“You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin – to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours – closer than you yourself keep it. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo. Anyway: there it is. We know most of what Gandalf has told you. We know a good deal about the ring. We are horribly afraid–but we are coming with you; or following you like hounds.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Many of us remember when the Fellowship of the ring swept across America and the world. In this story we see the fight between good and evil, we see love and sacrifice, and through the story we see the heart of one “friend that sticks closer than a brother”. “Samwise Gamgi” was not chosen to carry the ring but he could carry the one who carried the ring. He was in my mind a picture of faithfulness.
This September 4th marks our 30th year. Fountain of Life is 30 years old as a church! Wow! I remember vividly when returning home from Rhema Bible Training Center, Elaine and I crossed the Mississippi from St. Louis and I heard these words in my heart, “you will have to be faithful here!” It was a command, a warning, and an admonition reminding me that ministry in my hometown was not going to be an easy experience.
I wish I could tell you that following Rhema I was ready and equipped to enter the ministry that God had for me but it was not so. The Lord directed us to return to my home church, New Life and serve Pastor Potts to learn from him how to follow the Holy Spirit. I learned a head full of knowledge is not the same as a heart moved by the Spirit.
Some five years after serving Pastor Potts at New Life a minister by the name of Rev. Gene May spoke a Word over us:
“There’s a day that God is going to raise you up to Pastor a people. Right now you don’t really care for that type of ministry; I know that, you know it. You see, there are some things that’s got to be worked in you. There are some things that God is doing in your heart that are not completed yet. There is a work in there. One day that work will be completed and God will be able to open up a ministry as a Pastor after his own heart, as a shepherd who will not devour the flock, but will rather heal. One that will not fill his own belly at the expense of the sheep, but will rather minister unto the sheep and be able to eat from the overflow. God is working that within you.”
That was given in Jan. 15th, 1985. In September 7th 1986 Fountain of Life began with just a handful of people. I have looked back to that prophesy many times especially when times were hard. In those difficult times this word and others have strengthened me. People have come and gone but certain things remain, God’s calling remains, and his purpose remains because his purpose is unchangeable. People are changeable God never changes and so he has expectations for us. When we fulfill his expectations and are diligent in pursuing his plan we are called “faithful”.
What is faithfulness? Jesus said, in “Matt 24:45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? KJV
Faithful or faithfulness from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words is from the greek word (pistos) in the New Testament and is used in two senses, (a) passive, “faithful, to be trusted, reliable,” it is said of God, and (b) active, signifying “believing, trusting, relying,” Gal 3:9 seems best taken in this respect, as the context lays stress upon Abraham’s “faith” in God, rather than upon his “faithfulness.”
In this context faithful in the heart is always demonstrated by our works. The book of James says, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? (James 2:19-20)
You will notice in this month’s newsletter and in our slide show presentation for our Anniversary service (Sept 4th at 9:30am and at 6:00pm) pictures of familiar faces. These pictures are pictures of faithfulness, the faithfulness of God’s people. These are people who at the prompting of God left their ways to become a part of God’s plan for Fountain of Life. In this day when people change churches and relationships like socks God has a faithful remnant. I am thankful to all the Samwise Gamgi’s that God has put in my life.
To all of you I hope you know my heart is saying the same things:
“You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin – to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours – closer than you yourself keep it. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends.”
We are so thankful for a people committed to God and to us. Thank you Fountain of Life folks!