Mk.1:16-18 – As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
It seems that the Lord likes to hang around at the edge of lakes. You know, the disciples were called from the beach on the Lake of Geneserette; we know it as the Sea of Galilee. Parris and I met the Lord and felt His call on our lives at the lakeshore at Lake Ponchartrain. ‘Follow Me, I will make you fishers of men’.
That was 1973 and we found ourselves thrust into the Jesus revolution. Our lives were changed as well as thousands of others as the Lord began to pour out His Spirit on a generation the young and desperate. Young people across the nation were radically born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit. The change for many of us was total, effecting every part of our lives. We became part of a community of others who had also experienced this new life. Our whole culture was being transformed. The Bible was our compass, worship became our passion, and evangelism was part of who we had become. The natural end that we were headed to was to start a church. This new community would provide the haven for our love for God’s word, a place for believers to share their passion for Jesus in worship, and a group of people to evangelize our world. The Jesus movement had come full circle; the fruit for us was Victory Fellowship in New Orleans in 1979.
The basic seeds of the Jesus movement grew into our church over the coming years. Our love for God’s word birthed Victory Academy and Bethesda College, our passion for worship has been part of our identity and left its mark on everyone who visits our church. The discipleship we experienced in our Jesus community now lives through our Life Groups; our communities within our larger community, where we experience the beauty of spiritual family. Evangelism has also been a major part of this family being displayed in the free food festival Feed the Multitudes and the live production Beyond the Grave where thousands have given their hearts to Christ.
But how can we forget how it all started, it began at the edge of a body of water. It really began when the Holy Spirit fell on us and called us into this new life. Thankfully, that too is part of who we are at Victory Fellowship. The Holy Spirit fell on our church in shocking ways beginning in 1994. The impact of that outpouring still fills every service. As we celebrate 39 years at Victory Fellowship this Sunday I feel like I’m standing on the beach once again. Something is happening, Jesus is filling our lives again.