As we approach yet another year, we find ourselves in the same predicament as always; not really knowing what to expect. Yet, it is not the same as always. Another year brings great opportunities and challenges personally, nationally, socially and even ecclesiastically. We don’t know what’s going to happen to us individually; job changes, illness or blessings. What will happen nationally; economic bust or boom, ISIS, war or peace? What will happen in church; global revival, persecution, denominational concerns or, more importantly, right here at Aldersgate? Here is where we confront the nation and the world. It all comes here. How are we to prepare for whatever comes? By standing close to the One who knows what we don’t, Jesus prepares us to bless and be blessed. There is always the Kingdom of God which raises us above the worries of the world to embrace the opportunities to advance the Kingdom. In doing so we must avail ourselves of Christ’s provisions. These are encompassed in two resources: the Holy Spirit and the Book the Holy Spirit inspired. These two bring spiritual growth to everyone who embraces them. Spiritual growth is not an option in Christian life; it is the expectation.
Peter writes, “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” The purpose of the Bible is to make us grow into spiritual maturity. The Bible contains foundational truths which we never grow away from, but from which we grown into maturity as we delve into the deeper things which the Bible also contains. These things not only have to do with being born of the Spirit (which is foundational), but also growing in our experiences of the Spirit which encourages us to be “doers of the word, and not hearers only,” bringing us to maturity. But in order to do the word, we must hear it. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing of the Word of God.” In response to the word of faith received, the Spirit empowers us and spiritual growth occurs.
So, what’s in your outlook for the New Year? I encourage us to delve anew into the Scriptures and with great expectation grow into further experiences of the Holy Spirit. The church was born of the Spirit. Can we truly grow without continuing with Him? -- Ben