“Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” Acts 13.1-3
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
t’s 2023 which seems hard to believe! Time seems to fly by. Just the other day we were worried about Y2K! And now we are moving toward a quarter of a century.
In light of the New Year, we remember that God does new things. The verse of the day that came up today is a favorite – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5.17). It’s a beautiful reminder that God is not finished with us. He is doing new things in order to accomplish his purposes for the world. And in doing these new things, he renews us, draws us to himself, puts his Spirit in us as a deposit guaranteeing what is to come.
In the book of Acts God did a new thing in chapter 13 which would impact us even now. By appointing Saul and Barnabas, the gospel would begin to reach the gentiles and spread throughout the world. We would be blessed to be recipients of this message and would find salvation in his name and much of the New Testament would be written.
However, not all would be so fortunate. Some parts of the world are still isolated from the good news of the Gospel. The 1040 Window is “a term coined by Christian missionary strategist and Partners International CEO Luis Bush in 1990 to refer to those regions of the eastern hemisphere, plus the European and African part of the western hemisphere, located between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator.” Two thirds of the world lives in this “window” which is predominantly Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu or Atheist. Although there are wonderful movements of God happening in parts of this world, much is yet to do.
As people who have experienced the promise of 2 Corinthians 5:17, in which the Lord is doing “a new thing,” it is our call to help spread this Gospel to the rest of the world. As we live in a growing post-Christian nation, we realize we do not have to drive very far to find someone who has not yet heard or received the gift of life in Jesus. As a part of my calling and charge in this new year, I will maintain my focus on bringing people to the Lord and training them as disciples for ministry. I am blessed to be a part of two wonderful ministries that do just that — The Revive Movement (revivetexas.org) and The Wesley House of Studies at Baylor’s Truett Seminary (https://www.baylor.edu/truett/wesleyhouse). In these ministries focused primarily on bringing renewal to the Wesleyan-Methodists, we see children, youth and adults placing their faith in Christ and saying yes to a call to full time ministry.
God is indeed doing new things. I am blessed that he might involve us in this endeavor. Even though we are sinners saved by his grace, we are no less worthy to receive his power and gift of the Holy Spirit, that we might be people of his promise.
Would you join me in helping God bring about new things in and through us? Will you turn your face to Christ and join him in his mission to save the world from sin?
“O Lord God, you are good. Your steadfast love endures forever. You are doing a new thing. Come now, Holy Spirit, find me willing and able to join you in your work. I praise you Lord for the power of your Holy Spirit. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen