Well, this will be quick because I have some work to do but I wanted to give an update.
We went to International Falls, MN last weekend to fill the pulpit at the First Baptist Church. They are currently without a pastor. We left on Saturday around noon and headed north and went as far north as one could go within the state of Minnesota. We drove about six hours and then arrived at our destination. We stayed at the Holiday Inn (courtesy of the church) and my son Joseph enjoyed the indoor swimming pool immensely! We could see into Canada from our hotel room. Saturday we stayed around the hotel, eating our dinner in the hotel restaurant and just laying low from our travels and resting in order to be ready for Sunday. We did take a brief drive to the church (which was about 5 minutes away) to familiarize ourselves with where we were, etc. While at the church, Joseph noticed that the church had a bell in the front yard, mounted near the sign. He wanted to know if he could ring it. I told him he would need to ask on Sunday.
Sunday morning we had breakfast at the hotel and then made our way to the church. Sunday School was at 9:45. I met briefly with two of the deacons to get the “lay of the land” so to speak and then I was scheduled to teach Sunday School. I taught from the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 52-53) on the significance of the crucifixion. I think that this was important to bring context to preaching on the importance of the resurrection to our faith from 1 Corinthians 15. I was going to preach from Isaiah 55 on salvation, but later changed my mind (prompted by the Spirit of God). I enjoyed teaching the adult class which met in a large classroom. After Sunday School, I was able to get ready for the AM Service which started at 10:45.
My family joined me in the auditorium for the service. Heidi had been in a Ladies class and Joseph enjoyed his time in the nursery. I tried to walk around and greet as many people as I could before the service started. I really enjoyed how the order of service progressed. At FBC they read a missionary letter to the congregation as part of the service. One of the deacons (Dave) read the text for the message. I appreciated this because it shows a devotion on the part of the church to the public reading of Scripture and it saves time because I do not have to read the text. I preached from 1 Corinthians 15 on the importance of the resurrection and why it is crucial to our faith.
After the service, I attempted again to greet as many people as possible and then remembered that Joseph was still in the nursery downstairs. I went to get Joseph and he was having so much fun, that he did not want to leave! We went upstairs and Glenn Davis (our host) asked Joseph if he would like to ring the bell. Joseph’s eyes lit up and he gave him permission to ring the bell. The bell was mounted on a wheel and Joseph grabbed the wheel and rang it a couple of times. It made his day!
After church, we followed Glenn to his home a few blocks away from the church. We joined Glenn and his wife Kathy along with Kathy’s mom for Easter lunch. We had a great time of fellowship and before we realized it, time had once again gotten away from us and it was almost 4:00 pm and we had a 6 hour drive back to the Twin Cities. The Davis family had also given Joseph some gifts (a few small toys). He was very thankful for these and so were we! Thanks to the Davis family for their hospitality on Sunday. The only thing we did not do was cross the border to go into Canada, because we did not have our passports.
We headed back home thankful and grateful for the opportunity to be used of the Lord in His service to be a blessing to the people at First Baptist Church of International Falls, MN. Please pray for them as they seek God’s will for their next pastor!