I really enjoy visiting churches outside of Donetsk. One of my goals for 2012 has been to spend at least one Sunday a month do just that.
Yesterday I had the great privilege of going to Dzerzhinsk. More than 40,000 people consider it home and as I drove into the city there was a sign that proudly stated, :Dzerzhinsk: City of Miners. I learned there are 6 working mines in the city.
I was able to find the church with some help from the locals who knew where the street was and then a lady walking on the street helped point me to the church. Church leadership was waiting for me and we quickly discussed the order of the service and agreed to what would take place.
After I preached, the pastor preached from Joshua 1:6-9. In these 4 verses the phrase “be strong and courageous” is repeated three times. Joshua is one of my favorite Old Testament books and I love the concluding promise in verse 9: Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
More than three years ago, I did a short study on the promise often repeated in the Bible that God is with us. I had mentioned this study and the promise during my sermon and then the pastor preached from Joshua where the Lord made the same promise to Joshua. I love it when the Lord puts sermons together like He did yesterday. It brought great encouragement to me.
After learning more about the church and the area surrounding, I realized that they are in the midst of great opportunities in their community. As I left there, I reflected on the pastor’s sermon and prayed that they would be strong and courageous as they try to reach people with the gospel.