Looking Forward to 2018!
January 1, 2018
As I wrote the date on this newsletter, it struck me how significant many of us feel this coming year will be. Though I strongly believe we are living near the end of recorded history as we know it, and hope that we will see Christ return during our lifetime, I believe we are living in one of the most challenging times in the history of the world, and that we need to be looking to the future as a time filled with exciting possibilities.
People today are looking for something real in their lives. They have tried alcohol, drugs, sex, power, money, possessions, and religion, finding all of them ultimately unable to fill the void that only God can fill. While we are seeing in our country an overall rapid decline in morals, an increase in crime and violence, the deterioration of trust in the political leadership of our nation, the breakdown of families and many of the values that have made this country so great, we are also seeing a fascinating change taking place within the church body.
I am seeing throughout our nation people gathering together for the express purpose of interceding in prayer for our Pastors, Churches, Cities, States, and our Country. They are humbly on their faces before God, repenting and asking Him what He would have us do.
I am seeing here in Bakersfield, across the country, and in other parts of the world, Pastors and Priests, Elders, Deacons, and the laity, coming together to pray and build relationships with each other, regardless of denominational affiliation. I am seeing the hand of God shake the church as He moves among us in ways we don’t understand. I believe God is calling us to a new level of commitment and intimacy, where He will no longer allow us to “play” church, we must be The Church of Jesus Christ in all its fullness.
His hand is moving over the church in the United States, and around the world. As He does this, we are coming face to face with the reality of how complacent and bankrupt we have become both individually and corporately. God in his mercy and grace is waking us up from our slumber, equipping us for warfare, and calling us back to intimacy in relationship with Him, which releases power and authority in our lives. I hear, read, and observe among the young people of this generation, a hunger for God as they gather to seek Him. As they gather He touches them and uses them in powerful ways to bring their generation into the Kingdom of God. What an exciting time to be alive! What opportunity lies ahead of us as we enter into this next year.
I recently read this from a friend in Michigan, Pastor John Piippo and wanted to pass it on to you. “Two Sundays ago I projected a list of sins on the overhead projector which God says defile a person on the inside. They are…
evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, folly, quarreling, jealousy, outburst of anger, factions, disorder, impurity, sexual sin, bitterness, rage, brawling, lust, evil desires, filthy language, lying, deceit, hypocrisy. (Mark 7:20-23; 2 Cor.12:20; Eph. 4:31-32; Col.3:5-9; James 4:11; 1 Peter 2:1-2)
As I read this list God was giving me a fresh revelation of the great gap between who I am and who He is. I could again see the real difference between the perfect holiness of God and the not-yet-perfect character of myself.”
Don’t dip yourself into that which Jesus came to save you from.
Turn from sin, be cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Then, drink of the River of God that is flowing in our midst. Christ the Savior was born to save us from our sin and give us His abundant river of life.
Isn’t that great news! How easy we immerse ourselves in those very things Jesus came to save us from. As you move into this New Year, Decade, Century and Millennium I pray that God will keep you strong, protect you and immerse you in His River that flows from His throne.
Thank you for your continued support of our work. We appreciate you faithfulness in standing by us. God is so good to us and we know you are blessed as we are blessed. What a joy to be a part of what He is doing.