Dr. Charles Revis, Executive Minister, ABC of the Northwest
I attended my favorite continuing education event last week, Exponential 2009, a church planting conference in Orlando, FL. I'm able to stay with my parents in St. Cloud and commute to the gathering, about 35 minutes away. In the coming days I intend to write about some of what I learned. (I returned to a busy week, Interim Ministers training here at Ross Point Camp and Region Board meeting later this week. So, for now it's a little too hectic to report out what I learned.)
Exponential has become the largest gathering of church planters and church planting organizations in the U.S with over 3,000 in attendance. Not only is it jam packed with learning opportunities, it's a great event for personal spiritual renewal. I find that church planters understand, more than most of us, the need to rely on the Holy Spirit for empowerment in their work. They also make evangelism and discipleship their priorities, which I believe to be Christ's priority for His body, the church. Through Spirit-empowered preaching and worship along with encouraging fellowship I came away energized to engage in more work for the Kingdom.
We all need to be re-energized in the ministries we do. This is especially true during difficult days. Along with the economic downturn can come a spirit of despair and discouragement. Enough to take the wind out of our sails. We need power to hang tough, to endure, in order that we may attain the goals to which Christ has called us. And, to pursue it with a Spirit of joy and hope in the face of pessimism. For me this comes through prayer and mediation on God's Word. But it also comes by being around charged-up believers, and being renewed through worship and powerful preaching. I know I say it over and over again, but it is one of the fundamental reasons I desire that every pastor find connection through a leadership learning community. We need each other. We need to pray for each other. And, we need to encourage each other, stirring up the Spirit of God in each others hearts.
It is during challenging days that we need reminding that there is available to us a deep well of spiritual vitality and power through the infilling of the Holy Spirit. There is a text that speaks to me about this, "I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know...his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead." (Ephesians 1:18-20a).
Also, this morning I read these words from an old devotional book that I read occasionally:
"Our Christianity is often only registering its surroundings, instead of remedying them. The early disciples did not go around registering the current pessimisms; they changed them. They didn't go around saying, 'Look at the problems,' but 'Look at the Saviour.' Their emphasis was not on sin abounding, but on grace much more abounding. And they spoke with transforming force. For the 'Acts of the Apostles' were the Acts of the Holy Spirit working throught the apostles. And what they began we can continue. 'To be continued,' is written at the end of the 'Acts of the Apostles.'" (E. Stanley Jones, Abundant Living)
These are great words, are they not?!? I pray for God's empowerment in your life as you lead in the face of difficulties and challenges. I pray that we will all be filled with the Spirit of Christ and his joy, peace, grace and hope. And, through such empowerment transform the world around us.
2009 © Dr. Charles Revis, ABC Northwest
[This article is from Dr. Revis’ blog, www.missionnorthwest.blogspot.com]