The great cry of the prophet was that God would revive His work in the midst of the years (Habakkuk 3:2). We are forced to admit that every person, every family, and every ministry needs a good shot in the arm from time to time. Revival is an essential component of effective Christian living. Apathy and lethargy sneak in periodically. And the supernatural, if we are not careful, can become very mundane.
There comes a point in every church’s life where it needs to stand up and take ownership of its own destiny. In order for the church to rise up, God must be properly elevated. The psalmist prayed, “Arise, O God . . .” The same prayer is needed to day. Revival begins with a properly magnified Savior. Our world needs to see the Lord high and lifted up. And when God is seen for who He is, our desire is to be sent to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 6:1, 8). It was only when Saul of Tarsus saw the Lord properly elevated that he was prepared to arise and start the journey as Paul the Apostle (Acts 9:6).
If 2016 was the year of concentration on the cross walk, 2017 naturally leads us to the resurrection. Our Lord is not a dead God. Our crosses are naked, for the Lord is no longer nailed there. He has risen from the dead, ascended into glory, seated at the Father’s right hand, and indwelling His church through His Spirit. The time has come for us arise. Because He lives, we should live also (John 14:19).
If we are going to arise and go, we have to be assured of where we stand and where we are headed. Insecure Christians are neutralized in their effectiveness. Those who are plagued with doubts rarely, if ever, accomplish anything for God. The revived walk is an assured walk. “For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12
This year we will be beginning a new discipleship program. Early in the year we will train a group of disciple makers using the “Disciple Path” series. Those who go through the training when then be eligible to train our new converts in a time-flexible, one-on-one format. Let’s make 2017 a year of renewed discipleship!
When Lazarus was brought back to life, the Lord commanded that he be loosed from his grave clothes (John 11:44). It is not appropriate that those who have been raised to life present themselves with the garments of death. This is as incongruous as a person walking the streets in daytime wearing pajamas (Romans 13:12). The Gospel should always be appropriately adorned. “That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.” Titus 2:10
This year we will be enhancing the literature that represents our church and our Savior. We will be developing new standard and seasonal tracts that will serve as attractive invitations to GRIBT and effective evangelistic tools. These invitation tracts will give you a wonderful opportunity to invite people to our special services while serving as a convenient way to get the Gospel into the hands of your friends and relatives. Let’s make 2017 a year of renewed invitation!
When Jesus brought the little girl back to life, he immediately commanded that she be given something to eat (Luke 8:55). Those who have been raised from the dead are in need of nutrition and worthy of our investment. This is a small price to pay for the fact that God has given to life to those who were previously dead. Our funds should not be invested in those things that pertain to death, but those that pertain to the maintenance of life (Luke 9:60). “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:9
While general fund giving was down this past year, there was a renewed resurgence in giving in both the building fund with over $50,000 given and the missions fund with over $215,000 pledged for this upcoming year. As plans continue for building and staff expansion, we are asking you to take a step of commitment in your financial investment of this ministry. Let’s make 2017 a year renewed giving!
When Lazarus was raised from the dead, he immediately took his seat among the community of God’s people (John 12:2). Indeed, the resurrection of Lazarus was a powerful incentive for others to come and participate in the small group fellowship (John 12:9). “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us.” 1 John 1:3
The most pressing reason for building expansion is the need to facilitate more small group adult Bible fellowships. In preparation for this, we will organize ourselves into four major small groups to facilitate fellowship and instruction. In addition to teens, singles, and young at hearts, a young marrieds class will be launched also. These cell groups, in addition to Bible study, will be conducting fellowship outings every ten weeks or so. Let’s make 2017 a year of renewed fellowship!
It is difficult, if not impossible, to stay silent about the resurrection ability of Jesus Christ (Luke 7:15-17). When the ladies’ came to the tomb that first Easter morning, they were excited to tell others about the ability that Jesus had to conquer the grave (Matthew 28:8). “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
2016 saw tremendous efforts in evangelism as a new church plant was launched in East Providence with every door in the city receiving an invitation. Our packet distribution in Smithfield also saw nearly every door in that township receive a copy of the Gospel. This year’s evangelistic outreach will center on four major community outreaches such as the Apple Fest in Johnston and the Arts Festival in Scituate. We will be manning tables during these “high traffic” events to share the Gospel and invite people to our church. Let’s make 2017 a year of renewed outreach!