Posts Tagged ‘increase’

line

Letter from the Pastor – April 2011

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Dear Faith Family,

As I sit in my office, preparing to leave for a leadership meeting in Port au Prince, Haiti, I cannot escape the haunting reminder that even while I am planning a long-term strategy to reach people with the gospel in Haiti, there are thousands of people in our own community of Frostburg who are hopeless apart from faith in Jesus. This is the truth we walk in and live in every day. As we go about our lives, day in and day out, we are surrounded with people who are unaware of the imminent danger which is upon them because they do not believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

As I walk the halls and pass by conversations each Sunday morning, time and time again I hear people talking about how we need to reach our own community. I hear people talking about how we need to do something to see our church grow and our attendance numbers increase.

All of these conversations are good ones, but sometimes we get to a point where talk is just cheap. The truth of the matter is, we don’t need any new ideas for how to reach our community with the gospel. We don’t need to come up with some elaborate scheme or event in order to finally draw people into our church. We’ve already been given a plan and it’s a simple one.

Colossians 3:1-4, 12-17 (ESV)
[1] If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. [2] Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. [3] For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. [4] When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

[12] Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, [13] bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. [14] And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. [15] And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. [16] Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. [17] And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

If we would simply realize that we have been purchased by God with Jesus’ blood…for our redemption and for His glory, I believe everything would begin to make sense. We can no longer allow the temporary things of this earth to distract us from seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, the eternal things. Just as Jesus’ life was only about doing the Father’s work, so are our lives to be like His.

If we would begin to live like Jesus, in His compassion and humility, caring for one another, allowing His Word to dwell in us richly, worshiping in song and thankfulness, we would begin to see people being drawn to our faith family. We don’t have to come up with big event ideas or new marketing schemes. We just need to start living like the Christ followers we say we are, always worshiping in Spirit and in Truth.

Let’s stop selfishly living for ourselves, wasting our lives on things that will not last; and let’s start pouring out our lives for the things that will last forever – God’s glory, Jesus’ fame, and the salvation of the lost and hopeless people that surround us every day. Will we begin to truly love the people around us, not just with lip-service, but with gospel deeds and gospel words of deliverance? I hope we will. Their lives depend on it.

Your fellow sower of the seed,
Thomas

September Newsletter Article from the Pastor

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Dear Welsh Faith Family,

Is it just me or does it seem to you like time is continually speeding up? When I was younger, days seemed like they never ended. Weeks felt like months and months felt like years. At this point in my life, days feel way to short. Weeks fly by at mach one and months seem to disappear before I realize they were even here. Is it just me, or do you feel the same way?

I know you feel the same. Everyone I talk to expresses their surprise at how fast the days go by…how there are never enough hours in the day. And you know what I’ve come to realize? There are NOT enough hours in the day. We all have a limited amount of time to accomplish a limited number of goals. This realization necessitates that we carefully and intentionally prioritize our lives so that we accomplish the most important goals to make sure we don’t one day look back and realize we wasted our lives on things that do not really matter.

Let’s put things in perspective. Let’s say we will all live to the ripe old age of 100. In comparison to one million years, 100 years is only about as long as the blinking of an eye. When we look at how long 100 years is in relation to eternity, we begin to realize 100 years is really no time at all.

This begs the question: What goals are worthy of my time and resources while I am alive for such a short period of time? It seems that the goals that would have to take priority are the goals that will last for much longer than my short life on this earth. Don’t you think we should try our hardest to accomplish the most important and the most impacting goals possible in order to make our lives as meaningful as possible? If you call yourself a Christian (i.e. a Christ-follower), then you can’t ignore the fact that Jesus said our lives are to be about God’s glory, not about us. We were created to love God back in a way that makes Him as famous and well-known as possible. After all, it’s about God, not us.

When we begin to put things into perspective, it’s easy to see that most of us spend a great deal of time focusing on things that don’t mean very much in the long run. Does it really matter if we drive the biggest and best cars, when we could settle for less and give more money to those in need? Does it really matter if I please everyone around me when the only person I’m created to please is God? If we began to reassess everything we do and don’t do in this life according to Scripture and according to what God has called us to do in this short life, would we still put so much time and effort into the things that seem to take up all our time now? I don’t think we would.

Once we realize that the only things that really matter are the souls of those around us and God being glorified, it seems that our priorities shift to reflect this truth. What do you fill your days with during this short life you have on this earth? Are you allowing yourself to be consumed with things that really aren’t going to matter in the long run? Or are you constantly seeking to re-prioritize your life to make sure that everything you spend your life doing is going to have an eternal impact? This is what Jesus commands us to do. In Philippians 3:17-21, Paul says it better than I ever could:

“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”

Don’t set your minds on earthly things for the short time we are here on this earth. It doesn’t matter the style of music we play. It doesn’t matter what color the walls are where we worship together. It doesn’t matter if the order of service isn’t exactly like I want it to be. It doesn’t matter who leads the singing or who gives the announcements. It doesn’t matter what stuff we use or don’t use for decorations.

There are only two things that really matter when it comes to our faith family: 1.) Are we doing everything we can to make much of God and to make Jesus’ name great in our community? 2.) Are we doing everything we can to take the saving gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost in our community and around the world so that they can join us in worshipping the one, true God of the Bible?

Once John the Baptist realized the overwhelming task at hand, to glorify God and win the lost for Jesus’ sake, he put things into perspective for us. He says it plainly and concisely in John 3:30, “Jesus must increase, but I must decrease.” What would happen if we started to see things so clearly, if we realized we need to decrease in importance and Jesus needs to increase in importance in our lives?

I’ll tell you what would happen. We would quit bickering over things that don’t matter. We’d stop complaining about all the things that are exactly the way we’d like them to be. We’d re-prioritize and we’d start impacting the world by sharing the gospel of Jesus with the lost in our town and around the world. We’d start seeing lives changed through the power of the Spirit of God, by the grace of God, because of the Son of God. It would change our lives, our community, and our world, all for God’s glory. I pray this is what we become as a faith family here at Welsh. Let’s make this our utmost goal.

Your brother in Christ,
Thomas

The Mission of Jesus: A Mission of Death (John 12:20-26)

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Our new series of sermons is based on the mission of Jesus. Our responsibility as Christians is to become more like Jesus every day. This means we are to learn and understand the mission of Jesus so that we can live on mission with him. This week’s sermon reveals that our mission is a mission of death. While it might sound morbid, it is truly a wonderful mission to which we are called. Here’s a short outline with a link to the sermon below, or if you have iTunes, you can go to our page there and subscribe to our podcast.

The
 Mission 
of
 Jesus: 
A 
Mission 
of 
Death
John 
12:20‐26

1. The objective of the mission is Jesus glorified.

2. You have been chosen for this mission. (v. 25)
a. You can refuse the mission: (i.) Loving your life in this world; (ii.) Losing your life eternally.
b. You can accept the mission: (i.) Hating your life in this world; (ii.) Gaining life eternal.

3. Your death is essential for the success of the mission.

4. Your life must be focused solely on the mission.
Our shameless focus on self must be replaced with a total
focus on Jesus and His mission.

5. The evidence that the mission is succeeding:
a. We will look more like Jesus daily: (i.) Jesus’ will increase and we will decrease; (ii.) Our desires will become like the desires of Jesus; (iii.) We will be consumed with God’s glory, our brothers, and the lost.
b. We will proclaim the gospel of Jesus daily.
c. We will see lives changed by the power of the gospel.

6. The end result:
a. Jesus will be glorified.
b. We will be with Jesus for eternal life.
c. We will share in the honor and glory of the Son.

To listen to the Podcast, CLICK HERE. To subscribe to our podcast, CLICK HERE.