A Community Gathers to Proclaim God’s Goodness!
A GATHERING OF GRATEFUL PEOPLE
There is a song we sometimes sing together that sums it up; “Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One, give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son. And now, let the weak say “I am strong.’ Let the poor say, ‘I am rich,’ because of what the Lord has done, for us. Give Thanks!”
In the aftermath of the Oroville Dam spillway crises, life has returned to normal. The rains are behind us and summer is here. The sobering threat that loomed so large has shrunk to the background. We could have been dealing with the devastation and loss of downtown Oroville and the communities down river. But, God heard the cries and prayers of His people, and in His mercy, intervened for us.
Have we taken the time to say thank you and express out praise to God? Remember the story in Luke 17:11-19? Ten men suffering with leprosy met Jesus on the road, and began to cry out together, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us.” Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priests, and while they were on their way, they were healed. Their desperate cries touched Jesus’ heart and he intervened on their behalf.
All ten were healed, yet, only one returned to praise God and give thanks. Jesus seemed somewhat disappointed that the others did not also return and express their praises to God. He asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the others?”
In view of God’s great mercy and grace, the Greater Oroville Partnership of Pastors. felt it was important for the Body of Christ to gather together and invite the community to join us.
Our purpose was to say thank you, and publicly declare the GREATNESS OF OUR GOD.
So, we put the plan in place and on Sunday afternoon, May 21st. we met at Harrison Stadium. Even though it was a hot day, there was a sense of anticipation as the people gathered together.
THE GATHERING OF GRATEFUL PEOPLE began with the blowing of the Shofar to call us to worship. Stephanie Hayden led us in “The Doxology” as we all stood and began to praise God. Pastor Ron LaGatta welcomed and greeted the Church of Oroville. He stated our purpose for the gathering, and also shared that we were there to hear the story of God’s mighty hand at work.
The story was told in five segments, with three scripture readings by local pastors in between. Pastor Mike Bryan shared that on the Sunday morning before the evacuation, the weather forecast predicted eight to ten inches of rain in the mountains. His church went to prayer and specifically asked the Lord to withhold it. The clouds went north and the sun came out most of the day. It was a direct request in prayer and God gave a direct answer.
The second story was told by Pastor Ed Hall and his wife, Cassandra. Pastor Hall is a chaplain at the Sheriff’s department. Sheriff Kory Honea came to Pastor Hall’s church on that Sunday to present an award for his service, but while there received a special word and prayer from Cassandra. She prayed for Sheriff Honea to have strength, wisdom from the Lord, and courage. Three hours later, he faced the most difficult and challenging decisions of his life.
The third story was told by the Sheriff. He shared about Cassandra’s words and prayer, and how it helped prepare him for the looming crisis that followed. He made the decision to evacuate the downtown areas, and south county communities. He was faced with the real possibility that thousands of people could die. As people were fleeing away from the danger, he then gave the directive for all of his officers to rush into the danger areas to assist any who needed help. They all came, ready to make the ultimate sacrifice. He also had the concern for the 600 plus inmates at the Butte Co. jail which needed to be evacuated. All of them were bussed to a Correctional facility in the Bay Area. Throughout Sheriff Honea’s story, he kept stating that God was the one who deserved the credit for all the miracles that took place. We could have been devastated, but there were no deaths or serious injuries. He finished by telling us how proud he is to be the sheriff of this community. He said he believes that we have our best days ahead and he would not want to be anywhere else.
The fourth story was shared by Mayor Linda Dahlmeier . She was out of town on the night of the evacuation and could not get back. Her message to the Gathering was like the one she shared at OroNaz the Sunday she came. The Lord’s message to us through her is, “It is time for the church to wake up.” In the world of politics, there is seldom complete unity. It must have been gratifying for the Mayor to see the Church of Jesus waking up and coming together in unity.
The fifth story was shared by Pastor Dave Lamberson, from Red Bluff. On the evening of the evacuation, there were a number of churches meeting together in Red Bluff to seek the Lord in prayer and praise. When they heard about the emergency in Oroville, they immediately began to cry out to the Lord for us. Red Bluff is south of the Shasta Dam and they identified with our need as if it could be happening to them. Their hearts were joined to ours and they earnestly and diligently sought the power of God for our deliverance. Jesus did say, “”If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in Heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)
That is what THE GATHERING was all about. We came together in Jesus’ name. Twenty pastors and people coming together to say, “Thank you, for your mercies to us.” We wanted to be like the one leper who returned to give praise and thanksgiving to God. We are a grateful people.
Pastor Ed Redfern
ASSIMILATION MINISTRIES PASTOR