The sad part about Church Journeying each week is that you connect with people that you wish you could see more often. Our journey to Abounding Love Christian Fellowship was a very special visit that we will always remember. We learned so much about their church and ministry, and we had the wonderful opportunity to spend some quality time with two wonderful pastors whom God is using in so many ways.
The worship team transitioned from their morning rehearsal directly into the worship service. They seamlessly flowed from one song to the next. They played some familiar songs and also incorporated some songs the Lord had given the worship leader. He shared his heart and prayed intermittently, and it all tied in perfectly. We found out later it was the Pastor’s son, Fred. He was not only chosen by the church to lead in song … this young man was clearly appointed by God. During the worship, those who needed emotional healing were called to the altar. As the Pastors prayed for each one, the other congregants continued worshiping and thanking God. Following the worship, Pastor Chuck shared all that was happening at Abounding Love and there was a time of testimony. One woman, Rhonda Baker, shared how God had blessed her tremendously. Through the generous giving of others, she was financially able adopt her second baby from China. The church support and prayers were invaluable, and she thanked God for providing all of her needs.
Pastor Chuck’s message was entitled “Living Gates”. I opened up my gates to receive this message as God spoke through him. We are temples … the dwelling place of the presence of God. “Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up you ancient doors so the King of glory may come in.” (Psalm 24:7 – referring to the Ark of the Covenant coming into Jerusalem). We can now function like the gates of the temple … as LIVING gates. We need to secure our personal gates and guard what we allow in. Whatever we think about, we empower. The chief gate is the spiritual heart. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23) The heart is the seed of our understanding, emotions and passions. We must guard the gate of our heart for out of it flows life. Don’t allow anything in that should not come in. Unprotected gates lead to sin, attack, defeat, enslavement, lost identity and lost destiny. We need to allow God to help us deal with our broken gates.
The service was such a blessing, and Pastor Chuck Engelhardt and his wife Pastor Mary Beth made it even more enjoyable. They took us on a tour of the facility and shared all that the church does to bless others. Hidden behind the sanctuary, in the halls and walls of this strip mall (Faith Plaza), God’s abounding love is at work. Conveniently located a few doors down from the church you will find their two thrift stores. “Gracefully Chic Boutique” is a unique thrift shop that provides used clothing and accessories at affordable prices. “Peace of Home” sells housewares, furniture and toys at reasonable prices. Also located in Faith Plaza is “Helping Harvest”, a community assistance program of Hope Full Life Center that is affiliated with Abounding Love Christian Fellowship. We were amazed by the great selection of groceries they offered to help financially distressed families. And we were utterly astounded by the over abundance of food and donations in the back halls of the church. This place was bursting at the seams with donations of food and material goods. Cross Culture Market is yet another way they help others. This not-for-profit Christian fair trade gift store seeks to provide fair wages, safe working conditions and the love of Jesus to disadvantaged people around the world.
Pastor Chuck and Mary Beth Engelhardt are an amazing couple, abounding in love and humility. They do not boast about what they are doing … God gets all the glory! And God is doing so MUCH through this ministry. They are living examples of Luke 10:27, “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart…love your neighbor as yourself”.
Abounding Love Christian Fellowship is strategically placed in Ravena, located at the southern most end of Albany County. It is a gateway to the Capital Region. The Hudson River, the railway, the thruway and air traffic lanes all come through here and many enter through its gates. Pastors Chuck and Mary Beth Engelhardt have opened their gates to the leading of the Holy Spirit. They have opened their hearts to God’s people, and they look forward to getting to know you.
Church Website – www.aboundinglove.net Sunday service 10 am / Tuesday night Bible study 7pm / Thursday night prayer meeting 7pm Abounding Love Healing Center – Wednesdays 12:30-1:30pm / Thursdays 5:45-7pm / and by appointment
By Donna Hansen Munafo