ccm Cross 0034
Friday, August 10, 2012

Friendship Church
Braham, Minnesota
ccm cross #0034

GPS/DMS 45.7222° N, 93.1700° W

01 Cross 0034 Braham MN WEB
Additional photos after testimony:

3111 cdd House of Prayer

Cyber Daily Devotion by Pastor Bill
Volume 13 Number 200

Today’s Author: Pastor Bill

Scripture: Judges 13:24b-25a:
“And the Lord blessed him as he grew up. And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him” NLT

At fifty years old Gary Shaw was feeling satisfied. He and his wife Jan had raised four children in a wonderful rural community in central Minnesota and along the way they had taken advantage of every opportunity to serve the Lord.

Gary had worked for fifteen years for a local photography studio and then for a small advertising company. The financial rewards were not great but the bills always seemed to get paid.

When things in photography changed from film to digital Gary found his job disappearing. Fortunately his ability to drive truck opened the door to a position in a local company that actually provided greater pay, benefits and even a retirement fund.

Gary was feeling satisfied.

After eight years on this job things began to change. The company voted in a union. Friendships with managers and employers dissolved seemingly overnight and the atmosphere became toxic. Gary was losing sleep, not eating and feeling pressured to “move on.” But he had never left a job without first having a job to replace it.

On a particularly difficult day Gary called Jan for support and she said something that they would later recognize as a word from the Lord. Jan said, “It’s ok to give your notice and leave.” The impact was electric — Gary was immediately released to seek what the Lord had for their future.

Right away Gary found another job which seemed like God’s gift. But something was not right. It was not the right fit — oh it had all the income and benefits he needed but his spirit was unsettled. After two weeks Gary heard a voice deep inside that said, “What are you doing here? I didn’t release you from your previous job so you could have another job.” Gary again gave his notice without another job to step into. It was clear the Holy Spirit had other ideas. Gary and Jan took time in prayer.

Gary visited with his Pastor and was challenged to “work for the Lord.” At fifty years old Gary was unqualified, unprepared and uncertain of his next step. More prayer with Jan and the vision was becoming clear. Information was sent to the Assemblies of God headquarters for evaluation. It was decided that his life experiences and the few Bible courses he had taken would leave him with about one year of Bible training needed to become licensed.

Gary and Jan took a giant leap of faith. They would cut expenses and Gary would enter Bible training full time for one year.

Part way through the year Gary experienced something strange that would challenge if he was moving in the right direction. When we take a step of faith, our loving Heavenly Father sees our step and responds. But many times our step of faith is also noticed by the sinister eyes of our enemy.

One night Gary awoke from his sleep. There was an eerie presence in the room. Suddenly he realized that as much as he struggled to move his arms, legs and head — they would not move. Then he prayed, “Jesus, help me.” The Demonic spirit left immediately at the name of Jesus — to never return. Gary knew that he knew — he was on the right track following the Lord Jesus Christ.

Another meeting with his Pastor where he was presented with a challenge to return to his home town of Braham, Minnesota — assignment to plant a church.

Now the vision was well defined. Gary finished Bible training and became licensed. Then the big day arrived to start the church. All preparations and contacts were made with friends and family and the door opened in a rented VFW hall. Great expectations were reduced to reality — one person from Braham showed up.

Gary gave the Lord thanks for providing one person and said, “I’ll not give up — Jesus did not give up on me and died on the cross for my sins.” Faithfully each week the meetings began.

Gary and Jan Shaw knew that Friendship Assembly would only be built through much prayer. The first two years they moved into several different buildings finally settling in a local elementary school. It was here that the House of Prayer became a reality.

Years before when Gary was in high school he would help push his friend Steve in a wheel chair from class to class. Steve had broken his neck and now these many years later — at the Braham, Minnesota elementary school with Gary Shaw as Pastor — Steve wheeled into the auditorium.

Steve had heard from a friend that Gary Shaw was the Pastor and he had to see for himself. Gary preached and Steve listened. When the service was complete Gary had an altar call for prayer. Steve was uncomfortable — the way people freely moved about praying for each other was not something he was accustomed to.

Steve froze in his wheel chair and did not move — soon he was surrounded by a group praying for him. But he didn’t ask for prayer!

Steve had been confined to his wheel chair for many years. Because of his condition Steve had been suffering from recurring infections about every six weeks. It was concerning to his doctors and it was slowing him down.

The people surrounding Steve laid their hands on him and he knew something was happening but had no idea what it was. Steve left the church that day knowing the Lord had touched his life but it was not until much later Gary learned what had happened.

No one at Friendship Assembly had known about Steve’s trouble with infections — but the infections suddenly stopped after they prayed. He was very grateful. Friendship was blossoming as a “House of Prayer.”

And even today when attending a service Pastor Gary makes a way for prayer to be an integral part of the service. And yes — since then — there have been many, many, many answers to prayer — because after all Friendship Assembly is the Lord’s house of prayer.

Pastor Gary wants to share this Bible verse with us in Judges 13:24-25a:”When her son was born, she named him Samson. And the Lord blessed him as he grew up. And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him” NLT

Pastor Gary and his wife Jan have a passion for prayer. And just as this Bible verse states he desires that anyone who meets Jesus will become stirred up by the Holy Spirit.

Pastor Gary sees the cross as the focal point in all of history —- even our calendars reflect this – 2012 AD.

This mysterious man hanging on the cross is drawing all men unto Himself and we are compelled to ask, “Why are you suffering like that and what does it have to do with me?”

This cross planted is an invitation to all who pass by to enter Friendship Assembly, humble themselves in prayer and begin seeking after the One who was lifted up.

Prayer:Father thank you for stretching Gary and Jan and calling them out of their “satisfied” box and challenging them to establish this House of Prayer for YOU. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!02 Cross 0034 Braham MN WEB

Pastor Gary Shaw inspecting the beams

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Connecting the two beams

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Lifting the cross

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“Fire in the Hole”

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Adding the concrete

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Cross planting team

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Pastor Gary Shaw and his wife Jan

10 Cross 0034 Braham MN WEBPlaque
“Declaring God’s Glory”
over Braham, Minnesota.