Yesterday at 4 PM I met for an hour with nine young men in their late teens and early twenties. Several of them are brand-new believers; all are eager to serve the Lord. We spent the hour talking about how to know the will of God, what it’s like to be the only Christian in your family, how to be bold, and how to get to know God better.
At one point I shared with them what a former Marine who served in Iraq told me that his sergeant always said before they went out on patrol: “Two is one, one is none, and if you’re by yourself, you’re done.” That means if you want to make it, you’ve got to stick together. Satan will pick off those who try to go it alone.
More than once Pastor Greg said, “These guys are the future of the church.” Some of them know quite a bit about their faith; others are just beginning to catch on to what it means to follow Jesus. They often go to downtown Reno to do street ministry. I sensed their passion for the Lord and was glad to spend a little time with them.
Here are the different messages I preached at Reno:
At the end of the closing service last night, Pastor Greg called Marlene and me forward and then said, “We want to send Ray and Marlene on their way with our blessing.” So he had the entire congregation come forward and lay hands on us. It was profoundly moving to be surrounded by several hundred people, each one laying hands on the person closest to them, and those closest to us laying their hands on us. Pastor Greg told the Lord that we were part of the Sierra Bible Church family, and that we go from here with the blessing of the people of God. He prayed for us, for our family, and especially for our grandsons that they would come to Christ and be known as young men who love Jesus.
This is the only place we go where this happens. More churches should do this. Not just pray for visiting speakers and missionaries, but actually call people forward to lay hands on them.
We left last night feeling greatly loved and deeply affirmed before God by our friends in Reno.
We’re packed now and ready to go. Very soon we leave for the airport to start our journey home to Tupelo.