From the Pastor's Pen
February 4, 2018
If there is one factor of faith that has been drilled into all of us, it is that in some way we are to be witnesses of what Jesus came to do. “You shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and beyond…” But how shall we best carry out this clear assignment? Our first tendency may be to locate those who are gifted talkers and send them around to do it. All heaven does a somersault at such a thought. The mandate of witnessing is non-transferable. We can’t get away with the abdication of our sacred duty.
So, we each need to bone up on what we believe and why it matters to us and learn to give a reason for the hope we have in Christ. We need to develop conversational witness. We need to get comfortable talking about our faith. We need to be as free to discuss our relationship with Jesus as we are to talk of UK basketball or the weather. We must stop avoiding the people around us who do not yet demonstrate the marks of true faith and hope.
The fact is, we can blab our heads off about politics, sports, the unbridled behaviors of Hollywood, and the upcoming elections, but for unclear reasons, we hesitate to “gossip” the good news. Why is that? Are we afraid? Are we ashamed? Are we that weak? Or do we think that Jesus was kidding when He gave the “great commission”.
2018 is a year for witnessing, for talking out-loud about the wonders of God’s grace and truth. The first week of February is a great time to start!
Call to Worship
February 4, 2018
“Today we gather to worship God. Let us lay aside whatever might hinder and bow before Him.”
February 4, 2018
“Let us not think that because we have power, we also have wisdom.”
Grace Covenant Ministries
“We are a Covenant people, impacting a broken and hurting world with the Christ of redeeming love”
From a Biblical perspective the statement above identifies “who we are,” “the work we are called to do,” and “the means by which the work will be accomplished.” In stating these three areas, the Collegiate Consistory has created a mental picture or vision of what the work of Grace Covenant Ministries is all about. A brief explanation of each area follows.
“We are a Covenant people”
A covenant is an agreement/promise between two parties. Generally, these are bilateral agreements which are binding on both parties. There are, however, promises God made with His people that are unilateral—binding only on Himself. History reveals that God is a covenant making God, but also a covenant keeping God. He never breaks his promises. A few examples follow:
- To Noah He promised never again to destroy the world by flood (Gen. 9:12-17)
- To Abraham He promised to bless his descendants and make them His own special people (Gen. 12: 1-3)
- To Moses He promised “--out of all nations you will be my treasured possession--a kingdom of priest and a holy nation” (Ex. 19: 5-6)
- To David He promised that he and his descendant would be the royal heirs to the throne of the nation of Israel (2 Sam. 7: 12-16)
- To us He promises a “new covenant” under which we are justified by God’s grace and mercy because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Hebr.8: 8-12 and Acts 2:29-39
Jesus said when eating the Passover meal at the Last Supper with His disciples, “this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28). This covenant is intended for all mankind--every man, woman and child, regardless of race. As believers in Christ we are redeemed “children of promise” (Gal. 4: 28 & Rom. 9:8. We are heirs of God, and co-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17). We are a Covenant people.
“--Impacting a broken and hurting world”
The word “impacting” means leaving a deep impression or having a compelling effect on something or someone. Impacting causes change to occur. It leaves the target of its focus different than it was before. As covenant people we are called to impact a broken and hurting world. It requires us to be catalysts of change, instruments used by God to make a difference in the world. Impacting implies that differences come when connections are made. We are called to be imitators of Christ (Eph. 5:1) with a goal of pleasing Him. Compelled by His love we are to care about those He cares about, and to love those He loves. We have been reconciled to God through Christ who has extended to us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5: 18-20). As His ambassadors we are, through word and deed, to make a difference in our lost and need world. There must remain, in the wake of our presence and efforts, a positive impression and a compelling difference. Christ is the answer. It is He who redeems, it is He who brings new life, and it is He in whose name we serve.
“--with the Christ of redeeming love.”
Scripture records various names and/or titles used in reference to Christ. Each name, with its special meaning, helps us answer the question, “Who is ‘the Christ’?” A few references follow:
- In the prophecy of Isaiah (7: 14) he is called Immanuel, meaning “God with us.”
- The Gospel of Matthew (1:21) records that Mary was to give her new born son the name Jesus, meaning “Savior.”
- Matthew (16:16) also records that during his public ministry Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ (meaning Immanuel) the Son of the Living God.
- In the Gospel of John (4: 25-26) Jesus tells a Samaritan woman the he is the Messiah, meaning “The Anointed One.”
The names help us understand that Christ is The Anointed One who is with us always. He is Jesus, our Savior who seeks and saves those who are lost. His love led him to Calvary’s cross to purchase our salvation. It is He who we must make known. It is His story of redeeming love that we are to tell.