“Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.” -1 Samuel 7:12
Old Testament saints often made altars or set up stones to remind the people of God about His covenant faithfulness in order to cultivate their worship and obedience to the LORD. In this account, Samuel set up a stone and named it “Ebenezer” which means stone of help, to remind Israel of how God had graciously helped them all the way to that point, even though they were often faithless.
In the interest of raising our own Ebenezer, let me stir you up by way of reminder of how God has helped us, and literally transformed KBC over these years, not because we are worthy, but because He is faithful:
Here’s an overview of the last 7 years of God’s provision:
Some of the physical (but no less spiritual) provisions include the total renovation of the church parsonage, significant upgrades to the church cottage, and many renovations and upgrades in the church campus itself to include: 6 church rooms, along with the church office and pastor’s office, the main worship center, the preschool office, preschool classrooms, the fellowship hall, the repaving/expansion of the church parking lot, and more, AND God provided all the funds associated with it without any loans needing to be taken for any work. God also provided key help to make the above happen, in the form of members, other churches, and just simply moving in the hearts of individuals to answer prayer specifically.
We’ve also seen the launch of the Biblical Counseling Center of Maui, engaged in disaster relief locally and on the mainland, have had several members receive training in Biblical Counseling with more on the way, adopted an entirely new Constitution & Bylaws, appointed Elders for the 1st time ever, appointed deacons for the first time in 15+ years, created an Elder-Apprentice staff-position, launched new discipleship initiatives in the forms of small groups and a revamped (still revamping) Sunday school, hosted at least 5 weekend conferences, upgraded the church website, launched a church app, email-newsletter, and other forms of communication and connectivity, actively came alongside other churches to help them in time of need, have seen incredible unity and partnership with our Preschool ministry, launched a family worship guide, launched our first Church plant in 25+ years, navigated a few cases of church discipline all the way through, received approximately 95 individuals into our KBC ohana during that time, that number includes numerous salvations, baptisms, recommitments to Christ, or transfer of memberships as people move to the community or otherwise hear about the work being done here. We’ve seen couples married, MANY babies born, and some of our ohana go to be with the Lord in person. Most recently, the Lord continues to carry and sustain our church through a world-wide pandemic in such a way that we are able to bless others in this time of need.
Personally, throughout these 7 years, my family has had at least 7 different families/individuals living with us at different points for different reasons for extended periods of time, all while growing our family from 1 to 3 with 3 painful miscarriages in-between, even as we walked through weighty and challenging ministry scenarios sprinkled throughout, in addition to general ministerial duties.
And ALL of you have shared in some manner in the above mentioned joys and sorrows as well. Through His grace, resulting in your gospel partnership and perseverance, God has truly done miraculous and mind-blowing works!
Here I raise my Ebenezer! God has helped us greatly to this point. And this is just the beginning. I truly believe we are poised at this time, with a firm foundation and a solid trellis, to see a great work of God as we move ahead.
And throughout this time, some of you have noticed…..I’ve got a little more grey in my hair than when I first started. To be honest, we can’t think of the movements of God without thinking of accompanying spiritual warfare at each point along the way. It hasn’t been all sunshine and smooth-sailing. I bear the marks of spiritual battle and have suffered deep and painful wounds in the process. Some of this is from battling my own sin, the sin of others against me, spiritual warfare, and often all of the above. I think of those who have departed with extremely painful tears. Perhaps the Lord will grant repentance to them in the next season of ministry, but for now there’s sorrow….but the Lord stood by and strengthened me. And now He stands to offer rest, which I will gladly take.
So may it be that our Ebenezer of past-help serves to launch our hearts forward in obedience, and ultimately to the final culmination of God’s help in Christ:
Oh that day when freed from sinning
I shall see Thy lovely face
Full arrayed in blood-washed linen
How I'll sing Thy sovereign grace!
In my final post on Friday, I’ll offer some answers to questions I get and some departing thoughts. Have a good week KBC, we love you deeply.
Looking forward with you,