Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! – Psalm 115:1

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Yesterday marked the official launch of the Shiloh Church of Orange Park. The Shiloh Church is now one church in two locations. The first Sunday of 2015 marked the beginning of our new worship schedule. The congregation now meets for worship three times on Sundays between two locations.

I led and preached our 7:45 service downtown. After extending the invitation, I headed to Orange Park. I didn’t really know what to expect. I prayed and reviewed my sermon manuscript, trying not to be anxious about what was about to happen next.

_PAY6837-X3My phone buzzed in my pocket. I intentionally ignored my phone all morning. But this time I looked. My wife Crystal, who was already in Orange Park, sent me a text that read:

“Praising God from whom all blessings flow.”

I calmed down after reading Crystal’s text and quietly praised God with her.

The first service of Shiloh OP was full. They had to set out more seats to accommodate the crowd.

Our Campus Pastor, Dan Beckwith, was extending the welcome when I walked in. Then our choir sang. An ensemble was originally scheduled to lead the OP service. But in the last minute, I asked for the choir to come. As always, Joe Pace and his team did a great job leading us in worship!

To mark this new season in the life of the church, I preached the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20). It was the text I preached my first Sunday as pastor of Shiloh six years ago. I thought it would be appropriate to remind the church what we have been called to be and do.

 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20

 SPECIAL NOTE: The full manuscript of Sunday’s sermon, “The Marching Orders of the Church,” will be published to the weekly sermon manuscript list this week. You can sign up for the free sermon manuscript I send out each week in the box at the top left of this page.

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The Lord blessed the worship service. It was a great spirit of joy, hope, and oneness on the campus. Our staff and volunteers made it happen! New members were added to the church. To God alone be the glory!

As I headed back downtown, I expected the final service to take a hit. I assumed the crowd in Orange Park would drain from our main downtown service. But the 10:45 service ended up being the best service of the day!

It was a wonderful launch Sunday! We have planned, prepared, and prayed. But the Lord made the difference, doing far beyond what we dared to ask or think!

To all of our friends and supporters, thank you for your help, prayers, and encouragement. We truly appreciate you cheering us on.

Please, don’t stop now! Continue to pray the Lord would use the Shiloh Church to more and better disciples in Jacksonville, Orange Park, and the nations!

 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. – Ephesians 3:20-21

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