New Apostolic Church USA

A Unique Year

"2020: What Will You Look Back On?" from the 2020 Summer Vision Newsletter

What will be said about the year 2020 when we look back on it years from now? For sure, we will think about the pandemic that our world was afflicted by and how our everyday lives were changed. How we were locked away in our homes and kept from our families, friends, and workplaces. We may reflect on the missed celebrations, vacations, and events, that seemingly were robbed from us. Some will remember this year and still celebrate because of the birth of children, graduations from high school or college, and marriages. But ultimately, many may look back upon 2020 and consider it a wasted year.

Yet, we would be remiss not to take the time now to look towards God and recognize that in these days, He has been with us, He has been working, and that each day of 2020 had purpose. The purpose is the same for God’s children no matter what is happening in the world around us. We are to be disciples of Christ and glorify Him in all we do. And certainly, during this time, we have been afforded the opportunity to share the love of God and the light of Jesus Christ, and to glorify His name. We can do that because we have been reborn by water and Spirit. After Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell within His disciples so that they could live out His mission and fulfill their purpose – to glorify God.

This year is not a wasted year. We can resolve to make this our best year yet because we know that our God is with us, and with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can grow in our personal relationship with God and deepen our faith.

In the word service that was broadcasted on April 19, the District Apostle mentioned five areas of focus that we can strive to grow in to make this year memorable.

First, let us focus on learning about the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit, and God the Holy Spirit accompanies us throughout our life. Do we feel Him prompting us when to speak, where to go, and what to do? Do we fully trust in Him to help us to speak the truth about Jesus? And in difficult times, do we still recognize His presence and allow Him to turn our distress into joy? We encourage each one to begin every day by seeking the presence of God’s Spirit and daily surrendering to Him. Then you will grow in your knowledge of His power. During the craziness of this time that challenges us with the noise of the media and the boredom of being quarantined, the power of the Spirit gives us a sound mind that helps us to make decisions by remaining calm, peaceful, and steady.

For God has not given us a spirt of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Second, let us focus on our prayer life and learn to really pray with depth and substance, like we have never done before. As we grow in our relationship with God, we learn more about His nature, and that knowledge deepens our prayers. We recognize more and more how great and awesome He is. We know that He initiates this interaction through the power of the Spirit, and so we are confident that He hears us as His children. Because we know that our God is sovereign and omnipotent, we know we can trust Him with all things, and therefore, we can learn to pray with deeper expression, pouring out our heart to Him. Through prayer, we worship Him and give Him praise. And through prayer, He strengthens and changes us. What a beautiful relationship this is!

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Third, let’s focus on learning about our family and deepening our relationship with one another by sharing together what the Lord Jesus means to us. Spouses, talk to each other about your faith in Jesus Christ and learn together how your relationship with Him helps to strengthen the bond of your relationship. Parents, talk with your children about what God has done for us through His Son, and discover ways to demonstrate the love of God to the world around you, so that you can glorify Him together as a family. Children, talk to your parents about Jesus. Tell them why you love Jesus and encourage them to continue to grow in their relationship with Him. How wonderful it would be that at the end of this year, each family would truly know that they are secure in the hands of God and moving together forward under His blessing.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

Fourth, strive to recognize and learn that none of us can walk the journey of faith alone. We need our brothers and sisters in faith. This year, let us learn to value one another and recognize that we are here together to help one another, to nudge, to pick up and encourage, to celebrate together, to grieve and mourn together, and to fulfill the will of God together. Strive to be able to see each other as God sees us and learn to utilize each one’s gifts to edify the body of Christ.

Therefore, let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. (Romans 14:19)

Our fifth and final focus is that during this year we develop a never-ending hunger to continuously experience true fellowship with Jesus Christ in Holy Communion. That we recognize that each time we celebrate this meal with Him, we remember His life and death, the all-encompassing and eternal sacrifice, which sets us free from sin and brings us into a life-giving relationship with God. Let the desire to join in this fellowship with our Savior and our congregations to grow and deepen, so that we value every opportunity we have to share in the remembrance and celebration of Him.

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread. (1 Corinthians 10:16-17)

The year 2020 does not have to be one that is remembered as a lost year. It can be a time we look back on and recall the graciousness and goodness of God and embrace the treasures that He provided us with to take along into the future.

To rewatch this sermon from the District Apostle, visit our NAC USA YouTube page.

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