Hello From Guatamala

Hello Calvary,

As I begin writing to you I’ve just boarded a plane in Boston en route to Guatemala. It’s Tuesday, and tonight I’ll be staying in Atlanta where I will take off first thing in the morning for Guatemala City. Bob and Marla Evans, who live in Wolfeboro, but spend a good chunk of every winter in Guatemala will be meeting me at the Guatemala City Airport tomorrow at about noon. Then I will begin a week-long scouting trip to discover what kind of connection God wants us, as a Church, to have with His work in Guatemala. Please pray for me and the work God is doing there. Pray for wisdom and clarity and a productive time while I’m away.

Relishing Easter 2017
What an amazing Easter weekend we just had! This week in Homegroups the focus of discussion will be Easter and all that God is doing in and around us as a church. I’m really bummed out that I will miss ours because I love hearing from others about conversations, comments, and the changes God is making in the hearts of people both in our church and those who are not…yet.

The weekend truly began for us as a church last Wednesday night. Our first gathering for Easter was to prepare in prayer. How sweet it was as God settled our hearts and focused our attention. Good Friday was amazing as we gathered again to worship and take communion together. Our focus, of course, was on the finished work of the cross; a theme that is very familiar for us now because of where we have been in John’s gospel. Friday night the Calvary Theater was filled with moviegoers as Risen, a film that gives texture, emotion, and a gripping side-story to the time between the death of Jesus and His ascension, played on the big screen. If you haven’t seen it, please do. It’s a fantastic film.

Then came Saturday morning. There is no greater satisfaction than to stand under our tent just after we’ve raised it. Every time the experience is similar. It begins very organized with very few problems. The top, poles, straps, and stakes are laid out where they need to be. The two sides of the top are stitched together. Then, no matter how organized we are, the moment of raising always brings a bit of chaos and uncertainty. It doesn’t last very long, however, because only minutes later we are once again standing inside 2500 square feet of holy ground. I love it! Saturday morning gave way to the afternoon and evening as preparations of all kinds were going on. Flowers were planted, the worship team practiced, and the food was prepared. What better way to cap off all our preparations than to gather one last time to pray? And, so we did.

Then came Resurrection Day. It was a beautiful morning. As I drove down to 43 Mill Street about 6:25 am that morning, the sky was blue and Wolfeboro bay was covered in a blanket of fog. The sun was just rising above back bay. It’s rays glistening in the dew on the grass between the tent and the building as I walked around the property praying for what God would do over the next few hours. Final preparations began about 7:00 am as the tent was once again transformed into a sanctuary for the worship of our Risen Lord. His praises filled downtown Wolfeboro as the worship team warmed up their voices and instruments. The smell of coffee filled the building, and the sanctuary went through a metamorphosis as Calvary Kids took it over and readied it for the children.

Then the tent filled with people. God is faithful. We knew if we did our part, He would do His. And He did. Once again, Wolfeboro saw God do something unusual. Once again, we were used by Him to shine the light of Christ into the darkness of this world. Once again, many who live their lives in constant distraction from the Gospel, heard the good news and the Holy Spirit broke through the haze of indifference. Praise the LORD!

The work of the Holy Spirit continues…
I’ve said and written on more than one occasion recently that we are moving into a new season as a church. Just the fact that I am on my way to Guatemala is a testimony to the reality God has matured us as a church, into a new stage of growth and ministry, where our focus is becoming more and more outward.

Jesus told His disciples they would be his witnesses in Jerusalem, all Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). How exciting it is to see that the Holy Spirit, just like He did in Acts 2 with the first Christians, is filling us, changing us, and using us now for the exact same work. The Gospel has taken root in Wolfeboro. It won’t be long now before every circle of town life, every place, every person is in some way touched by God’s work through His church. For many it will be indirect, for others it will be very direct and personal. While this local work continues; while we faithfully continue to love one another as a church and grow together, we are also going to have more and more opportunity to minister to places analogous to Samaria and the ends of the earth. All this future purpose and vision is from the Lord, and it is a major focus of my trip to Guatemala. I look forward to my return and the opportunity, during our monthly communion feast worship and meal on the 30th, to share with you all that God shows me over the next seven days.

Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for loving Jesus with me. Together, we are the body.

For His Glory,

Pastor Justin