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   Outside of Arco, Idaho, there is a decommissioned research reactor and nuclear power plant called The Experimental Breeder Reactor, also known as EBR-1. This is an important sight because on November 20 in 1951, EBR-1 generated enough energy to light four 200 watt light bulbs. 

   In our high tech world where some civilians travel to space regularly and advances in technology seem endless, the lighting of four light bulbs may seem like a small things. However, it was a monumental day for such a feat. In fact, days such as November 20, 1951 have served as a foundation and catalyst for 
the developments that we have today. 

   I’d like to visit EBR-1 someday. In fact, it is now a museum and is open for visitors from late May until early September each year. I also note some important lessons from EBR-1 that I believe are important for any local church. 

Rather than looking at the immediate results, let us focus on the lasting impacts. 
People may look at the fact that four light bulbs were generated by the EBR-1 and think, "Big deal." It was actually a huge deal! It had never been done before and the tireless work of those who created the reactor forged the path to the advancements that we enjoy today. Often local churches may base their effectiveness on how another church is reaching people for Jesus. Pastors and church leaders may hear of great growth in other congregations while very few converts or additions are seen at their own place of service. 

Perhaps churches are focusing on the wrong thing. The Apostle Paul told the Corinthian Church in I Corinthians 3:6, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase." Those who dedicated their lives to the betterment of humanity through EBR-1, I am sure, were not trying to make a name for themselves. They simply looked the bigger implications of their commitment. 

Likewise, let us not grow weary in our well doing. May we plant the seed of God's Word and trust God for the Harvest. It could be that the ministry of a local church is to water the Seed. Either way, we have a dual responsibility and joy: to plant and to water. We realize that God is the One who gives the increase. 

God doesn't gauge the effectiveness or success of something the same way people do. 
Does it matter that EBR-1 in its infancy, lit only four light bulbs? Would it be more spectacular if it were five light bulbs? What about twenty light bulbs or fifty light bulbs? The reactor generated enough energy to create light. This is the message of this moment in history. 

My wife and I attended a small church youth ministry conference a couple of years ago.  I must say it was one of the best training events that either of us had ever attended. I remember two ladies who were at the event and they came to find out how to minister to the youth of their church. The youth of their church were from two separate families: the two ladies. I remember they got somewhat emotional talking about how they loved Jesus, their church loved Jesus, and their kids loved Jesus. However, they felt inadequate because their didn't have a large group of youth. In fact, I felt as though they almost felt like they were failing. 

What an encouragement it was for the leaders of the event, along with other participants, to support them and affirm their good work in caring for their church youth. Sometimes the youth events would involve attending a Christian concert or being part of the community in outreach efforts. Other times, the youth function at their church might simply be playing dominoes or watching a family-friendly movie with the youth. 

An effective ministry is not spelled S-I-Z-E. Ministries that honor Christ are spelled T-I-M-E, and J-E-S-U-S, and B-I-B-L-E. So what if a church has 1 or 2 or 5 youth? Pour into those youth the things of God. Boldly and lovingly minister to them in the name of Jesus Christ. One church has 450 in worship. Another church has 40 in worship. Is the larger church more faithful than the smaller church? Is the smaller church any less important to God? The answer is, "No." 

Four light bulbs or fifty light bulbs. Light your community, your home, your church, youth world with the love and light of Jesus. 


The Lord Jesus Christ Generates and the Church Propagates. 
To generate something is "to produce" something. To propagate means "to spread and promote widely." The Church does not transform. No church has ever truly reformed anyone. But, Jesus has and Jesus does! EBR-1 remains as a testimony of what was. It is a relic of great breakthroughs from years ago. It is not only a museum for guests to visit. The Church, as beautiful as the Body of Christ may be, is simply a reflection of the true Beauty and Love of the Savior. 

Perhaps you are reading this article and you have not had the best experience with a local church. Maybe you were hurt. Just as EBR-1 pointed to something greater (far-reaching advancements in technology), the Church points to Christ. I am going to ask you to do something that may seem impossible right now. I am asking you to look past the Church and look to Jesus. I am beseeching you to understand that the Church is a perfect institution founded by Christ but is made up of imperfect people. Will you forgive those who hurt you in a local church? Philippians 2:13 states
, "for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." 

EBR-1 is not used to generate today. It is simply a reminder of what was once accomplished and it propagates the idea to be dedicated to a good and worthwhile cause. The Church does not generate salvation. Only Jesus does that. Yet, the Church, even in all it our defects, can propagate. We testify that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. 

Trust Him today. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! I am blessed to serve as your pastor!

- Bro. Jon

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