It was a lovely autumn evening when people arrived from various West Coast branch churches to attend the special meetings held at the Apostolic Faith Church in Sacramento, California, held September 30 through October 2. The anticipation was high as people greeted one another, and looked to the Lord to fill hungry hearts. The theme verse for the weekend was Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
The Friday evening service began with a trumpet solo of “Great Is the Lord.” Enthusiastic congregational singing made the rafters ring, and the victorious testimonies were an inspiration to all. The guest minister was Erik Calhoun, the youth leader in Portland, Oregon. He read Philippians 3:10 for his text, and brought out that the key to spiritual victory is to know Jesus better by understanding His sacrifice and following His example of submitting to God’s will.
On Saturday morning, everyone gathered for a lovely breakfast that offered several delicious choices, including old-time camp meeting blueberry pancakes! After breakfast, there was a joyous time of congregational singing. Then Randy Lee, from Medford, Oregon, gave the morning devotional, using Philippians 3:13-14 for his text. He brought out that the calling of God is a great privilege, blessing, and responsibility. The congregation split into four groups to discuss four different Bible characters—Esther, David, the woman at the well, and Jacob—to determine how they overcame their challenges and attained victory. The congregation was encouraged to learn from their past and press ahead to fulfill the call of God in their lives.
A young people’s service was held Saturday evening, which began with a trombone trio playing “Glory to His Name.” The service included more beautiful music and testimonies of victory. Brother Randy used the same text as the morning devotional, and focused on “the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” He brought out that there are many “prizes” in answering God’s call, including the benefits of having fellowship with other believers, receiving instruction from God’s Word, and passing the Gospel on to others. A wonderful prayer meeting followed, and many received blessings from the Lord.
The Sunday morning service began with a violin solo that set the tone for a time of worship. Brother Erik read the theme verse for his text, and used Paul’s call to Macedonia as an example. He told the congregation that when they are quick to respond to God’s call in their lives, He will lead them in the right direction at the right time. He brought out that while God calls everyone to holiness, the call of God may also include times of suffering and persecution. However, being faithful will bring eternal rewards.
A male vocal group opened the Sunday evening service by singing “When He Blessed My Soul.” Feelings of being blessed were prevalent throughout the special meetings, and several gave thanks during the testimony portion of the service. A young man shared that God saved him during Sacramento special meetings the previous year, and that he still has the victory. Another man said that even though he was excelling in school and sports, he was not happy and feared he would miss Heaven. When he prayed and asked God to reveal Himself to him, God saved him and gave him peace. A lady testified of losing her son, and not long afterward, her house was flooded. She said she is thankful that even in that difficult time, she could feel God’s love, and He was with her through it all. Brother Erik again referenced the theme verse, and focused on the ultimate prize—making Heaven and seeing Jesus face to face. He brought out that reaching this goal was worth any cost, and he encouraged the congregation to keep pressing on in their walks with God. Another wonderful prayer meeting followed, with many blessings received. Those who attended the special meetings felt encouraged to answer God’s call, to keep moving forward spiritually, and to keep that glorious prize in view!