Jesus looked at them and said, "For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible." (Mark 10:27 NRSV)
Alfonso Briones of the Philippines attended a training seminar for missionary pastors at the Haggai Institute in 1982. It was an experience that changed his life. Before the seminar was over, he locked himself in his room one night, knelt beside his bed, and made a commitment to the Lord: "When I go back to the Philippines I will make my church the fastest growing church in East Metro Manila district, so help me God." That was his commitment.

He started preaching about missions and evangelism. The people responded well. Alfonso then shifted his theme to stewardship. The congregation responded well to this, too. Finally he started a training program with 41 young people from the church. Only on the last day of training did he pluck up the courage to reveal the goal to which he had committed himself. "Let us win 200 souls for the Lord in two years' time," he challenged. To his surprise, somebody stood up.

"That is too small. Make it 500 souls, Pastor!"

Alfonso was shocked. "No!" he sputtered under his breath. "We can't make that. It's unrealistic!" But the man stood up again and declared, "Nothing is impossible with God!" From that day onward the church prayed for 500 souls. Today Taytay United Methodist Church in Manila has over 1,000 members. It has spawned four daughter churches, and now supports seven full-time and two part-time lay missionaries. Alfonso and the people trusted God to take the church beyond the possible.

Lord Jesus, help me to take your church beyond the possible. Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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