"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come." Ephesians 1:18-21
I once hoped that I would grow to be tall so I could be a better basketall player. My hopes weren't realized and I had to settle for short and average.
There was a period in my life when I hoped to someday play major league baseball. But college baseball was as close as I got and I had to settle for that.
Even at my age I hope to become a better golfer but I don't have the time to spend practicing and playing like I would have to in order to realize that hope, so I settle for my 13 to 15 handicap range.
My point is this - there is a difference between HOPING and having HOPE. Wanting something to happen doesn't just make it happen. No matter how badly you want it. There must be a plan and there must be a power to make it happen.
I don't know many pastors who do not want their churches to grow. Most lay people do as well. But wanting or wishing or hoping doesn't make it happen. You must have enough hope in His power that you are willing to commit to His plan. That is what I intend for FWC this coming year.
Today is the first day of our new church year. Happy New Year! And I have a plan that I believe will release His power and unlock His blessing on our church. It is a plan for hope!
I am calling our people to personal holiness. The plan is to repent of know sins, to get right with God and live right. We can no longer be comfortable with secret sins or "little sins". We want to seek personal revival that will spark a corporate revival of joy and love in our fellowship. Let's be "ruthlessly righteous" this year! If we will commit to that plan we will see His power.
Also, I am calling our people to outreach among their family, friends, business partners, and even casual contacts. If we will work on having our personal testimonies memorized and if we have a list of unsaved people we are continually pray for their salvation. And then, daily we will look for chances to touch others with the grace and goodness of God to meet needs, lift burdens, and encourage others. If we work that plan He will show His power.
And I call our people to personal prayer and challenge them to start a prayer journal. Everyone will be urged to find a prayer partner to pray with and pray for. Then, throughout the course of the year we will have powertime prayer sessions which will be a call to prayer including some praise and worship periods. Prayer IS the power that channels His favor upon us.
Last, but not least, for the Year of HOPE, I will challenge my people to expect more of God and of themselves. If they are working the other three parts of this plan, they can expect God to show - on Sundays, and whenever we meet! And, they can expect spiritual growth to happen. You should not be the person you were last time at this year and next year you should expect to be even more mature. So, you should model godly attitudes and behaviors and you should expect that of your brothers and sisters!
I have great hope for FredWes this new year! And I have hope for each of the members of our FWC family. HOPE is what I believe in - Holiness, Outreach, Prayer & Expectations! This is a plan that won't having us just hoping BUT walking and worshipping and working in HOPE! He has the power if we work the plan!
What is your plan? Do you have hope - or are you just hoping?