Watching Hopefully, Working Faithfully (by Revd. Manik Corea, NAMS Global Executive)

This Sunday past we entered the season of Advent. I hope in the next 4 weeks to provide us with reflections on the theme of waiting and working. 

We live between two comings of Christ. 

The incarnation and the parousia1 of Jesus Christ are the historical book-ends within which God’s eternal and indefatigable purposes for redemption and new creation are accomplished in time. 

Jesus’ first coming as an atoning servant-saviour, and his second as all-conquering king of God’s kingdom, are the magnetic poles by which we, God’s redeemed people, set our course and navigate amidst the tumultuous and treacherous seas of our time. 

At Advent, we have the opportunity to consider afresh the return of Christ not simply as future hope, but a vital fact that bears down on our present faith and work. 

For the Second Coming is the central promise that will consummate God’s great redemption. Without it, His kingdom will not fully come on earth as it is in heaven. “For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” (1 Corinthians 15:25). 

The bridegroom must return for his bride; the king come home to claim his rightful inheritance. 

Jesus’ teaching and various parables bear that out2.  He is coming back, so ‘keep watch.’3 That is, be ready and expectant. 

But what is the point of watching if His return is inevitable? 

We watch and wait in hope, so we do not despair. In the midst of all the uncertainty, challenge, suffering and fear in today’s broken world, God’s tomorrow is not in doubt. 

And we long for that day to come. Maranatha is one of the earliest recorded prayers of the first church.4

There is an intimate link between watching and waiting. Watching is the posture of expectant waiting. And biblically, waiting time is not the same as wasting time. It is active, not passive, as we look to sync our daily lives with God’s timetable and plan for our world and his people. 

Secondly, while we watch and wait hopefully, we work faithfully. We focus our minds on action and steward our calling as missionary disciples toward a lost world (1 Peter 1:13; Matthew 28:19-20). 

The Welsh preacher G. Campbell Morgan wrote: 

“Waiting for God is not laziness. Waiting for God is not going to sleep. Waiting for God is not the abandonment of effort. Waiting for God means, first, activity under command; second, readiness for any new command that may come; third, the ability to do nothing until the command is given.”5

This ultimately is what the season of Advent reminds us – God was faithful to the patriarchs and the prophets to fulfil his word to send Messiah at just the right time (Galatians 4:4). He will come still a second time, with signs and wonders preceding, to judge the living and the dead and to establish his kingdom rule forever, completing our salvation (Hebrews 9:27, 28).

The return of Christ calls us then both to a hopeful waiting and a faithful working. Even so, come Lord Jesus.


1  ‘Parousia’  in Greek literally means ‘presence’. It is used often in the New Testament, among other words, to denote the second coming of Christ – see 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1,8; James 5:7,8; 2 Peter 1:16; 3:4,12; 1 John 2:28.

2  Matthew 24; Mark 13 and Luke 21:5-36. See also various parables including Luke 19:11-27; Matthew 24:46-51; 25:1-13; 14-30 and Mark 13:28-37. 

3  Matthew 24:42; Mark 13:37; Luke 21:36

4  Aramaic phrase, translated ‘Our Lord, come’. See 1 Corinthians 16:22b; Revelation 22:20 and the first-century early church text – the Didache 10:6. (www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/didache-hoole.html).

5  Article ‘Waiting for God’ by G. Campbell Morgan, accessed at http://articles.ochristian.com/article14291.shtml

Watching Hopefully, Working Faithfully (by Revd. Manik Corea, NAMS Global Executive)

Leadership the Jesus Way.

KingdomLeaders_cover

Announcing ‘Jesus-Shaped Leadership’ a new small group Leadership Development Course by NAMS.

“To learn to be a disciple-making leader means to help people enter deeper into dependence upon the Lord Jesus, not ourselves.”

(NAMS Founder, Revd Canon Dr Jon Shuler)

In NAMS, we have always believed that the holy tasks of spreading the good news of Jesus and planting new churches are intimately related to the making of disciples who make disciples AND the raising up of faithful and fruitful leaders who believe and practice this passionately.

Indeed, we believe it is self-evident that the work of God’s church and kingdom cannot be accomplished without called, prepared and consecrated new leadership – who have learned to be utterly dependent on Jesus

The Jesus-Shaped Leadership course is a 7-week small group course on Jesus’ method for raising disciple-making leaders. It calls attention to the kind of leaders he modeled, incubated, trained and sent into the world.

Two free resources (A Participant course book and a Leaders/Facilitators Guide) have just been published on the resource page of our website:

www.namsnetwork.com/resources.html

(under the heading ‘Jesus-Shaped Leadership’)

Our prayer is that this short course will bring focus on the vision, values and godly methods of kingdom leadership development.

Each week’s lesson will focus on a different facet of leadership as the Scriptures and our Lord Jesus taught or instructed. It is hoped that the teaching from Scripture, personal sharing, mentoring and practical application will catalyze a culture of learning, encouragement and accountability for new and seasoned leaders alike. (The Leaders/Facilitator’s Guide will give additional information on how to run each session).

We have also released a new e-book in conjunction with the Jesus-Shaped Leadership course, also available on our resource page. It is called ‘4 Things Kingdom Leaders Do.’ You can access it directly from this link:

https://www.namsnetwork.com/assets/kingdomleaders.pdf

Please feel free to download, share and use these resources.

If you have questions, requests or feedback, please write to us at info@namsnetwork.com or directly to our Global Executive, Revd Manik Corea at manikcorea@namsnetwork.org

 

 

Leadership the Jesus Way.

Join us for an Easter service led by Rev. Jon C Shuler

Dear NAMS Network and Friends,

The Anglican Bishop of South Carolina has asked me to step in, temporarily, to lead a parish here in my hometown called Christ the King/Grace Anglican Church. We will upload our Easter service to Youtube at 7:00am Sunday morning, US Eastern Standard Time. We would love to have you and your family join us. May the Spirit of God bless you and yours throughout this extraordinary Easter Season.

Jon Shuler
Servant General (NAMS)

The service can be accessed via this Facebook link:

https://www.facebook.com/gracechurchwaccamaw/

 

 

Join us for an Easter service led by Rev. Jon C Shuler

Expounding the 12 Principles #5:   (by ​Jon Shuler​)

5) The Principle of Serving.

There is no part of the human body that was not created for a purpose. Each limb, each organ, every major system, indeed every cell has a purpose. It is possible to live after the loss of some, but each of the manifold parts was created to be supportive of the whole. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. As it is in the human body, so it is in the church. The constituent living cell is a believer, and every healthy cell in the body has a purpose.

The Apostle Paul writes of the church as the body of Christ, and the Apostle Peter gives us the image of a living temple. Whether we think organically of the body, or more structurally of the temple (though remember it is a “living” temple), each believer has a part to play. None are to be passive, even if hidden, because each is needed for the common good. To serve the Lord means not only to serve among his people, but also to serve his people.

We argued in an earlier post in this series that every believer is to find the work that the Lord has created them to do, that is their unique and particular ministry. As the journey of faith unfolds, this early work, or ministry, often becomes the primary calling of their life. But here we are describing a different element of the healthy church, not vocation. We are describing a willingness to be used, even outside of ones gifting. This serving is the readiness to do whatever needs to be done. This serving posture is for all.

To begin the journey of a Christian is to learn that we are to be stewards of all that God has entrusted to us. Central to this is to begin to exercise the common grace of serving others. We discover that Sunday worship is vital and normal, but we also learn to work, pray, and give for the spread of the kingdom of God. When we learn to tithe, that is to return a tenth of our financial resources to the Lord, we are serving the body. When we begin to take part in daily intercession for the mission and ministry of the local church, we are serving the body. If we agree to do some simple act of service for a member in need, we are serving the body. In such ways we learn not to hold back from the needs of the church. We offer ourselves to fill a gap. We serve the body of Christ.

And to what end? Why does it matter that all learn the principle of serving? Because the Lord who created us calls us to this. We are part of the family of God, and we share in the common life. We have received so we can give. We have been blessed so we can be a blessing. Our model for this way of life is Jesus Christ our Lord.The one who came down from heaven to save us, gave himself for us. We are servants of the servant Lord. The whole body of Christ is to grow up into the head, into Christ. It cannot do so unless every part is working together for the common good. All are called to be a serving disciples.

Used with permission, https://joncshuler.wordpress.com/

Expounding the 12 Principles #5:   (by ​Jon Shuler​)

Expounding The 12 Principles #3:  (by Jon Shuler​​​)

3) The Principle of Being Sent

Passive Christianity is not true Christianity. To always be learning, but never acting, is not faithful but faithless. To be watching what other believers do, but not moving out for oneself, is not to be a “follower of Jesus,” but a “watcher.” Rarely did the Lord ask for that response, except near his fateful hour in the Garden of Gethsemane, and then his desire was for their active prayer. From the earliest day of his public ministry, his invitation to those who drew near was “follow me.” And the purpose of that call was so that those following would learn to be a sent ones. They were to share in the ministry of spreading the kingdom of God.

Some who began to follow might fall away, but none who remained faithful would fail to arrive at a time to be sent. There was good news to share and healing to announce. To be sent was to be truly alive in Christ. Thus it always is when the church flourishes.

But is this for every Christian? The clear testimony of the Holy Scriptures, and the history of the church in every season of grace, declares it to be so. A true believer grows up into the ministry of the whole body. The church in any age will never be healthy when this is forgotten. The love of Christ demands it of all faithful followers. No community that “submits to Christ” can neglect this truth.

How then is this to be reclaimed in a day when the church is in disarray? How can this pattern of life be restored, when many of those called to lead avoid the challenge of speaking the truth to those who do not yet know it? When a willingness to be sent is rare, what is the true follower to do? Jesus must be the example. The Lord “came to seek and to save that which was lost.” This reality was at the heart of all that the first disciples witnessed him do. And to this day, when someone turns their heart toward Jesus, and begins to learn from him, it becomes clear that this is their ministry also.

The restoration of the broken and mistreated, the deliverance of the oppressed and the healing of the sick and the blind, must be proclaimed. And when these blessings come, they come that those touched may yield to his gracious rule. First his sovereign rule in this life, and then his glorious rule to all eternity. No one who belongs to him is to miss this calling. They are to hear the Lord saying: “As the Father sent me, so I send you.” And when they hear they prove to be his by saying: “Here am I, send me.”

This readiness to be sent is a state of being, an attitude of the heart, not an act of going to a specific place. The specific assignments will be given, and for the majority they will be very local. Most will be sent to their own spouse, their own children, their own town. Their obedience will not be a long distance affair.  And to know to whom they are sent will not be difficult: “The daily round, the common task, will furnish all they need to ask.” The willingness to be sent, moment by moment, is not optional. It is to be a Christian.

Next Week: 4) The Principle of Discipling.

Used with permission, https://joncshuler.wordpress.com/

Expounding The 12 Principles #3:  (by Jon Shuler​​​)