March 7, 2019
Dear Church Family & Friends,
Daylight saving starts THIS Sunday! Please be sure to turn your clocks FORWARD one hour on Saturday evening. Aren’t you glad that we don’t meet for worship until 10 am in the morning?
On Monday, (March 11th) Carol and I will be boarding a plane and traveling to the big island of Hawaii to visit with our daughter. We will be gone for 2 weeks! We are looking forward to being with family and enjoying some time away. This is the longest and farthest trip that we have ever made together!
Next Sunday, Dan Burt will be bringing the message and Jill Hatter will be leading worship on Sunday morning. I know that this will be a blessed time in the Lord.
Our focus on the Word time this Sunday will be based on the eighth chapter of Chan’s book; “Unleashed.” Francis Chan compares the condition of the American church to the experience of the characters in the cartoon movie “Madagascar.” In this movie, a zebra escapes from the zoo with other wild animals. These animals find that this their new found freedom is very much outside their comfort zone. As time goes on, they discover that “the wild” is what they were created for. They discover that they were created to do so much more than be fed, watered and brushed by handlers in cages. Francis Chan states: “I wonder whether you have felt like that zebra. You’ve been a faithful member of your church but you keep feeling like you were made for something more. Maybe you’ve experienced what it’s like to live in the wild. It may have been an overseas mission trip or while boldly reaching out in your own neighborhood. You’ve known the joy of seeing your instincts kick in and allow you to thrive but now you’re stuck in the zoo where everything is comfortable everything is controlled.”
It seems that many believers are leaving the church for just this reason: traditional churches have become a holding pen rather than a launching pad. A study that Harvard University just released a study about Christianity in America. The study shows that Mainline churches are failing at record rates. The article goes on to say: “People are making theological statements with their feet, shuffling to certain churches because they offer clear, faithful, practical teaching of the scriptures, help in living intimately with and obediently to God, and making friends with people who will challenge and encourage them in their faith… Or as Eric Kaufmann asserts, “Once secularism rears its head and fundamentalism responds with a clear alternative, moderate religion strikes many as redundant. Either you believe the stuff or you don’t. If you do, it makes sense to go for the real thing…” The final summary statement of the article is powerful: “If your Christianity is reconstituted to the day’s fashion, don’t be surprised if people lose interest in it. Few are seeking “2 Percent Christianity.” They want the genuine deal, and the demographics on religion of the last few decades unmistakably support that fact.” (link: New Harvard Research Says U.S. Christianity Is Not Shrinking, But Growing Stronger)
It seems as though people are ready for change. It also seems that God is raising up a church in this hour that will carry the purpose and power for which we were created! It seems every believer (not just leaders) were created to walk in the supernatural purposes and power of God! Like wild animals in zoos on display in cages – we were not created to be inactive and dependent but active and engaged! The Bible says that God has given “to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (1 Cor. 12:7) According to the Bible, the Spirit of God “manifests” (reveals His power) through each believer for the good of all. Did you read that? God has given EACH and every believer a unique and powerful spiritual ministry for others in the body! Paul goes on to say: “To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” (1 Cor. 12:8-11) When was the last time that you were in a ministry setting where each one in attendance participates in ministering to others? Does the Bible really say that some are giving supernatural gifts of wisdom and knowledge, while others have supernatural faith, ability to prophesy and heal the sick? Is it true that according to the Bible that ALL believers are ministers and that the pastor is primarily in charge of encouraging and equipping the believers to engage in ministry? How are we going to see God move in this way among us? More on Sunday!
As we continue to walk in the path that God has outlined for us, please pray into and prayerfully engage in the following ministry opportunities:
- Identify a person or persons who will serve at outreach coordinator/s to spearhead ministry to the poor and needy in our community.
- Continue to host prayer gatherings at the church and in our homes to seek the Lord. Thursday morning 8:30 -9:30 we will continue to have our weekly prayer meeting and we will continue to give attention to waiting on the Lord on Sunday mornings as well.
- Grow and multiply our home (life) group network by:
- Inviting people to come with you to your life group meeting
- Equip and commission new life groups and new life group leaders.
- Conduct Life group meetings that consist of the vital elements of love and discipleship.
- Continue to meet on Sunday morning to encounter God in worship and waiting upon Him. Then we will focus on the Word and then minister to one another using the gifts given to each one.
- Our Inner Healing Class will begin on the last week of March. Carol and I are going to be out of the country from March 11- 23rd. So we will begin the class once we return.
As members one of another, each member of our church family is called to engage in worship, prayer and ministering to one another in a life group as well as to those in the community. In order to walk in the purposes and power of God we will be equipping and gathering in life groups to serve and care for one another. Each meeting of a life group usually consists of: a welcome time (a time for deepening friendships) worship time (a time for encountering God in word or song) word time (a time of hearing, meditation and application of the Word of God) and work time (a time for ministry to one another and outreach in the community.) I forgot to share about this last Sunday, but this Sunday I will be sharing more about this.
God is “unleashing” us to be a community of believers who sacrificially love one another and reach out in supernatural love to those around us! The challenge before us is to step out of our comfort zones (“cages”) into what He is enabling us to be and do (“the wild!”)
There will be no newsletter next week or perhaps even the following. Carol and I will be out of town, I mean out of state…. well on the other side of the planet is a better description!
See you on Sunday,
Pastor Jon Quesenberry