We pulled up to the church and I could see her standing at the front door. I met Aleksandra at our previous concerts there with my band, but this was my first Sunday morning visit. Her face lit up when I came through the door and she threw her arms around me. Just 93 years young, she has been a member of Sand Lake Baptist Church since arriving to the country in 1950. A holocaust survivor with amazing stories of victory and a strong woman of faith, she was the main reason for my visit.
We sat in the old wooden pews as the pipe organ played the first hymn. It was so refreshing to be able to hear all of the voices singing in one accord. After the announcements, we sang Hymn #3, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty”. I sang with my eyes closed and envisioned us all singing around the throne. There was such a pure worship there. The sun was shining through the stained glass windows of this historic church. I thought about those who came before us, singing these very hymns and sitting in the very same pews. Then I looked back and noticed Aleksandra smiling at a little girl sitting next to her. It was then I realized that Aleksandra was only about 27 years old when she first came to the church. In fact, I was surrounded by many longstanding, faithful members.
Pastor Sam Kupeyan spoke with authority, but with humility. Only around 30 years old, yet Godly wisdom poured out of him. He had taken over as senior Pastor after his father, the former pastor, was called home a few years ago. It was apparent that Pastor Sam was well grounded in the word. It was nice to see such a range of ages in this church, all listening intently to this young pastor. I’m sure his dad was smiling down on his son from heaven.
The message was entitled, “A Call to Holiness”, based on John 10:19-21. He spoke about the spiritual blindness of the Pharisees and how we must hold ourselves to a higher standard than the world. God is love and God is also HOLY. Holiness is God’s most pronounced attribute (1 Peter1:15-16). We are called to live a life of holiness. This is impossible in our own effort, but should be pursued. We cannot ignore sin. If we only speak of God’s love to the world, and not God’s HOLINESS, it leads them further from the truth. Grace and truth both came by Jesus Christ. Let us be Holy in all manner of conversation. Few who hear the message of the Gospel will receive it. As Christians, we have job security in our service to Christ….there is never a shortage of people who need the Gospel.
Pastor Sam’s message was compelling. There were no fancy facades or entertainment here. I felt at peace and my soul had been touched this day. Then something profound happened. Tears rolled down my face as I thought about my “Church Journeys”. All along I thought the sole purpose was to encourage and edify the Body of Christ. But this morning, for the very first time, I realized these Church Journeys were very much for me too. In God’s amazing ways, I was being ministered to as I ministered to others.
The service closed with a time of prayer for the various needs of the congregation, followed by communion while the old melody “Lamb of God” was played. Afterwards they had their monthly fellowship lunch. I enjoyed spiritual food, and was now enjoying some physical food. I was able to sit with Aleksandra and ask her many questions, gleaning much wisdom from her.
I don’t know if I can express in words the enormous impact this visit made on me…the message, the faithful people, the history, the powerful simplicity and the mighty hand of God working through it all. I urge you to visit Sand Lake Baptist Church. You certainly will not leave here like you came, in Jesus’ name!
Church Page – www.sandlakebaptistchurch.com
By Donna Hansen Munafo