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Wednesday: The Secret of Jesus’ Ministry — 14 Comments

  1. Since December 2023, my faith group, the people I worship with weekly, have been in the category "church plant". God has been sending people to us, especially large immigrant and refugee families from several countries in Africa, and we have been growing in size rapidly. What began as a vegan restaurant in Lewiston, ME and then a Bible study in our Sr. Rose's dentist office, has been rolling along and picking up speed and size like a growing snowball. Now we just received word that the conference has named our group no longer a "plant" but a "company".... in just 6 months and we've already outgrown our rented space and have purchased a 12-seat van to drive around and pick up all the families for church and also for campmeeting. Most recently, we have 2 new members from people God sent to us on 2 different weeks through our park ministry after church on Sabbaths.

    This could all go to our heads if we are not prayerful. We could begin to think that all of this growth and success in mission is due to us. Also, bigger crowds and faster publicity are usually accompanied by higher demands and greater needs. The bigger our group gets, the more work it is to meet everyone's needs. And that becomes more upon the leaders to handle. Does God want our churches to grow bigger? Does God want news of The Ark (our church name) to spread faster? Yes...IF...IF...our motives are pure and rooted in Jesus's heart, to glorify our God in heaven. Bigger and faster in our story are merely outputs of the Holy Spirit at work and therefore it is so important for us to let God continue to search our hearts and point out any pride the minute a prideful seed thought plants itself (Ps. 139:23-24).

    While Jesus's ministry advanced, Jesus often withdrew into a solitary place for prayer. Pulling back sustained Him as He moved forward in ministry with His Father. Jesus never sacrificed the most important for the urgent. He was in a constant state of prayer when Jairus urged Him to come lay hands on his sick daughter and when Lazarus lay dying, both times the Father told Jesus to wait. Time tuned in with God's leading is always more important than meeting more needs and solving more problems. Our most important responsibility, models Jesus, is seeking Him. Time listening to and communicating with God is where we get into sync with His timing, and where we find the strength, wisdom and clarity to wisely deal with the demands and needs, and to grow in humility with one another. I'm grateful that our group now also meets Wednesday nights in someone's home for prayer meeting. We seek the Lord and ask Him to protect our motives - popularity was never Jesus's goal and it's not to be ours either.

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    • Thanks much for sharing, Esther! I'm so happy your church company is growing. That means more people being introduced to Jesus, right? I think Mark would love to write about your church plant because he could use his favorite words suggesting action, like things happening immediately!

      (25)
      • Praise God, thank you Sis Inge! Yes our mission as a church , both The Ark and worldwide, is all about all of us growing in God’s grace and knowledge and intimacy with Jesus (2 Peter 3:18).

        Thank you for your prayers as there are a lot of things we are still waiting upon… like negotiating with some Sunday churches to decide where our new worship space will be, we are beginning a conversation with the city mayor about grant opportunities to increase our ministry to the unhoused, we are still praying for more leadership to join so we can spread out responsibilities.

        And then, yes, some events have been happening immediately… for instance someone visited us one Sabbath and she felt called right away to be the youth leader. She’s bilingual too! And the facility we’ve been renting has let us use an extra room at no charge for this new youth group.

        God is moving amongst us all, my SSNET faith family! We lift all our churches and home groups and worship teams up in prayer. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

        (15)
    • Hi sister Esther , greetings from New York . To God be the glory ! You & your company have risen to the call ( go ye to the world teach , preach the gospel & Baptise them ( May. 28: 19-20 ). Your group are now fishing for men & behold he is with you. I pray that you & your company will continue to take on the characteristics of Jesus ,as example ( a Day in the Ministry of Jesus ) He was busy ,he teach , preach , heal , fed , showed compassion & love while the need of the people was a main point of his ministry. Also he kept focus on spending quiet time praying secluded in prayer to God early in the morning ( Mark 1:35 -39 & Luke 6:12 he spent all night in prayer ) May God continue to help you guys to flourish in establishing a great big company & many people will be convert as the message reach their hearing ..

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      • Thank you so much, Sister Doreen, for your encouragement, focus on Jesus, and prayers! We will pray for you in New York also. 🙏🏻💕

        (5)
  2. "Pray without ceasing"
    Thessalonians 5:17 KJV

    Different personality types will interpret this verse to mean different things. For some it means to have a set time for prayer.
    For others it's being in constant communication with God throughout the day.

    My closest earthly friends live over 2000 miles away, but we like to have constant communication everyday, letting each other share our daily lives through happy times as well as the disasters that each of us face.

    Sharing with good friends is easy and important for our well-being as humans.

    I believe that God longs to have that kind of a daily friendship with Him.

    He can hear our prayers no matter where we are.

    I take pictures with my phone of beautiful things in nature that God has provided to bring joy. These experiences I share with my friends and thank the Creator for them, as well as for my friends.
    The photos don't always turn out, but I describe them the best I can when that happens.
    A cool thing about God is that He already knows about it, so I don't have to describe them to him.

    Some examples of constant communication with God are asking for Him to provide safe travels, to protect from harm during every activity (including everyday chores), and the Pathfinder pledge that He will help us be His servant and a friend to everyone we interact with.

    That doesn't mean bad things won't happen, but it does mean He'll be there for us, just like our good earthly friends do.

    An attitude of gratitude uplifts the heart. Isn't that what everyone needs? A lifted heart? Especially these days and the ones to come?

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  3. Good Morning. We cannot survive without prayer. I agree that we should not make prayer a routine thing with a particular time , because when we do it that way it really could become meaningless. Just something we have to do. You know, like God expects it. Let it always be meaningful

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    • There is nothing wrong with a time set aside, dedicated to prayer and bible study. The Jewish people and early Christian church had fixed times of prayer. Daniel prayed to God three times a day.It doesn't have to become meaningless and won't, if it is sincere. Also it does not preclude spontaneous prayer throughout the day.

      (1)
  4. Praise the Lord!! Thank you Jesus!!

    Esther, I pray for a perpetual infusion of the Spirit of God upon you and your growing company; in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!!

    (5)
      • Dear Esther, I am sorry that I am only now (July 11th) reading your comments, that were posted on July 10th. Yesterday, my niece called and wanted to talk with me just as I was doing my morning devotion. However, I am blessed with your testimony about working to give God and God alone the glory. Thank you for your encouragement. It means so much to me. God bless.

        (2)
        • God is so loving to give us each other for encouragement! May He continue to guide and bless you as well, my brother-in-Jesus!

          (2)
  5. “What does Jesus’ example say to us?” It brings thoughts to mind which lead me to believe that He needed to retreat for His own spiritual, emotional and mental stability. His withdrawing from a situation or just to separate Himself for a while from demands tells me that He frequently was in great need to restore His spiritual balance through seeking the Father's presence.

    I consider Jesus, as do those who seek their spiritual solitude in the presence of God, come to the Father for spiritual rest. Prayer, to me, is foremost a time for resting in the presence of our heavenly Father which restores our peace of mind and our wellbeing. Though many thoughts may come to mind clamoring to be addressed, it is the quite solitude of the surrounding – the physical separation from the ‘world’ - which aids the dialogue to become intimate and personal, and so restorative.

    The fallen ‘world’ around us, filled with demands for our attention, requires to seek spiritual solitude often. One would be overwhelmed by pressures seeking attention to address physical and material needs of the world without coming to the Father to commune with Him.
    Being in the Father’s presence places no demands on us; it gives us rest and time to reflect. We can be still or talk about anything that moves us; any burden or any joys can be shared. The time spend with the Father will leave us refreshed and prepared to face the world’s demands with new resolve - just like Jesus.

    One of my most favorite hymns:
    1 I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses; and the voice I hear, falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses.
    2 He speaks, and the sound of His voice Is so sweet the birds hush their singing; and the melody that He gave to me within my heart is ringing. [Refrain]
    3 I'd stay in the garden with Him tho' the night around me be falling; but He bids me go; thro' the voice of woe, His voice to me is calling. [Refrain]
    Refrain:
    And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own, and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.

    By C.Austin Miles

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