The Pastor’s Piece – March 31, 2024

The Pastor’s Piece


March 31, 2024

Last week was a busier week than normal – what with Easter and all. We had special services at church –  more than usual, and more sermons were prepared than what I usually prepare in a week. People came to church from communities near and far. People also streamed us online from, literally, all over the world. We’ve had viewers in Mexico, Brazil, New Zealand, and England, not to mention here in the U.S. from sea to shining sea – from New Jersey to Oregon. From Montana to Florida. From Texas to New York. And those are just the ones we know about. The miracle of cyberspace is amazing! But all things in perspective. 

My wife and I have friends who we met when we lived in Arizona, but our paths took different routes after that. Their mission took them to Africa for 30 years. Our mission took us to Wisconsin for 30 years. When we parted ways many years ago, their son was just two years old. A cute little kid with big round eyes. Now their son is full-grown. He grew up on the mission field in Africa. He came back to the U.S. to earn a college degree in Global Studies. After college he took a job in Taiwan. In his spare time, he started a vlog about food. He showed videos of him eating food from street vendors over there. He began to attract a rather large Internet following so he expanded his street vendor food eating experiences to different places around the world – including Asia, Europe, Africa, South America, Central America, Canada, and the United States. He hits the streets in different cities in every part of the world, finds the street vendors making and selling food in the local restaurants, and records the process of them making the food and him eating it. Then he posts it on YouTube.  

I didn’t know anything about this young man’s adventures until one day a few weeks ago we were visiting with a mutual friend and he told us the whole story. Turns out he has 10.4 million subscribers to his vlog and over a billion views worldwide. That’s pretty impressive. So, when I get feeling good about all the followers we have around the world – I just remember this guy. He has over 10 million. We might have, at best, less than 1000. But just the same, Covid caused us to begin using the technology we already had in place to begin streaming our services, and now, anywhere in the world where there’s Internet, one can find us. And what a blessing that is. There is nothing quite as encouraging and humbling as getting a letter from someone far away expressing their joy in the ministry at Martintown. God is good.

Since Covid, our in-house attendance has shot through the roof and now, we are full to capacity and literally overflowing. Last year the Congregation approved a new sanctuary to be constructed for our church. That started the ball rolling with ideas turning into plans. A contractor was approved as well as an architect firm. Plans were drawn up and approved by the assembly and then submitted to the state for approval. The process takes time and there are many details to cover. 

All of this is very exciting and very intimidating at the same time. It causes us to put into practice what we know in theory, but may not know in practice – and that is – we live by faith and not by sight. God challenges us in His Word in Jeremiah 33:3 to: “Call unto me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which thou knowest not.” 

We see this as a challenge from God for us to pray. This is the Lord speaking to Jeremiah and encouraging Him to pray that God would continue to reveal the wonderful blessings that He planned to shower upon them. In Psalm 81:10 God gives a wonderful invitation to His children, “Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.” Ask what you need, God says, and I will do it for you. Years ago I heard someone say that Jeremiah 33:3 is “God’s telephone number” because it contains a very clear promise: “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Sometimes our prayers suffer because our vision is too small. In Joel 2:28-29, God gave us permission to have a vision and dream dreams. He said: “ I will pour out my Spirit on all people …  your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.”

So, we dream on. And we trust God for the outcome and we trust Him in the outcome. 

(Kevin Cernek is Lead Pastor of Martintown Community Church in Martintown, Wisconsin).