Pastor Ronald and I recently visited the city of Recife in Northeastern Brazil. It is about a five hour flight from Curitiba. A young pastor and church planter there found out about C3 Church and contacted us looking for more information. He flew down in September while Annie and I were in the US and spent a couple of days with Pastor Ronald and the team.I have been exchanging emails with him for a couple of months and we felt that the time was right to make a visit. We spent a weekend with Pastor Romûlo, his family and their small church, Igreja Cristá Doxa. Even though the church has been going a year, it is still very small.
In their Sunday service, Pastor Ronald shared about C3’s vision for reaching Brazil with healthy, Spirit-filled, life-changing churches. He also shared about his journey of planting a church in Curitiba and feeling so alone because he had no one to help him. When Ronald connected with the C3 family of churches, he knew that he had found his tribe and his family.
Ronald wanted me to preach while we were in Recife to bring the international flavor of C3. I preached on “God Loves Lost People.” We talked about the story of the Prodigal Son. This is one of the most popular stories in the New Testament. Have you ever thought how different it would be if we removed the element of grace from the story?
If I was writing the story, or maybe if you were writing the story, we might not go so easy on the boy. He is right, he had sinned against his dad and was not worthy to be called his son. Maybe it was a good idea to let him be like one of his dad’s servants. The father could apply part of his earnings to pay back what the boy had wasted.
What happens if we take the element of grace out of the story? The story loses its impact. The reason the story still speaks to us is because the boy got what he did not deserve. This is a message the church needs to re-embrace today. Too often, we are like the older brother who does not want anything to do with his sinful younger brother. In reality, God is calling us to have his heart for a lost a dying world.
We are going to stay close to Pastor Romûlo and see what God might do there. Wewould love to have a C3 Church in Recife! Romûlo has a great heart for people and a huge vision. Ronald and I gave him some ideas and he has a clear strategy for growth in 2015. Even though his church is small, Romûlo is already looking outside the doors to his community. He has partnered with Samaritans’ Purse. Igreja Cristá Doxa will be distributing 400 gift boxes to children in and around Recife.
Would you please pray for pastor Romûlo, his wife Carol and their daughter Giovanna? They are also expecting their second child in May. Please pray for God’s blessing and protection on their lives. Pray that God would give them wisdom as they are laying a solid foundation for their church. Pray that God would send them workers to help build a great church.
Please consider becoming a part of our support team. We have three other possible church plants in the works. I will keep you updated as we continue to move forward! Your financial support is making a difference in so many lives. Please click here for more information. Obrigado!