I received a phone call from a lady who told me that she had been attending E-Free for the last 2 months. Her husband, who is not a church-goer, came with her to one of our Christmas Eve services and really enjoyed it. On the way home her husband said, “I think I’d like to hear that Joseph series they showed the video about.” Sure enough, he came with her on the first Sunday of the series and, according to her, “Now he’s hooked.” She explained that much of the dysfunction that I talked about that Sunday morning in the message is true of their lives and background and has created great marital strife. After hearing the message, on the way home from church he looked at her and said, “Maybe there is hope for us!” She called to simply say, “Thanks!”
In spite of the Winter Weather Advisory on a recent Sunday, I met many “first-time” guests including several families with small kids. That was the Sunday I preached on the “Pit of Betrayal.” My favorite conversation that morning with a first-time guest was with a single man who had recently moved to Gaylord from down state. He told me that 25 years ago he found himself in the “Pit of Betrayal” which resulted in exactly what I had said. He called out to God but the pain got worse so he walked away from God and quit church completely. That Sunday morning was his very first time back inside a church in 25 years and what was the sermon on? It was on, “The Pit of Betrayal.” The man was very moved by the service which was obvious as he told me his story. When you consider that usually our sermon themes for any given Sunday are planned anywhere from 3-6 months in advance, this is quite a “God-thing!”
I met a dear lady who lost her husband suddenly just a few months ago. Though catholic all he life, she has come to E-Free with a friend since we started our Joseph series and she shared with me how God has been using the services in her life.
To demonstrate that God is bringing in people with no churched background at all, one adult lady, who started attending E-Free during the “Angels” series, came up to me after the second sermon on our current Joseph (OT character) series and asked me. "When in the story does Joseph become the wife of Mary and father of Jesus?" She had no concept that there was more than one Joseph in the Bible. She had never heard of the Old Testament Joseph and simply assumed that the Joseph I spoke about during the “Angels” series was the same one I talked about that morning. How wonderful it is to see formerly unchurched people attending and learning.
One man in our church met a gentleman he did not know in the foyer after a recent service. He was looking at the Life Group (our small group ministry) sign-up sheets. This man from our church helped to explain what they were and helped him sign up for a group that he is part of. In the course of the conversation this man noticed the big Bible and notebook the man from our church was carrying and commented (my paraphrase), “I need to get me one of those. Maybe it will help me in learning the difference between the two Josephs in the Bible.” I continue to be in amazement as to how God is bringing people into our church who have no previous church experience. BTW – we are going to hook this gentleman up with a Bible.
A mother and daughter were at our church on a Sunday recently for the very first time. This mother did not go to our worship service but rather sat through the entire Kidz Church program with her daughter. Afterwards, the mother went up to our Children's Director and explained that she was an atheist but her daughter wanted to go to church so she brought her. She then asked if we had a Bible that we could give her daughter to help her understand better. My prayer is that this Bible will also help this mother to understand better as well. Somewhere I have to believe that a faithful grandmother must be praying for her daughter and grand-daughter. Will you pray for them too?