This morning I want to share my heart about The River. God put this ministry on my heart about 18 months ago. He told me that I was to come to the Gila Valley and start a work for Him and that He would fulfill all of the vision that He had given me so many years ago. That was His plan for me. When I got here, there was an adjustment period and a time for preparation, in the Spirit. I met with a local pastor and shared my heart for ministry with him in order to be up-front about my plans. After all, Jesus said that a shepherd always uses the door, but a thief comes and goes some other way (John 10). The pastor welcomed me to be in his church and serve until such time that God called me away.
The pastor left a few short months after our meeting. I continued on in the church in order to help in any way that I could. Even though I had been somewhat reserved, by intention, I had grown to care about this flock and wanted to see them grow in the Lord. I was blessed to minister the Word there on a few occasions and offered to serve as an interim (temporary) pastor at no compensation. It didn’t seem that the Lord was opening that door though, as there was little to no response. So I met with the leaders and we broke bread together. We discussed my plans to start a new work. When God calls you, it’s not like you have an option to decline, unless you want to be in disobedience. I shared my heart and desire for that body to find a pastor and continue to grow.
I knew that I had been released from that church, by the Holy Spirit and that the time was right for The River to begin. I knew that I was only there temporarily to begin with and never tried to indicate otherwise. Some people from that church have begun attending services at The River. I did not invite them. My words to them have been consistent: you should only be coming here if God has released you from where you were. And if He has released you, then you need to do it the right way and let the leadership know and walk in love. I have learned over the years that how you leave one thing affects how you enter something new. As I shared with the leadership of that church that night when we met, if any do come, on their own, I will preach and teach the Word to them and love them with God’s love. We are all one body in the Lord.
My desire is to grow The River through outreach ministry, by reaching the unbeliever and the unchurched. We have started several outreaches and will continue to add more as the Lord instructs. I was very pleased that we had several people attend Sunday that had not been going to church anywhere. I continue to pray for the other church to be blessed and for God to send them a pastor that meets their specific needs. I want revival for all of the churches in the area. I talked with the head of the local ministerial association yesterday and offered my assistance in any area needed. Sadly, this leader indicated that non-denominational churches were the most difficult to get involved, that they always wanted the focus to be on them. Jesus said that the greatest among us would be our servant. My desire for The River and my ministry is to simply be a servant. The time when I measured success by numbers and dollars is long gone for me. I want my work here to be gold, silver and precious stones at the judgment seat of Christ, not wood, hay and stubble to be burned up. My intention is to build the work here according to God’s divine order because unless the Lord builds the house, we labor in vain.
If you are reading this and live in the Gila Valley and don’t attend church anywhere, I encourage you to come out and be a part of what God is doing at The River. We will speak the truth in love and challenge you to reach your full potential in God. We don’t follow rules but instead follow the Bible and try to live it out in our daily lives. Feel free to call me with any questions you may have at (928) 792-3136.