Summary: What is God calling the church to become?
A Church of Destiny
The opportunity for greatness is thrust in each person’s direction at least one time in life. Perhaps you can look at situations in your own life and clearly see that mark we could call destiny beckoning in your direction. Perhaps your seized the opportunity, perhaps not. Only you and God truly know what you did with what you were given.
I also believe church’s have the opportunity to attain greatness in their community for the glory of God. Great churches will rise up and do the seemingly impossible. They will leave their footprint on a society that is desperate for direction, showing the way for people to follow.
I believe that each pastor has that opportunity to lead a congregation to that place of greatness. Far too often however, we see pastor’s who have missed that place and have become more fixtures rather than movers and shakers for the Kingdom. It is my prayer, by the grace of God I will never become like that, but God would move me out of the way if I am in the way of building His Kingdom.
We today, stand at the threshold and this morning I want to challenge with what God is speaking to me concerning the direction as shepherd I need to lead you in 1997. It is the criteria from which I will determine sometime this year if I am leading you in the right direction, or if I need to get out of the way.
1. God is calling us in 1997 to be a Church of Prayer.
A familiar passage in 2 Chronicles 7:14 states: "and My people, who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
The Assemblies of God has issued a proclamation calling for Tuesday’s to be a day of fasting and prayer. I realize in our church schedule, Tuesday for some is an inconvenient day, so may I encourage you to take one day a week and set it aside to practice the discipline of fasting, and prayer. If you are unable to fast a day, may I encourage you to fast at least one meal if it is medically possible. I understand the needs of those who are diabetic, but the majority of us could fast at least a meal, we don’t look malnourished. To encourage you in this area of prayer, on Fridays from 7 - 8 a.m. and again from 5 - 6 p.m., the church will be open for a time of corporate prayer where we can join together as the Body and prayer for needs. If you have prayer requests, please call the office or put your prayer request in the offering plate on Sunday and we will have these requests available for those who come to spend time in prayer. What happens when people seek God in prayer, the passage we read said not only will God hear, but he will forgive and heal. What a promise to grasp ahold of.
Throughout the evening services in January, I will be delivering a series of messages on prayer. The Assemblies has called for one week in January to be a week of prayer emphasis, I am extending that to one month of concentrated emphasis. The youth group will be involved in an all-night prayer retreat at the church during the month to seek the face of God in the their individual lives and the life of the church. God is calling us to prayer, to be a church of prayer.
2. God is calling us to be a church of mission. Again, a passage I believe most of us are familiar with, Acts 1:8, "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
Mission is both in the community and around the world. I want to ask you a personal question. In the last year, how many people have you lead to Christ? The last 5 years? 10 years? In your life as a Christian? The passage I just read said who would be Jesus witness? (I will be). Now, if you are not, one of 3 things has happened. 1] You are not a Christian so you are unable to witness to a fact that has not happened in your life. 2] You have not received the power of the Holy Spirit in your life so you are ineffective as a witness. 3] You have received the power of the Holy Spirit but you are refusing to fulfill the command of God. Church, I am not preaching a feel good message. Understand something with me this morning. One day you will stand before God and give an account of your life. As a pastor, I will stand before God with a greater degree of accountability concerning what I did with the people He has given me to minister. So is it okay if I get in your face from time to time?