Church Newsletter For Easter, 2003
It is with tremendous joy that I write to you this holiday weekend. I pray this newsletter finds you and yours well and happy. This, to me, is the most joyous of all Christian holidays, the day we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is what makes our faith different from any other faith in the world. While other faiths are based on myth and legends, our faith is based on eye-witness accounts of this wonderful miracle. Not something made up years or hundreds of years after a supposed event, but actual testimony of people who witnessed the events first hand. Praise God, we as Christians have a true, LIVING Savior!
What a great and wonderful sacrifice our Savior made for us! And while His sacrifice made eternal life possible for all who believe in Him, it also makes our duty and obligation to Him that much more apparent. Unlike some faiths, where the emphasis is placed on looking inward, or where salvation is based on forcing others to live a certain way or by a certain set of rules, our faith emphasises our reaching out beyond ourselves to share the Good News that Jesus Christ is risen. We are to "Do the work of an evangelist..." (2 Timothy 4:5) so that others may hear, and hearing, believe. Believe, not because they are forced to, but because Christ's Holy Spirit touches their hearts.
And what a time for us to share His message. Brothers and Sisters, I don't have to tell you all that's going on in today's world. One only has to turn on the television, or the radio, or read a newspaper or magazine, or access any of the primary "startup" or "portal" sites on the internet, to see that our world needs Christ and His salvation more than at any other time. Our Lord told us, "And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars..." (Matthew 24:6a). Wars and rumors of wars indeed! "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom..." (Matthew 24:7a) Turbulent times, to be sure. But as Christians, we have Christ's comforting message, "See that ye not be troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." (Matthew 24:6b) That's right, Beloved, the end is not yet, and there's still plenty of work to do!
For having received salvation through Christ's sacrifice, we are not to sit idle, comfortable in our assurance of salvation. No, as Christians we are to proclaim to all the world that Christ died and rose again for the salvation of all people who call on Him. "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13) And this is where the single most important job for any Christian lies. As we are told in God's Word, "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14) There it is, my brothers and sisters. I do not know how it could be any more clearer that our Lord has called each of us to preach the Good News. The preacher isn't just the man or woman in a suit in front of the congregation. It's not just the person in the funny collar, or the missionary in the wilderness, or the well-coiffed television personality,or any selected few. It's all of us - it's you, it's me, it's the person walking down the street, it's the guy digging the ditch on the construction site, the waitress who serves your meal, the doctor, the lawyer, the civil servant, the soldier, the mason, the carpenter, it's every single believer in our Lord, that's the "preacher" of the Living Christ!
And that's what makes our fellowship such a wonderful fellowship. Few come to our fellowship to be coddled. None come for the dynamic, charismatic worship service. We have no great choir, no beautiful building, no glass cathedral, no singles group of shiny-happy people. What makes our church so special is that we have that one thing all churches should recognize and have - we've got CALLING! For truly, "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ." (Ephesians 4:4-7) And those gifts are evident everywhere in our fellowship, "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ..."(Ephesians 4:11-12). Yes, it's God's calling on each of your hearts, and the gifts of His Holy Spirit in each of your lives, that make our church what it is.
I am so very proud of each of you for all the work you do in service to our Lord. I see and hear of great things being done by our members. For some, it's creating and maintaining a Christian web site. For some, it's leading a ministry in your local area. For some, it's working as "marrying preachers", doing the important work of sharing God's Word with young couples at an especially important time in their lives. And we have members working as missionaries in far away countries, sometimes in hostile environments, all for the sake of sharing the Good News. I am, in fact, humbled by the many great things done by the members of this fellowship. I cannot tell you what an honor and incredible blessing it is to me to be allowed to serve such a wonderful group of folks. My hat's off to you, my dear brothers and sisters.
And that brings me to the very latest news about our own little church on the web. I am very pleased to announce that our church has now been offically incorporated and awarded "non-profit" status in the state of Georgia (my home state). This is important for many reasons, not the least of which is the continued existence of our church even should something happen to me so that I couldn't continue to serve, the church would go on. And when that time comes when I go to be with my sweet Lord Jesus, there will be someone here designated to carry on and to insure the continued operation of this ministry.
Well, beloved, that's about going to do it for this Easter edition of the newsletter. But before I close I would just like to ask that you each keep in your prayers the families and loved ones of the brave men and women serving our country in these dangerous times. Pray also for those who've lost loved ones, in the war, but also to other causes. Our church has also lost some dear, precious members this past year. While we can rejoice that they've gone to be with our Lord, they're still in our hearts here on this earth, and we miss them dearly. Pray also for healing for the many in our fellowship who need it. We are thousands, brothers and sisters, let us raise our voices together in prayer, in the sure and certain knowledge that our Lord hears and answers our prayers.
Thank you for reading our newsletter, and for letting me serve you in our church. May God's abundant blessings rain down upon you as a warm and gentle shower. Thanks again, and God bless you.
Sincerely Yours In Christ,