Summary: A first year Anniversary sermon for our church.
The Good Hand of Our God at GBC
(Anniversary Sunday 2005)
TEXT: Nehemiah 2:8 – “And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.”
Nehemiah 2:18 – “Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king's words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.”
Nehemiah testified about the “good hand of…God” upon him in verse 8. The Lord has been good to us at Grace Baptist Church, hasn’t He? When I think of the good hand of God upon us at Grace, I think of many victories and many landmarks along the way. As I look back, I think we can thank God for “the good hand of our God upon us.”
Now there’s something about publicly expressing God’s goodness that motivates others. Nehemiah had received permission from the Persian emperor to return from captivity in Persia to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls around Jerusalem that had fallen into ruin due to past wars and subsequent neglect. When Nehemiah arrived and told the Jerusalem rulers of his mission, they were skeptical at first.
But verse 18 tells us that he told them of “the hand of my God which was good upon me.” The response was immediate and overwhelming: They said, “Let us rise up and build!”
Today I want to share some ways I have seen the good hand of God on our church, and then I want to give you some time at the end to share how God’s hand has used Grace Baptist church to be a blessing to you personally.
As I look back over the last year at Grace, I see the good hand of God over and over again.
I. WE SEE THE GOOD HAND OF OUR GOD IN THOSE THE LORD BROUGHT OUR WAY TO HELP US GET THE CHURCH OFF THE GROUND
Illus. – I remember our first Sunday morning service. It was the strangest service I’d ever been in my life. We all gathered and nobody knew anybody. The only folks we had from our mid-week Bible study to start the church with were my family, the Hazelets, the Troupes, Gail Vega and Niya Harris. Well, Susan was manning the nursery, Gail was teaching the Childrens Church, and I had Jesse and Steve tied up ushering, so there was NOBODY else to welcome a slew of first-time visitors who came. They just swooshed in just before church, and then swooshed out before I could even shake most of their hands.
And I committed the greatest faux pas of my entire ministry—I forgot to hand out visitor’s cards for all the people who came—so they ALL got away!
Almost all, that is. What happened is that the Lord brought back the next Sunday those He wanted to be a blessing to our church.
We already had gems in my wife, the Hazelets, the Troupes, Gail and Niya. But in that those first two services there were two families who have been with us ever since who have been of inestimable help in so many ways—the Crumps and the Johnsons.
We can see clearly the good hand of our God upon us in bringing in all those blessed folks I mentioned into our church to labor and sacrifice and give of their lives and their resources to the Lord to help build this work for God’s glory.
II. SECOND, WE SAW THE GOOD HAND OF GOD IN BRINING PEOPELE TO GOD.
It was on our second Sunday service that we had our first profession of faith. Buddy Crump had come the first Sunday and had come up during the invitation to rededicate his life. That week I visited in his home, but it became clear that he did not have a clear concept of salvation. In his home I had the joy of winning him to the Lord myself.
I wish more people had come to Christ, but praise God for every one who has trusted in Christ as their Savior since Grace Baptist Church has come into existence: Buddy, his daughter, Ashley, Dean Becker, Julia Doyle, Holly Smith, Will Strong, Jr., Jesse Hazelet, his daughter, Jasmin, Andrew McIntyre and Allen Sligh.
Those are just the ones I could remember last night off the top of my head. Aren’t you glad of the good hand of God on the lives of these people? Those of you who found Christ here—who now know you’re going to heaven because Grace Baptist Church was here to show to you the way to eternal life and forgiveness of sins—aren’t you glad the good hand of God guided you here? Those of you who have labored for the Lord week after week—aren’t you glad that through your faithfulness in some way you were instrumental in some of these people coming to Christ? Aren’t you glad that the good hand of God brought you here to Grace Baptist?