Nathan Lino Message

Nathan Lino, senior pastor of Northeast Baptist Church, Houston, Texas, spoke during the opening session of the BCNM’s 2021 Annual Meeting. Lino’s asked messengers and guests if they are seeking God for His stuff or seeking God. SN5130

ROSWELL (BNM) - “We were seeking God for His stuff. We were not seeking God,” Pastor Nathan Lino said in his verbal “autoposy” of his church's condition last year. “Powerful” was the word Donna Becker from Ruidoso used to describe Pastor Nathan Lino's message. She was not alone. Lamar Morin, pastor at Hoffmantown Church, Albuquerque, said, “The idea of when we pray we're just asking God for His stuff instead of asking for Him – that's powerful.”

The self-proclaimed “random pastor from Houston, Texas”, Lino is a church planter and experienced pastor, who has been shepherding Northeast Houston Baptist Church, Texas, for 18 years. COVID hit many places hard including northeast Houston, Northeast Houston Baptist Church, and Pastor Lino.

For Lino, COVID-19’s onset was followed closely by a death in the family, then by racial tensions and difficult questions, followed by the unexpected death of a fellow senior pastor, and unprecedented division among church members due to political battles. Together, that cascade of circumstances ushered a dry season into Pastor Lino's ministry.

Lino said he sensed fear, confusion, and a clear absence of God’s presence in his church. Church felt like an “empty ritual” that could perpetuate itself without Jesus. He said he could see his people overwhelmed by fear of societal opinions. That fear resulted in a lack of evangelism and paucity of boldness to live on mission for Christ.

That was when Lino asked his church to join him for corporate prayer and fasting every Tuesday until the end of the year, 17 weeks. He said he told the church, “We are going to ask God for all of Him that He is willing to give us.” As the church purposefully sought out the Holy Spirit in prayer, repentance and confession of secret sins became widespread. People experienced abundant answers to personal prayers: restored relationships, healed diseases, and the return of prodigal children.

Lino said 550 people received reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ. But during the outpouring of the Holy Spirit “the biggest thing that happened is God transformed us,” Lino concluded. As he preached, applause broke out when he described Christians’ inheritance as children of God and how the Holy Spirit is immediately accessible with Christ's work on the cross.

Lino encouraged church leaders to prioritize purposeful prayer meetings in their congregations. He challenged individuals to pray and request the infilling of the Holy Spirit every day for seven days. At the end of the message, Lino urged everyone present to attend the evening session of prayer.

Many, like Sean and Coleton, both NMSU Christian Challenge staff, said they were encouraged and challenged by the truths Lino presented. Over the summer, Christian Challenge staff in Las Cruces had discussed prayer and been burdened by the need to be examples of prayer for the students impacted by their ministry. Boyd Morerod, pastor at First Baptist Church, Los Chavez, called Lino’s message refreshing.

Others who were interviewed expressed, like Sean and Coleton, their anticipation for the evening prayer service. Patty Jimenez was “excited” to bring her husband for the evening service. Wesley Pilley, from First Baptist Church, Hagerman, reported that he was “looking forward to the prayer meeting tonight,” too.

The evening's Special Time of Prayer moved through three phases based on The Lord's Prayer. The first stage was personal consecration. Based on Matthew 5:3-6, attendees humbled themselves before God and worshiped Him for who He is.

The second stage focused prayer upon concerns close to the heart of God. All attendees then examined their hearts and confessed their sin before interceding for New Mexico's church leaders. The assembly specifically prayed for wisdom in leadership as well as for the requests that Paul makes in 2 Thessalonians 3:1-3: fresh anointing on those preaching the Word of God, deliverance from opponents of the church, and freedom from bitterness toward them.

The third phase was dedicated to presenting individual burdens to God and interceding for the burdens of others. Pastor Lino requested those asking God for a miracle to come forward and pray with an intercessor. Approximately 30 people did so.

Lino finally encouraged those in attendance, “Please remember to lift up these prayer requests to God and praise Him for answered prayer. Please also feel invited to join with your brothers and sisters in asking God every day for seven days to pour out His Holy Spirit on our lives, our churches, and our state.”

SN5130

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