You blink…and time just FLIES by! For those in this Church who have been around at least since 2004, it really doesn’t seem like it’s been TEN YEARS since this amazing Sanctuary – and the Building and Grounds as a whole – were opened and “dedicated” to the Lord. There is something in our minds as human beings that seem to put even more emphasis on “anniversaries” that end with a 5 or 10…multiples of 5 basically. We perk up when we hit 5, 10, 15, 20, or 25 of anything. This helps us to reflect more often and to REMEMBER. And speaking of remembering, for anyone who has even experienced ONE Assembly here, the wonderful memories…the emotion…the commitment to change…the life-altering messages, moments, and conversations…ALL of it comes flooding back to our minds and we wouldn’t change any of it for the world. All of the testing has been worth it. All of the refinement is being received and we are embracing it. Ten years is a special “mark in time,” but DEDICATION in this place is about MUCH more than just remembering the Building and Grounds. It is deeper and more profound than that. Gwen felt led to designate this entire MONTH – on our Remnant Calendar – as a month of “Dedication.” In fact, these are the words that Gwen penned for this special time –
“This is the month of comprehensive dedication—dedication of our whole hearts to GOD and dedication of the Church and all that GOD has given us back to Him. It is a time to remember and consecrate…to set apart and commit ourselves to the Kingdom of the living GOD as each rebuilding and dedication did in the previous generations.”
That is powerful. It gives perspective and draws a crucial parallel between recognizing a “building project” being dedicated to the Lord…and our own HEARTS and MINDS and BODIES being an ongoing “building project”…even MORE importantly dedicated to the Lord. We NEED this perspective and these reminders. The “world” dedicates buildings and projects and holds fund raisers and creates charities every day. Plenty of “giving” and general “dedication” goes on apart from GOD on a daily basis. So…what is different HERE? It is GWEN’S WORDS that explain that difference. We are giving FULL heart/soul/mind/body commitment…and it’s not just a ONE-TIME commitment. This is an every day, seeking GOD, looking for His lead, submitting to His will even when it brings testing or persecution with it, totally focused on embracing the cross, following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ DEDICATION. Even the World English Dictionary – at Dictionary.com – offers this as one of the definitions of the word “dedication” – “complete and wholehearted devotion…” So if the WORLD’S definition speaks of complete and wholehearted devotion – without even mentioning GOD – then how much MORE should we embrace this calling to be DEDICATED to Him. And why not? Our BLESSINGS are…literally…UNCOUNTABLE. Think about starting each day by making a LIST of your blessings – and don’t leave anything out – remember that you can walk, talk, eat, sleep, have heated and cooled air, running water, plumbing, electricity, five working senses, a variety of food, a pantry, a refrigerator, the ability to wash dirty clothes, a working vehicle…we could go on and on. You could keep adding to that list and do NOTHING else during a 24-hour period…and you STILL would be writing! SO – with this kind of generosity poured out by our Heavenly Father, it is truly the least we can do to be DEDICATED to Him wholeheartedly. THAT is ultimately what we celebrate this month and with an even greater focus during our Dedication Assembly on the Sabbath Day, November 22nd. We hope that you will join us for that at 9:00am Central Time.
To continue with this theme – let’s remember last year’s Dedication. On November 16th of 2013, we celebrated and remembered…and we learned more historical significance about the building and growth of GOD’S people throughout the generations…and up to this very day and time in which we live. It was a powerful and special day, and Gwen’s words set the tone for this special and reverent occasion. We are honored to share just a few snippets of those words, and beyond that, we wanted to share some thoughts and perspective on the Church Dedication from a few Remnant Saints who were there as this beautiful place was built in 2003 and 2004. Enjoy!
WORDS from GWEN – Last year’s Dedication Assembly – The SABBATH DAY, November 16th 2013
- “God has planted a remnant and it has taken root and is bearing much fruit. In November, nine years ago – God completed the building on these 40 acres and gave us the official permit to enter His Sanctuary. This was not to be just one more building in America made for man’s religion. This was established by God and for God alone—a sanctuary that did not tolerate a religion of divided hearts, multiple gods – a place where God is everything, God rules and resides because its people live to obey. Over the centuries, and in His word…God has made it clear—He does not dwell in a place where He is second place – He dwells where He is on His throne and number one.”
Then, after referencing King David and Solomon and the building of the Temple in Solomon’s day, Gwen shared this historical perspective and warning about false confidence.
- “But as glorious as it was with the faith of King David, later in time, they started trusting in all this beauty and how much they had and how much everybody was wowing over it, and they became very expectant that the presence of God was in that place. The leaders and the people, what happened when they became once-saved-always-saved? God was always with them? What happens when you have that type of religion? Well, they lost sight of everything and how hard it was to get out of Egypt, how many wars were fought to establish the land, how much effort and sacrifice it was to build the temple, and most of all how special it was to be the greatest nation in the world because the Great I Am, God Almighty was with His people in that House. How neglectful of the people to not insist on teaching the next generation the Truth of everything.”
Later, Gwen talked about the “whole new temple.” Read on…
- “But it was time to change the location – it was time for a whole new temple – a totally cleaned up temple, a perfect and complete tabernacle – temple number 7… the final resting place, the final house of God, the final place for the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus would usher in not a rebuilding of just a physical temple – but a house for God in your heart. The entrance into a new life through following the footsteps of Jesus Christ through the death and burial of selfish desires, a whole new life, a resurrection to a whole new life. Something found through full obedience. Full obedience – I cannot say that enough – it is a life through full obedience. Since God and Christ were in your heart now through love and obedience, your heart could meet and God in it in the Catacombs/graveyards or homes and wherever. Jesus laid the foundation so that when two or three met together – there the Father would be also.”
Gwen also reminded us of the opposition to the rebuilding throughout history…the troubles and persecution…for Ezra, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Jesus, Paul…and made the connection to us today.
- “Rumors were piled so high that you could not address them without ten more piling on, false accusals – There is not enough time in the day. We were buried in lies like Ezra and Nehemiah. That we were building a wicked city. At the same time, the leaders were loaded down with counsel as persecution hit all the satellite groups as well – a well-organized opposing team.”
- “The whole Bible became alive as you opened it up and saw that anyone doing God’s will were either thrown in a cistern, thrown in jail, attacked by the government, stopped, falsely accused, and were having to hold sword in one hand and build with the other. You saw what Nehemiah and Ezra went through – the exact same thing and yet survived.”
- “By staying in the Word we survived because God showed me the troubles of Ezra and Nehemiah, Jeremiah, and Christ, and all the Saints following Christ. They were all hung on a tree and crucified. There was the innocent Apostle Paul in prison and in chains by the religious people of his day – knowing that if God was for you – what does it matter if man is against us — we knew we had to be on the right path.”
- “By the grace and the power of the God alone against all the gates of Hades, the impossible became possible and the building (this Remnant Fellowship Church Building) was completed in record time.”
- “We made it through… Through essential spiritual warfare – the refiner’s fire – but in such an upside down, ironic way it meant God was with us – not against us. From Idolatry to the glory returns… The band of original survivors made it – bless their hearts – with the added bonuses of promises – and the blessings that came with wholehearted dedication have been poured out from the heavens on us in abundance!”
We will have even more to share AFTER we’ve experienced this month’s ten-year commemoration. We will gather quotes and memories and perspective from several Saints who have been around throughout this period of time. It is good to REMEMBER…so that we can repeat what we’ve done RIGHT…and absolutely avoid at all costs the things we’ve done WRONG. This is a “Remnant of the Kingdom of GOD” that is devoted and dedicated to the Lord. It is an honor to celebrate the Building and Grounds that He has provided us…but it is even more special to celebrate our LIVES being given to Him…and Him alone!