I like starting a new year. It’s refreshing, encouraging, and brings hope with vision. Seldom, do all our new year’s resolutions last all year but the ones that do last can change our lives. Last year I committed to the Lord to read at least a chapter a day from books by Bible teachers I wanted to learn more from. I actually did it and I actually learned so much and was so encouraged. This year I will continue to read and will do online Bible courses. I haven’t started an actual Bible course yet but have listened to a teaching series from a Bible school this past week. It’s a matter of commitment to Him from my heart. A new year commitment will last if you know it is what He guiding you to do, if you let Him work through you to do it and if you believe it in your heart. Doing anything in our own will power usually doesn’t last too long.
One of my greatest desires for our church family has always been unity and oneness. If we are together, we will experience the outpouring and awakening we believe is from Him. In the beginning of Acts you find Jesus, the disciples and other followers of Jesus gathered together. Jesus had said to them, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” Acts 1:8-9 After Jesus ascended into heaven they went back to Jerusalem and came together to pray. “All of these with their minds in full agreement devoted themselves steadfastly to prayer,” Acts 1:14 They were of one mind, gripped with one passion and praying. They were ready to go and preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth. “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:1-4
“And they steadfastly persevered, devoting themselves constantly to the instruction and fellowship of the apostles, to the breaking of the bread together, including the Lord’s Supper, and prayers.” Acts 2:42
After they were filled with the Holy Ghost they went and preached the Good News. Peter and John were then arrested for preaching. “As soon as they (Peter and John) were released from custody, Peter and John went to the other believers and explained all that had happened with the high priest and the elders. When the believers heard their report, they raised their voices in unity and prayed, “Lord Yahweh, you are the Lord of all! You created the universe--the earth, the sky, the sea, and everything that is in them. So now, Lord, listen to their threats to harm us. Empower us, as your servants, to speak the word of God freely and courageously. Stretch out your hand of power through us to heal, and to move in signs and wonders by the name of your holy Son, Jesus!” Acts 4:23-24,29-30
This is our vision for 2023, “Empower us, as your servants, to speak the word of God freely and courageously. Stretch out your hand of power through us to heal, and to move in signs and wonders by the name of your holy Son, Jesus!” As we minister, speak the Word of God with boldness and see miracles happening, we will see people giving their lives to Jesus. As He empowers us as His servants to speak the Word of God, we will see people healed physically and emotionally. Hurting people will be set free as we speak the Word of God freely and courageously. God’s word is the seed that has to be planted in the ground of people’s hearts. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17
The Lord commissioned us to preach the Gospel.
These verses from Acts have always been powerful to me. There is power, strength, comfort, joy, peace and unity that comes from truly being steadfast and devoted. Together as a church family we are unstoppable. “If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. Matthew 18:19
The church is the body of Christ. “In the human body there are many parts and organs, each with a unique function. And so it is in the body of Christ. For though we are many, we’ve all been mingled into one body in Christ. This means that we are all vitally joined to one another, with each contributing to the others.” Romans 12:4-5
“He is the Head of his body, which is the church. And since he is the beginning and the firstborn heir in resurrection, he is the most exalted One, holding first place in everything.” Colossians 1:18
One of the greatest pictures of our oneness and unity as a church is that we are His body. He is the head and each of us is a part of His body. He has gifted each one of us with special gifts and callings so together we can do what He has called us to do. The Lord showed me how we are each divinely created by Him. “You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside and my intricate outside, and wove them all together in my mother’s womb. I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord! You even formed every bone in my body when you created me in the secret place; carefully, skillfully you shaped me from nothing to something.”
At the same time, we are each exactly like Him if we have Him in our hearts. Our identity is exactly the same as Believers in Him. As I was preparing for Children’s Church the Lord reminded me that we are like snowflakes. Each snowflake is different yet, all snowflakes have the same identity – a snowflake.
As we are going forward into this year our vision to reach the lost and hurting can only happen as we work together in unity and as His body. There are so many areas of ministry that we are unable to do without the help of everyone. Each of us have a gift that will enrich this ministry. Next week we will be sharing some areas we need help with and you can see where your gift will best fit. We are fitly joined together as His body. We will help you in what area you feel called, we will train you if we need to, and always be there to help and encourage.
“We may not have it all together but together we have it all.” I saw this saying several years ago and the first thing I thought of was our church and ministry. How true this is. I can’t say that we have everything together or know everything we should be doing or how to do things. But I can say that when we are working together with the Lord as our Shepherd guiding the way – we have all we need. We may not see everything exactly the same – we may not approach every situation in the same way. Our togetherness is a unity that encourages, protects, instructs, praises, works with, supports, gives to, prays for and has love for one another. “We are standing firm and united in spirit and purpose, striving side by side and contending with a single mind for the faith of the Gospel.” Philippians 1:27
As we go forward in Him reaching those in our community that are hurting and longing for real acceptance and love and as we reach across the oceans to countries far away we need to do it all in one accord and together. Our church is powerful and unstoppable but even more so as more of us bind together in unity and all of us doing the work of the ministry. Thank you for being such as awesome church family. We love you all so much and so blessed by each of you!!
“Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight…” Leviticus 26:8