It’s a New Day!

Stan Russell   -  

Wow, what a weekend!  We just came to the culmination point for our emphasis called “2.10 The New Horizon.” The 2.10 is just the date (February 10), but it was also a marker. Essentially we re-launched the church. We are a healthy church, but I felt that we had plateaued in the last couple of years. Like most churches, it has been difficult to move ahead when this economy causes decline in the budget. Part of our problem is that we have had to retreat from what was once a healthy amount of financial support and infusion for ministries and facility upgrades and maintenance.
This summer God started to give me ideas. I had an extended time of prayer over a one week period. It was a prayer walk like the Jericho story in the bible. For six days I walked one time around our campus, praying each time. On the seventh day I marched seven times. It is 1.2 miles around our campus, so each day took around twenty minutes until the last day, and that took a couple of hours to cover the 8.4 miles. I wanted God to know I was serious. I was asking Him to show me how to bring this church to the place that He wanted it to be. Over time on the prayer walk, I felt that the Lord was telling me it was a new day. He brought into my path the scripture from Isaiah 43:15-18, where God speaks to the people of Israel about awesome things He had done among them in the past. In verses 18-19 he says, “But forget all that – It is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun!  Do you not see it?” It jumped into my spirit like a flash and somehow I felt that the Lord was saying this to me for Horizon. I started to speak about the “New Day” to our staff. Soon they were starting to have a sense of anticipation as well. Then, while in Seattle at dinner with our friends, Pastor Troy Jones and his wife Jana, Troy said to me, in what appeared at first just to be part of our conversation, “Stan, it is a new day at Horizon. God is going to make things better than they have ever been. Get ready, it is going to be awesome.” He used the verbiage, “new day.” I felt like it was confirmation of what the Lord had been speaking to me.Troy had been through a re-launch of his church, which included a new Saturday night service, and things had gone awesome. I had prayed in my prayer walk that God would help me to know what to do to see this church re-energized to become all that He had intended. Troy and Renton New Life Church invested in me. They helped us re-launch Horizon.
After much prayer, we targeted twenty new improvements that we would work to unleash on or around February 10, 2013. We needed $135,000 to do them. We are a strong missions-minded church and God has used us to do some incredible things overseas. As I ventured out to tell the people of the New Day vision, I told them that I felt God was saying that it was time to sow into our own fields. At first, some were not excited, I am not sure they got it. But they were intrigued. God backed us up by bringing a $4,500 gift to redo our web-site and create a phone app. Then, incredibly, a $50,000 pledge was given. We had a dinner on December 12, 2012, with twenty of the most generous couples in our church and they gave $56,000. One couple gave $20,000 that night. Then, a week before the 2.10 day, the rest of our church responded to the vision by giving another $31,000. It had seemed it would be a difficult task to raise $135,000 to re-launch our church, but God did it!
I sit here this morning amazed at what the Lord has done. On Sunday, the people walked into a completely refurbished church lobby. They saw an incredible, new stage set, complete with all new lights and background. We have sent out what will be the first of three community mailers that went to 21,000 homes announcing that we are here, that we care and telling them of the new sermon series called “The Best Life.”  We have begun a brand new outreach to our community called the C4 strategy, which is all about caring for the needy and hurting in our community beyond what we have ever attempted. That is only four of the twenty new improvements, but you get the idea.
Last Sunday was February 10, and I am happy to tell you that God tremendously blessed the effort that He led us into. We had an increase of 37% in attendance; almost 300 people beyond our normal attendance. During worship, God’s presence was powerful and joy was in the house. It felt like the roof was going to come off of the place. I am so grateful to God that He gave us the wisdom to re-launch this church, the resources, and the workers to make it happen.
Many of us are tired today, but it is a good tired. God is doing great things among us. We found out that faith without works is dead, and that God honors efforts to increase His presence in the community.
I do feel a great sense of responsibility to pastor this new wave of excitement and momentum into the future. I know it was just one day, but I also believe it is the beginning of the New Day at Horizon!
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