When people ask me, “how many do you have in your little church?” or “do you have a building yet?” and I am tempted to become discouraged, I return to some “lessons-learned” principles to keep focused in ministry.
One of the most recurring words in the Old Testament is the word “remember”.
Deuteronomy 8:18 “But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.”
Psalm 25:7 “Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good.”
I remember what God has done for me in the past — how at every juncture of my life, He has brought the appropriate person or message I needed to mentor me in that time. I remember God’s faithfulness to me, to His call on my life, and to my family. I remember how God got me to this point in my life and how God maneuvered me to this new call and that he will be faithful to me in this just as He has at every turn in my life.
Then building on what Paul Pierson of Fuller Theological Seminary used to say, that one of the dynamics God infused into the Christian faith is its ability to renew itself.
Several years ago I discovered Dick Eastman’s little book, “The Hour That Changes the World.” Based on Matthew 26:40 (KJV), 40 “And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?”, Eastman challenges believers to spend an hour with God in prayer each day. To do this he divides the hour up into twelve 5-minute disciplines. Some of these are familiar: intercession, praise, supplication, confession. But Eastman also introduces some unique concepts: waiting on God, listening, watching, and singing. We can be renewed by listening to God’s voice Who brought us to this work, by singing the songs that speak of His faithfulness and steadfastness, and by waiting for God’s assurance.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth.” God recycles, we can too. God is called the One Who “rebuilds ancient ruins,” the One Who “raises up the foundations of many generations”, “the Repairer of the breach”, and the “Restorer of streets to live in.” (Isaiah 58:12). The evil one weaves the lie into the truth, so turn his work of distraction and discouragement inside out on him. Recycle your doubts with God’s truth and enjoy that which will never pass away. Recycle your anger with God’s peace and turn it into understanding.
Remember, Renew, Recycle. The Rebuilder of ruins has a lot more innovation and formation to do in and through our efforts for Him, through Jesus Christ our Lord.