Friday, January 1, 2016

7 Things to Start the New Year

I preached for more than an hour last night in our New Year's service. I felt I could speak at length in contrast to Sunday's sermons which are normally 40 mins max. I shared what I thought important for the church in 7 things.  First, why Christmas services are still relevant. Post Christmas I had strangers greeting me on the streets for they had attended the Christmas services and heard the Word of God preached. Second,  I explained why I always invite my church members to come along with me in my ministry wherever I go. Jesus took his disciples with him and they learned the Word and how to minister when they witnessed the Lord's doing and teaching first hand.

Third, I talked about the need for the church to have a systematic discipleship class apart from listening to sermons during services. I find generally my church members are not the reading type and some hardly know much about the Bible. For instance , when I preached about Job and asked the youths whether they knew who Job was, they stared back at me blank. Fourth, the main section of my sharing last night I spoke about the times of Elijah ministry as a pattern of our times.
There was no rain and I allegorized it to mean the church could go on but without the apparent work of the Holy Spirit. I reminded them about a verse I used during Christmas service about Isaiah's desire for the outpouring for the Holy Spirit and it will come when leaders lead in righteousness and judgement (Isaiah 32,1). I spoke about the distrations and noise of the present age and allegorized Elijah's encounter with the wind, earthquake and fire and each time it is said God is not there. But when a gentle breeze comes, the still small voice of the Lord spoke to Elijah. I spoke about the need to be quiet and having our quiet time and morning devotions. I spoke about the zeal of Elijah and the need for us to work tirelessly for the Lord. I shared how in 2015, I would think I have reached my limits of hardwork and endurance and there were many days and nights when after a long day of ministry I had come home and collapsed in exhaustion. Sweet is the sleep of a labourer, says Ecclesiastes, what more labouring for the Lord.

Fifth, I spoke about the challenge to wean ourselves from customs and traditions that contradict the Word of God. I talked about seveal customs concerning engagement and marriage and how often customary practices still have hold on the hearts and minds of the believers. I related one particular custom that the older siblings should be married first and if the younger sibling wants to get married before his or her order siblings,  there are numerous obstacles and man-made laws. I explained the travails of Jacob's family when Laban followed custom and tricked Jacob into marrying Leah while his heart was set on the younger sister, Rachel. Much heartache could be avoided when customs are set aside in the light of Scripture.

Sixth I spoke briefly about the state of the country's economy going into 2016 and told my members that the oil price would fall on New Year's Day. Diesel duly fell 30 cents a litre today.

Finally, I spoke about the need for good pastors in churches as I was commenting about the general state of the pastoral ministry. The state of theological education has much to be improved on. I talked about the quality of pastors impacts on the quality of pastoral care and impinge on the growth of the church. Jeremiah 3,15 "I will give shepherds who will shepherd my people with knowledge and understanding and in those days they will multiply..."

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