"Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists [Greek-speaking non-Jews] also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.”
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The Acts passage brings out the fact that God works through a lot of people in a variety of ways to proclaim His kingdom. The goal of any congregation’s or individual’s speaking the Good News of sins forgiven is that the hearer is either a) strengthened in their faith, or b) saved for eternity by believing in Jesus, the Christ.
Grace congregation is in the midst of the sometimes tedious work of finding who God has in mind for spiritual leadership of the next chapter of life in the part of God’s kingdom called Arlington. While the Call Committee sorts things out to present the best–suited candidates to the membership, please keep them in your prayers. Those sisters and brothers are not only thinking, with the Spirit’s help, of where Grace is now, but where it could go in the future. Arlington is a diverse city, and with the church building being only a few blocks from UTA, the plethora of religions and ideologies is vast. What an opportunity! Grace is in the middle of the territory that is confused about who God is, and what He has done in creation, salvation and sanctification. We have answers that clarify the purpose of life in general, and for each life specifically. Thanks, God!
Your next pastor is going to need your prayers, support and involvement because there is no way he can address all the needs, teach all the Biblical understandings, or get to know this city well enough to be good at the task. It makes me stagger at the thought of all the aspects of ministry he will have to pray over, consider and plan for the future. What a blessing that pastor will have in the dedicated and Spirit-led staff now in place: Serena with so many years of experience in Kingdom work as a DCE, Nick with his desire to make a difference for the Lord in people’s lives, and Micah with his excellent skills at many kinds of music plus worship planning, just to mention those people who will multiply the ministry of the next pastor. God is setting things up for wonderful things to happen here. And, let us not forget to pray and support the UTA ministry under Rev. Naveen Nischal.
It is my prayer that no one, no matter your age (Abraham was 90 when the promise of a child was made) or economic situation (the widow found still more flour and oil in the cupboard) or talents (Aaron had to speak for the stutterer Moses) you realize that God is going to use you in His kingdom. Pray now for your next pastor, and then when he gets here, line up to volunteer to move the entire family of God in this place called Grace forward in God’s path He has planned.
In the meantime, we keep doing the things that build each other up, and practice talking about our faith so that we keep getting better at proclaiming God’s love in Jesus.
For His glory and at your service,
Pastor Joe Ardy