It's the time of year when we (try to) slow down and remember the miraculous birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. In a world of brokenness and oppression and division, a newborn cry shattered the silence of 400 years and brought a hope that could never be undone. He truly changed the course of history, as over 20 centuries later we still take this season to remember His humble entry into our world.
His arrival had been predicted. It had been foretold by the prophets, with details regarding location and purpose. Nonetheless, many were unprepared for His arrival. Many missed it entirely, others were jealous, some aware but apathetic. Despite the prophecies of His coming, many were not prepared for His return.
When Jesus left, He made it very clear that He was to return again. And He gave a consistent message that His people needed to be ready at any moment for His return. In our nation's history, we herald the minutemen for their vigilance to be ready at a minute's notice. They had to always be prepared, any moment, that they would never be caught off guard.
Are we ready with that kind of urgency? When the Lord returns, will He find us diligently laboring? Worshiping Him above all else? Would our calendars and bank accounts reflect Him as supreme in our lives? Would our coworkers and families attest to our focus upon Christ and longing for His return?
Jesus gave an analogy of 10 virgins, each given a lamp. When they saw the bridegroom was delayed, 5 of them became weary and slept. When He returned, they rushed to find oil--but it was too late. The bridegroom had returned and found them sleeping.
Will we be caught sleeping?
I pray that we will wake up to the urgency ahead of us! The very Jesus who was born humbly in the manger left triumphantly the resurrected King. And He called us to an audacious mission to declare His glory and gospel to the ends of the earth. To bring reconciliation in our families and communities. And He predicted His return would be soon, and called us to be ready at a moment's notice for His return!
We know that every moment is a moment closer to His coming back for His Church, and we pray that the people of God will be found longing and laboring for Him!
Longing and Laboring
I pray that when the Lord returns I will be found either longing after Him in worship and in prayer or laboring for Him in some manner. The return of our Savior is one of the primary causes that compels us to rally the people of God together to declare His glory and good news in the hearts of our communities!
We look back and are still in awe of what God has done, by His power, and for His glory! We have seen God's hand revealed so clearly in recent months, with specific confirmations in multiple different people to lead to Courthouse Square, downtown Dayton, on September 17 of 2017. That night, we declared and decreed the power and authority of God over the city, surrounding regions and our world.
And we believe God will act. And we believe it is time for the people of God to wake up--to be found longing and laboring for Jesus when He returns!
God has continued to lead us to some absolutely incredible opportunities for 2018. Opportunities to see His name lifted up across our region in a way that would go far beyond what we've even seen to this point. I tend to be a big dreamer, but I admit at times I'm overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the opportunities ahead of us. I think this is a good thing--we are reminded as a team that what God has ahead is so much larger than all of us, and will only take place if He brings it all about to fruition!
Would you please pray with us?
We are very aware that the opportunities ahead far surpass our experience, ability, charisma or bank accounts. The work that God has ahead will ONLY be possible if directed and empowered by the Spirit of God moving through His people. Please pray with us that God will reveal His glory over our area and world in a powerful way to draw so many more unto Himself! If you have a passion for prayer and would like to receive more specific prayer requests, please reply and let us know!
The opportunities ahead also would require exponentially more resources than we have yet been blessed with. We have no doubt that God will provide all that is needed for Him to carry out His plans. If He would stir in your heart to give to be a part of this Kingdom work, we would be very honored by that! If you have questions about how or where your gift could be used, please let us know and we'd be happy to answer questions!
The Savior came, and He commissioned, and He is coming again. I pray that when He returns He finds each of us longing and laboring for Him!
Merry Christmas to each of you! All of us on the team at Declare are so honored to worship and declare our Savior Jesus Christ alongside each of you!