Summary: This sermon is the message delivered on the church’s 40th anniversary dealing with where the Lord has brought us from as a church.
We’ve Come This Far By Faith
9/8/2002 40th Celebration Deutoronomy 8:1-18 Hebrews 10:35-39
Today we celebrate our 40th anniversary and declare that we have come this far by faith. The year was 1961. The United States had attempted to overthrow the new Government of Cuba. The attempt had failed miserably. Cuba aligned itself with the Soviet Union, and began receiving military aid from it. By the fall of 1962, the world was on the brink of a nuclear war.
American spy planes flying over Cuba had revealed that the Soviet Union was building offensive nuclear missile installations. If installed and launched, the missiles could destroy American cities in a matter of minutes. Tension between the Soviets and Americans had been building for years. The United States set up a naval blockade around Cuba.
Would the Soviets challenge the blockade and continue to send in their ships with the rest of the parts needed? Would either nation back down? The lives of millions and maybe even billions of people was at stake.
You would have thought that those dramatic events would have consumed the thoughts of God. But God’s wisdom, God’s grace, and God’s love is far greater than any national conflict or any international crisis. Sure God was concerned about the Cuban missile crisis, but God also had an agenda of His own.
A part of the heart of God was focused not on Washington D. C with President Kennedy. A part of God’s heart targeted a tall young man fresh out of seminary in Cleveland, Ohio in the section of the city known as Glenville. His name was Rev. David Zuverink , and God had placed in his heart a desire to build a church. The Spirit of God was moving especially in the lives of a number of people on East 107th, East 108th, East 109th and Elk Avenue. In the face of a world crisis, God called them to walk by faith and to build Him a church.
As in the book of Acts, they began meeting in one another’s homes to do bible study, to pray and to fellowship. They went from house to house knocking on doors to find others who had a need for God in their lives. They came together, walking by faith, believing that they had been called to minister in an area where a former Glenville Presbyterian Church had closed its doors just a few years earlier.
They believed that God had a mission for them to begin and to complete. There were social issues, civil right issues, and spiritual issues they felt called by God to address in order to bring freedom to the lives of people in Cleveland. In the Old Testament. God’s people the Israelites had been slaves for 430 years. God sent Moses to be their leader to set them free.
God promised that God would lead them to a new land where there would be no more slavery, and the land would be produce all kinds of food for them to eat and minerals for them to use. It was wonderful. It became known as the promised land, because God promised to give it to them.
On the night before the people were set free from Egypt to go to the promise land, they celebrated with a meal called Passover. It was joyous time as they were marching out of Egypt set free to serve the Lord.
Just like that first Passover celebrated by Moses and God’s people as they prepared to leave Egypt, so the people of Glenville marched together and celebrated the birth and charter of Glenville United Presbyterian Church in 1962.
Here we are some 40 years later, looking back over what God has done, and we are standing on the verge of entering into ministry in ways that at one time seemed impossible. What is our purpose church?------“our purpose is to bring people into a right relationship with God and to equip them for the ministry of Jesus Christ by teaching the word and by providing opportunities to worship, fellowship and serve God in a loving and a caring community.”
With the vision of New Life Fellowship Church and the New Life Center, we are on the verge of entering a promised land that God has for us. It’s not a physical land that we can touch, but it’s a place in the future where we can enjoy the blessings of God.
God had called Moses so that the people could be free to enjoy the good things of life while serving the Lord their God. God had prepared everything for them. God did a number of miracles to bring the people to the boundaries of the land He wanted to give them. But when they got to the land, they sent in spies to make sure it was all that God had told them it would be. 12 men went forward. All of them came back with the report that what God had for them was far greater than what they had imagined.