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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Hope, Riches, and Power

Hope, Riches, and Glorious Power

          No, this is not an election slogan from Donald Trump’s campaign. 
The title here comes from Ephesians chapter 1.  I believe God is in the process of reminding the people of HillSong Church of this specific promise and I believe God will show us how we receive the promised blessings as we live our lives here and now as individual believers and as a church family.
How did I arrive at thoughts about promises from God?
          Shortly after Easter this year, I was thinking about our church and I felt a little directionless.  That’s not where you want the pastor to be.  I talked to different people in the church, sought opinions, prayed, and pondered about how God would lead us forward.  As I discussed it with my wife Candy she recalled a Bible study group she was in that prayed scripture, specifically Ephesians 1.  She suggested I do that.
          As I considered our church's identity as the body of Christ and my role in it, I prayed the words of this chapter from the Bible.  I invited the elders to join me in this prayer.  We titled this season of prayer “Wisdom and Revelation Prayer” from verse 17 which says, I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him.”  For a few months, the church leaders prayed this chapter, seeking God’s wisdom, hoping for revelation. 
          This process flowed into an idea for our entire church – a seven-week period of recapturing a vision for who God is calling us to be and what God is calling us to do.  The pastoral staff along with the elders and the deacons continue to pray the words of Ephesians 1.  Now, we ask you, the church family, to join us in this.  And beginning October 11 and running through November 22, in sermons and group discussions our church will think about, pray about, imagine, and step into God’s vision for us for the next 5 years.
          When I say, “Vision,” it doesn’t mean I can see the future.  It is more of my sense of a road we are on and a sense of where that road is headed.  I don’t know all that will happen.  But, I trust what God says in the Bible, in this case specifically Ephesians 1:17.  Our HillSong prayers are for the same things Paul sought for the Ephesians, “that, with the eyes of our hearts enlightened, we may know what is the hope to which he has called us, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.”
          In some ways, we live into these promises by continuing to grow in what we are already doing.  This includes creating an atmosphere of welcome and love, sending people off on mission, small groups in which people spend life together, and trips where we partner with churches in other parts of our community or other parts of the world to announce the Kingdom of God.  Moreover, we will restart past ministries, like the Dental Bus.  And there will be new partnerships and new ministries.  All of it will enrich us in the Spirit as we walk in the power of God.
          The vision, the prayer, the promises, all of it is our life and is within our reach because of who we are in Christ.  “[God] has put all things under [Jesus’] feet and has made him the head over all things for [HillSong Church],23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

          I am excited about this time of dreaming and looking into the future God has for us.  Please pray Ephesians 1 and share with me your hopes for our church as we get ready for the way God will shape us so that we can answer his call on us.

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