Peace to you dear mission servants! The New Year has come and the coming of the Lord is approaching. I decided to search my heart more diligently this year, to get rid of anything that is not pleasing to the Lord Jesus. Other than that everything is the same – I’m preaching on the third chapter of the gospel of Mark and we are finishing the epistle of James in our small group. We really enjoy the epistle of James. By God’s grace, at the very end of it we started noticing the things that need to be changed in us. All of us are tempted today in the same way that the people in this letter were. As a result, the brothers and sisters were sharing how God works in their hearts and teaches them to apply the Word in their lives. It makes me glad! But in this letter I would like to share how the Lord is working in my heart; and what prayer requests I have, that are very important to me today.
Last Sunday we had a young married couple come to our service. They came earlier than many members of the church. I came up to them to introduce myself. To my surprise they said they found out about the church from the internet and decided to come and visit. According to them – they were not Christians but wanted to attend a “lecture” of such kind. Also, they were expecting to see a lot of people (when there are barely over 20 of us). I answered some of their questions and told them about the service we were about to have. Unfortunately many members of our church had not yet come or were running late. I felt discouraged and deep down started condemning my brothers and sisters for taking our service so lightly and not being responsible to come on time. But I immediately felt I was doing something wrong.
When we got done reading the word of God and were about to pray I felt that my grudge was not going away, which was really bad. I started praying asking the Lord to show me the true reason why I felt so upset. I realized I couldn’t preach if it was not going to be resolved. And in just a few minutes it became clear to me – the true reason for my discouragement was my desire to look better and more successful than I really was, I wanted the glory. I repented and asked the Lord to help me avoid having the same problem during the sermon.
But I didn’t feel any better. So I decided to confess before the church, which was fully assembled by then. The Lord gave me grace to tell them how I felt and then we all prayed about our sins and our secret desires to worship ourselves instead of Christ. After that I was able to preach like normal. It was one of the best services and prayer times we ever had!
- To seek the glory of God when I prepare sermons. Confess the hope in Him and His Word, and in the works of the His Spirit. That during sermons I would hide behind Christ and His Glory, instead of trying to show myself off or seek people’s attention to my person.
- That I would understand, that the Lord can do incomparably more than I can even imagine. And that I cannot do anything to build His church if I don’t let His power dwell in my weakness. That I would understand my sin deeper, personal desire for glory and attention from people. But also that I would not be discouraged, but turn to Christ for healing, joy and gratitude.
- That I would have the desire to proclaim Christ to unbelievers, and again not for my own glory, not to look like a hero in the church, but so that people may know about glorious Christ and that He could be glorified through them.
- Regarding counseling – that I would see a complete dependence on the Spirit of God, that I would use only the means that are pleasing to Him. That I would not manipulate people and that they would not manipulate me. That I would not be afraid of people but loved them.
- About new pastors and leaders in the church: Pray that the Lord would raise up such people.