Pastor Clayton With of Abiding Love Baptist Church picked up a huge stone with the word, “Ebenezer” on it and celebrated with his congregation the dedication of their new sanctuary on June 11, 2017. Lifting the Ebenezer stone
above his head, Pastor Clayton reminded the congregation of the story from I Samuel, when the Philistines had attacked God’s people during a time of worship, repentance and spiritual renewal. The Lord supernaturally intervened with loud thunder to confuse and frighten the Philistines, allowing Israel to overcome them in battle. Samuel then set a stone of reminder, an Ebenezer stone, declaring “the Lord has helped us thus far.” (I Samuel 7:12)
The congregation had outgrown their tiny facility at 302 East Pearl, just off of the square in Harrisonville. Though the church has always been an active ministering congregation in their community, this new facility will allow the congregation to minister to their community in so many more ways.
Pastor Clayton then read from II Chronicles which recounts the building and dedication of Israel’s first temple, describing each successive stage in the process and asking those present rhetorically, “Was it a church yet?”, to which the congregation answered “no” each time. Only after the continued Spirit of the Lord filled the temple was it a place where God’s people could worship Him. Still, it was only a building; it was not a church, it could not contain God’s glory, but it was a place filled with God’s glory where the Lord met His people and they could offer praises to Him.
Pastor Clayton then indicated that neither are we a part of the Church or born again until the Holy Spirit comes to live in us at our conversion. And, the Church didn’t become the church until the Holy Spirit fell from heaven on the day of Pentecost. Pastor Clayton noted that it took Israel seven years to finish their temple so he didn’t feel so bad that it had taken them eight years to see their dream of having a new sanctuary become a reality.
The day was punctuated with special music, guest speakers and the congregation corporately dedicating itself to the Lord to utilize the new facility for His purposes and gospel. Abiding Love is now located just east of highway 7 on EE highway, on the north side of Harrisonville.