This was a very special journey for me. Highway Tabernacle was the church I first started attending. The year was 1984 and I was just 12 years old. As I looked around the sanctuary, a strange thought came to mind … the candle shaped lights on the chandeliers and sconces were still shining just as they were when I was there as a child. It reminded me that God’s light never goes out. Now here I was, once again, over 30 years later, and He kept the “light on for me”.
As I was being reminiscent, Jeanne Ryan led us in heartfelt worship. This type of deep worship was exactly what was needed in the midst of the many trials and storms that have been prevailing in our country. I was brought to deep mourning as I sang and cried out to God for our country’s recent devastations (floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.). We then entered into a time of intense prayer while Jeanne played a beautiful original song entitled “You Were There”. Yes … He was ALWAYS there and still is, even to the end of the age.
Pastor Bob Desnoyers delivered a meaty message to us packed with revelation and conviction. He began with Isaiah 61:3, “… to provide for those who grieve in Zion” (representative of the people of God). We grieve over sin in our own lives and it gives us peace as we experience God’s grace. A healthy Christian desires to grow and this sometimes causes grief. We grieve over lost souls. Distractions from God can cause us to grieve. We can sometimes experience grief due to our limited usefulness for the Kingdom. We mourn over the deadness, division, apathy and worldliness in the church. People in Zion (Christians) mourn in so many ways that others don’t. But take heart! As we read the next part of Isaiah 61:3 we see the promises of God to His people – “…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”
As Christians we are called to live a joy filled life and thus be called “oaks of righteousness”. A joyful life is beautiful and attractive, and it should be recognized and seen by others. We cannot let others discourage us. In closing, Pastor Bob shared this story … “A third-century man by the name of Cyprian was anticipating death, he wrote these last words to a friend: “It is a bad world, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and good people who have learned the great secret of life. They have found a joy and wisdom which is a thousand times better than any of the pleasures of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They have overcome the world. These people are Christians … and I am one of them.”
Pastor Bob’s message began with a focus on mourning and conviction, and ended with the joy of the Lord. I was impressed by his ability to present the fullness of the Gospel message so genuinely. This church truly knows how to worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth. Highway is the perfect home for those who are mourning and want to draw closer to God in an intimate way. The people at Highway choose to praise God. Come and choose to praise God with this joy filled family of believers.
Highway Tabernacle has Sunday School classes at 9:30 am, with their regular service beginning at 10:30 am. They have Tuesday night prayer meetings at 6:30 pm and a Wednesday evening Bible Study at 6:30 pm. During the 10:30 am service, “Children’s Church,” takes place in the fellowship hall for children ages 3-12. This includes Bible lessons, videos, puppets, crafts, snacks, music, and games.
After more than 30 years, I found myself sitting in the very place where I had first heard the Good News. Today, God led me back to where it all began. Like the prodigal son, there were many years I squandered what I had. But through it all, God kept the light on for me.
I end this blog with a request to the readers … if you are able, go back and visit your first church or go visit a church that you once attended that had an impact on your life. We are all ONE IN CHRIST! Time and distance does not change that. Go and let God speak to you. Listen closely; He has something important to say.
Church Website – http://www.highwaytabernacle.net
By Donna Hansen Munafo
Edited by Michael Frati