United Church of God

From the Home Office: December 15, 2022

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From the Home Office

December 15, 2022

Last week the Council of Elders met, and by now most of you have had the opportunity to read the Council reports and peruse the discussions.

Among the several significant agenda items was a presentation of the proposed operational initiatives of the Church for the upcoming fiscal year. As we assess the state of the world we live in, and the direction in which it appears to be headed, there is much “on the Church’s plate” to ensure that we are fulfilling the commission that Jesus Christ gave to us.

Christ clearly stated part of that commission in Matthew 28:19-20, when He said, “make disciples of all the nations . . . teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.”

In a poignant interaction between the apostle Peter and Jesus Christ, recorded for us in John 21:15-17, Christ instructs Peter to “feed My lambs,” “tend My sheep” and “feed My sheep.” There is much we can glean from this instruction as we look closely at the words Christ uses. He instructs that the “lambs” and the “sheep” are in one flock and they are both to be “fed.” The Greek word, used twice in those scriptures, indicates a “pasturing or grazing.” Further explaining, Strong’s says this word “portrays the duty of a Christian teacher to promote in every way the spiritual welfare of the members of the church.”

In Jeremiah 23:4, God defines His expectations of those who pastor His flocks: “‘I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,’ says the LORD.”

As you have likely heard me say several times, we live in a far different world today than we did three years ago. Everything changed with the sudden onslaught of COVID-19 and the various methods that were used to respond to that unexpected plague.

With the advent of “woke” culture, the sharp and sudden decline in the morality of the nation, and an escalating departure from societal norms, we recognize our responsibility to teach biblical truth and to provide guidance and direction, based on the Word of God, through these increasingly difficult times. Those have been addressed in the proposed initiatives for the Congregational Care area.

Taking care of God’s people is vitally important to us, but there is another part of the commission that Christ gave us, as well. Quoting from Mark 1:14-15, Mark 16:15, Isaiah 58:1, and Ezekiel 33:1-8, the commission we have is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world, to tell the people their sins and to preach a gospel of repentance, that is, turning back to God. And we are to be a watchman, warning the world of what is to come.

If we fail in these areas, we fail Christ and fall short of what He expects from us.

This morning, I reviewed a Pew Research Study that was released about a week ago that dealt with Americans’ views of “the end times.” You can read the release here if you would like: pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/12/08/about-four-in-ten-u-s-adults-believe-humanity-is-living-in-the-end-times

The four main points of the study showed the following:

  • 39% of U.S. adults believe we are living in the end times.
  • 55% of U.S. adults believe that Jesus Christ will return to the earth “someday.”
  • 10% of U.S. adults believe Christ will definitely or probably return in their lifetimes.
  • A third of Americans who believe Christ will return say “it is impossible to know the circumstances that will precede His return.”

Do you see the opportunities and the responsibility we have, as God’s Church, to preach the gospel, preach the truth, and to show that God has given the answers to the questions the world has?

In accordance with that commission, operational initiatives have been developed that will be implemented in the upcoming months to preach the gospel, sound a warning message and lead people to the truth, as God calls. Plans are to do this with new methods and different avenues, such as 30 or 60-second TV ads, Facebook ads, and other ways of reaching the world that were not available 25 years ago.

It is exciting to be part of God’s work. You are a part of God’s work. Together, let’s pray daily for God’s will to be done. Ask Jesus Christ to lead His Church and—for all of us—that we will be receptive to His leadership and will work in unity with Him and one another to accomplish His will.

We will keep you informed of the progress of His Church.