"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." (John 6:35)
Yesterday, I did something I never thought I'd do. I turned in an application to become a Member of Bread of Life Church in Westminster. Lest anybody think this is a sign that I don't care about the legacy of First Assembly of God of Framingham, or of what the future holds for Holy Spirit anointed evangelism and discipleship in the Framingham area, well think again! I will always have a strong connection to Framingham, and a strong concern about what God is doing in Framingham. But like Robert Duvall's character "Sonny Dewey" in the great film, "The Apostle", I find myself on a journey and adventure with God that I never planned on. I've learned to embrace the Lord and His leading no matter whether that leading fits my personal preferences or not.
I've experienced them all in the past year, and then some. Maybe the church in Framingham was very small, but I loved teaching Adult Sunday School and preaching a sermon every Sunday morning. I loved my status and standing in the Framingham community. I felt important. After the church was closed and my wife and I walked into Bread of Life in Westminster as Sunday morning church visitors, I frankly felt that my professional life was over. Bread of Life is a lot of things the Framingham church wasn't. It's a church of over 200 that's still growing. There's a full pastoral staff, including Senior Pastor Gary Collette and his wife Pastor Janis Collette; Associate Pastor Chuck Zierle, and Youth Pastor Billy Greene. There's a nice building on an amazingly attractive piece of property. Most importantly, there have been wonderful opportinities to be ministered TO- and that was deeply needed in my life over the past year.
The drive to Westminster from Framingham was forty miles one way. Now, from Webster, it's fifty miles. That's ironic. You see, I've often said I'd never travel more than ten miles one way to church. I've said similar things about how far away I'd live from a place of employment. I've considered people who beat their cars to a pulp on long commutes to be very foolish.
Now, granted, you can't get TOO involved in a church when it's fifty miles away. That can be problematic. But I've prayed about it, and for now, it's right.
Some of the old fashioned fundamental Baptist church planters used to say, "The difference is worth the distance". You know, they had a point. You see, to a lot of people church is just a formality to sit through over and over again every week. To a lot of people, church is to be short, sweet, safe, and sappy. It's not about any real life change or any real contact with God.
At Bread of Life, the people are serious about drawing close to God, and then doing their part to touch and impact the world. They've got a missions team going to South Africa for two weeks in June, and they've had missions teams go to Guatemala. At Bread of Life, there's the sense that the church is NOT at some pinnacle of success...rather that it's at the beginning of what will likely be a great revival and move of God. Don't get me wrong. Bread of Life is not the only church like this in New England. There are probably at least ten churches in New England where God is moving, and where there will be great revival and supernatural manifestations of God happening in the near future and Bread of Life is one of those churches. It's an exciting place to be, and for now I am glad to be a part of it.
Incidentally, wherever you live, it's worth visiting a service at Bread of Life. The Sunday morning services are at 10:15. The church is located on Route 2A in Westminster, right off Route 2 and not far from the famous Old Mill restaurant.
I know some of you don't understand this,but over the next few years, our world is going to enter some very difficult times- much worse than what's going on now. But in the midst of those difficult times, God will do a great and mighty work, and will reveal Himself in personal and powerful ways to those who draw close to him. And as the old song says, "I want to be in that number"!