could, and God gave us so many people who knew what to do. Now, today we don't have that many construction people. Evidently, we don't need them. If we did, we'd have them. We have a few.

And some who know a good deal about it, and that's very helpful. But God has always provided exactly what we need. It hasn't been that long ago that the Lord brought to mind. Some of you, again, going way back, about 1980 in that vicinity, you remember that the County of Alamance decided that in their wisdom that they were going to tax our property that didn't actually have buildings on it. Well, I think we had 19 acres at that time.

That's what we still have, and I think we had them all at that particular time. And our building only occupied two or three acres building a parking lot, so they were going to tax the rest. We said, no, you can't do that. We're a church.

We're a nonprofit organization. You can't tax our land. Oh, yes, you can. No, you can't. Yes, you can. No, you can't.

Yes, you can. You ever tried to fight City Hall? So we started appealing it, going up the ladder, step by step. But you know who the Lord had placed in our church for just a short time? An attorney whose specialty was taxes.

That's right. Some of you remember her. Her husband was a medical doctor and she was an attorney.

She handled that whole thing for nothing. Tens of thousands of dollars worth of legal work as we worked up to finally got to the last court of appeals, which was just below the Supreme Court. And they said, no, you can't do that. And they said it violates the law of the state of North Carolina and it violates precedent. Wake Forest University had gone through a similar battle and won their battling court. And it violates precedent. You can't do that. And so we have not, I'm starting to say we haven't been bothered by that since.

But yes, in a sense we have. When the tax supervisor of Elomance County retired, another one came on board. Guess what?

We got a letter in the mail saying, we're going to tax your property. And I said, help. I called, can't think of her name now. She had a law office in Greensboro, lived I think in High Point at the time. Carolyn Woodruff. I called Carolyn and I said, do you still have any, do you have the proof that we settled this issue in court years ago?

Oh yeah. She got everything on file. Could you send us a copy? Sure. We sent that onto the tax office and said, we settled this in court several years ago.

Stop harassing us. But how could we have done that without a tax expert in our congregation? Now we don't have a tax expert now, I don't think, but we had one then when we needed it. And I could go on and on. God provides, God provides the teachers we need for our ministries. God provides the music, the people that we need for our ministries.

They're just quite amazing. Well, I had something else I wanted to mention. I will mention it quickly because I'm getting close to the time I need to close. But not only do you trust the power of God's word and the promises of God's word, but what I've called the productions of God's word, that is what happens as a result of doing things the Bible way instead of the traditional way. Well, all kinds of unwanted things can happen. We found that out when God brought us to understand the sovereignty of God and salvation come to the doctrines of grace. And we found out it wasn't easy to persuade everybody to that position. And we lost a few along the way, but not as many as I had feared and those who stayed grew. And it's taken a while, but we have a congregation that is united in enthusiastic faith in the sovereignty of God, in salvation, in the doctrine of divine election and all that goes with it. And that took a while, but the result has proved to be a stronger church, a better church, even though it looked a little rocky there for a while.

I remember, I'll give you one more example before I move on. I was preaching through the book of Romans and I was looking ahead and I said, uh-oh, this wasn't going to be chapters 9, 10 and 11. This was going to be chapter 14, the doctrine on Christian liberty, the chapter on Christian liberty.

Now, I had known for a long time that we had adopted the standard Baptist church covenant and had in that covenant a clause that said we promise to abstain from the sale and use of alcoholic beverages. That's, what should I say, standard Baptist doctrine since probably the beginning of our country. There's only one problem and it really hadn't occurred to me until I saw us approaching Romans 14. In my mind, it was something we could just kind of not worry about. It doesn't do any harm to have something like that there, even though I know it's not biblical. But yes, when I got to Romans chapter 14, I realized there is harm in requiring something that the Bible doesn't require. That falls clearly into the category of a Christian liberty. Now, I don't like that.

Well, who are you? This is God's word. I yield. We'll take it out.

I think that was, to take that out of the church covenant back in those days was almost more difficult than embracing the doctrines of grace. I mean so deeply settled. Some of you remember those days. We worked and worked and worked at it. Finally said, look, we've been working at this for two years to bring everybody along. We're not getting any closer. We're just going to have to go ahead and vote.

And again, I didn't know how that was going to turn out. We voted by paper ballot and it carried by, I think 76%. Isn't that about right? Some of you remember and 20 some percent voted not to remove it from the covenant. So we're Baptists. What the congregation decides we follow and they decided with the Bible on that one. Some people didn't like it.

Some people left over it, but the church was stronger because of it. Now, I actually dealt with this last Sunday and most of you were there and I will repeat what I said last Sunday. My personal practice, I'm an abstainer. I have the liberty to abstain. I don't have to partake because I have the liberty to partake. I have the liberty to abstain and I think that's wiser, but I can't require that. I can't command that because God's word doesn't. I can't, I don't want to be a Pharisee adding commands and laws and regulations to the word of God and saying this is a requirement and that is a requirement, not because the Bible says so, but because I think it's a good idea. God forbid. Now, most Christians don't have a mindset to think that way, but we've learned to haven't we?

You're still learning to, but we've learned to, to trust. I know some people thought, boy, as soon as we do this, our whole congregation is going to become drunken alcoholics. I've only known one or two persons that seem to have any trouble with it at all, and I don't know anybody now who does, but some people who stumbled a bit because that does happen, but no, we're a sober congregation and I don't know because I don't even know what you, what you practice, but my guess is that the vast majority of us have chosen to abstain, but if you choose to partake cautiously, carefully, moderately in such a way that you don't cause others to stumble, you have that liberty.

I'd advise you not to, but you have that liberty because the Bible says so, and that's the whole point. We are bound by the Bible, sola scriptura, whatever the Bible says is so. We all say we believe that, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, sometimes we don't like that, do we?

But whatever the Bible says is so. Thank you, God, for teaching us that and help us to never forget it. Well, that's a brief summary of 50 years' journey in grace. I know I won't be with you for the next 50 years, so I trust you younger ones will be committed to continuing the paths that God has showed us to this point. I thank those who've labored with us. I thank those who have encouraged us along the way. I thank those who have prayed for us. I thank those who have partnered with us. I thank those who have supported this work financially. I thank those who have, when you weren't quite sure what this preacher, where's this preacher going this time, decided based on track record to give him the benefit of the doubt and see where this goes.

And guess what? It went pretty well. Thank you for that. Thank you for that. We have been growing together. What a wonderful journey. And we'll hear some testimonies about that in the next service. But now let's pray. Father, thank you for your kindness over these years. We give all the praise and the honor of glory to you. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-23 14:33:12 / 2023-05-23 14:47:42 / 15

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