It’s a new year and although we know that 2019 will bring us all new joys and new challenges, I hope your new year is off to an encouraging start.
I thought of our church today as I read a passage in our Bible reading plan that we are all familiar with:
Acts 2:42–47 –  And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.  And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.  And all who believed were together and had all things in common.  And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.  And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,  praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (ESV)
As followers of Christ, these well-known verses typically encourage us, convict us and motivate us. What a great picture the Lord has given us of His church from His Word. A few observations I want to highlight and remind us of:
- The church was devoted to the teaching of God’s Word. I hope you have already started this year strong in your personal time with the Lord (I strongly encourage you to follow along in our CVC plan -it’s timely that we are in Acts this week!) Bible Reading Plan
- The church was devoted to fellowship and being together. I hope your commitment to growing together in a LifeGroup has been refreshed, as well as just general fellowship with other believers – hang outs, conversations, coffee, meals, etc…
- The church was devoted to prayer (we saw this as well in Acts 1:14a – All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer…(ESV). I hope your prayer life continues to deepen and grow!
- I hope you plan on reading/re-reading our recommend book for this quarter – “Praying the Bible” by Donald Whitney. It’s a great resource to help us transform our prayer lives by learning to better pray God’s Word.. Here are a couple excerpts from Whitney to help you know the vibe of his book:
- “And when prayer is boring, we don’t feel like praying. And when we don’t feel like praying, it’s hard to make ourselves pray. Even five or six minutes of prayer can feel like an eternity. Our mind wanders half the time. We’ll suddenly come to ourselves and think, “Now where was I? I haven’t been thinking of God for the last several minutes.” And we’ll return to that mental script we’ve repeated countless times. But almost immediately our minds begin to wander again because we’ve said the same old things about the same old things so many times.”
- “So basically what you are doing is taking words that originated in the heart and mind of God and circulating them through your heart and mind back to God. By this means his words become the wings of your prayers.”
- If you are a LG leader or serve here at CVC, I hope you have marked your calendars already and prioritized February 23-March 1. Our gifted brother Daniel Henderson will be in to help our team and church grow in prayer which will be followed by Seek Week.
- I also am going to invite you and challenge our body to consider fasting on Thursdays this year. More on that to come!
- The church saw a great multiplication of disciples. Please know that at the root of all our efforts this year, and the years to come, is the hope and prayer that we will lead our church to be disciple-making disciples. This glorifies Jesus. This is obedience to Jesus. New life in Christ means living with a growing obsession to see more and more people come to know Jesus, and to build Christ’s kingdom. So I hope you are not only praying and planning on how you will see fruit through your direct discipleship, but also praying and planning for at least one person who will come to the Lord through their direct discipleship and so on.
I am praying for us to see an exceptionally faithful and fruitful year in 2019. It’s a safe prediction to anticipate more of these points to emerge in the weeks and months to come 🙂
I am regularly stunned that I get the joy of pastoring you, and serving Jesus with you. I often thank the Lord for the church family that we have. It’s a new year, so let’s attack it with a new zeal and hopefulness as we invite people to new life in Christ!