This past Sunday, we had a great time ministering at Open Door Baptist Church (Lebanon, PA). Getting to know Pastor Craig Griffith better was one of the highlights of our time there on Sunday. He has a genuine “pastor’s heart” and an obvious concern for the people within his flock. I have witnessed his pastoral care firsthand as he ministered to the needs of those within his congregation. While there were also glad to reconnect with some dear ministry friends (the Thomas and Myers Families).
Initially, we were scheduled to be at Open Door Baptist for both the morning and evening services. Unfortunately, the evening service needed to be cancelled due to wintry weather. Snow started falling before the morning services ended, and the roads were becoming somewhat treacherous. Later that afternoon, when we received word that the services were cancelled for the evening, we decided to begin making our way back to the Missions House in Delaware (about a 2 hour drive). Although the first 30 minutes of travel we had to navigate through snow and sleet, the remaining part of the trip was just rain. Traveling in daylight made our trip much safer than waiting until later that evening when the roads began freezing over.
We got back to the Missions House at 6:24 PM. This meant I would be able to watch the kickoff of the Super Bowl! As a life-long Eagles fan, I was grateful to have the opportunity to root on our team. Of course, I was thankful for the outcome, but there was something I was even more thankful for—OPEN DOORS. Being at “Open Door,” that day, I began to think about the open doors we have to minister to those around us. God provides us with countless opportunities to be a witness for Christ as well as to encourage fellow believers. Our life should be all about glorifying our Savior by serving Him and loving others.
All throughout the Eagles improbably Super Bowl run, I have seen many players (from the coach to quarterbacks to receivers to defensive players), share a word of testimony for Christ. It is exciting to see these men use football as a platform to share the Gospel. The chaplain for the Philadelphia Eagles, Ted Winsley, reminds the guys, “Football is a platform, it’s not your purpose.” I am thankful for many believers within the Eagles organization who are sharing Christ with the open doors set before them.
Interestingly enough, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is not the first “Philadelphia” with an open door set before it. In fact when God speaks to a congregation in Revelation 3 in the ancient city of Philadelphia in Asia Minor, He proclaims that He has set before them “an open door, and no man can shut it” (Rev 3:8). And as counter intuitive as it may sound, God even tells this church the reason no man will be able to shut this door is because they had a little strength, yet have kept His word and have not denied His name (Rev 3:8). This is a great recipe for faithful service to God. Keep God’s Word and proclaim His name.
God gives each one of us “a platform.” Although we may not think we have much of a following, God has placed specific people into our lives that we are able to impact for the sake of the Gospel. And for those who are found faithful and are victorious, we partake of the same reward as the believers within the Philadelphian church 2,000 years ago. Jesus says I will “make [him] a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem… and I will write upon him my new name” (Rev 3:12). As I meditated on this text, I wondered what the connection between a pillar and a name being written on a person was. The connection is permanence and possession. A pillars stays put. You do not see a pillar in its place one day and out of its place the next. The pillar is a permanent fixture. In a similar way, a name written on something shows the permanence of ownership and possession. A child will often write their name on a favorite toy to show that it belongs to them. They own it. The toy is important and special to them, so they don’t want to lose it. Every child of God is important and special. God writes His own name on us, and He even writes our address (the name of the city of my God) to show that God possesses us and we have a permanent home.
May we all look for the open doors surrounding us, and by the grace and power of God walk through them with the message of the Gospel!