Growth didn't happen right away, but slowly new people began to show up for service at our house. First our neighbors walked over for service. A week or two later another lady invited a couple one more time and they decided to visit. A widow was invited and showed up in the next few weeks. God was providing an increase and we actually had to set up another row of chairs in the house, what a great problem to have. Numbers are still 15-20 but more first time guests have visited my home than ever visited an expensive rental property or store front. As I sought God in prayer each day, God pressed upon me the fact that the disciples went from house to house, preaching the Gospel and breaking bread daily. I can assure you, it is humbling to stay up late Saturday and get up early Sunday making sure the yard is cut, the kitchen is clean, the coffee is made, the seats are set up, the message and music is prepared, the Sunday school is set up, the floor is mopped and the bathrooms are clean. Whenever I hear Saints and Pastors complain about the scuff on the wall or the trash left behind, I chuckle a little, as I put the chairs away and pick up the trash left in my living room. The church is not about a building or a place, it is a group of people that meet to honor and worship the Lord and to seek Him for needs that cannot be met anywhere else. Lord keep me humble that I may never forget the reason the church exists, for the broken and those in need, not for the "perfected saint that believes they have truth and have already arrived". But I digress.
My shoulder had quit working for some time and I was pretty limited in range of motion. Finally, in agony one day, my wife forced me to go to the doctor. A torn labrum and abraided rotator cuff would require surgery but with Church Camp meeting, family vacation and other events I put off surgery until July. For over 2 years, my wife suffered from what we thought were migraines. Sometimes her vision and dizziness was incapacitating and we continued with migraine treatments over the year without resolution except for about 2 months where she actually felt normal again. I went ahead and had surgery, awoke to an immobilized arm for 4 weeks and a recovery battle with physical therapy of 8-12 months, something nobody in ortho prepared me for. Not even out of the immobilized sling and still in a bit of pain, my wife had follow up testing as we sought God to find the cause of the headaches. She had an MRI that showed brain lesions, a second with contrast showed they were active and growing and she was told to go to an ER immediately, that she was in an active MS (Multiple Sclerosis) attach and needed steroid treatment. A third MRI showed spinal lesions both active and inactive which told us this had been going on for some time unknown to us. In the Emergency Room, my wife testified with such sweet peace that she would have her healing, that God would heal her one day, and that she would come back to that ER doctor with an MRI that showed no lesions on the brain and my wife, the ER doctor and I prayed together. It has been a struggle, at every turn, MS specialists haven't been available, insurance wouldn't cover things, doctors wouldn't help but at every point the devil has tried to interfere with the work of the church to no avail. The gates of hell shall not prevail against the church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To prove His power, God provided more confirmation. I preached "Send Me a Prophet" on Sunday about Elijah and the widow who had no meal or oil and whose son died but God provided and also resurrected her son through the prophet after she was obedient. Later that day, a prophet arrived at our house in the form of an old minister burdened with a message for my wife since Tuesday of the week before, Hebrews 11:1-3. Have faith that God will heal you, by it the elders received a good report. Keep being faithful and God would heal you was the basis of the message. We accepted and received that word from the Lord.
Monday night they had a fasting and prayer service for my wife in Mt Juliet. A lot of people showed up and prayed and fasted and sought God. The message was about Now Faith, stirring and activating Faith, and I received my confirmation again that God has all things under control but I began to feel burdened to deliver the message of faith and healing to someone else.
Mid week, in prayer I prayed for a 6 year old boy with an inoperable tumor and brain cancer who was undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. I prayed over some prayer cloths for both the child and the parents feeling the empty pit in my stomach thinking of how I would feel if my 4 year old daughter were diagnosed with such a disease. Wednesday I saw my doctor for my shoulder and I told him of my burden for him and his family and provided him with scripture, prayer cloths and a prophetic word that God is in control and faith will open the doors to his sons healing. There is a small church praying for him and his family. He broke down and cried and I joined in with him. We are praying for his family every Sunday and I mention their names in prayer every day.
My wife is not healed yet, my shoulder has little range of motion right now, the outlook for my doctor's son is pretty bleak yet through this valley in the midst of it, Jesus is with us!!! He holds our hand and knows the number of hairs on our heads! The Healer is in the house and I love walking with Him through the valley, it is such a comfort to know Jesus. God has all things in His hands and all things work together for good. People have been amazing, bringing food to the house, providing gift cards to restaurants, money to cover incidentals....truly many people have stepped out to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Through this trial and tribulation, this trip through the fiery furnace, we are being forged and will come out what God wants us to be on the other side. Brazen as of pure gold!
The church will prevail. We will not be shaken. We have been founded on the rock, Jesus Christ and nothing can stop His church!. Get ready for revival and an outpouring of the Holy Ghost. Growth like you've never seen and an experience that can only be described as out of this world! This world is not my home, I am a visitor here until I get to see Jesus.
Praying this was a blessing to you. Sorry it's so long but it has been so long since I've written and much has happened in a short period of time.
-Pastor Marshall Pilcher