Preparing Our Hearts

Biblical Principles for the New Year
February 27, 2019

The holiday advertising was overwhelming. I was inundated with commercials on TV and in my email inbox. One brand competing for my attention over the next. Unfortunately, church can seem like that too sometimes. I heard a presentation recently that claimed that if we would water our doctrine down a bit, or just tweak our beliefs here or there a little, people might flock to the Adventist church. But, Jesus is not a brand! He is not a selling point to pitch to a glazed over audience.

Frankly, I simply want to hear His Word. I want to be empowered by His Spirit and transmit the gospel message simply and clearly to a dying world: Jesus is coming again soon!

Our marching orders are pretty simple. Jesus said, Go, make disciples, baptize them and teach them what I have commanded you. That is the simple version of Matthew 28:19, 20. He said at His ascension  that we would receive power from the Holy Spirit and then we were to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the world (Acts 1).

The model for that success also comes from the early church recorded in Acts 2. Notice what Luke says in Acts 2:42: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

The formula is very simple: 1. Study the Bible. Study for yourself. Study with your family. Study in your small groups. Study with your neighbors, co-workers and friends. Open the Word and share it. Preach it! 2. Fellowship often. Get together as much as you can, wherever you can. Don’t be a gated community; instead be warm, winsome and genuine. Light lights! Show genuine care and concern for one another. 3. Worship. Luke says, “breaking of bread.” It is not just communion, but a spirit of worship that uplifts and glorifies God. It is worship that moves into the presence of God, lost in wonder of all about Him. 4. Prayer. Paul says to “pray without ceasing,” or in Philippians 4:6, to worry about nothing, pray about everything.

I believe if we follow this formula, our church will be biblical, authentic, gracious and relevant,  and the results will be like what is recorded in Acts 2:47: “praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

Let’s be different from the world in 2019, so different that men and women will be drawn like a magnet to Jesus!

By Richard C. Dye, Sr., President