At the junction of Venetia Road with Route 88 one mile south of Finleyville, PA, stands one of the most historic churches west of the Allegheny Mountains. In the days when Indians hunted where children now meet the bus, adventurous settlers counted among their blessings the right to worship God.
About 1782 the bravest of the Mingo Creek settlers gathered near the present site of the Mingo Church posted sentries and began the services of Christian worship "in the open air" which have continued there uninterrupted to this day.
A log meeting house was erected on the site of the manse in 1786. The Mingo Creek Militia assembled there in the early days. Many important meetings, dealing with the historic Whiskey Rebellion, were held at Mingo.
Sometime in the early 1780’s, the church was organized under the Presbyterian order.
The present brick church was built in 1831.
Preaching at a historic church…
On the morning of Sunday, 23rd of August 2009, I had the privilege of preaching God’s Word at the Mingo Creek Presbyterian Church in Finleyville, PA.
I felt honored to be invited to preach in this Church where one of America’s greatest evangelists – Billy Sunday – had once preached.
I presented a message from the Lord titled, ‘Beyond Ourselves’ and I’m glad to share it with you in this report.
Below are the exact wordings of the sermon transcribed from the video tape and published without any alterations.
God has asked me to bring us a message today that will take us beyond ourselves.
[Read text] The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Abraham was called away from his native home at the age of 75 by God. And one of the things God told him here was that he was going to make Abram a blessing to the nations. Not only was He going to bless him, but He was going to make him a blessing.
God has called you and I to be a blessing. He didn’t just call us to bless us, but we have been called by God to be a blessing to others, beginning right from our families, to our communities, to our nation, and to the rest of the world. And that will not be a possibility until we are able to move out of our comfort zones. Before God could begin to use Abram as a blessing, He had to call him away from that which was familiar, away from that which he was comfortable with, away from that which he was already used to. And that is the same thing that God does with anyone that He chooses to make a blessing.
Become the light that others see
God has chosen you to be a blessing. God has called you to be a blessing. And if you want to be a blessing, it is important that you do a little of what God told Abraham to do – leave, move away from that which you’ve been used to; from your little narrow world; move beyond yourself; move into new places in God.
I want you to know this today that you and I, according to Jesus, we’ve been called to be a light. Jesus said to us as Christians, ‘Ye are the light of the world.’ And in order to shine brightly and affect people’s lives, we must go beyond ourselves to be a light to the nations, to be a light to others, and to bring glory to God who has created us.
Helping others, serving God through helping others, actually, is the only way to give meaning to your life. A life that is not lived in service to God and to others, is actually a meaningless life. God didn’t just call you to sit in a church, He didn’t just call you to sit down here every Sunday and hear the sermon, He didn’t call you here just for you to have your prayers answered, He didn’t bring you into this world so that you can eat nice food and wear nice clothes and drive nice cars and feel good. No! He has something larger for you; He has something bigger for you. He wants you to step out of your own life and become a blessing, become the light that others see, become the glory of God that manifests in other people’s lives.
We can have a relationship with God that is so personal…
Several years ago I had an experience that left me with an overwhelming passion to give my life to God as a gift to bless other people. And I want to share that experience with you this morning, briefly; and my prayer is that God would use that experience to create in you a hunger and a desire to live a life that is larger than your little world, to go beyond yourself, to go beyond your own needs, to go beyond your own personal life and begin to affect the lives of other people around you.
When I was a teenager, I had an experience in which I met God, not in a physical sense, but I had an experience where I had an encounter with God in my spirit, and it brought into my life a very personal relationship that I continue to share with the Lord till today.
And one of those days I was going to the church to pray. I usually would go to the Church and spend some time with the Lord just praying to God, thanking Him and appreciating Him for His goodness in my life. But as soon as I walked into the Church, I began to feel pain in my heart; not a physical pain, but something in my emotions – I began to feel sorrowful, I began to feel sad, to the point that I began to cry. I now lay at the back of the Church on the floor and I began to weep. I didn’t know why I was crying.
But suddenly, I began to feel in my spirit that God was actually crying. I began to feel in my spirit that God was sad, that God was sorrowful. And instantly, I began to ask God, “What’s the problem?”
…because many of us don’t really know that we can have a relationship with God that is so personal. You know, when I get up in the morning, I really don’t say “Oh God thank you for today, help me to go through the day.” No. The first thing I say to God when I get up in the morning is, “Father, how are you today? Are you ok?” because we do have a relationship. It’s not a religious thing, it is a personal relationship.
And that is what God wants each of us to share with Him – a relationship that is real, a relationship that is personal.
Visions of pain and suffering
And I was asking Him, I said “Lord, what is the problem? Why are you sad? Why are you sorrowful?” And He was quiet. But the intensity of the sorrow continued and I continued to weep, I didn’t know why. So I kept saying, “Lord, tell me what is going on. Why are you sad, why are you crying?” He said, “Do you really want to know?”
And in an instant, I was taken into a vision. And it was like I began to move around the world. The first thing that I saw, was that I saw a little boy of about 12 years. He was crossing the street and he was hit by a truck, and the child died, and his blood began to flow on the streets; that was a drunk driver driving past. And I began to see hundreds of people dying on the streets.
And instantly, I was in a hospital. I began to see hundreds and hundreds of people in pains, some going through surgery, some in the pains of cancer, some having problems with their bones, so much cries, so much weeping, and it began to break my heart.
I began to see people in many places. I saw young girls who were mutilating their bodies, who were abusing themselves. I began to see all of these things