Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying,“Thus far the Lord has helped us.”
– 1 Samuel 7.12
So, here we are. A Chapel has stood at Lower Morton for 180 years, and an independent Church has occupied this Chapel for 30 years.
We can review our common history (many copies of the 2009 booklet are still available in the schoolroom) and see how it is true that the Lord has indeed helped us ‘hitherto’, as the old King James version has it. If you know the Lord Jesus as your Saviour you also know that we can make the same claim for our personal lives. Our Lord helps us in so many ways, many unnoticed by us. We owe Him everything, yet so often we give Him thanks for next to nothing.
Anniversaries are good things. We need to set up a monument here and there, an ‘Ebenezer’ – for two main reasons. One is to remind ourselves of what the Lord has done, so that we can look back and give thanks, and the other is to proclaim to other people what the Lord has done for us.
We must not lose sight of that fact that it is the work that God does in hearts and lives that is far more precious than bricks and mortar. We may love our ‘picture book’ chapel very much, but the reason that we are having a Day Conference on the subject of the ‘local Church’ is to underscore what we affirm – that our prime concern is the life and growth of the Church, not the preservation of buildings.
What will our focus be in the days ahead? Dealing with the damp in the back corner of the chapel? Well, we will have to look into it. Replacing the roof of the schoolroom if it fails? Again, it will have to be done. But may our focus truly be the growth of the church? Our highest concern should be twofold: That believers would grow in grace, and that unbelievers would be saved and turned from self-interest and self-service to follow and serve Jesus Christ. Such ‘conversion’ is the greatest and most mighty miracle God does.
We must be praying and asking earnestly and urgently for His blessing for the next thirty years. We depend completely and utterly upon Him – and don’t think that your responsibility stops with praying for conversions. If you are a believer – it is time to grow. Can you articulate your faith? Are you familiar with even such basic expressions of truth as the ‘Apostles Creed’ on the cover of the magazine for this month? The image is there for a reason – don’t just look at it, but read it, think about it, even question it if you want to (it is written by men, not by God). Let us raise our ‘Ebenezer’ together, and then let us advance!