JOHN: Well, tonight I had intended to take a look back the 18th verse of James, chapter 1, but as I got into it, I realized it was probably a series. Why are you laughing? The 18th verse of James 1, “Of his own will begot us -- begot He us,” talking about our salvation by His sovereignty, demands a closer look than we really have time tonight to do. So I was thinking about what I might say from the Word of God before we have a little time of testimony. We are going to do that tonight; it should be a wonderful time. And I was reading the 7th chapter of Judges, and just refreshing my mind. You don’t even need to turn to it. I just want to sort of put it in your mind.
I was reading about Gideon. I was thinking about how God used a very few people to start Grace Community Church 30 years ago in a nursery. Just a handful of folks, really, starting in a home, moving to a nursery, and then to this location and to what we have now. And thinking to myself about how God has a way of using a very small number of people to accomplish a great task, and my mind immediately went to the story of Gideon. The Bible tells us that the Midianites, who were the enemies of the people of God, were so numerous that they really couldn’t be counted. They were like grasshoppers it says. They just literally blanketed the land. They were absolutely every place. And, of course, they were set to come against the people of God.
God called for his people to come to deal with this multitude of grasshopper-like people covering the land and also says that their camels couldn’t be numbered. And they were, “like the sand of the seaside for their multitude.” Massive amount of thousands upon thousands and tens of thousands of people. And you remember the story. How God gathered together all of the people of Israel that wanted to fight, and then began to sort of whittle down the number. You remember, He said to them, if all of you go out and win the battle, you will give yourself the credit for it. And since I want the credit, we’re going to pare this group down.
And first He said, that everybody who wants to go home, go home. And that eliminated a large number of people, in fact, as I recall, 22,000. And about 10,000 stayed. And so, He said that’s still too many, so you remember, He sent them down to the brook and He had them drink some water. And He selected the ones who drank in a certain way. That is by putting their hands to their mouth.
I’ve heard people say, “Well, that shows that they’re more alert. They’re better soldiers.” No. It had nothing to do with that. All it had to do with was a means by which God could pick out 300 people. And that may have been the more unusual way to drink. I guess the usual way was to lie down and lap up whatever was desired. These people just did it with their hand, and the Lord used that simple means to choose 300 men.
You remember the story. God sent them out. By use of a pitcher and a light, and a trumpet they totally devastated and destroyed the entire Midianite hoards. And that was God’s way of saying that He can conquer great things and – great enemies and accomplish great things through small numbers of people. And when it was all done, the people gave God all the credit. And that’s certainly the way it ought to be. Whenever God wins the victory, He ought to receive the glory. And I trust in our lives, He does.
When you think back to the beginnings of Grace Community Church and the few committed people, a few people who believed that God wanted a church in the San Fernando Valley when the valley was just beginning to develop and grow 30 years ago, and by God’s grace they began to move in the direction the Lord wanted them to move. You remember the great cry in the Old Testament account judges the sword of the Lord and Gideon. It was not only Gideon, it was the sword of the Lord. And it was not only the few people, it was also God who was involved. And the result of that is yet to be written in eternity, and we’re so grateful that we can be a part.
I remember when Patricia and I were on our honeymoon. We just, as you know, last week celebrated our 23rd anniversary. So 23 years ago about this same time – in fact, it might have been right at this very weekend as I think back on it now – we were returning from our honeymoon, and we visited Grace Community Church on a Sunday morning just to attend the service. It was over in the chapel, only the chapel wasn’t the chapel. It was – it was narrower than that. It has been widened. In fact, it was widened the year we came, 1969. So it was – it was the year we came to be Pastor here.
When we were married, it was very narrow; linoleum floor, folding chairs. But it was exciting. It was full of enthusiasm. And we visited on a Sunday, and we just had a wonderful, wonderful time. Little did we ever dream that the Lord in His grace would call us to be here later on in His providence. Things developed and God gave us the privilege of coming here. I was turned down to be the Pastor of another church in southern California, and I know now that that was God’s grace. God’s provision. I didn’t understand it at the time. They said I was too young.
Grace Community Church folks, I guess, the Lord sort of turned them away from the reality of my youth and God worked so that we could come here. And we are so grateful to see what God has done. I can remember, Sunday after Sunday, standing outside the chapel greeting people. I remember the first Sunday. I remember when we had to seat people on the platform and the steps, and I would preach in a – in a little circle with people all around me, all down the stairs.
I remember when I – it got so intimate that people would interrupt the sermon. I remember a guy in the second row jumping up and saying, “I don’t buy that!” I was absolutely shocked because they never told us about that in seminary, you understand. You know, your first reaction is haya-gaga, you know. But I remember a lady who, in the middle of my Easter sermon, left the pew and got on her stomach in the middle aisle, and started to crawl down the middle aisle towards me, like she was going under the barbed wire in a war zone or something.
And she just kept coming on her stomach, and of course, everyone was watching because it was just the chapel and there was only just those two middle sections. And people were all straining their neck as this woman worked her way down the aisle. And I was just coming to the best part of my sermon, but felt it very expeditious to have a moment of prayer. And so, I just ended the sermon and prayed, and somebody scooped her up and took her out. And we found out later that she had a weekend pass from the mental institution and her husband didn’t really want to deal with her, so he dropped her off at the church.
I remember those days very well. I remember the day that Monty Brewer was kidnapped by another man from a mental institution. And while the car stopped at a signal, he jumped out and ran all the way back to the church and came storming in the front door, sweating profusely. And I said, “What in the world are you doing?” And then he’d tried to tell us he’d been kidnapped and we believed it. It turned out later the kidnapper showed up at the church and tried – tried to disrupt the morning services and so forth.
Those aren’t all the things I remember. But there are so many, many things that, as I look back, are indications of the attack of the enemy. Some things like that, some perhaps more severe things. I remember dealing with demons on occasion in the prayer room, one particular volatile occasion. I’ve seen all the things that the enemy has tried to do. We’ve struggled with all the little things, the petty things that come up with people living together like we do, and yet through all these years, we’ve seen the Lord Jesus Christ exalt Himself and build His church, and we’re so very, very grateful for that.
And little did we know the things that God would accomplish with the very few that saw the vision. We thought it might be kind of enjoyable tonight to just have a little time of testimony and hear from you what Grace Church means to you. We don’t want you to – to give your whole life history, but just tell us what Grace Church means to you in as few words as you are able to do. And that way, we’ll be able to sort of get our arms around this thing. You know, we all come, we sit down, we look, we see what happens, but we don’t get to hear from each other always. And what does the church mean in your life? It’s so very important.
To start things off I’m going to ask Dick Smith. Where are you, Dick? If you’d step up to one of those microphones. Dick is one of the charter members. In fact, Dick married Shirley Householder, whose father was the first Pastor of Grace Community Church. I’ve told many people this, Dick. Maybe I never told you. I believe that you’re one of very few people that if God hadn’t moved in your heart to do this and hadn’t made you a part of this church for so many years, this church wouldn’t be what it is today. If I haven’t told you that personally, I’ve told it to you now. And I mean it from the bottom of my heart. I’m grateful for you, Shirley, and your family, and what you’ve meant to the church.
DICK: Yeah, Russ, I could react to one thing. When he said 30 years, I’m one on the other side of that 30 years. And Russ being – when he made the announcements about being 30 years old. And I guess out of this weekend and a little bit of recognition, it certainly isn’t deserved as far as I’m personally concerned. But one thing that kind of stuck in my mind, somebody came up yesterday at the picnic and said, “Gee, I want to meet a founding father of the church.” And I went home last night and looked in the mirror, and I don’t see the gray in the beard and the white hair that I think a founding father should have. And it comes real quick, Russ, those years, as they add on.
John, I know you’ve mentioned not getting a lot, but I’d just like to say a couple of things personally. First, I feel so fortunate that I came to know the Lord as a high schooler up at Forest Home many years ago. And what a joy that was. And then as I was in college, the opportunity I had of doing a little youth work for a few years. And through the church that we were attending at that time, I had a chance to meet my wife, Shirley. Again, what the church that’s meant for me.
Then in regards to Grace Church, I feel that I have been the fortunate one in regards to Grace Church for three things in particular. And the first is that whatever talents the Lord did give me, He gave me the opportunity to use them. And I’ve had a chance to serve at Grace Church and that’s a joy. And it’s been a joy right from the beginning and all the way through, and it doesn’t change. Then Grace Church has also been a place for me to serve, at least not serve, but to - besides serving is to worship. And of course, through the years, what an opportunity to worship the Lord, and that has been true.
And then the third thing that I think of that Grace Church means to me, it’s been a place for my family to have had that opportunity of growing up. And all five of our children have come to know the Lord through our efforts and here at the church. And what a joy it is as a father to be able to know that his children were rooted in the faith and grew up in the faith here at Grace Church. And that now I know that my five children - two of them are in the area of youth work themselves; one of them just took on the task of junior church that they attend and are responsible for that.
Another has just recently taken on the leadership of an elder of a church, and growing in the faith and so many responsibilities of that way. And so I can look back and say Grace Church has meant an awful lot to me. And I think out of all of the things that I could say, that I’m the lucky one and the one that has received the blessings.
JOHN: Thank you, Dick. God bless you. Thank you so much. Dick, did the first church service meet in your house, the first time you met together?
DICK: Yes, we met at our – our place, about 20 of us to decide whether to start a church, or not.
JOHN: Ahh, 20 people met at his house to decide whether to start a church or not. I’m glad you decided to start the church. That’s great. I want to tell a story about the next person I want to call on before he comes, Burton Michaelson. Burton has been a very special friend to me in many, many ways. Years ago when I first came to Grace, and for most of those first half – first years when I was here half of the time maybe, or more, we had a very close friendship. We spent time together. We traveled some together. It’s because of my busy schedule lately that I’ve missed out on that privilege with he and Delores, and I – I regret it greatly. We’ll make up for it in heaven, and maybe before we get there I hope.
But Burt has basically been God’s servant and instrument as a general contractor; and far more than that as a man of God, as a man with tremendous practical wisdom, that God has used to build every single building on this campus. And not only that, but to be a part of the design of all of them. We have always sort of done our own. And it goes back to a story Burt told about himself as a child. When his father died, they were involved under Dr. Magee’s ministry at Church of the Open Door, and as little children with a widowed mother, they had great needs for a place to live. And the men of the Church of the Open Door came out to – to a vacant lot in north Hollywood, and on a series of Saturdays as I understand it, they built a house for Burton and his sister and his mother. As an act of love for a widow and her children.
The result of that was that since the Lord built him a house, he determined someday he’d build the Lord a house. And it was that kind of commitment that resulted in what we have here, and the tremendous gift of God to this church that this man, Burton Michaelson, has been. He is another of those very, very few people who have been the difference in this church and what God has chosen to do here. And so I’m just grateful for him. Burton, where are you? Now, after that you’d better be here. There you are. Great. Let’s thank Burton. We can do that.
BURTON: I don’t know what to say after all that. Anyhow, it’s just really been a privilege. Like Dick, it’s been all our privilege. And there’s really been no work in it. When you do the – what the Lord lays on your heart to do, it is no work. It’s just a perfect joy. I was just thinking today of the boy with five loaves and the two fishes in Matthew. And that’s the way I feel about this church. We gave our little bit of talent, our little bit of time, our little bit of money, and the Lord multiplied it. And we – and it’s been the joy of Delores’ life and mine to be a part of that for 30 years, to actually see the hand of the Lord work.
And there was no rich people involved in this church from the beginning til now. There was no great leaders, lay or otherwise. We had good Bible teachers. And even when the Lord took them home, we didn’t have any long discussions or long interviews for Pastors. The Lord just laid it on our hearts the next man to take his place, and it just went very smoothly. And we really did nothing but stand back and watch the Lord move. And it’s just been a thrill of my life. And like Dick, I thank this church and the other people who have taught over these years for – for our children’s Christian education, and 16:37 theirs is to know the Lord, and for Delores and I, thank you.
JOHN: Thank you, Burt. Now truthfully, you can see how young this church is because those are the men who founded this church. You can see how young they are. This is not a church that’s been around a long time. You know, I – I remember the night I candidated here. I – I had preached here a couple of times after Dr. Elvee died, who was the second of the Pastors here. And they asked me if I would candidate. And I remember I – I may have mentioned this to you before – but I remember I – I was studying Romans 7, and I was really having a difficult time.
I’d been at Hume Lake at a conference in the summer, and I spent a good portion of the week studying that chapter and dialoguing it. But I really didn’t have a grip on that interpretation at that particular time in my life, and I was struggling with it. And about the time they asked me to candidate here, I – I really had come to understand Romans 7 and I was so excited about it. And I remember Patricia and I came – at the time, we were living in La Mirada, because I was on the staff at Talbot Seminary – and we came out there for that service. And I got up and I – I didn’t really have very many notes to preach from. I just had a heart ready to explode about Romans 7.
I had been studying it for several months and never preached any of it, so I was – I was really loaded. And I got up, and she was sitting in the front row, and I just - I just preached. I mean, I just let it all come out. And I – I felt in my heart that I’d really delivered my soul and I felt just that, that sense of having done what God wanted me to do, and I went over as the service was closing and stood beside Patricia. And I looked down for that wifely affirmation that every husband wants, and she said, “Well, that’s the end of that ministry.”
And I was devastated! I said, “What do you mean?” She said, “Do you know how long you talked?” I said, “No.” She said, “I didn’t think you did. One hour and 25 minutes.” Now you really shouldn’t do that when you’re candidating. And after that, several elders came up to me and said, “If you were our Pastor, would you teach us the Bible like that every week?” I mean, that was like saying sic ‘em to a mad dog. You know?
And that was so exciting to me that – to know that they wanted to know the Word of God. Well, I’ve reformed a little bit off of that hour and 25 minutes, but not much. Right? But I found a people who were so open and so ready and so warm, and so enthusiastic, and from the very beginning, it’s been a tremendous joy.
Let’s hear from you. We have half an hour for you to just share very briefly what does Grace Church mean to you? Walk up to a microphone and if you want to stand in line, maybe three deep or four, and as soon as it gets down to three or four, someone else can step up and just share what the church has meant to you. Cliff?
CLIFF: Thank you, John. November will be nine years since I’ve come to the Lord. And when Beverly did that, and her influence in bringing me to the Lord, she brought me to a place called Grace Church. It was the only church I’ve ever known. Someone named John MacArthur was teaching. She said, “You’ll like him. He’s different.” I – I had no other background. I didn’t even know what was in a Bible. But I knew Jesus Christ was my Lord.
What Grace Church means to me is a place of absolute truth. You can base your life on it. You can go through the tragedies of life. We’ve gone through some difficulties. But the Word of God is true. And in seeing other churches around – and I could have gone into cults; I could have gone anywhere. But God brought me here. I’m very thankful that we can base our lives on God’s truth. Thank you, John.
JOHN: Thank you for your faithfulness, too, believe me. Yes. You know, let’s hold that applause or we’ll take up time. Alright? I know what’s in your heart. Okay.
MALE: Thirty years ago we came from Chicago, and a friend of ours from Chicago, a Will Marriott, a friend Marriott, invited us out to a new church. But we had decided we wanted to fellowship close to home, so we didn’t know at the time it was Grace Church that was beginning. So we decided well, we’d serve the Lord in our own neighborhood. Well, we had a chance, but we didn’t take it at that time to be a part of Grace.
But 14 years ago, our children discovered Grace. And at that time they were looking for fellowship and I was sort of reluctant because I felt that there would be no place for me. And I was far from wrong because God has done so much because of Grace in our lives. First of all, our children weren’t married at the time. Now all three of them have met their partners here. Our last child got married, happened to marry the daughter of the first secretary of Grace.
To carry it just a little bit further, 40 years ago I wanted to be a teacher and I didn’t make it. 1950 I accepted Christ and at the same time I met my wife at the place where Kiwanis started in Chicago. Later on, I became involved with – I was going to school here in California in 1960. After work, I went to school and I got my BA, and I figured when I was 55, I’d retire, become a teacher. Little did know after I started Grace, that they’d start a school here.
And God in His plan, in His time, allowed me to become a kindergarten teacher at the age 55. And I just want you to know that Grace really is my home, and I can’t think of any other place I would ever want to be. And if you ever see me around here during the week, you’ll see about 30 little guys and girls trailing behind me or in front of me. Thank you.
JOHN: Thank you. They call him Papa Joe. Papa Joe. Okay, thank you, Joe. It’s great to have you.
JOE: Hi, John.
JOHN: Hi, Joe. How are you?
JOE: I’m fine.
JOE: I’ve been coming here for like eight years. And when I first came here, the disabled ministry was - it had started, but it was just getting into gear. What this place means to me is it’s a refuge. Because for a disabled guy or girl or whatever, it is – it is very difficult to make it on the outside. The government gives us subsistence wages from SSI.
And I’m thankful for that, don’t get me wrong. But society at large views us as a mistake or – or views us as an eyesore, or – or we messed up or our parents messed up, or whatever. And this place has become a refuge for me. I live my life for Christ now, and He – He provides all my needs. And you guys are my friends, and I love you. Okay? And that’s all I have to say.
JOHN: Well, I love you, Joe. You’re a blessing.
JOE: Thanks a lot.
JOHN: Yeah, you’re a great blessing. You’re an encouragement to me. Now, Joe is a real blessing. Faithful through those eight years. Always with a smile on his face. And I appreciate him so much. Thank you. Ralph?
RALPH: Hi, John. I just want to thank the Lord for the opportunity that I’ve had to minister and all of you ministering to me since I’ve come to grace 13 years ago. But I’ve got to go back before that because I first started coming here before I even knew the Lord. In 1958, when everybody was in the chapel.
And I remember on Wednesday nights they used to have potlucks every single Wednesday night. And those were really neat times for me, even though I didn’t know the Lord. But my mom did and she came here, and she’d minister in the nursery, and I would see what was going on and the exuberance of people’s faces as they showed the love of Christ, and everything. And Dr. Don was just - he was so excited about the Lord and his ministry and it was a real learning experience for me.
And he was very instrumental in me coming to know Christ as my Savior in 1963. And I’ll never forget the first Wednesday night after I accepted the Lord, he asked me to give my testimony. Go up in front of all these people - about 200 people up there and I was scared to death! I didn’t know what to say! I said, I’m going to the service and just kind of explain to them how I accepted the Lord a little bit at the Billy Graham crusade. But – but it was a real neat time, and I just want to thank the Lord for those times, and John, I’ve got to tell you one – one thing.
JOHN: Alright, Ralph.
RALPH: After I went to Bible school in ‘67 through ‘69 and I came back, and Grace was the first church I came to. And I came back the third Sunday that John taught. I remember, you were teaching on the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 and 25 that particular Sunday, and I just loved the teaching. But I went out for the baseball team or the softball team after that, and I was kind of out in the outfield. John MacArthur was at shortstop. And you’ll get a kick out of this, John.
Anyway, I was in the outfield and I watched John play shortstop, and to me, he had such a big head on his shoulder I just felt I didn’t want that kind of pastor teaching me. So after that, I found a little church that really, after two years going there, they really didn’t teach the Word. And then after that, I went through a divorce and went to a lawyer. And he had a – he had a tape on “Marriage Divine” from Ephesians 5. And he told me it was from John MacArthur, and I said, “Oh no, not him.”
Well anyway, I went home and I listened to that tape, and I listened to that tape five and six times because it really ministered to me. And I just want you to know, John, that you’ve been ministering to me ever since, and I just thank the Lord for you. And like Cliff said, the truth that is taught here at Grace, and I just thank the Lord that I’ve had a part of this. Praise God.
JOHN: Thank you, Ralph. Now, I’m not going to defend myself about that baseball game, but I want you know how the Lord kind of cured me. I was – I used to be a fast pitch pitcher in softball. I played a lot of baseball all my life. And one night I had a wedding here, and it was the night that I was to pitch in the regional finals. And the game started at 8:30 in Burbank, and the wedding was at 8:00.
Now a 13-minute wedding is not impossible. It is difficult, but it is not impossible. I had my baseball uniform under a robe. I wore a robe. This is true. My – my wife will verify this. And I married them in fast fashion. By the way, they’re still married. It took. I went out the back door. Slipped on my baseball shoes. And it was a cool evening. I went out. I remember the game. I struck out the first two batters, the third batter I threw him - I used to throw a drop pitch. I came across the top of the ball and turned it – turned it over.
And at that particular point, something snapped in my shoulder, because I hadn’t warmed up. My bicep severed and this connection to my bicep just atrophied and rolled right up like a window shade. So I realized I couldn’t pitch another pitch, obviously. And we were – we only had nine people, so I played first base with one arm the rest of the game. But that was really the end of my pitching career, and I think that was the Lord’s way of saying no more 13-minute weddings, MacArthur. You’ve got to get your priorities right.
So I tried one more time to play ball. I was invited to Mexico, you remember, on this international thing to play the Mexican World Cup team. And while we were playing on national television, I slid into second base and severed the deltoid ligaments in my ankle and broke my leg. And again, the Lord said, “No more baseball.” I don’t know if you remember over in the family center when I preached sitting on a stool with a cast sticking into the pulpit like that. But I think I’ve been weaned away from all of that activity, Ralph.
When I think about that, I’ve got to tell you one more story. This is awful. When – when I think about that pulpit, I can’t help but think about Jim Harris. Some of you will remember. That pulpit was bigger than this one and deeper, so that it was like a cavern in there, and Jim was very, very short, and it didn’t adjust. And so when Jim would preach, we would get a little box. And one night he was preaching, and he made this tremendously important point, and hit the pulpit hard and fell off his box inside the pulpit.
He totally disappeared! But he kept on talking and came crawling back out of the pulpit; set his little box up, and went after it again, you know. By the way, the Lord has brought Jim back and he has, as of this last Sunday, had his first Sunday at Evangelical Free Church in the canyons out in canyon country, where he’s just begun as Pastor. So we’re very excited about that.
I remember one time, Darrell Delisay was preaching on sin over there - I’ll be done with this one - and Darrell was dramatic. It was the end of his sermon and he said, “Do you know what God thinks of sin?” And right then a man blew his nose at full volume. And Darrell, master of the moment as he is, said, “That’s exactly right.” I couldn’t resist that, okay? Next.
MALE: John, what Grace has meant to me for the past eight years since I’ve been here is – one thing that stands out in my mind is the tremendous love that I’ve found here among the people. And two things that really stand out more clear than anything else. I was about six months as a Christian back in ‘78, and through those – through those first times I was growing, I was pulling out of a background that was very heavy into nightclub scene and a lot of women. While the Lord has really taken that out of my life, but one girl to come back into my life about six months, as I said, into a Christian, and I hadn’t seen her for that time.
Well, I was going through counseling with Eddie Endrick at the time. And this one particular day I was so overwhelmed by what I was going to do that night, I knew that if I saw her again, where that was going to lead me to. And I was struggling with that thought and what I was going to do, so I called Eddie about 3:00 one afternoon and said, “Eddie, I’ve got to talk to you.”
So he took me in, he sat down, we talked and talked. It still didn’t relieve the pressure that I had. And so as I walked off, walked down from the upstairs office and down, Nancy Barshall was standing back there. And she had become a good friend to me in six months. And Nancy yelled at me, “Ed,” and I turned around and I just said, “Hi Nancy,” and I kept on walking down.
And I walked all the way down to the bookstore. And I knew where I was going. I was going to meet that girl. Nancy came up behind me and stopped me. And just turned to me and said, “Ed, I love you,” and gave me a big hug. It was that, her love for me as a Christian sister, that pulled me away from that situation that night. I realized the love that we have in this church.
Another instance was as that first year as a Christian, I was going through a divorce and separation. My wife and my son had left the area and they were living up in Fresno. And well, my whole family is there; ‘m the only one here of my family in the L.A. area. And that – that weekend when I moved them away, I got back on the freeway and I went on the on ramp and I realized I didn’t want to come back because nobody was here for me.
And at the time I was going through the Schulmoore study. Doug – Doug Thompson was teaching it, and a lot of friends were there. And when I got on that freeway, I realized – I was in tears – that I wanted to just stop and go back and just give up everything. But I realized I had a family here that would love me. It was the love in this church that drew me back here. It’s kept me here since.
JOHN: That’s great. Thank you so much. That’s great. Thank you.
DREW: I’m not known for that, but I’ll do it. To condense it, I guess I’m real thankful for the people in this church. I look across I see Bill Zimmer smiling, and I look over and I saw Dan and Tony Huff, and behind me, Mike Chandler, and Duncan Grant and my wife, and I’m just especially thankful for the impact they’ve had on my life.
And I remember the time, it was before Dan and I were even attending here that – that frequently. And Dan and I were roommates and I had been a Christian about six months. And happened to mention to Dan I didn’t have my own Bible and he about freaked. He couldn’t believe that a Christian didn’t - I mean, I don’t think he was thinking about being gentle or anything. It just popped out of his mouth, “What! You don’t have a Bible?”
And which kind of leads me into the second thing. I’m so thankful for the – the joy that’s found in the Word. I mean, I had no idea. I told Bill this years ago, that I had no idea how important the Bible was to a Christian. Which is kind of a stupid thing to say, but it’s really where I was at. And I’m so grateful for the fact that our lives are based on fact, and that we have hope that even when our emotions doubt or waiver, that we can’t deny that we’re dealing with reality. And I’m thankful for what God has done in this church to establish that in my life and in other people’s lives, so.
JOHN: Thank you, Drew. I’ve watched you grow and it’s been a tremendous joy to see God work in your heart. Yes.
MALE: Yes, I just wanted to say that I came here in 1979, and I know that it’s always been a sovereignty of God my – I – I tell this because I came out of the California system and I was involved in gangs. And in 1979 my brother got shot by, you know, a riot, a shootout. And it was this Christian that came over to my place, and there was my family and about 50 guys from my gang, and we accepted the Lord.
And see, I know that it was God’s - you know, He chose me to come to this place because then I was pretty damned. I mean, you know, I wasn’t thinking right for being involved in gangs. But this guy, this Christian who introduced me to the Lord and sent me to this church, he was going to The Church On The Way. So I thank God, you know, he knew I was pretty bad mistaken, you know. I had problems already, so why go over there? So I mean, I know that church.
And I still remember also when I first met you, without having met you personally, and it was me - I told my friends about it, that I came - you know, that first Sunday I came excited. I was on fire. And I came thinking - everybody told me, especially the D.E. team that came and witnessed to me after I came to church, you know - they told me that, you know, this Pastor, John MacArthur, he preaches good and he knows really the Word, and he knows the Bible. So I was excited. I wanted to know you, and I came over and sat on the front, right in front.
And then there was this person dressed up in black or kind of a blue dark suit, and I told him it was my first Sunday and I told him that I, you know, I came to hear the Pastor. And he said, “Yeah, well, that’s good. I’m glad you’re here for the first time.” You know, “Nice to have you here.” You know, that kind of introduction. And then when the songs started and when it was time for preaching, then you got up. It was you who was talking to me. You didn’t introduce yourself, you know?
So you know, I’ve seen a lot of growth here, and I do have a lot of friends that I love, and I – I kind of once, two years ago I went to Colorado and - my wife and I - and we learned that once you’re away from this, especially in the church and the products and people that you get to know, you learn that we do take things for granted. But I’m glad that God brought us back.
JOHN: Amen. Good to have you back. Yes.
MALE: Yes, I’ve been coming here about two and a-half years, and I really enjoy the ministries I’ve been involved with. But I go back with MacArthur, it was way back when. My father first came to California about ‘57 I guess. And he came to hear Jack MacArthur, and that was in a church in Glendale. And I’m glad - oh, and my dad first hung around with John here before my mother came to California, so John was a pretty good influence on my father. I’ve been a Christian for about 23 years, and through that church and through Jack’s church, and knowing them, you know, I just decided to come to Grace. Thank you.
JOHN: Thank you. That’s wonderful. Great to know that my dad and I both had an influence in your family. Yes.
CHARLES: Hi. I came to know the Lord through a member of Grace, and she brought me here three years ago after I accepted the Lord, and I was initially overwhelmed by the size of the church. And we sat on about the 5throw and I sat there with my mouth open for about an hour just taking in everything. But I started to grow a lot, because I was very hungry. I grew up in a church that wasn’t really - it didn’t teach the Word. And I didn’t know that there was so much to know. And I was sharing my faith with my sister who became a Christian when she was 13, but didn’t grow because she wasn’t reading.
And I sent her a tape by you. It was on the second coming of Jesus Christ. Because someone was telling her the wrong thing, and I found out the right thing, and I sent it to her. But since it wasn’t a Baptist church, she was afraid of the tape. Because in Texas, everything is southern Baptist, so she stuck it in a drawer in the back for a while, and she heard you on the radio. And she heard Grace Community Church, and she said, “Aah, that’s that guy that Charles is going to - the church where he goes.” So she got the tape out and she studied the tape, listening, and she was convinced that the tape was right.
She called me and we talked. She said, “Charles, do they have any more tapes like that at that church?” And I said, “Well, they’ve got a lot of them.” And I sent her - I sent her a catalog and she spent about $900 in the next few weeks on tapes.
JOHN: May her tribe increase. That’s great. Didn’t you introduce her to me one time?
CHARLES: Yes, I did.
JOHN: I thought you did.
CHARLES: And she cried.
CHARLES: But she started to - happiness.
JOHN: I Know. You can’t imagine how many people who were happier before they saw me. The same reaction. Go ahead.
CHARLES: But she began to grow like wildfire. And my whole family thought they were Christians – they were going to this church I grew up in – but they weren’t. They didn’t really know the Word. And she knew, and she – her – the light that came from her began to shine on the family. And one by one, my whole family came to Christ.
And when – when I think of what – what Grace means to me and I see this church as a - even though it’s in the valley, I see it as a light on a hill. Because it – the – the light of Christ shined to me through a member of this church and my life influenced my sister, and my sister’s love for the Lord influenced my whole family. And my father, who was 61 years old, my whole family - it took my whole family’s conversion for him to see Christ in them, for him to come to Christ. And he accepted Christ in January and he just died this past August.
JOHN: Oh, wonderful.
CHARLES: And we praise the Lord that he was given the grace to see his whole family converted and to accept the truth. And my brother has become a Pastor, and he’s only been a Christian for three years. But he is - the family became a resource for the community and that – that little network has become a church.
JOHN: Oh, wonderful.
CHARLES: And they’ve gotten their information and their understanding of what a church is from Grace. And when I see what Grace has done for me and done for my family, I can see Grace extending all over. And it has changed the lives of my family and it brought my dad to Christ before it was too late.
JOHN: Thank you, Charles.
CHARLES: So that’s what Grace means to me.
JOHN: Oh, that’s great. Now listen, we only have a little time and so don’t anybody else get in line. We – we might not get to you. And try to keep it just as brief and to the point as you can. Alright?
MALE: Okay. Hi, John. What Grace means to me, when I first came here, I was on fire for the Lord, and that’s about all that I had. And I had a family, and what it means to me is, first of all, men that I can trust by seeing in their lives the words that they teach me. You know, they’re not hypocrites. And they taught me how to be a father and how to be a husband. And besides you, probably the greatest people that had an influence in my life are Roy McAtee and John Arris and Gary Ezzo.
MALE: And my flock leader.
JOHN: Good. Thank you for that. That’s great. Alright.
CARL: Yeah, I – I praise God I came here five years ago growing up in an atheistic home. And I saw the miraculous happen over the past five years where I became a Christian and got to lead my mom to the Lord. And my dad, as he was dying of cancer, came to the Lord five minutes before he died. And my brother and his wife and their two kids, and my - just incredible things have happened.
And just two months ago my - one of my other brothers was on an aircraft carrier off of Libya, and he just accepted Christ on that aircraft carrier. And God has done so much through this church. And this church is my home and my family. And it’s so neat that while the rocks and the wood and the hymnals and the Bibles will stay here, we’ll go home with the Lord. And one last thing is – I don’t know if you remember, but five years ago – it was August 23, 1981 – I became a Christian up at Forest Home.
And about a week later – I didn’t know what I was doing. I was in the 8th grade – and I walked up those stairs and I walked passed your secretary’s desk – she wasn’t there – and walked in your door, because it was open, and sat down in front of your desk and said, “Will you disciple me?” At 14 years old.
And you said, “Well, I’m afraid not right now.” And I understand that now, but I just want to say - I just want to say that over the past five years you have discipled me and many people here, and I thank God that you were faithful to preaching His truth, and not your own opinion. Thank you.
JOHN: Thanks, Carl. Thank you very much. Okay, next.
MALE: I came here my second year as a Christian. I’d began my second year at college, at Cal State Northridge as a music major. And that was about six years ago. And over the course of three or four years – well, actually the last four years in college, I’d been hearing the Word of God taught here, and being involved for three years in discipleship evangelism and working with folks there, I began to feel the tug of God on my life to be involved in the ministry of teaching and preaching the Word myself.
And it was a difficult decision to make, but by the end of my last year in college I was ready to go to Talbot Seminary, and now I’m on my third year of seminary at the Master’s seminary. And being involved here at Grace and being on the custodial staff for a couple of years now, I’ve been more and more excited about the Word of God in my own life and the opportunities I’ve had to preach and teach it through pulpit pool and opportunities here.
And just this morning Doug Thompson from the Woodland Hills Church, Shepherd’s Community Church, announced that I would be the first person on paid staff over there at the church. And so, that’s going to be my hands-on experience ministry while I’m finishing up seminary, and I’m really excited about that.
JOHN: That’s wonderful. That’s great. Doug really got together with a group of people in Woodland Hills and they’re just forming a wonderful ministry there. Yes, I want to introduce Paul – is it Hogarude? is that how you say it best?
PAUL: Paul is okay.
JOHN: Okay. He is from Adelaide. Paul is good. He is from Adelaide, Australia. And he’s been with us today and we’ve become acquainted. Speak to us, brother.
PAUL: Okay. I – I came out especially, and I guess the message I want to leave with you is just to say a big thank you to Grace Community Church for all that you’ve meant to others beyond your own country. And we’ve been greatly blessed by your ministry. And also, I’d just like to read a few verses of Scripture to you. We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers, constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness and hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. In the presence of our God and father, knowing brethren the love by God, His choice of you. You became an example to all the believers - not in Macedonia and Achaia, but in other places. For the Word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in this place, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth so that we have no need to say anything to you.
And I just wanted to say thank you to your Pastor for his faithful ministry of the Word. He probably didn’t know it, but he’s a great influence upon our church. I’m a Pastor in the church in Adelaide, south Australia, down in Australia. We started a college, a theological seminary, in 1980 and we’re going to continue to look to your leader, to your Pastors, and to you to continue to let that Word sound out to other countries.
I look forward to the day, and I’ll greatly enjoy this time today – I look around and I see people from every tribe and nation. Well, not quite, but many, many tribes and nations. I was born in Holland, and went out to Australia. I think I was almost called to be a Missionary there, and I just praise God that we, too, are sending people into other nations. And I can’t wait til the day when together we rejoice around the thrown, when people from every tribe and tongue and nation are going to know.
Concerning your 30thanniversary, I praise God for the vision of your Pastor. And I hope that you will embrace it and get behind it. I believe it’s a very important one, because God has given you a privileged position to be a light to many other nations. And I – I say that very seriously. And I trust that you’ll take it in your hearts, you’ll get behind it and allow your men and your women to go to other places and to let that glorious gospel be made known. And I believe God will continue to bless you as He’s done so richly in the past as you continue that. But I really love you. I’d like to go out and give all of you a hug. We – it’s just so great to be with you. It’s been such an encouragement to me. And thank you for the opportunity, Dr. John.
JOHN: Thank you, Paul. You know, we had three luncheons today, Paul. One was prepared by the Single Lights, I believe, or the Ambassador class, one – I can’t remember which. Single Lights? Single Lights. And then they said you have to go for lunch to the second floor of the building. And I went up there and the – all the Filipino people in our congregation were having Filipino potluck. And I came back from that, and they said to me, “What did you have?” I said, “I have absolutely no idea. But it was all good.”
And on the third floor, the Korean people were having a Korean potluck. And it was really incredible to see all these groups of people coming together in the common faith of Christ. I think what we ought to do, Hardy, I know you’re – you’re waiting, but we have two girls over here. Could we just have them go first? And then we’ll just move on.
RONNA: Thanks, Hardy. He’s my friend. My name is Ronna Rosenblum and I’ve been coming to Grace for four years. And, in fact, my first friends were Drew and Deidra Pulver. I didn’t even know anybody – that I was a Christian. And Grace Church, what it means to me, I - three of those years of the four years I’ve been on high school staff. And I’ll tell you, it’s a real blessing to see just a bunch of committed people. And I’m amazed at what goes on in a high school department. Dewey, our beloved Pastor, he brings across the Word faithfully and accurately, and with conviction, and with a lot of levity, after this morning. And he’s just - he’s just great.
And Andy Papp, he just runs the show. He – I marvel at the way he superintends a flock of 350 kids plus. He just does a great job in his wisdom and his sound judgment. And the three staff guys, Gregg Stover and Rich Cooper and Eric Weathers. It’s just amazing how they pull it all off, John. And I’m part of that. And I just can’t believe how they do it, and it – and they do it with detail and excellence, and it’s a real testimony to me.
And we have a great secretary, Jan, who is just an incredible secretary. She’s got three different departments. And you know, out of it all, it is so easy and it makes is so joyful to submit to submit to these winds because I respect them so much and because they’re just irreplaceable. And I’m so thankful to be a part of an excellent high school department, and I’ve just learned so much. And I’m going to be a high school teacher in – in the secular school. That’s where I want to be. I don’t want to be in a Christian environment. I like the secular environment.
JOHN: Somebody’s got to be there.
JOHN: Somebody’s got to be in that environment.
RONNA: I know. I know, and I realize that.
JOHN: I know your challenge is there, too.
RONNA: Yeah. So anyway, I’m just thankful to be part of a great high school ministry, and you folks who have kids coming up in the high school department, just pray for more staff and more committed people like we have already. Thanks.
JOHN: Thank you, Ronna. Great. Great. If we ever need anybody in public relations, we’ll come and talk to you. That’s great. Okay.
JENNIFER: Hi. I’m Jennifer, and this is something that’s been in my heart for a really long time, and now, I have a chance to share it. I just want to thank this church so much for being the stronghold in the midst of the storm out there, because sometimes it gets so hard. And then I come here on Sunday and Sunday nights, and I just feel so much love for this church. And I couldn’t come up here and not say anything because I felt so much love that I couldn’t just sit in my seat.
JOHN: Thank you, Jennifer. Great. Okay.
MALE: One of the things about this church is the fact that it’s a family. I love this church so much who has changed my life. Because I came here three years ago and I left, and I listened to John’s series on compromising life and cried all the way across country. And I came back to this church because I missed it so much. I was baptized in this church. God has moved me so much in how this church is used. It’s taught me how to be courageous and strong, and I’m not - I don’t tremble and I’m not dismayed because I know God is with me, how He’s taught me that we can do all things through Christ. And the one thing I love about this church, and I see it every day, is that God is for this church. So who can be against us?
JOHN: Amen. It’s all good.
MALE: Thank you. All of you.
JOHN: I tell you what, let’s just go right through this group, too. We have Rufus.
RUFUS: Hi, John. I’m Rufus Harvey. My dad, Rufus Harvey, Sr., and my mom were two of the first folks that came to Grace Community Church 30 years ago, were some of the founding members of the church. I attended here as a young boy through 1963, and listened to all those invitations by Dr. John. But never accepted Christ until 1973 when I was in a Pentecostal church. Some dear Pentecostal folks led me to Christ.
And my wife and I felt led to leave the Pentecostal church in 1977, and we were looking for a church home. And God had given me a real love for His Word and a lot of questions about some of the things that Pentecostals were teaching, and I just couldn’t find any answers. And I got tired of going to church services where the Pastors hadn’t prepared, and just didn’t feel like getting up early Sunday morning to hear some guy talk for 20 minutes.
And one night – I was a professional musician playing a job a couple blocks away here in the back yard of some Jewish folks. And on a break, I walked over here to see what was happening so many years after I’d attended Grace Church, just looked in the back doors there and saw all these people. I thought wow, something’s happening here.
So my wife and I visited on a Sunday night and John was preaching from Zachariah. And he mentioned that night that in preparation for that sermon, he’d consulted 13 different commentaries and studied many hours. And I – I listened and I felt like I was really being fed from the Word, being taught God’s Word. And I thought wow, this is - this is the place where the Lord wants me.
And I just want to have the thrill of publicly saying, John, thanks for your commitment to the Word. It’s such an encouragement to me to be able to be in a place where I can be fed God’s Word. It’s such an excitement to be part of the music ministry under Clayton’s excellent leadership. I just praise the Lord for the opportunity to worship here. Thanks.
JOHN: Thank you. Thank you. Rufus – Rufus is a faithful friend and a real encourager, and I thank you. Yes.
FEMALE: About ten years ago I – back at the Tory Memorial Bible Conference, do you remember that? At Viola?
JOHN: Sure. At Viola.
FEMALE: I think it was about ten years ago. You spoke on the anatomy of the church. And – and when I heard you speak, I thought that’s the kind of church I would like to visit one of these days. And meanwhile I belonged to another church in my student years. And then afterwards, I went on staff at a church in Long Beach, and overseas on some Missionary projects. And came to the U.S. Center for World Missions in Pasadena where there was a flock that Lynn Crowley led, and that’s how I came to Grace.
And when I got here, I – I realized that I needed to submit myself to the authority of the eldership to seek God’s guidance. And it’s a privilege to see the providence of God, how He leads us. When we look back in retrospect, and see that sometimes we can seek His will on our own. And it’s not unless we are sensitive to His spirit that we – we find ourselves in the center of it. And I hear stories of people that hear about Grace and come here, and I think of how long it took for me to get here. I heard about it 10 years before I ended up here.
JOHN: Well, we’re glad you made it. That’s wonderful. God bless you. Yes.
JOSEPH: Hi, John. My name is Theophilus, Joseph and —
JOHN: We’ve met before. It’s good to have you.
JOSEPH: I think —
JOHN: Friend of – friend of God, his name means.
JOSEPH: Yeah. I think I’m the only one from Sri Lanka. I’m born and raised in that country. And I wanted to just say that it’s a real privilege to be at Grace Church at a time of – like this, and especially a time of celebration. Because not everyone in my country have the opportunity of coming and being in a fellowship like this. I had been a Christian for about 11 years but I never attended a church because I didn’t have a church to go. And I had to get baptized after 11 years of being a Christian, so – that’s after I came to Grace Church.
So I missed so much back at home, like my family and friends and everyone. But still it’s worthwhile because I think being a part of Grace Church is much more valuable and worth even though I forego all these things. And if anyone asks me why I am in America, that’s because I want to attend Grace Church and hear your teaching every Sunday. So I – I want to just thank and say God bless you.
JOHN: Thank you, Theophilus. You honor me. Now, it’s – it’s obvious if you only have one person in your congregation from Sri Lanka you cannot have a Sri Lanka potluck dinner. So you need to have a Sri Lankan to your house. Wouldn’t that be good? And get acquainted with Theophilus. He has a warm heart for the things of God. Okay, I think we have just time, if it’s very brief, to go through these folks in the next 3-4 minutes.
MALE: Okay, John, I don’t know if you remember me, but I was up in the career department and asked about your wife? Remember I was asking about if you proposed to her the first night you took her out.
JOHN: Step a little closer to the mike.
MALE: I’m sorry. Um-hmm, just a little nervous. I don’t know, about a year ago I guess it was, a year or two, I guess. I don’t know. But you came into the career department and as a question and answer, and I was the one that asked you about the fact that you proposed to your wife the first date. I don’t know if you remember that, but —
JOHN: I remember it.
MALE: Oh, boy. First time I came here, I was doing a musical with C.C. Sanders, wherever she is. And she invited me to Grace. And I said, “Okay, well, I’ll come.” And she said, “Come down the middle door,” and we were right there. And I said – so I came in and I saw the three doors and so I wanted to come down the middle door. I – I opened the door and my first reaction was, there’s more people sitting here than in my high school. And I – and it kind of scared me.
And the next time I came here, you were preaching on – in the evening, you were preaching on Romans, and it was like Romans 2, or 1. And you were just getting to everybody sins and stuff. And in the morning, it was Matthew. And then you left for the whole summer. And I didn’t have my glasses at that time, so I didn’t know what you looked like. I was sitting back there and – and I thought, “This guy’s great, but what does he look like?”
And then – the did, did, did – the thing that I found here through friends, Drew Pulver and Mike Chandler, were instrumental in getting me here. In fact, I moved in next door to Drew. And I was playing a Christian tape, and so he came over and introduced himself, and I was like - that was the beginning of this – it took me – and, okay. And I’m trying to make this real fast.
The thing that I really like - the first time I really heard truth. I mean, I’d been a Christian since, I don’t know, about three years earlier. But because I really didn’t hear truth, and also truth, you know, is discipline. I had carried a lot of baggage from my – my – my former life. And – and when I came down here is when I first got into discipline. I mean, where if I would sin, I had friends who would come up to me and say, “Hey, no, no, no, no.” And so that was the one thing that I’m thankful for is just the people, you know, in this church. That because you have given them the Word of God, they have, in turn, showed me what it means to be a true Christian.
JOHN: That’s great. And that’s what the church is all about. It’s about passing it on to faithful men who shall be able to pass it on to someone else. God bless. Thank you. Now, we’re going to just do it very briefly, okay? These are the last four. Alright?
GLENN: Hello, my name is Glenn Schaumloeffel, and I had a great privilege and opportunity this summer to be in the Philippines working with five other college aides and seminary men. And I won’t go into that very long. But upon returning just a little less than a month ago, my heart is overflowing with thanks for this church, especially for the plurality of Godly leaders in this church.
Just throughout the whole time this summer in the Philippines, and even before that as we were preparing to go, how the Echo Board was in full support of us and would encourage us and exhort us to be the men that we needed to be and to encourage us. And upon returning, my – I’m just overflowing with thanks for this church. I love the church. I love Christ’s church, and I especially love this church. And my life is committed to being part of God’s plan for the church on a global basis, Lord willing, hopefully overseas someday. And I’m extremely grateful for that.
JOHN: God bless you, Glenn. It’s great to have you. Yes.
VANESSA: Hello, John. My name is Vanessa and I just want to say very briefly – which is very hard, you know, because there’s just so much to share – that I just want to say thank you to you for the love that you shared with my husband right before we were Christians. We were living together and you – you even wrote a couple letters to my husband.
JOHN: She’s happy, in case you’re concerned.
VANESSA: I just want – I just want to say thank you.
JOHN: You’re welcome.
VANESSA: And I want to say thank you for - we accepted Christ, my husband and I, and with Joan and Dave Bristow, which they’ve moved to Washington to Pastor a church. But I never knew – I – I never knew what love was. I never comprehended what love was as a child til I came here.
JOHN: That’s alright. Okay.
VANESSA: And I just want to say thank you.
JOHN: You’re welcome. Okay. That’s – that’s fine, Vanessa.
VANESSA: I want to say thank you for – for praying - when we prayed together on Wednesday night when I was really going through a lot of turmoil with my family. And – and you prayed with me and you said that I was really special and that this is my family.
VANESSA: And I want to say thank you for Jack Nemeth for giving me away in my wedding. He’s –
JOHN: Is this a long list of helping people?
VANESSA: Jack Nemeth, he gave me away at my wedding because my father didn’t want to give me away because he wanted me to get married at St. Genevieve’s. And my husband and I - he’s over there.
VANESSA: He – my husband didn’t want to get married at St. Genevieve’s, and I – I wanted to do what my mother and father wanted me to do. But I – you know, I wanted to get married here because this is my home.
JOHN: Where did - where did you get married then?
JOHN: That’s what I thought.
VANESSA: And –
JOHN: But we’d better to go the next person, Vanessa.
VANESSA: And I want to thank Shirley Smith. She’s real nice.
JOHN: I think this is a serial. No, go ahead.
VANESSA: I want to – I want to thank Shirley Smith for – for arranging my wedding. She did a wonderful job. And that was eight years ago.
VANESSA: And I just want to say, you know, I really feel like I belong here.
JOHN: You do belong here, believe me. You do belong here. Thank you. Oh, you know, all that comes from deep within her heart. The background that she and Tom came out of just - just a very, very tragic background. God has really worked in their lives. Does she cry like that at home?
TOM: Yes, she does.
JOHN: Okay. Yes.
RUSSELL: Okay. Hi, John. My name’s Russell, and I just wanted to thank – thank you and thank Grace Church. To me, Grace Church is the place where I came back. Because I’ve been a Christian since 1976 and then fell away from the Lord for about, oh, six months or so. Even exactly last year I was away from the Lord somewhere in Europe, just wanting to find out what the world has to offer.
RUSSELL: And but through a Friday night College Life Bible study last November, someone invited me to that. Through that, and through coming to the Sunday service, I felt like the prodigal son coming home. It’s such a joy to come back realizing that God is not someone who wants to hit you with a 2 by 4 right between your eyes, but gently, but firmly bringing you back to Himself. And realize first that Grace Church has been a place to come back home, and second, a place where there’s true fellowship and accountability.
People who don’t hesitate to ask a second question; the first question being how are you, and the second question is, how are you, really. And having again, a plurality of Godly people who are willing to find out how you are spiritually and bring you up and nurturing you, bringing you up into maturity in Christ. And I, probably for the first time in my Christian life, just realizing that God is bringing me to that maturity so that, you know, the principle of discipleship from 2 Timothy 2:2, I see it here. And thank you.
JOHN: Thank you, Russell. God bless you. And thank you for waiting.
MALE: I don’t have a long list. I’d like to tell you what Grace Church means to me, John. I’d like to preface that a little bit by saying that I’m glad I don’t go to Grace Church. Don’t throw me out. But my wife and I came here about seven years ago, and we’ve been Christians since the middle ‘50s. And we’d always been active in other churches. And when we came here and moved to southern California, I finally found a preacher who could preach like my dad, who knew the Word. And I’m thankful for that, John.
And it was through the teaching here and the ministry that was available to us at this church to sit and listen to God’s Word. It wasn’t that we heard anything new, but it was all brought together here. That the Lord laid it upon our hearts three and a-half years ago to go into a fulltime ministry. I’d been a building contractor up til then, and the Lord laid it upon my heart and my wife’s heart to go into this fulltime ministry. And we travel and we build churches and we actually put the buildings up. And the Lord has been so gracious to us in the last three and a-half years that I could take another hour and tell you of all the miracles that God has done. But it’s through the ministry here that God led us to make that decision, and we’re so thankful for this church.
JOHN: What a wonderful thing you do. Thank you so much. Traveling around the country building churches. What a great, great ministry that is.
Well, it’s hard to shut this off, and I know that for every testimony we heard there are hundreds and hundreds more, and you share them with each other, will you? And we’re so thankful for the privilege yesterday to honor others of our charter members and thinking of the Edwards and the Britton’s and Fred Brock and Florence Householder and Ann Martin, and everybody who was in on the beginning. Connor Nelson, the Bacons. And it’s just so wonderful to be a part of something God is doing. And even if you’ve only been here a week or a month, I hope you get a sense of this is something special.
We thank you for the day. Let me say in closing, our prayer room will be open over here. If you want to come into the prayer room and want someone to talk to you about Christ, about a personal need, about a problem in your life, whatever it is, we have folks who would love to do that. God bless you. Have a great week, and we’ll see you on the Lord’s day next time.
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