Blessings and Spiritual thoughts for the New Year 2020
I am grateful that God has called me to Totowa United Methodist Church. I want to thank each and every one of our congregations for his/her faithful contributions and prayers. I also want to thank the volunteers and leaders of the church for their service and ministry. I appreciate their diligent and gracious works. They are not merely laities but are ministers, making an important contribution to the life and ministry of the church.
We are living in a time when many people have a sense of “an unknown god” or “spirituality,” or “something other” than themselves, but who know little about Christianity or the Bible. We are living in a day when being a Christian is looked upon by those outside of the faith with some malice. We live in a “post-Christian” world.
How should we, the church, respond? One choice would be to wish to return to a “good ole day.” The problem with this option is that the clock keeps ticking forward and not backward. Plus, which one of us really wants to give up our email account, our cell phone, our medical advances, and much of the progress that has been made.
A better choice might be to find new ways to reach a “post-Christian” individual and culture with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul in Acts 17 gives us a wonderful paradigm for doing evangelism not only in his day but also today. Before preaching to the Greeks, Paul goes for “a stroll through Athens, learning what they believe, listening to what they say, observing how they work and play, and discovering what they hold sacred. Paul carefully studies his audience before he speaks, and then he applies the universal truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to these specific people.
Are we willing to take “a stroll through Athens?” The time has come for the church to work at understanding our audience – the non-Christian. The church needs to look at the culture and find the open doors, places where we can fill in the empty void in peoples’ lives with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This means not just inviting people to come to church, but inviting the church to go to the world. The church is called to be in service, and through that service lead people to know Jesus.
Toward that end we need to look for ways to make the Gospel of Jesus Christ meaningful to the lives of our friends and neighbors who have yet to hear and be made new. We should find creative ways of using print, radio, TV, internet, social media and other forms of advertising to invite the “unchurched” or new families to find the love of Jesus Christ
I would like to further suggest some areas in ministry to which I hope we consider doing even more. I suggest the following:
- That we work even harder to gather regularly for worship. We should not let other activities and interests take our focus away from the Sunday morning church services.
- That we work even more to deepen our life in the spirit through prayer, meditation and Bible studies.
- That we more and more help people, who are in need among us, reach out needy people around us.
- That we should seek to grow. Growth is a sign of good health. Growth brings new lives into the body with new gifts and perspectives.
- That we need to invite others and seek to help all who attend to feel at home here.
- That we must commit ourselves passionately for bringing of lost souls and winning people to Christ.
Again, I say thanks to all of you who pray and support for the ministry and work of Totowa UMC. Good days are ahead of us. But, always, Christ must be allowed to be the head of the Christ’s church, and God the Holy Spirit must be allowed to operate among us in sovereignty, fullness and power.
Let us all put the past behind us, put our personal agendas and prejudices aside and get into the flow of God. Let us continue to work together and find creative ways to offer the eternal truth of Jesus in ways people will find relevant as we move forward to the year of 2020.
Have a Happy and Blessed New Year! Pastor Andrew,
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