A Time for Change.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us that there is a time for everything under heaven. I am certainly reminded of that truth as our church relocates and relaunches this week. Undoubtedly, many things are changing and will change as Redeemed settles into a new city (Torrance), a new facility (2545 W. 237th Street Suite A), and a new Sunday worship service time (9:30am). With all these changes and more, it is all too easy to become overwhelmed with the intricacies of a new facility. What should the color scheme be? How many chairs should be in the sanctuary? What color should the chairs be? How should the furniture be arranged? What should the sound system include? Where should the display screens be mounted? What should the various rooms be used for? The questions and answers go on and on. All of these questions must be answered and, in all honesty, a lot of the answers are neither right or wrong. But there is a possible problem in all of this. The potential issue begins when our hearts are not aligned with our Lord. In the midst of all these adjustments it is only natural to assert one's preferences and one's own opinions on how changes should take place. The danger is that it is easy to seek our own interests above all others, which directly opposes the commands we receive in Philippians 2. Moreover, being overly focused on one's wishes for the new facility can burglarize God's glory in the midst of the great work He is doing.
I must confess, over the past few months I have wrestled with myself in this area. One thing that continues to help me when I find myself prioritizing my will for God's church rather than submitting to His will for His church is reflecting on what God has done and what He is doing. God has done a great work in Redeemed South Bay, something far greater than I could have ever imagined and He is continuing to do a great work. From the inception of this local church in December of 2013 God's grace has been more than sufficient in every way. God has been, is, and will be graciously faithful to His church. Reflecting on God's faithfulness has a way of ushering thankfulness into our hearts. As we launch our new service time, in our new facility, in a new city this Sunday, July 3rd, we want to do it with a full and thankful heart. In recognition of God's faithfulness, I believe it is fitting to reflect back on and look forward to His work as we say farewell to Redondo Beach and Hello to Torrance!
Reflecting on our Time in Redondo Beach.
Sovereign Grace Bible Church (SGBC): Redondo Beach has been what we call "home" from day one and that is thanks to SGBC. They welcomed us not only to use their facility, but also to form a deeply rooted love between our churches as we planted. God used them mightily to encourage us, love us, and bless us and for that we are forever thankful.
1:30PM Sunday Worship Service: This unique time was definitely not for the faint-hearted. It was hot, it interfered with many Sunday plans, and it was not helpful to football fans. But what this service time did do, at least in my mind, was identified a group of people who were willing to give up plans and the niceties of an early worship service in order to commit to worshipping Christ and fellowship with His beloved church. There are many faithful brothers and sisters who call Redeemed their " home" church and many of them have been here since day one. What a blessing it is to see, know, and live life together with people who are committed to the local church, even when it is not convenient with their schedules.
Evangelism Sunday: One of the blessings of having an afternoon service was that it afforded us the opportunity to go out every Sunday before church to evangelize and invite people to church. Although we will not go out at 6:30am to witness and invite people to church in Torrance, I do know that many seeds were planted in Redondo Beach and that the people who participated in this ministry are better equipped to continue it, perhaps after worship service at the new facility in Torrance.
Baby Boom: There are nearly 15 babies that God knit together during our stay at SGBC. For a church of our size that is quite tremendous. One of the sweetest memories I will have is peaking my head into the nursery and seeing all those sweet children. May the boom continue in Torrance and may these kiddos grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Amen!
Conversions & Baptisms: A handful of people were converted to Christ and even more were baptized. What a blessing it is to remember the dear sister (she has now moved out of state) who voiced her anger towards the preaching pastor on Sundays for presenting the reality of sin... That is of course until she confessed her sinfulness and called upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. Praise be to God through Jesus Christ, for He alone saves sinners!
Ambulance Sirens During Sermons: I guess when your church meets on Pacific Coast Highway it is bound to happen. That is. at least one siren in the midst of every sermon. If there is one thing that I can say about leaving Redondo Beach it is, "Good riddance to those intrusive sirens!"
Looking Forward to our Time in Torrance!
Air Conditioning: Just in time for the summer heat... the new facility has air conditioning! I thank God that He sustained us through the heat exhaustion we experienced the last two summers. In all seriousness, we know that AC is not a necessity, for the vast majority of believers worship without it throughout the world, but we are certainly thankful for it.
9:30 Sunday Worship Service: Again, Thanks and Praise to God for all of those who sacrificed convenience in order to be part of this great church! We are certainly thankful for an opportunity to worship the Lord in the morning.
A Place to Call our Own: One of the blessings of having a new facility is that it opens up opportunities for more ministry. We are a church that emphasizes the family, which means we appreciate God's design for the family and desire to support it rather than thwart it, so we are not expecting to have an activity every night of the week, but we are able and expecting to have some of our current and new ministries function at the new facility.
Centrally Located Facility: In God's providence, He saw fit to give us a building that is closer to or will take less time to travel to for the vast majority of the congregation. What a blessing!
Torrance: We are excited to be a light in a new city. Torrance, like many cities, is a city where some great churches exist, yet where more great church are needed. We look forward to impacting the city and the South Bay with Gospel truth and love for our neighbors.
Hof's Hut & Torrance Crossroads: For those of who like to rise early for breakfast or for those who like to eat out nearby church after service there is a Hof's Hut at the end of our street and there are also a plethora of businesses and restaurants at Torrance Crossroads. These are great areas to make acquaintances, invite people to church, and share the Gospel.
Redondo, Torrance, & the Ends of the Earth
There are certainly many other things that could be added to the above lists. In a nutshell, as I reflect on where we have been and where we are going, I am most of all thankful for God's grace, provision, and faithfulness. God's faithfulness to us should move us to faithfulness for Him. Regardless if we are in Redondo, or Torrance, or any other city for that matter, we are ministers of reconciliation. Regardless of color scheme, chair size, and sound systems, we are Gospel ministers. Our hope, our trust, our joy, our contentment, will only and can only be found in the reality that we have been made children of the Most High God through the person and work of Jesus Christ. If and when we are focused on that truth, then preferences and opinions about the particulars of a new facility lessen and desire for His will, His name, and His glory to be more fully known overwhelms us. As we begin the next chapter as a church family, may we be unwaveringly committed to the Word of Good, unabashedly desirous of God's will, and unashamedly zealous for God's glory.
To Him be all praise forever more!