Special meetings were held at the Apostolic Faith Church in Richmond, California, on February 16-19. Excitement was in the air as attendees arrived from branch churches in Tehachapi, Los Angeles, and Sacramento, California; as well as Medford, Grants Pass, and Roseburg, Oregon. John Baros, the pastor in Medford, was the guest speaker, and the theme verse was taken from Hosea 6:3, “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” The phrase “follow on” means to “chase after, continue in earnest, to pursue persistently,” and the word “know” indicates a “deep, intimate knowledge.”
The combined orchestra set the tone for the Friday evening service by playing “Grace” and “Wonderful Grace of Jesus.” James Spakousky, from Richmond, led the congregation in songs about following God. Before the sermon, a trio from Los Angeles sang “I Just Feel Like Something Good Is About to Happen.” Brother John brought out that just as the prophet Hosea paid a ransom for his unfaithful wife, Gomer, Jesus paid the ransom for sinners when He died for their sins. He challenged the congregation to know God better and have a closer intimate relationship with Him.
Saturday morning began with Steve Hopper, from Woodlake, leading the congregation in singing songs about continuing on and making Heaven. Then Mark Staller, the pastor in Tehachapi, gave a devotional on “Decision Making.” His three points were to inspire Christians in their life decisions, lessen the anxiety some may feel when making important decisions, and help Christians clarify and correct their thinking regarding decision making. He shared some of his experiences with making major decisions, and stated that while God gives the freedom to make decisions, they need to remain within God’s moral and perfect will.
The youth service that evening began with Sage Bojescu playing “Hills and Valleys” on the piano. Then the choir sang “Famous For.” To open the testimony portion of the service, a men’s group from Sacramento sang “Where Could I Go?” Before the sermon, Michael Hancock, from Los Angeles, sang “You Already Know.” Sola Omolayo, from Richmond, read 2 Peter 1:19 for his text, and brought out that darkness conceals, but light reveals. He stated that God sent His Son, Jesus, to provide a way out of sin’s darkness, and he encouraged the congregation to walk in the light and let the light of Jesus shine through them.
On Sunday morning, Brother John took his text from 1 Thessalonians 4:7, and emphasized that God has called His people to holiness. He brought out that Jesus shed His Blood to provide sanctification for those who are willing to wholly consecrate themselves to God. Brother John encouraged the congregation to seek holiness so they can have a more intimate relationship with God.
During the Sunday evening service, Brother John read 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 for his text, and shared how during his growing up years, Gilbert Olson invested time and love to encourage the young people in Sacramento. That was compared with the love God demonstrated when He sent His Son, Jesus, to provide salvation for all. Brother John challenged the congregation to remain focused on their relationships with God at all times so they can make the goal.
Those who attended the special meetings were inspired and challenged to draw closer to God and persistently pursue a more intimate relationship with Him, remaining faithful until Jesus returns.