Greetings In the Name of the Lord:
Romans 12:17-18 (NLT)
17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
It is amazing the impact on a project when God is in it. We recently purchased an old church building in Mount Gilead, and the response from the community has been amazing. Our current landlord was not only displeased that we were moving, but thanked me for good care that we had given to his property in the fifteen years we have been in the storefront. In addition there has been an overwhelming response in the community. We posted pictures of the building on a community Face Book page (You Know You’re In Morrow County When…), and people from the community are thrilled that we are going to make the old building into a church again. Several people noted that they attend the church as children and shared some found memories of the building. One lady remarked, “May God bless New Life Assembly of God!” Earlier today as I was leaving the building to head home an elderly gentleman stopped his car in the middle of the street and asked me if I was the one who bought the building. When I responded that we had he asked what we planned to do with it. When I told him we were going to make it a church again his face lit up like a Christmas tree. He said, “I attended that church most of my life. When you open it back up let me know, I’ll be there!” My point in mentioning all of this is simply this is what happens when we do things God’s way. We have tried to rely on God’s timing and following the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Furthermore, we have done our very best to do things in an honorable and upright fashion. When we do things in a way that honors God we stand in God’s favor. Let us then strive to live at peace with everyone and God will bless us for it.
Greetings In The Name of the Lord:
Zechariah 4:6-10 (NLT)
Then he said to me, “This is what the LORD says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 7 Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way; it will become a level plain before him! And when Zerubbabel sets the final stone of the Temple in place, the people will shout: ‘May God bless it! May God bless it!’” 8 Then another message came to me from the LORD: 9 “Zerubbabel is the one who laid the foundation of this Temple, and he will complete it. Then you will know that the LORD of Heaven’s Armies has sent me. 10 Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” (The seven lamps represent the eyes of the LORD that search all around the world.)
After two months of negotiating, estimates, fact finding, frustration, and a lot of prayer we have finally purchased the church building at 290 Lincoln Ave. It is a great day for us and we rejoice to see the work begin. However, there are certain things that I believe we cannot lose sight of in the process. First, we must recognize that this is far more a spiritual endeavor than a physical one. That may seem an odd thing to say considering all the work that needs to be done to the building before we can move in to it, but nonetheless it is true. We must recognize that the Lord has been in this all the way. Without Him leading the way this never could have happened. As we proceed we must always remember that it is “not by by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies!” Second, we must understand that there will be challenges along the way, but also that God is able to meet those challenges. There can be no doubt that God has met all the challenges we have faced in the purchase of the building, and therefore, He is certainly able to meet any we will face in the days to come. Like Zerubbabel and the people we must all shout, “May God bless it! May God bless it!” Finally, we must not despise these small beginnings, for God has big plans for us in the days ahead. In addition to being able to meet the challenges to get us in the building, God has things in store for us as He opens doors of ministry after we move in to the building. We can never lose sight of the fact that this building has two purposes: to worship God, and to minister to people. As nice as it will be to have an actual church building it can never be the end in itself, but only an avenue of ministry. If we keep all this in mind God will certainly bless it!
Greetings In The Name of The Lord:
1 Peter 3:14-15 (NLT)
14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.
About 45 million, or two-thirds of all Christian martyrs in the history of the church, actually died in the twentieth century, according to a new book, The New Persecuted: Inquiries into Anti-Christian Intolerance in the New Century of Martyrs by Italian journalist, Antonio Socci. While thousands of martyrs died in places like the former Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, millions more have died for their faith in nations like Turkey, where 1.5 million Armenian Christians were murdered. The author estimates that an average of 160,000 Christians have been killed every year since 1990 in a variety of nations such as Pakistan, Sudan, Algeria, and Nigeria. While the story seems to be ignored by mass media and the wider culture, shouldn’t those of us who are members of Christ’s body make sure this story is told? And we should be in daily prayer for these Christian brothers and sisters who are paying the ultimate sacrifice for their faith. However, it is also important that we pray for ourselves. Some may call me an over-reacting alarmist, but it seems that persecution is also coming to the Church in America. For several years now a schoolteacher in Mount Vernon, OH has been fighting to get his job back. Why did he lose it? He was fired simply because he had his personal Bible sitting on his desk. Furthermore, a Pastor in California is going on trial this week for reading his Bible out loud in public. So you see, we should not just be praying for persecuted Christians in remote parts of the world, but we should also be praying for persecuted Christians on Main St. America!
Greetings In The Name of The Lord:
Philippians 4:13 (NLT)
13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Here at New Life we believe that we serve a big God, and even though we are a small church we can do big things because of Him. This past week we had our annual Kids Crusade that we refer to around here as “Kids Kommotion.” It is four consecutive nights of music, puppets, Bible memorization, Bible stories, and above all, evangelism. Someone recently to told me that churches like ours are doomed because only 20% of the people in small churches are involved in ministry. Well, allow me to correct some misunderstandings. This children’s outreach is something that we plan for over a nine-month period. It is conducted entirely by the members of our “family” congregation, who give of their talents, time, and resources. I am humbled by the amount of talent and heart that the members of our church family possess. Furthermore, for those of you who think that small churches like ours don’t have strong involvement in ministry, over 65% of our congregation took part in this year’s production! For anyone who thinks that small, family oriented congregations aren’t effective, you should meet our incredible New Life family. This church rocks!