Essential Blog

From Iran with Love: Secret Church Testimony 2017

Secret Church Testimony- Warren Mainard

Secret Church 2017

One of the great joys of Christian ministry is experiencing God’s sovereignty in the most surprising ways.  This year at Secret Church, the theme was “The Authority of Scripture” and the prayer focus was on the persecuted church in Iran.  After the first session of Bible study, we watched a video where we learned about the movement of God among the people of Iran.  In the midst of horrific persecution, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is spreading and the church is multiplying in Iran! 
            After the second session, we were instructed to split up the group of 15 meeting in a living room into smaller groups of 4 to pray together for God’s work and His people in Iran.  One of the people in my group was a guest I did not know; her name is Somayeh.  After we were instructed to pray, Somayeh asked if she could pray in her heart language- Farsi (the national language of Iran).  She said,  “I am from Iran, and I was a Muslim who came to know Christ while I was still living in Iran.” Then, she prayed in Farsi for her brothers and sisters in Christ still in her homeland.  It was so incredible to hear these prayers and know that our God hears and receives the prayers of all His people! After the prayer time was over, I thought to myself, “I need to get to know this woman and her story.”  I looked over and immediately noticed her backpack… I thought, “I know that backpack, I have one just like it!”  She had a Send North America backpack, which is given to those who are working directly with the North American Mission Board to plant churches in key metropolitan cities.  She shared with me that she and her husband Jamal are church planters to Iranians living in the Federal Way area of Seattle.  What an honor it was for me to think that God would allow me to know, serve and co-labor with such amazing followers of Jesus like Somayeh and Jamal.
            Additionally, as I mentioned, the theme of Secret Church was on the authority of Scripture.  As David Platt talked about the tremendous need and calling to take the Bible to those who have never heard it before, it struck me again that in our midst, God had placed a young man named Alex who is preparing to go with Wycliffe to Peru to translate the Bible into a language that does not yet have the Scriptures!  What a joy to know such a brave and faithful young man who would be willing to surrender everything in order to go and take the Word of God to a people who have yet to hear the Good News of Jesus!
              Jesus is alive… God’s Word is alive… and we are the beneficiaries of this wonderful news! May we never take for granted the marvels of God’s sovereignty and the way He blesses us by putting His people in our lives to remind us of the grandeur of His grace!


Why Spiritual Practice are Essential

Why Spiritual Practices are Essential  
by Warren Mainard
       Jesus once said to His disciples,
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:5  In this one sentence, we see the secret to a fruitful life… abiding in Christ.  In this passage of John 15, we discover that the disciple who abides in a relationship with Christ will experience eternal spiritual fruit, a freedom of forgiveness, answers to prayers, a God-glorifying life, and a true sense of God’s love flowing in and out of him.  For the disciple who abides in a relationship with Christ, she has the power to obey Christ’s commands.  Yet, for the person who does not abide in Christ, that person can do nothing of eternal value.  In light of eternity, their lives will be meaningless and devoid of power or purpose.  The startling conclusion is that there is nothing more important in the life of a Christian than “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Philippians 3:8)
       So how does one, “abide in Christ?”  How do we “know Christ and the power of His resurrection in our lives”? (Philippians 3:10).  The answer is found in reclaiming the Spiritual Practices of a Disciple.  I call these “the Lost Arts,” because in the busyness and business of life, cultivating the practices that promote intimacy with Christ is often much more of an art than it is a science.  A great artist takes many years practicing his craft.  Similarly, Paul instructs his younger friend Timothy to  
“Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.” 
1 Timothy 4:15
       What are “these things” that we are to practice?  They are the Lost Arts: The Spiritual Practices of a Disciple.  Over the next 10 weeks, we will be rediscovering and reclaiming these spiritual practices.  Practices such as cultivating a private and communal prayer life.  Fasting for spiritual break through.  Knowing and obeying the Word of God.  Experiencing the provision of God through tithing and radical generosity.  Finding closeness with Christ through Biblical community. And, finally, I will teach how and why every one of us should incorporate spiritual retreats and sabbaticals into the rhythms of our faith journey.
          I hope you will join me for this expedition into the depths of discovering God’s presence in our lives.  During this series, I will share some timeless AND innovative ways to practice the presence of God in your life.  I hope you will join me for The Lost Arts: Reclaiming the Spiritual Practices of a Disciple.

 


Easter Egg Hunt & Easter Service Testimony 2017

Easter Egg Hunt & Easter Service Testimony 2017

Nearly 4,500 beautifully diverse people attended our 2017 Easter Egg Hunt.

    On Saturday, March 9th, 2017 God defied the Seattle forecast of certain rain,
parting the clouds and opening the doors to allow nearly 4,500 beautifully diverse
people to participate in our community Easter Egg Hunt and experience the love of God’s people with no strings attached. Each family received information about our church, our Easter service and the upcoming community events we will offer this summer. In addition, we gave away a few dozen Bibles to those who did not have one. Days like this are always full of excitement and a source of praise… especially for a church plant!
     When my family and I moved out to Bellevue, WA to plant Essential Church, we had no idea of the challenges and blessings that we would have in store for us. Planting a church has been by far the most difficult thing we have ever done… and yet, we have seen the power of the Lord at work in these past four years in ways that are incomparable to the rest of our years in ministry.
     One difficult aspect of special events such as the Easter Egg Hunt is anticipating what response we will see from our investment and if the massive number of people might translate into any spiritual fruit. As leaders, we remind ourselves and our church that these types of outreaches require patience and that fruit is often slow coming.
     With a day like Easter, you never really know what to expect. As the service began, it looked like a typical Sunday at Essential. Then, the families began to pour in. One after another, we had about 10 families enter the service that were obviously walking into a church service for the first time. It was a little chaotic! People were talking, kids were running around in the back of the room, babies were crying… it was hard to stay focused as I gave our Easter welcome! The worship was great and after the third song, I came up to preach. When it came time to dismiss our pre-K and elementary school age children to “E-Kids,” it was clear these first-time guests had no idea what was going on! After attempting to explain to our guests that their children would have a separate Easter lesson in a different room, we saw all of the kids make their way out with our E-Kids leaders. However, what ended up happening was half of the parents went with their children into the E-Kids area and participated in the lesson!
     Thankfully, Bryan was leading the E-Kids lesson and discerned the unique opportunity that the Lord had entrusted to him. He responded by carefully explaining the Gospel, sharing the story of Christ’s death and Resurrection. As he shared, he would pause and address the parents in the room, many of whom were recording his lesson on their phones! One Indian mother told my wife Leah, “we want to come back, my daughter and I really enjoyed learning about Jesus today!”

Parents and Children attended our E-Kids class to learn about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus

    Meanwhile, in the main worship service, I preached a message on the two disciples who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus. I shared my testimony and the Gospel and invited guests to consider the message and ask Jesus to reveal Himself through the Bible. The worship continued and Jesus was clearly exalted. After the service, many families stayed and interacted with others at Essential! In all, we probably had close to 100 people in attendance and approximately 40 first time guests at Essential for Easter!
     Will you join me in praying for these precious friends and neighbors to continue to seek the truth of Christ at Essential, or another Bible believing church. Pray for Essential Church, that God may provide the people and resources we need to carry on this work that God has clearly entrusted to us in the Bellevue community. We cannot do this alone or in our own strength. Only as we fully depend upon Christ and seek first His Kingdom and righteousness will we be able to carry this work forward. We believe that God is able and we cherish your ongoing prayers and support as we never waver from our mission… to Magnify Christ and Multiply His Kingdom.

Pastor Warren Mainard



WHY: Why Go To Secret Church

Discover 3 Reasons to go to Secret Church this year.

Why Go To Secret Church  
by Warren Mainard
            In some parts of our world today, it is illegal to go to church.  In some of these settings, believers will meet together in secret periodically for a day of in depth, intense Bible study, prayer and encouragement.  Secret Church is an intentional attempt to get a small glimpse of this reality for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Why would anyone want to participate in a
event?

3 Reasons Why I Participate In Secret Church:

  1. Deep Teaching: Every year, I look forward to getting an incredible amount of Biblical teaching on a particular subject.  This year, the teaching is on the authority of the Scriptures.  In an age when everyone is skeptical of absolute truth, this year’s teaching could not be more relevant.
  2. Exposure to the Persecuted Church: One aspect of Secret Church is learning about and praying for the persecuted church in a particular place of our world.  It is important to remember that many Christians around the world risk much and suffer greatly for the cause of Christ.
  3. Closer Fellowship: When a group of people pray together, fellowship with one another, and study the Bible in community, a deeper bond of friendship and camaraderie is inevitable.  I love being able to share these experiences with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ every year.
I hope you will join me for Secret Church!
 
April 22nd: Secret Church (Scripture and Authority in an Age of Skepticism) – During Secret Church, we will discuss the authority of the Bible in an age of skepticism. Event will run from 1-7pm at the GLINK House (16929 SE 41st St, Bellevue) Contact BrockBass@essentialchurch.cc
for details. 

Secret Church 2017 Trailer