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â€śFor from Him, and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen!â€ť (Rom 11:36)
How does one measure three decades? Well, we can look at it in calendar termsâ€”say number of months (360) or number of days (131,400). However, we can also capture them in terms of the shared experiences we have had as a church.
It was 26 December 1982 when eight brave souls (foolhardy to many) covenanted to form the Puritan Baptist Church, which was later renamed to Trinity Bible Church (TBC). The church arose out of a deep conviction that God is most glorified in the doctrines of the Reformed Baptist tradition. The first decade of the church was marked by small things as the church grew slowly but surely. Everything was new so it was a decade of discovery. In collaboration with the Grace Baptist Church of Los Banos, we had our first church planting activity into what became the Puritan Reformed Baptist Church of Lumban. We also learned how it was to discipline erring members (it was tough!). The second decade of the church passed by in a blur. We were able to build our current meeting place. Our membership was more or less stable in the mid-20s.
The third decade was marked by significant changes in the church. We began earnestly praying and considering men to be full time pastors. There were highs and lows, elation and disappointments. But as the decade draws to a close, we are stunned by Godâ€™s marvelous work in our midst. The membership breached 40 in the past year and a few more are interested in becoming members. We have just confirmed our second (and full time elder) in the person of Bro. Ferdie and our third deacon in Bro. Ave. Two more brothers are aspiring for the eldership and to be a missionary, respectively. We have vibrant ministries for singles, couples, and international students. We are broadcasting our sermons to more than 20 countries through SermonAudio.com. We have just published our first book and two more are underway.
From the days of small things, it seems the Lord is pouring showers of blessings. We seem to be in the cusp of greater things moving forward. We are amazed because we confess that it is not because of us. We know our weaknesses and sinfulness. If the church is growing, surely it is because the Spirit is at work.
As the pastor of the church, I have the singular blessing of leading such a loving and godly people. I am humbled that God has put me in such a position of service.
And so the verse at the beginning of this blog sums it upâ€”everything is from God, happens through God, and for God. So to Him be glory in the church forever and ever! Amen.