Your Biggest Miracle!
Lately, I have been spending time in Psalm 78 which chronicles God's deeds on behalf of Israel and His ceaseless mercy. What challenges me is the recurring theme of Israel's ingratitude and forgetfulness. Israel had committed to “Tell the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might and the wonders that he has done.” But verse 11 tells us that "They forgot what he had done, and the miracles that he had shown them." Verse 32 indicates that “they still sinned; they did not believe in his wonders.” Ten verses later, “They did not keep in mind his power, or the day he redeemed them from the foe; when he displayed his signs... and his miracles...”
After reading that, I felt prompted to reflect on some of the signs and wonders of God at work in Aldersgate Renewal Ministries. I looked at the conception and birth of The United Methodist Renewal Services Fellowship Inc. (ARM's incorporated name) and I looked at the legacy of the life-changing Aldersgate conference. I thought about the hundreds and hundreds of local church renewal events where God was tangibly present in small congregations across the country and around the world... from a correctional facility in Virginia to a small School of Theology in Liberia, Africa. Then I thought about the miraculous rescue of the ministry with the purchase of the Aldersgate Renewal Center. I paused with a deep sigh. Just for a moment, I found myself slipping into a "Yes, those were the..." and before I finished reciting the sentence in my mind, a silence-shattering thought pierced my melancholy bubble;"You are living like your biggest miracle is behind you."
The thoughts continued to flow; "Son, your biggest miracle is not behind you... your biggest miracle is in front of you!"
I sat down and thought, “If our biggest miracle is behind us as a ministry, what's to look forward to? Why go on? Why keep investing? Why keep praying?” My thoughts overflowed in a simple statement to God. “God, I don't want to just bumble along, looking in the rear-view mirror like the best has already been.” Then came these words of reassurance, “Son, your biggest miracle is in front of you. It's currently disguised as challenge, but on the other side of this challenge is a miracle.”
A fresh fire of expectancy exploded within me. On the other side of challenges are miracles: opportunities for supernatural interference, intervention, and favor: opportunities to equip the local church to minister to the world in the power of the Holy Spirit. In March, the 2010 stats on United Methodist Membership in the United States came out; 7,570,980 United Methodists, 44,386 clergy, and 32,893 local churches. Big numbers? Big God. What if every one of our members were proclaiming and demonstrating the Gospel to their neighbors in the character and power of Jesus Christ? What if every one of our clergy were walking in the fullness of the power of the Holy Spirit, leading to their fullest potential? How would communities be impacted if every one of our local churches were growing in the fruit of the Spirit and flowing in the gifts of the Spirit? Big challenges? Big miracles.
What is ARM's role? Our role is to equip the local church to minister in the essential power of the Holy Spirit to fulfill the Great Commission. ARM seeks to come along side local churches and educate people to exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit while maturing in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Through dynamic learning experiences, we want to see what Paul described as, “fully formed” disciples of Christ, equipped to pray, worship and share their faith empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is our heart to “Go,” proclaiming the good news, “‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.” Ultimately, we want to exemplify a willingness, led by the Holy Spirit to, as John Wesley said, "Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can."
How can you engage? We invite you to pray, participate, promote and be a source of God's provision for all that God is doing in Aldersgate Renewal Ministries. Pray specifically for United Methodists, clergy, and local churches. Pray for ARM! Participate in ARM sponsored events, volunteer, become a team member for the local church equipping events. Promote what God is doing! Use the 360 degrees of your influence to share with others how God is at work equipping local churches to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit. Be a source of God's financial provision. ARM ministers all year long in the local church, in our renewal center, and through media resources - all of which require the investment of financial resources to fulfill God's call. Become a financial partner. Invite your church's missions committee to invest in the outreach of ARM as they minister within the United States and in foreign countries.
Our biggest miracles are in front of us! Big numbers? Big God. Big challenges? Big miracles.