In a season when our nation is roiling with dissension, Covenant Church is focused on Kingdom work. Each Sunday we put our knees to the floor in humility before God knowing that the cross we carry makes us ONE. We cherish the hope of Our Lord's return knowing that the Kingdom He will set up will be holy. For 1,000 years there will be no political parties. Jesus will sit upon the throne in Jerusalem and rule the earth. Satan and his demons will be restrained. Sinners present will be punished severely if they publicly act out their sin.
Our Lord's commission is to share His love and invite others to come with us toward the gates of the Celestial City (Pilgrim's Progress). We are to be like Andrew who rushed to find his brother Peter and shared with him the good news of the Messiah, the Savior.
How do we prevent Covenant Church being drawn into the din and roar of politics? How do we prevent our souls from being caught in traps of politicians, media, and spinmeisters? How do we prevent being drained in spirit by vain talk that only produces contention? How do we prevent sowing discord which is one of the seven things God hates (Proverbs 6:16-19)?
The answer: remember the mission. The mission is to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus (Matthew 16:24).
At the beginning of World War II, German farmers were producing excellent crops. The war devastated the national economy, destroyed cities and prevented farmers having much-needed equipment. However, at the end of the war German farmers were still producing 80% of the crops of pre-war times.
I think about the dedication of the German farmer as a reminder of consistency, tenacity, and dependability. Get up and go to work. Work diligently. Do not be wasteful. Save. Concentrate on your tasks.
Covenant Church is a family of persons from many cultures. We hold in common our salvation through Jesus Christ. We cherish the privilege to labor together serving the poor, lonely, imprisoned and those in distant places who have not heard the Gospel. We revere missionaries who go where we cannot go.
This past Sunday we celebrated with an ordination service at Valley Covenant in Waynesboro, VA. Only two years ago we began planning. July of 2015 the doors of Valley Covenant opened to 120 precious souls. From the first Sunday, the congregation tithed and gave to fully care for all the needs of the congregation. In eighteen months the congregation repaid its building loan, gave $38,000 to world missions and grew to an average of about 150 each Sunday. We gathered to charter the congregation. While Covenant Church "mothered" Valley Covenant it was timely to transfer all leadership responsibilities to Pastor Jerry Steele and the Valley Covenant congregational leadership.
We do hold in common an agreement to work together on a future church plant in, hopefully, Zion Crossroads, VA, or Ruckersville, VA.
At the main campus, we celebrate that a concrete contractor arrived earlier than planned and poured floors and sidewalks for the North Annex this past week. This allows for the next phase, roofing and walls, to be done. We praise the Lord for the progress with a prayer for safety for workers and expedition to completion.
Think of church buildings as a train. The purpose of a passenger train is to carry passengers. If there are no passengers the train sits on the tracks. Church buildings are to serve the work of the Lord. We thank God for our wonderful location and buildings that serve our congregation and the larger community. We thank God for people saved, healed, restored and encouraged because we have a gathering place.
Construction is strategic to serve people. We are not building to impress. We are building to serve. We are building to promote the cause of Jesus.
My prayer is that 2017 will be a year of the Holy Spirit calling people to find places to serve. My prayer is that 2017 will be a year of spiritual growth and an increase of joy for those who have a task in the Kingdom. Will you pray about your place?
I grew up on a farm with eight siblings. By age 4-5 we were assigned tasks. Everyone needed to help in order for the family and farm to function. I carry this lesson with me in ministry. We are not a spectator sport. Every believer is a soldier... every soldier has a duty. Our mission is divine and eternal.
Let us purpose to unity. Let us purpose to bend our knees in humility to serve God and others. Let us purpose that we will not be divisive and break the heart of God. We are co-laborers together (1 Corinthians 3:9).
These are red-letter Kingdom days!