August 31, 2010, Christ Community Assembly of God Church, Nashville, Tennessee~
Pastor Bruce Bilkey here. I hope this finds each and every one of you blessed beyond measure! God has certainly been good to us, even in the midst of losing our church building back in May due to a flood.
First of all, nobody in our congregation perished in the floodwaters, which was nothing short of miraculous. Secondly, we had been holding services twice a week in an abandoned warehouse up the way from our church, but once the worship/preaching got cranking, people forgot we were in a warehouse. We were having church, and people were being delivered and set free or even healed.
We recently had our annual revival; in a week's time, nearly four dozen people gave their hearts to the Lord, and several were healed and/or set free from bondages that held them captive.
We didn't have any national gospel acts performing this year for our revival, but that was okay: our choirs and worship team did great. People are still coming up to me wherever I go and saying how much they enjoyed revival.
Summer is always a slower time for us, other than our Fourth of July Celebration. Now is the time to focus on our upcoming Fall Harvest Festival, which will be held Hallowe'en night (here we will have games and food for all who come, as well as live music), as well as our upcoming Feeding Of The Veterans, which will take place on Veteran's Day. We will also be feeding the city's homeless and poor on Thanksgiving Day (and again on Christmas), as well as presenting our annual "Heaven's Gates And Hell's Flames" drama (the week prior to Hallowe'en and our Fall Festival), and our Christmas Cantata (this will be held the first two Sundays in December and again on Christmas Eve).
The rebuilding of our church home is coming along nicely. I go by it nearly every day and am pleased at how far it is progressing. If all goes well, we should be back in our building on 323 Crestline Drive, Nashville, Tennessee, 37213, the last week of September or the beginning of October, the way things stand now.
Our children still have nightmares about what happened in May (as do several of our adult members). We have been providing free counseling sessions, so they can deal with the memories and move on with their lives. Most of the people who had been most directly affected by the flooding have returned to their homes, but several have decided to move away. Our church family is just a bit smaller, but I am sure the numbers will increase when we have our "Heaven's Gates/Hell's Flames" production, as well as our Fall Festival; the number of people who come to our church always seems to increase after these two events.
We have given clothes and other necessities to those who lost everything, even gone as far as working with the Red Cross to get a new place for them. We have opened our hearts as wide open as we possibly could. We are a giving church, and if there's anyone who is in need in our city, we will do everything humanly possible to help them.
We want people to feel good about church and know that we care for them.
Before our revival, we had a month of community-based sermons and events; we even started reaching out to the homeless by starting Beautiful Feet, which gives them a chance to hear about God and to have church. A lot of them cannot come to our church, so we "bring church" to them, right in their environment. We feel we will reach even the most desperate of cases and let them know, in some tangible way, that even God cares for them and will provide for their every need.
It is a learning experience for our members because it makes them realize just how truly blessed they are, in comparison to a person who have nothing but the clothes on their back. It teaches them about giving some time in helping them and loving them as God would. It also teaches the homeless that there are good people in this world, who truly do care about what they are experiencing.
Well, I am going to go visit a Veteran who just got out of the hospital yesterday, so I will go for now. I will write in here again soon; until later, this is Pastor Bruce Bilkey saying so long and may God bless you abundantly!
~In His Service,
Pastor Bruce Bilkey, Christ Community Assembly of God, Nashville, Tennessee.