This week came and went and brought with it some unique blessings as well as challenges. Thanksgiving is approaching, and with the change in seasons brings the well-documented change in weather (No snow yet though). To accompany these changes also comes a change in attendance for our 4 weekly outreach services. Numbers have been up over the last month or two, with the Tuesday and Saturday services frequently hitting the 115+ mark but though the increase, I was completely amazed by the attendance on Saturday.
We were preparing to start the service but people kept on coming in. At 2:56 pm the number of people in the building wasn’t really any more than a regular Saturday: A good number of people, but also a good number of open seats. As the last few minutes passed before the start of the service, I continued to play prelude type music at the piano. At 3:00 Pastor Bill made eye contact with me as if to say “it’s time” and he stepped into the pulpit, but unlike all the other times, he didn’t say “Let’s open our service in prayer.” Instead he said, “There are about thirty more people outside that will be making their way in. We need to have everyone scoot over to make more space for those still coming in.”
People kept coming and coming. It became clear that we needed ushers to help get everyone in. Soon every single seat was filled in the main two seating sections. Then we opened up the overflow seating that’s off to the side, and that soon filled completely, yet there were more people wanting to come in. We brought in folding chairs from another room and set those up, yet more seats were needed. Right before we began the music there were still a couple more people that needed seats, so we pulled a bench down from the platform and put it on the front row. When all was said and down, the preaching was over, food given away, and the people went home, we counted the seats and found that we had at least 171 people in the service. I say “at least” because I saw some mothers holding young children on their laps. It was really an amazing thing to see, and to be able to have just a small part in making it happen.
Seeing the room full of people made me long for the day when the church is built up and strengthened spiritually. I long to see people saved, baptized, and added to the church. I long to see people stand up and testify of their faith in Christ and His preciousness to them. I long to see a day when from our church we train and send out pastors and church planters, both here and abroad. I long for the day when our church can pay its own expenses and has extra money in the budget to help more people from our community. I long for the day when bars and strip clubs close because the demand has dried up as the community is transformed by the power of the gospel. I long for the day when the knowledge of the glory of the Lord covers the earth as the waters cover the sea.
But until that day, we keep plodding along. We keep praying and preaching, and meeting people, and telling them about Jesus. We keep giving away food to people that need it.
Continuing on developing my doctrinal statement:
I believe that every word of the Bible was given by inspiration of God
The meaning of the word “inspiration” or “inspired” is that God “breathed” the very words of God into the writers of Scripture. This inspiration of God was not a mechanical procedure, but it involved the personality and intellect of the writers, though what they recorded was without error. This means that the Bible is true in its entirety. It is both inerrant and infallible, and this applies to manuscripts and Bible translations, to the degree that they represent the original autographs. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:19-21
I believe that the Bible is the final authority for all matters of faith and practice.
Because the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, this means that it holds the place of authority over all matters of doctrine and practice. The Bible is authoritative over the church, rather than vise versa. When the church and the Scriptures contradict, the church must change to conform to Scripture.
I believe in the necessity of accurate modern translations
The books of the Bible were originally written in the languages common to their day. The books of the New Testament were originally written in Koine Greek. This was the common trade language of the day. Out of a desire to know God by knowing His Word, we must continue to make the written Word of God accessible by translating it into the languages of the people, and by providing accurate, modern translations for our people. I believe that the great commission demands it.
Right now we’re preparing to be “hit” with the Thanksgiving surplus food. Trader Joes closes on Wednesday at 6 pm, the night before Thanksgiving, so I’m expecting that we’ll be running food pickups almost constantly, Wednesday evening, on into Thursday morning. We are doing a food distribution on Thursday morning from 10 am to 2 pm, and then I think we’ll eat some Turkey that evening. I’m told that in years past the staff has had to pull “all-nighters” because of the enormous quantity of donated food. Last year the line of people stretched from our building all the way to 8th ave, roughly 2/3rds of the length of the “long block.”
Financial matters: I took last week off from mentioning anything related to finances. This blog continues to average around 500 views per day, and so I would like to reiterate the point that if everyone reading this donated $10 per month through our Paypal “donate online” feature, we would be fully funded, and able to move forward with building renovations. That would be awesome!
Also, I had some inquiries about donating a MacBook for Galen so that he can do the video editing that needs to be done, but nothing ever came to fruition with that. This is still a significant need, and Galen and the ministry would be greatly blessed by your help in this area.
Another thing on my heart lately is my good buddy Bradley Jones. This kid is 17 years old and he works as hard here as any of the full time staff. He normally goes on both the morning food pickups with me, and the midnight food pickups with Galen. He doesn’t have to do that! He could easily spend his time and energy making money at a regular job, anywhere in this city, but instead, he choses to serve here. I bring this up because he does have expenses, though he is not regularly personally supported by either the church or individuals - here or anywhere else. When the end of the month rolls around and his cell phone bill comes, he often will have to go find temporary work for a day to be able to pay his own bills, yet I’ve NEVER heard him complain about it. When we go out to grab a burger Brad pays for himself, and often offers to pay for others. He easily works 80 hours a week at NYGM, in addition to his homeschooling, which he does in the middle of the day.
Those interested in financially supporting Bradley can send checks to our mailing address: PO Box 123, New York, NY, 10009. If you put “New York Gospel Ministries” in the top line and then “Bradley Jones Support” in the bottom spot on the left you can get a receipt for tax deduction.
I’d love to hear from our readers as well! We had a mission team here from New Jersey the other day and one of the men on the team mentioned that he reads the blog! That was a big encouragement! Also, please "Like" our Facebook page!
I’ll let you know how Thanksgiving goes next time!
Andy Woodard completed Bachelors and Masters degrees at Bob Jones University before moving to New York City to serve as Director of Ministry Development at New...
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