Pastor's Corner - July 21st
Finally, Jonah reaches the city of Nineveh and preaches a call to repentance. Then the power of God’s great love sweeps through the streets and fills every alley. This message begins to steep in every soul. Every citizen (including the king and the cattle) cover themselves in sackcloths to fast to the Lord. The power of our grace is in full swing. This is revival.
I can’t help but wonder what a revival would look like in the greater Marion County. Just imagine the Spirit sweeping down the Main Streets of Pella, Knoxville and etc. Hymns being song of God’s great rescue in every shop on the corner. Stories of broken homes being restored and lost souls being found. Light shining in every dark space in our communities. This is revival.
But it must be noted that repentance plays a quintessential role in every revival. We know repentance requires turning away from all that holds us back (i.e. idols, addiction, abuse, and materialism etc.) and turning to God’s great love. Revivals often begin with one person. Like Jonah, one person receives a message from God, repents and turns their lives over to God. Which can cause the surrounding people to sit up and take notice. Then like a mighty flame, others catch fire and the good news spreads. This is revival.
Maybe you are like me and you dream about a revival swelling in our city and beyond. If so, what does the God of Nineveh need to revive in our own hearts? Let’s turn away from all that hinders us and run with abandon towards God’s love! Perhaps others will take notice and follow us. This is revival!
~Pastor Chris Allen
Christmas is just a few days away...
Christmas is just a few days away, and we are probably all very excited about the gifts we will be able to share with our friends and family. And for the record, I do still enjoy that practice myself. We often hear the admonishment (especially among Christians) that its “not about the gifts!”
And yet it is - at least at some level.
Gift-giving at Christmas is a great joy - especially when it is done in the right spirit. I love thinking about ways I can bless my friends and family with a thoughtful gift to express my love and appreciation for them. AND, yes, its also nice to be on the receiving end as well. I love everything about it. Life can get so busy at times. It’s nice to have the excuse of stopping long enough to think about the ways we can bless our loved ones with a thoughtful expression of our appreciation.
What I can also heartily affirm is that Christmas isn’t ONLY about the gifts. It is obviously and most importantly about the Christ child - the greatest gift ever given. And I do love that celebration the most. We are going to be able to celebrate that together as a church family on Christmas Eve.
And I am very excited about our Christmas Eve service this year. We have some special creative elements that I hope will make the time together especially meaningful.
With that in mind, I hope you will be mindful of an invitation that you might extend to a neighbor, colleague, or family member that might need a special reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. After welcoming a new slate of new members this past weekend, we have been reminded (all over again) of the power of a strategic invite. Please take a courageous step and ask a friend to join you.
Lord, do your prep work!
The service is scheduled for Monday, December 23, at 7:00pm. My family and I look forward to being with you.