What We’ve Learned in 26 Years

June 10, 2012 by Paul Chappell

Twenty-six years ago, at the invitation of twelve people, Terrie and I packed our belongings in the back of a Ryder truck and moved to Lancaster, California.

I’ll never forget pulling into Lancaster with the truck following our car. Terrie was beside me, Danielle and Larry were in the back seat, and Kristine would be born soon.

We stopped at the church before driving to our apartment. The parking lot was covered with weeds, and the building was in desperate need of repair. Within days, we would learn that the building was actually in foreclosure.

This handful of people who had called me to be their pastor had no money for my salary; they didn’t even have enough money to make building payments. Yet, as a church, we had faith in a great God.

In fact, if there is one lesson that we have learned in the past twenty-six years, it’s that God blesses the faith of His people.

Today we celebrate twenty-six years of ministry here in Lancaster, California. We’ve seen God do some great things over the past years—we’ve watched Him save people, transform lives, heal marriages, strengthen families. We’ve watched Him enable our giving and build facilities. We’ve watched Him use our church to make a difference in our community.

And those of us who have had a part know Who did all of this—God.

If you had been here twenty-six years ago when I performed my first pastoral duty—mowing the weeds in the parking lot—you wouldn’t have even been able to imagine how God was going to bless our church.

Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

One of the greatest privileges of my life is pastoring a people who have faith in God—people who look to God and believe early evidence for things not seen.

I can’t tell you how greatly I anticipate the coming years at Lancaster Baptist Church. I have seen with my own eyes how God blesses the faith of His people, and I believe His greatest blessings are yet ahead!


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