By Pastor Jong Duterte
Please join me in celebrating the goodness of God as we start this New Year!
The past two years have been especially difficult for everyone and yet we have seen the hand of God throughout the challenges that we faced and continue to face. As a leader, you are a witness to the grace and faithfulness of God as He sustained us through the many lockdowns we encountered and even nurtured our growth in many aspects of our church life. Even with the rapid increase of cases in our community, we are hopeful that our church will emerge closer and stronger. We have seen that the work of God does not stop even when the pandemic radically changed our manner of engaging in ministry. Our challenge is still the same, and as mentioned in one of our sermon series earlier this year, the world at its worst needs the church at its best.
As God has challenged us to grow in many ways during this time, I would like to invite our Leadership Community to grow even more by reflecting on the leadership topics that we have studied before and digging a little deeper so that we can find new insights as well as new ways to apply to our previous learnings. In doing this I would like to send you weekly articles taken from our Discipleship classes as well as our LEAD series. It is my sincere hope that you can invest just 30 minutes of your time each week to read
ing the article and the Bible verses related to the topic.
YOU ARE A MIRACLE!
Who among you had a dramatic born-again experience?
I used to envy those who had exciting testimonies of how their lives changed the moment they decided to follow Jesus. In fact, I always thought that my own testimony was boring. A friend of mine thought the same thing so he tried to make his testimony more interesting by picking pockets in a market near our church. He thought that stealing would add some drama to his personal testimony when he would eventually share it. The problem was that he got caught and had to spend some time in jail. Jail time was not something he planned for and it did not make for a good testimony at all.
I realize now that each life committed to God is a recipient of the marvelous miracle of God’s grace and transformation. It takes the same amount of grace and love to save the “worst” sinners as well as the “best” sinners. This is the reason why the Bible says that there is great rejoicing in heaven even for one sinner who repents.
We may not realize it, but every person saved by God is a great miracle. Our salvation is already the greatest story ever told. The Apostle Paul explains what happens during that moment of salvation….
The Miracle of our Salvation
“For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.” (Colossians 1:13–14, NLT)
- He rescued us from the dominion of darkness…. Sin has power over us that is impossible to be set free from by ourselves or by our own strength. And so God set us free from the power and curse of sin. While sin has brought death (Rom. 6:23), Christ has brought us life – abundant life in the present and eternal life in the future!
- He transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son…The word picture here is that of a deportation of a population from one country to another. In saving us, God did not just rescue us from the hand of the enemy: He also brought us into a new kingdom – that of His Son. God did not take us out so that we would wander aimlessly, He took us out of the hands of Satan so that we would be part of His kingdom.
- He redeemed us… the term Redemption is closely related to Salvation, but it is more specific. Salvation refers to the act of being delivered from something while Redemption extends that meaning by defining how it is achieved, which is through the payment of a ransom. In our case, the death of Jesus paid for our life.
- He forgave our sins…forgiveness literally means “to cancel a debt.” It was customary for kings to keep a record of everything that happens inside the kingdom. It was some sort of a book of accounts. Our record, as far as God is concerned, was negative: we all have a debt to pay, yet through our faith in Jesus, our debt is considered cancelled, and our record becomes clean!
Can you imagine that? Think about it for a moment…. you, yes you, have been set free! Now a citizen of God’s kingdom, fully paid for by the sacrifice of Jesus, owner of a clean slate because we have been forgiven. You have been radically saved.
Our service is rooted in our salvation. When we fail to appreciate the miracle of our salvation and the grace that we received at that moment, we also lose appreciation of the privilege we have of serving Him.
Read: Luke 7:36-47
Reflect: Think about how your life has been transformed by God’s saving grace. Spend time praising God for his salvation.