Assistant Pastor’s Annual Report 2019

Assistant Pastor’s Annual Report for 2019

Throughout 2019 we’ve been continuing in Bible study, discipleship, Sunday school, preaching, visitation, prayer, counseling, etc. But to what end? Why do we do it, and is it all meeting God’s intended purpose? To that point, there are other questions I could ask here, such as, Why do churches fail? Why to Christians live defeated lives, or fall away from the faith? Why do so few people in our own church get involved in the life of the church, serve in ministries, or share the gospel? For that matter, is anyone even reading this?

To answer any of life’s questions (not including the last one), we should go to Scripture.

Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, …“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. —Ephesians 5:14–17

As we begin this new year, we may be wise to ask of ourselves a few probing questions. 1. Do I understand God’s will for my life? 2. With God’s will in mind, did I make the best use of my time in 2019, and am I working to make the best use of it now? 3. Am I walking in the light of Christ, or am I still asleep, hitting the spiritual snooze button?

When I think about serving God according to His will, using wisely the time He gives me, and living my life in the light of Christ, two other passages jump out at me. The first is Matthew 6:33. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Seeking God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, as a life-priority, is the biblical Christian life. What does the biblical Christian look like? A believer, who’s priority it is to seek the Kingdom of God, as well as God’s righteousness, above his own interests. It is to know, understand, desire, and work toward, God’s will for mankind, as well as God’s due glory. Christians struggling to understand God’s will for their lives, should start right here at Matthew 6:33. It’s a matter of the heart, involving how we think, what we believe, and what we want. It’s a struggle of the heart, between what I want for me, and what God wants from me.

The second passage that comes to mind is Matthew 28:19–20, but it will be impossible to obey this passage, if we’re not already working on the 6:33 passage. Jesus said, Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Making disciples is the work to which every Christian is called. What does the biblical Christian spend his life doing? Going, and as he goes, both intentional, and as opportunities arise, he is making, and attempting to make, disciples. What is that, exactly? It’s the investing in the lives of others, wherever they are spiritually, building them up in faith, grace, love, and obedience. We do this work where needed, first within the spectrum of unbeliever to convert, and then from believer to disciple-making disciple. So, are you making disciples? If you will seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, you will.

So, the first two questions, Do I understand God’s will for my life? and Am I making the best use of my time? should not be too difficult to answer. But if you’re still struggling here, try this one. Am I striving (in heart and energy) for the will of God in my life, and am I striving for His will in the world, in the same way that I would (or do) strive, for things of great personal meaning, value, or security?

What does God care about? His glory and people, particularly how those two intersect, namely, His worthiness to be worshipped and praised by all people, and His desire that all would be saved (see 1 Tim. 2:3-4; 2 Pet. 3:9). Sadly, we have a culture of increasing emptiness, with too many people having no idea that life has both temporal and eternal meaning, much less, where to find it. Our society has fully embraced a religion/worldview of random meaningless chance, and so it should be no wonder to us, that suicide, drug abuse, violence, and sexual depravity and confusion, are now normative. The gospel message of grace, hope and purpose, in and through Jesus Christ alone, stands apart from our culture with stark distinction, but do we? We share the gospel, we preach the truth, but we also live. We live a life that people can see. They can see what we do, and if they know us, they can see what we want from life, what we fear, and what we seek.

When we tell people that God has a wonderful plan for their lives, we are certainly speaking truth, but do we truly believe it, do we seek, know, and understand God’s will for our own lives? Are we living it? Paul said, Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Have we understood this for ourselves?

Paul goes on to say, Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Here Paul is saying to us, do not just know and understand God’s will, but be devoted to it, and stop wasting time. What is a waste of time? Living life seeking after our own will, instead of seeking after God’s.

Are you awake, is Christ shinning on you? If not, Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. For the biblical Christian, this cannot be overstated. YOU MUST WAKE UP! Without Christ, all are doomed to perish.

Do you understand God’s will for your life? Are you making the best use of your time? Are you walking in the light of Christ, or are you still asleep, hitting the spiritual snooze button?

God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life, yes, you too!

Pastor James M. Winslow
1/10/2020

~ by James M. Winslow on 2020/01/21.

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