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Trail Notes

Journey to Celebration

by Jim Johnson

I hope you are planning on coming to our Baptism Party this Sunday evening at Blake and Jennifer Bolin’s home. If you want to see what PRESTON TRAIL is all about, there is no better place. There will be lots of laughter, visiting, clapping, snacking, and praising God, all for the purpose of celebrating the new life in Christ that 19 of our friends have found!

I wish you could know each person’s spiritual journey and how Preston Trail has been a part of their trip! You would be inspired and encouraged to grow closer to God, too. To whet your appetite, I thought you might like to read about one of our friends whose new found faith you will be celebrating.

Matt works for a national telecommunications company. One of his friends at work is Adam Kimball, alias “Slim” of Dude Ranch fame. Out of their friendship it was natural for Adam to invite Matt to Preston Trail. In recent months Matt had gone through some rocky personal times and his heart was open to a relationship with God like never before.

He took Adam up on his invitation and came to check us out on a Sunday morning. During the “meet and greet” time he filled out a welcome card and indicated he would like to learn more about faith. He did so, he says, just to see if anyone would really respond. Well, each week Paul and I divvy up the cards to call folks and tell them that we are glad that they came to PRESTON TRAIL. It just so happened that I got Matt’s card and gave him a call.

We decided to meet for lunch at my regular hangout, where I always order the pecan-crusted chicken salad. Our lunch time flew by as we got to know each other a bit and I got a sense of Matt’s desire to learn more about God. Before we left I asked Matt if he would like to meet once a week for several weeks and talk about faith and what it means to follow Jesus. He said, “Sure!” and that began a wonderful friendship.

In the meantime, Matt’s desire to explore the issue of faith led him to make two more decisions. First, he joined the Set Up Team. I love this about Matt. Here he is, not yet a believer, and he jumps in to help with one of the most challenging Serving Teams. I know people who have followed Christ for years who wouldn’t get up at 6:00 am to serve Him, but here’s Matt pushing boxes, hauling stages, and raising barns with the Bravo Team. And this is what I love about our Set Up guys—they welcomed him and included him from the “get go.” After just a few trips down to the storage closets and back, he was a part of the team.

Matt’s second decision was to join a Life Group. Adam and Janelle are a part of Aaron and Kelly Buck’s Life Group and they thought Matt would fit right in . . . and he did. So now, Matt is meeting twice a month with a group of caring believers who are encouraging and guiding him on his journey.

Along the way Matt has done one other thing that speaks highly of his search. He started reading the Bible for himself. He began with the Gospels and read about Jesus. In that process the Spirit began to confirm in his heart and mind that the message of God’s love and grace is true. Well, you can guess the rest of the story. It wasn’t long before Matt made life’s most important decision—to say “yes” to Jesus’ invitation to follow Him and receive Him as his forgiver and life leader. Yea Matt! Yea God! Yea Preston Trail!

As you can see we have much to celebrate this weekend! On Sunday morning the Dude Ranch Gang will introduce a brand new value. In the worship service, Paul will be encouraging us from Joseph’s life to always “Be Ready to Reconcile.” Then, we’ll gather at the Bolin’s for the Baptism Party at 5:00! What a day God is planning for PRESTON TRAIL! See you there!

Blessings,

Jim