When Isaiah was confronted with the holiness of God, he admitted his sinfulness and was assured of forgiveness. “And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!’ Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.’ (Isaiah 6:5-7) After this encounter, God asked Isaiah, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Isaiah answered, “Here I am! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8) Isaiah was willing to go where God asked him to go, and he was wiling to speak what God told him to speak.
This month we are going to seek God with the intention of listening for how He wants to shape us as a community and send us forth from our church into the greater Cary/Apex area. The elders invite you each Wednesday evening in January to join for prayer from 7-8pm at the church. This will be a time of seeking the Lord and coming together with a view towards being sent by God to share His good news.
At the Mission Triangle gathering this past October, one of the local pastors shared results from a Barna survey which indicated that 80% of unchurched people are open to having a conversation about spiritual things or attending church with a friend they know and trust, yet only 2% of church attenders regularly invite an unchurched person to church. Of course, getting someone to attend church is not the only goal; we want people to respond to Jesus’ message: “Repent and believe the good news.” (Mark 1:15) My point in mentioning that survey is not to cause a guilt trip, but to remind us that God always uses people to tell others the good news of Christ!
As we seek God together in January, it is my hope and prayer that these four things happen according to the following Scriptures:
- God is pleased when we commune with Him, and He answers when we seek Him.
“I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.” (Proverbs 8:17)
“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)
“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9)
- As we pray, God shows where we need to confess and repent, and He brings renewal.
“For thus says the LORD to the house of Israel: ‘Seek me and live…’” (Amos 5:4)
“Seek good, and not evil, that you may live’ and so the LORD, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said.” (Amos 5:14)
“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.” (Psalm 51:7-8)
- God the Father burdens our hearts for those who do not know Christ, and He grows our dependence on Him.
“When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.” (Mark 6:34)
“For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Cor. 2:15-16)
- God shows us ways in which He is already at work drawing people to himself, new opportunities around us, and fresh power from the Holy Spirit:
“But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father is working until now, and I am working.’” (John 5:17)
“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ (John 20:21-22)
“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” (Acts 13:2)
Let’s seek God together this new year with an expectation that He will refresh us and begin a new work here in Cary and Apex! —Pastor Jim