When I began writing the Encourager four years ago, my aim was and still is, to give a word of exhortation and encouragement to the church in the midst of the trying days in which we live.
Now our church embarks on a new road, I don’t see it as a dangerous road, but I do believe it to be a decidedly different one. Many things will remain the same, but as I have said to the congregation, we can’t continue to do business as usual if we want to grow and reach people in our community for Christ. I see us embarking in three new areas:
1. We must see this as a New Day! In Isaiah 43:18-19 God says: “Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old.” I know the one thing some people fear nowadays is change, but we serve a God who specializes in changing people’s lives. He also changes His church to make it better and more fruitful. We must keep this all in mind as we move forward in our remodeling.
2. We must embrace the fact we have a New Name! I don’t regret nor want to forget the history and work for the Lord at Gulf Ridge Park, but it is time we move in a new direction in order to let people know we aren’t the same as we were. As a church, we are willing to change and take the steps necessary to show others that this church wants to glorify God. The Name ‘Agape Life Baptist’, says it all for us and what we stand for – Agape – the highest name for love that describes the unceasing, unchanging love that God has for us, it is His name. Agape is the purist form of love there is and we need to learn how to love God and others the Agape way. Next – Life – Jesus says: “I am the resurrection and the Life!” A church should be about life - living it, and sharing it. That’s what I envision for us as your Pastor.
Lastly – Baptist – we are distinctive. We must never be ashamed to call ourselves Baptist. The Baptist Faith has a unique history and has proved to be sound doctrine in its interpretation of God’s Word.
3. We must have a New Attitude! 2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.” Praise God! We need, we WANT things to become new and we want the Lord Jesus to do that in us and for us.
I love that phrase in Isaiah 43 “I will do a new thing”. I eagerly look forward to what God wants for us. We must have a new attitude as we move forward. It is vital that others see that new enthusiasm in us. We must talk it up, we must have a fresh spirit as we invite people to come to church, we must encourage one another and NOT allow others outside the church to discourage us. Remember, God loves to change His people, making us more like Jesus, in our love, life, and witness. May He do a fresh, reviving work in me and all of you.
To God be the Glory!