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IMG_4620Pastor Gregg Matte sensed a deep-seated burden from the Lord.  He has been challenged by the Spirit to make prayer a reality in his personal daily practice for over the last year. In his intercession God impressed on his heart a rallying of the pastors of our city to gather and to pray.

He sent out an invitation for pastors to meet for prayer in his office on a Thursday in November.  The simple agenda was to prayer together for the city of Houston.  Remember this gathering for pastors and ministry leaders was planned a month and a half in advance.

The week of the pre-planned event, the city of Houston became world news.  Houston’s mayor had sent out a subpoena to five local pastors.  Each of these ministers were ordered to hand over all sermons that spoke on homosexuality or mentioned the mayor.

The Christian community was shocked.  But, they were not shocked into compliance or frightened into submission.  Instead, the pastors rose up and stood together.IMG_4619

Senator Ted Cruze joined the pastors who gathered in Pastor Gregg Matte’s office.  He never knew that this was part of God’s providential plan.  But, the time was perfect.

The media came to cover this galvanizing event, historic in American church history.  Pastors normally humbly compliant and supportive of our God-ordained governmental officials, drew a line in front of their pulpits.  No governmental intimidation or control over the message of God delivered in the name of His Son would be tolerated.

IMG_4621Over 50 pastors packed into Pastor Gregg’s office.  He directed the prayer session to pray for our mayor, protect the church and move on the local government to rescind their directive of control over the pulpits of the city.  We broke up into groups of 4-6 and prayed up a powerful time of intercession and supplication.

After an hour of prayer we moved downstairs to stand in solidarity before the news cameras as Senator Cruze addressed the media.  Clearly he spoke courageous words of freedom, liberty and religious autonomy. God’s servants had a right to speak the words of God without governmental oversight or control.

God’s calling was the sole directive in the words spoken in American pulpits.  Furthermore, it was a liberty written in our own Constitution.  The scene of pastors from different denominations, various ethnic backgrounds and multi-generational was powerful.

They stood together with the common bond of Christ among them.

photo credit: brucefong photography

An invitation came my way to speak at a national conference in Spartanburg, SC.  I was honored to have been asked.  So, I prepared and made the long journey across the vast distance of our splendid country.

My hosts brought me to the venue.  The church was stunning.  It was a beautifully designed, spacious and easy to find your way around.

Then, I stepped into the auditorium where I would be speaking.  Wow!  This place is huge!

Those who brought me said that this facility has the capacity of 5,000.  That is a lot of people for a church.  People in South Carolina are serious about their lives of faith.

Of course the challenge is to operate a “volunteer” organization and keep everyone involved.  It is too easy to hide in big churches.  People can get lost in the crowd. 

Some times people want to remain anonymous.  Something keeps them from jumping in and getting into smaller groups to serve and express their faith.  But, at least they come.

What is really special about all of the believers who attend this church share a connection with all believers every where.  There is no doubt that everyone who is a part of this fellowship gives God the glory for this wonderful facility.  Their trust in God is the same God that I trust.

Yes, we are connected.  We are family.  Together we are working in the same vineyard, just at different parts.

When the church is seen in all of its various parts, the big picture is very impressive.  There is no competitiveness.  Comparatives are not pertinent.

Rather, we are united in Christ and one in His Spirit.  We rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.  God is not stressed as He distributes blessings according to His riches in heaven.

“Together” is an amazing word.  It is more than an emotional expression.  This speaks of something way beyond a dismissive wave of the hand. 

Instead, this is a value that is treasured by all who have been born again.  It comforts all.  There is a generous reservoir of mercy that will never run dry. 

Enjoy the immensity of the body of Christ.  Then, tell others how to enter it.  Spread the good news and the Spirit will make the harvest of shared joy a spectacular celebration for us all.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography