Are you ready to get to work on the eternal matters that are important to God?
I have really been amazed over the past couple of weeks how exciting it is to have moved Truth Fellowship Live into a new space. We were thankful for the space we have occupied for the past almost two years. But the space was small to the point of being claustrophobic.
Then last spring we were lead to begin looking for a larger space. We became aware of an ideal space at 1020 South 12th Street in Bismarck. We entered into a lease agreement, but we ran into numerous setbacks. There were times that we wondered if we would ever get into the space.
At any rate, we continued to plug along to get the space into shape for TFL. Finally, in December, we met all of the requirements of the city and we were issued a permit. We have been working to finish off the construction phase of this move.
One of the best outcomes of this process—even though it was long and drawn out—was the opportunity to work alongside others committed to see TFL emerge as a new work of God. To see these people commit to the hard work and see this project come to its end has been great to behold.
Now that we are at the end of this project, we need to refocus on why we went to all the effort. I don’t think any of us at TFL went to all of this work because we thought it was necessary to have a beautiful and functional space in which to hold our worship services.
I do believe we went through all of this work so we would be ready to serve God in the ministry He has prepared beforehand for us to accomplish. We often emphasize Eph 2:8-9 in ministry. These are important verse since they remind us that
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Not often do we go on to verse 10, which reads, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Verses 8 and 9 tell us that salvation is not from man or by his works. Verse 10 tells us that we (those who trust Christ for their salvation) are the workmanship of God. The word “workmanship” denotes that salvation is a work of art or a masterpiece. Believers been “created” in Christ Jesus for one reason—for good works. God’s workmanship is not accomplished by good works, but it is to result in good works (Titus 2:14; 3:8).
God prepared these works for us to do “beforehand.” We are not told to “work in these good works”; but rather, we are to “walk in them.” In other words, God has prepared a path of good works for believers, which He will perform, in and through them as they walk by faith. This does not mean doing a work for God; instead, it is God’s performing His work in and through believers (cf. Phil. 2:13).
This is the function of TFL. We are here as a church so that God can do His work through us. This is certainly not a self-serving ministry. Many churches have as their primary goal to grow bigger for perhaps no other reason than that “bigger is better.” That is not our goal at TFL. We are here to minister to the people God presents to us.
Four components we each need to establish in our lives to ensure we are allowing God to work through us at TFL include 1) define our passion, 2) commit to that passion, 3) sacrifice for that passion, 4) praise God for the results.
Define our passion
Each of us needs to respond to the question, “What is your passion?” I believe we (as a church) must consider this question. How should TFL best serve God? How should we use the resources God has given us? What is most important to us?
My personal passion in life is to be a faithful servant of God through the Lord Jesus Christ. This often leads me in unpredictable directions. But how about TFL—what is our passion and how will we express that passion?
We will need to discuss this issue over the next few weeks and months.
Commit to that passion
As our passion becomes defined, we need to start working to meet the challenges God provides for us. We can expect that He has work for us to do—work He prepared beforehand. To accomplish the work God has for us will take commitment.
Paul told Timothy, “…Guard what was committed to your trust…” (1 Tim 6:20). God will commit ministry to us; we must guard that work and commit ourselves to complete the work He has for us.
Each person involved with TFL contributes differently to work we have to do. Yet, each of us needs to commit to that portion of the ministry to which God has equipped us. To this end, we need to consider how God has prepared us for His work—we need to consider the gifts God has given us and how to best use those gifts for His glory.
Sacrifice for that passion
Once we have defined our passion (as TFL) and committed ourselves to the work of God, we need to be willing to make the required sacrifices. Luke 9:23 reminds us, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Any commitment requires some degree of sacrifice.
If we are to follow Christ, we must look away from ourselves and seek to do what Christ would have us do. This means that to some degree each of us involved in ministry at TFL will be required to sacrifice ourselves in some manner. This might consist of time, skill, resources, etc.
Each of us must be willing to make the sacrifice for God’s kingdom plan to unfold. I believe that the people who join a small church start are willing, and have already demonstrated, their willingness to sacrifice for the work of God. We need to keep that attitude and alive even as our church body grows.
Praise God for the results
If we are faithful in our pursuit of following Christ and doing the work God has prepared for us to do then God will be faithful and He will work through us. We should not become proud or arrogant because God works through us. Instead, we should praise God because He considered us faithful and put us into the midst of the ministry. Paul reminded Timothy of this when he said, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry…”
As God works through us at TFL, we always need to praise God for the results. I hope we become more and more willing to praise God during our prayer time after our worship services.
So, please prayer for TFL as we seek to identify the ministry in which God wants us involved. Remember that defining that ministry is only the beginning. Once our direction is defined we must all commit to the work involved—much like we all committed to the work of preparing our new space—and then willingly sacrifice our ourselves and our resources.
Then, and only then, will we have much for which to praise God.
Are you ready for the next phase of TFL as we emerge as a vital ministry for God?