ARM Blog

Are you ready to make your New Year’s Resolutions?  Many people make resolutions every year.  Some are kept and some are laid aside as the year continues.  Can we celebrate the New Year with a Prayer for Renewal…in our personal lives, in our families, in our church, in our nation?  I believe this would be an excellent way to open ourselves to God in the New Year.  Our openness may allow the Holy Spirit to move in ways we have not imagined before.

Instead of writing a prayer for you, I’ll just give some thoughts that you may want to put with yours in a Prayer for Renewal.

Personal thoughts…You may want to look at areas in your life where renewal is needed:  prayer time, study time, time for serving, time for giving, family time, time for retreat with God, learning, loving, sharing, friendships, time for creating, and time for refreshing.

Family thoughts…You may want to see how to strengthen your family: prayer covering over each individual, ask God to renew relationships, seek what God wants for each member of your family, thoughts of love, care, concern, and hope, and family time together.

Church thoughts…You may want to consider what God desires for your church home: prayers for the pastor and his/her family, renewal of the Spirit in the congregation, openness to what God wants to do through the congregation, refreshing the minds of the church for what their purpose is, worship, service, love, and mission, and cooperation with other churches in their community.

Nation thoughts…You may want to lift our nation and world: openness to the Holy Spirit, hunger for God’s word and worship, growing in understanding of God, renewal of the church in America and the world, spiritual warfare for our nation, care for the needy, the hungry, the widow, and the orphan, and revival.

I am reminded of the words of the prophet Isaiah – “See, I am doing a new thing!” (43:19) Who knows what God has in store for us in this New Year?

What do you think?  You’re driving along the road on your way north, when out of nowhere comes this car going at a speed much higher than the speed limit.  The driver is zigzagging through the traffic and several other drivers are hitting their brakes so there won’t be an accident.  Horns are honking, tires are peeling and people are jostled. The driver didn’t seem to understand the problems he/she is causing for other drivers.  It takes your breath away for a moment, and then you focus again on your own driving.  How do we deal with this situation within ourselves?

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Does anything like this happen in the church?  Well, maybe not with a car, but I have seen people bumping into others without noticing how they are affecting others.  I have seen people who are “doing the bumping” catch themselves and apologize for whatever happened.  I have also seen those people who don’t know (maybe even don’t care) who they “bumped into.”  They were on a mission and they were going to complete it.  This doesn’t seem so wrong, until you get “bumped.”  The words in Philippians 2:3-4 comes to mind in how we deal with such a situation: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also the interests of others.”

How do we deal with this kind of situation?  We respond with love and forgiveness.  When we get “bumped,” it doesn’t always mean that someone else is at fault.  Sometimes, it does, but we have to remember that no one is perfect.  They may have “bumped” you because they were in a hurry.  You may have been “bumped” because you got in the way of what was happening.  If the person apologizes, we must be quick to forgive.  It may be that we need to apologize for getting in the way.  Whatever the situation, handle it with prayer and care.  We have to be the witnesses God wants us to be.  Who may be watching how we respond or react?   How does our response affect the other person?  We might remind ourselves of a time when we did the “bumping.”  How did we handle that situation?

Looking out for others is a good trait for people to possess.  We can be those people who respond in love and forgive.

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One of my favorite stories from our recent conference was of a young pastor who came for the first time.  He was interested in all that was happening.  He was blessed while he was with us.  He felt empowered by the fire of God while in worship on Saturday evening.  He went home and set to work what he learned and testified to what he had seen.  He called together a prayer group to pray for their church, but a person in the group felt compelled to pray for the United Methodist Church.  They went into the Sanctuary and continued praying…powerful prayers.  Three people received a word of knowledge and they continued to pray with this word in mind.  What a testimony about how God worked during the conference and how He followed this one home to begin inspiring this church toward allowing the Holy Spirit to lead.  It is like what Paul said to Timothy in II Timothy 1:7 – “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

Isn’t that what we hope for as we pray for Aldersgate Renewal Ministries?  People are inspired by the Spirit when we gather…I was inspired, weren’t you?  People come and the newness of what is happening may overwhelm them, but not overcome their desire to know more and try to understand.  This year was no different.  There was a spirit of anticipation among those attending.  You could sense this almost everywhere in the building.  People were helping people find their ways to meals and workshops and offering prayers in corners…at the sides of rooms…in hallways… It was good to see the “family” minister together.  People were drawn to the worship celebrations to worship in the holy presence of God.  Every service was unique in some way.  All of the services touched me, but when the Gate Youth came for the fire tunnel – well, that just took my breath away.  The power of their witness was so strong.

Lives are being changed – at the Aldersgate Conference, at LCRE (local church renewal event) weekends, at RARF (regional affiliate renewal fellowship) retreats and at ARC (Aldersgate Renewal Center) events here in Goodlettsville.  Our ministry is meaningful and effective.  It’s because of people like you who pray for ARM, support us with encouraging words, attend our events and share your gifts with us.

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Our world seems to have tension from time to time.  People lose perspective and other issues get in their lives causing them to neglect what should be a focus in their lives.

 I turned to Psalm 19 to remind me on what I should be focused…God’s ways.  Here are some items to bring back our  perspective and balance in our lives: 

“…the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. 

the statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,    making wise the simple,

the precepts of  the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart, 

the commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes, 

the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever, 

the ordinances of the Lord are sure, and altogether righteous…”

When we encounter things which seem to take our balance away, ponder on the ways of the Lord.  When our lives take a turn we didn’t  expect, put the ways of the Lord into place and allow the Holy Spirit to lead.  I’m convinced the enemy does many things every day to take us off balance and attempts to get our focus on anything other than God and His ways.  But, we have been here before.  We remember when the enemy would come against us and we remember what we did to overcome the enemy – follow God’s ways.  The psalmist continued: 

“By keeping them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward." 

We know the One who has overcome the world – Jesus.  We know the end of the book and what will happen to the enemy – defeated,  outcast.  We are strengthened by the Holy  Spirit – empowered and equipped.  We follow the One who gave the word – God, our heavenly Father. 

We remember our past and the snares the enemy has used before.  Do not be overwhelmed, do not despair, we have the  victory! 

When there is tension in your lives, stay the course and you will be blessed. 

It’s nearly time for our Aldersgate National Conference on the Holy Spirit.  Why would we be excited about it?

We have come to an understanding when the people of God gather, they come with expectant hearts and they are willing to set aside themselves and their priorities. God comes and blesses, empowers and engages them for the work of the kingdom that is ahead of them.  There is more.

We have come to an understanding when we come and allow God to work in us and among us, He will do unexpected things. Signs and miracles happen, words of prophecy will be heard and impartation will be given.  There is more.

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We come to the Aldersgate Conference to renew relationships and to begin new relationships; to hear from God and have God move in us; to sense freedom in worship; to pray and to pray for others; to remember and to make new memories; to be used by God and to serve others.  There is more.

Are you excited yet?  We come to sing the songs of Zion, to lift up the name of Jesus, to praise and glorify God, to sense His presence among us, to share our faith-stories with one another, to bear witness to the power of the Holy Spirit, to learn more about who God desires us to be, and to be freed from the things the enemy would tie us to, so we can sense the blessings that God has for us.  There is more. 

When John Wesley went about preaching, there were “strange” things happening.  Crowds gathered to listen.  Some people were moved in the Holy Spirit.  Others looked on and did not understand.  The Wesleyan revival took people back to the days of the Apostles when signs and wonders seemed to be commonplace. Would this be like going to Conference?  There is more!

Randy Clark wrote in his book, There Is More,

        “God is simply looking for those who are willing to yield their hearts and lives to all that God wants to work through them, for those who are willing to believe
for more because ‘There is more!’”

Come, join us at the Aldersgate 2016 Conference and sense God’s provision for “the more” in your life.