Message from Pastor Dan Serb
Every Sabbath we get together as a church and, amongst other things, we seek affirmation for our faith while also tapping into the strength and compassion of others in order to press on in our own spiritual journeys; we do that through worship and fellowship. Sabbaths are also regular reminders of who we are, why we are here, and why God is (or should be) at the centre of our lives. The focus here is on regular – every week there is a day, a sacred time divinely determined for this purpose. In my position as Irish Mission president I oversee other occasions where we also pause to remember who we are, what energises us, and why we do what we do.
Various committee meetings and Mission Sessions, through their regularity, could also facilitate such moments of deep spiritual introspection. On these occasions we look back at the way God has led, what’s been achieved under His guidance, and what could have been done better. They could be marred by inflexible criticism and murmuring, or they could provide opportunities for gratitude and renewed commitment.
The election of Church offices, and departmental sponsors could follow human agendas and be side-tracked by partisan interests, or it could pursue unity in Spirit, truth, and service. The choice is ours. Ultimately, God has entrusted us to be the artisans of our own vision of and for His Kingdom.
He’s given us the building blocks and a way upward; let’s put it together together.
Step one: ESTABLISHED in Jesus Christ
That He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.
1 THESSALONIANS 3:13
Mission begins with us. It actually begins with God in us. A vision is meant to draw lines of demarcation between that which is and that which we wish to achieve. The area in between is called faith in action and it encompasses our churches, families, communities, and as much of the world (as people) as we wish to let in. But a vision is not (or it shouldn’t be) just a matter of the mind and programmes and strategies; it ought to be a matter of the heart.
The Irish Mission is busy and it will continue to be. We are blessed with a committed pastoral team and many of our members are spiritually tuned in to what the Lord desires to accomplish through us; but we should take it step by step, block by block, and first focus on that which God wishes to fulfil in us. May the Lord establish our hearts as forgiven followers of a God who is Emmanuel in our midst. May we be established in Him with enduring and perseverant faith until His coming.
Step two: EMPOWERED by the Holy Spirit
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Once established in God’s love and grace, we can then move on to the next step and make ourselves available to the guiding and empowering presence of the Holy Spirit. With confidence, trust, and resolve, we can push, in His Name, the boundaries of that which seems impossible. Life is dynamic; so should ministry be – ever evolving, ever reaching, ever bold. There should be no fear in seeking new methods to preach and live out the old, old story of God and His love for humankind.
New methods must be introduced. God’s people must awake to the necessities of the time in which they are living. . . . Some of the methods used in this work will be different from the methods used in the past; but let no one, because of this, block the way by criticism – Ellen G. White.
For us, Jerusalem is here; Judea is here; Samaria is here; the earth has come full circle and settled right here, on this Isle. May each Sabbath and every moment of family worship, personal prayer, Bible study time be an opportunity for the Spirit to empower us to be witnesses of that which the Lord works within us.
Step three: ENGAGED in Service & Mission
Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.
When we are established in God, we are then in the best position to be empowered to engage the world we live in. We are a peculiar people with a peculiar message. However, we are not called to be unrelatable because of our peculiarity, neither to become exclusivist and elitist. The scope of our message is all encompassing, and it can be far-reaching if, as people, we reach deep inside us when reaching across to others. Self-sacrifice and humility make, an otherwise difficult message to receive, worthy of consideration and even attractive. Human voices and hands give angelic wings to an end-time message in three parts which completes and binds together all that is human.