Liberty Vineyard family,
One of the ways in which we, at Liberty Vineyard, have (for many years now) sought to be an outward-facing church is by engaging in what we call “Pray the News” each week. It’s a way to care for neighbors and nations as we lift up the needs of others before the Lord. Over time, I think this practice has helped all of us to become more attentive to God’s voice and to more often respond to news by crying out to God in hope instead of by wringing our hands in despair. This morning Jim lead us in praying for those who are suffering breathing difficulties as a result of the huge amounts of ash and dust carried from from fires and deserts. We have prayed for victims of war, for refugees, for people in need of justice. We have prayed for communities, cities, and nations. A lot of the problems in the world seem overwhelming, but we can pray big and pray with great hope because of who God is. Ephesians 3:20 (The Message) – “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” God always hears our prayers. When we pray, “Come, Holy Spirit” (which we often do around here), we are together asking God that his promise to pour out his spirit on all people (regardless of gender, ethnicity, language, culture, nationality, or class) would be fulfilled here and now.
Last week, Pastor Nancy gave a wonderful sermon called “Treasure” and reminded us again and again to remember that where our treasure is, there our heart will be also. She urged us to remember that no treasure on earth compares with the joy of knowing Jesus.
This morning we started our journey together through the book of Acts. It was thrilling to discover some treasures behind the scenes in Luke not just writing but carefully constructing the book of Acts (thank you, Don, for that!) for the benefit of the generations to come! While emphasizing prayer, signs and wonders, and the Holy Spirit, the primary goal of the book of Acts is cross-cultural communication and world evangelization by the power of the Holy Spirit. Luke wants us to know that in Christ Jesus, salvation is now available to all people and all of creation, as God originally intended. No matter who we are or what we’re facing, we can face it by the power of the Holy Spirit who is faithful to give us whatever we need in any situation, whether wisdom, courage, grace, perseverance, strength, peace, joy, faith, hope, love.
Right from the start, God has always intended that the people of God would be an attractive community that draws other people in, to the very ends of the earth. God’s promises are for everyone. Let’s pray along with Jesus, “May your kingdom come. May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Let’s pray, let’s send, let’s give, let’s go!
With you on the journey,
Associate Pastor, Liberty Vineyard Church
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