Sunday, July 23, 2006

Greater Deliverance Delivered Greatly

Our family had the joy of worshipping at Greater Deliverance Tabernacle Holiness Church this morning. We were invited by our neighbor, Dionne Wright, and we are so glad to have attended! These brothers and sisters are far and away the most friendly and welcoming group I've ever visited. Tracy agrees. From the moment we arrived (10:30a) until the time we left (2:15p), these sweet siblings in the Lord were lavishing love upon us and expressing gratitude to us for worshipping with them. I can only hope that Grace Church will be half as welcoming as these folks. If so, no one will feel unloved!

The sober-but-lively service demonstrated a deep belief that God is not a static power in the sky, but IS active in the lives of His saints. They get "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing." I'd guess that 10 different individuals had a speaking role in the well-planned, but very informal, service - and each one referenced a personally-experienced work of the Lord in the last 24 hours.

Somewhere in the first hour (after seed-sowing), Pastor Westbrook introduced our family (which was unbeknownst to us until it happened), and invited me to the platform to share a few thoughts. Talk about "a word of knowledge," I sure needed something! Thankfully, because of a previous similar setting, I anticipated the likelihood of such a request and had a few thoughts on simmer (every preacher always does). After sharing (actually, while sharing), I got my first "Standing O," a much anticipated benchmark for every preacher.

The enjoyable worship experience this morning has spawned several Godward thoughts today. Mainly, our calling as Christians is nothing less than world domination. Jesus commanded His followers to divide-and-conquer. To reach Memphis with the gospel it will take a lot more than Grace Church! We are looking forward to linking arms with churches like this one (and planting others) as we attempt to Glorify God by treasuring Jesus Christ and spreading His eternal joy.

Convictionally, I don't see eye-to-eye with GDTHC on every issue (I don't know one church, or one Christian for that matter, that I do line up with all the way down. Do you?) I'm a biblically-convinced complementarian, not an egalitarian. Co-pastor Westbrook (Pastor's wife) "ministered" the Word today. There were uniform references to her "ministering the Word" instead of "preaching," so perhaps there is a distinction in their minds between the two? Although she's better than many men preachers I've heard, I still think it's a mistake for her to "minister" in that capacity. Because of new friendships with some in leadership with Sovereign Grace, I've been rethinking the biblical teaching on tongues. Although my jury is still out, I've never spoken in tongues (that I know of). So far, I still think tongues is a known language that is intelligible. If I'm wrong, then GDTHC practiced the gift in healthy moderation today.

Anyone could find plenty of loop-holes in ministries I've lead in the past, and I'm sure it will be the case at Grace Church as well. Though some are scared of doctrine because they see that it tends to divide rather than unify, it is nonetheless incumbent upon every professing believer to acquaint himself or herself with the teaching of Scripture, get a conviction, and live accordingly.

I'm convicted to love Jesus more because of my time with the saints at Greater Deliverance. May God be pleased to cause a similar effect to land on all who worship with us at Grace!

1 comment:

Jeremy Whitten said...

I have never heard of Sovereign Grace Ministries until I read your recent blog. Just when I thought I was comfortable with my convictions on "tongues" and "apostolic sign gifts" I've now been prompted to look at these gifts a little closer. As you know, my family comes from a pentecostal background (Assemblies of God) so these issues have always been with me. Once again, you've come through for me in giving me something to "wrestle with" and probably lose a little sleep over. Let the seeking of truth begin!