Welcome to 2012! Let's REST!
I hope that you and your family were able to celebrate God's grace in 2011 and enter the year with the expectation that God has already been here, and He is making preparations for His grace to be worked out in us and through us again.
For those of you who were not able to join us on Saturday evening, I want to review a little of the "Preparation" I shared with those who were there.
We spent our evening in
- PRAISE (Thanking God for what He had done in us and through us in 2011).
- PREPARATION (Declaring God's goodness over every event we will experience in 2012)
- PREVIEW (A short devotional calling us to learn how to enter into the "REST" that is in Jesus in 2012)
I'd like to share the PREVIEW for all of you so that you'll know what I feel the Lord is saying to us as a church for the coming year.
Several weeks ago the Lord began to stir in my heart a message about the "rest" that we need to find in Jesus. As I was pondering that rest, I was reminded also that in September of 2012, New Life of the Shenandoah Valley will enter our seventh year as a church. In speaking about the Sabbath Rest of God on the seventh day, Hebrews 4:9-11a says:
"There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For He who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest"
We are called, as New Testament followers of Jesus, to "strive to enter into the rest of Jesus". He has completed everything needed for restored relationship with God the Father. The questions I believe the Lord wants us to dig into for 2012 are this:
- Are we living in the completion and rest that comes in Jesus?
- Or, are we trying to "make things more complete" ...
- Trying be a better Christian?
- Trying to be a better husband?
- Trying to be a better wife?
- Trying to do more for God?
- Trying to live a more pure life?
What if we learned the secret of letting the COMPLETE life of Jesus that is living in us, shine THROUGH us and become the primary life that is lived out of us? What if we learned that we CAN'T be or do ANY of those things above, but that the JESUS living in us can. What if we learned to rest in who we are IN JESUS, and to be and do what JESUS is already doing within us? What if we stopped striving to do or be anything except this one thing? To enter into the REST that comes in Jesus Christ.
As for me, I want to learn and live in the complete REST that comes in Jesus! My prayer for you and your family is that you, too, will learn to accept, to engage, and to live in the "Jesus Rest".
May it be a fulfilling, fruitful, miraculous, soul-winning, God honoring, RESTFUL 2012!PASTOR KEVIN STRITE