Summary: A sermon that casts vision for our church, and at the end I share our goals.
Pastor Glenn Newton August 22, 2004
Jer. 29:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
This verse that a just shared with you is the verse that God gave me seven years ago when Nola and I had just moved to Clarksville to be your pastor. Most of you weren’t here back then, Please let me share just a little of our story, and then I want to spend the rest of our time talking about where I believe God wants us to go from where we are.
This local Church of the Nazarene was organized in 1956, so we have been in this community for 48 years. The church’s history has been very steady because we have had some very dedicated and strong Christian leaders and laymen throughout these years. For the majority of this time, the church met at 316 E. Cherry St. where our Next Generation Daycare ministry now resides, and because of the size of the building, the church pretty much stayed between 40-60 people during this time in history. About two years ago we celebrated our Homecoming Sunday and invited back many of the folks who have worshiped in our church over the years… We heard some great stories of faith, fellowship, and how God has been working through the people of this church down through the years.
When Nola and I came in Late Feb. 1997 to interview for the church, we didn’t have any idea of what to expect. I didn’t know Arkansas had mountains…. I guess I should have known since you can’t have hillbillies without hills…. Right? Anyway to be honest, when I knew God had made it clear that we were to leave our former church, we sent resumes to 15 different districts, in 15 different states. Arkansas was last on my list because I knew absolutely nothing about the state, or it’s people.
We came for that interview, there were 20 people at the church that night as Nola and I met first with the District Superintendent, and he showed us around town a little bit, then we came to the church for a special service, I believe it was on a Thursday night. I preached a little sermon hoping the folks would like what they heard… I’m smarter than I look, because I made sure Nola sang two songs that night.. I knew she would impress with her voice. We made it through the service, met with the Board and asked questions and answered some questions…. It was an exciting time… and I knew God’s hand was with us. The Church board voted unanimous that night to let the whole church vote on us the very next Sunday, so Nola and I went back to Illinois praying for God’s help in making this decision. It was an 8 hour trip back to Illinois, and before we left the state, we both knew that this was the place for us…. The church voted and we accepted.
Nola and I along with the Girls have had a great 7 ½ years here, we have had so much fun… we have shared some heartbreaks and heartaches, we have made some small changes over the last seven years… and we have grown to love you more and more through the whole process. God’s call upon our lives, upon ministry to serve you is as strong as ever and we are thrilled to be apart of your lives and the New Hope Ministry that just beginning to bloom.