Welcome to Bring Your Neighbor Day!

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” – Psalm 19:1-4

It was so encouraging to see Charles Day make the decision to seek the light, change his heart and his life, and become our brother in Christ!

It was so encouraging to see Charles Day make the decision to seek the light, change his heart and his life, and become our brother in Christ!

God’s glory is tremendously evident when we take a moment to reflect on the majesty and vastness of the heavens themselves. Our radiant sun at the center of our solar system is a precisely crafted self-perpetuating nuclear reactor. It takes physical light about 500 seconds (8 minutes & 20 seconds) to reach us here on earth. Jesus said “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) Jesus is the spiritual light for all of us. It is not a matter of time if he reaches us it is a matter of our decision to reach out to him.

“From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” – Acts 17:26-27

Jesus teaches that his followers are the light of the world, an extension of him here on earth, and that we are called to “let [our] light shine before men, that they may see [our] good deeds and praise [our] Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) What a great opportunity it was for us to serve the Sunshine Acres Children’s Home as “MERCY” ambassadors! I’m so grateful for the disciples and our friends & family who bore the heat and served in shoveling sand for the playground, digging a trench, and cleaning/moving furniture for their thrift shop! The light shines brightly in Phoenix!

We have been studying out the book of Acts in preparation for this year’s GLOBAL LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE (GLC) entitled “Revolution!” This is going to be a powerful time with brothers and sisters from every populated continent coming together and celebrating the Kingdom of God! It is our vision as a movement of churches to bring the light of Jesus Christ “to the ends of the earth!” (Acts 1:8) This GLC will be a tremendous opportunity for us to all grow in our faith, our hopeful vision, and our love for God and one another! We are so grateful to have RD and April Baker here with us today as they are the mission team leaders for our exciting 9th “Crown of Thorns” church planting – Dubai! The Dubai team will be sent out by the Holy Spirit prayerfully at this GLC, Sunday July 31st 2016! Also, very excitingly, the Tampa Bay mission team will be sent out as well, led by Anthony & Elizabeth Eckles. It is exciting to see God growing our movement of churches to spread his light to “all nations!” This year’s GLC is sure to be a life changing experience – sign up today at phxicc.org/glc! Let’s bring the “Red-Hot” Revolution back to Phoenix!

The

The brothers in the church gratefully welcome our youngest disciple into the family—Nehemiah Thompson! (center right)

It is very inspiring to see someone seek the light and make the decision to truly seek God with all their heart. In our world today, there is a great deal of darkness. NIMH reports almost 16 million people struggle with major depressive episodes each year in the United States alone. The media agencies are reporting violent crimes/shootings and steep racial tensions all across our nation. Our political system is facing its own crisis of identity highlighted by the ruckus at the Republican National Convention. International terrorists are committing horrific acts against humanity as illustrated by the tragic recent events in Nice, France. There is bubbling civil unrest throughout our world underscored by the failed coup attempt in Turkey.

We were so grateful we could pull together as a church family and serve the Sunshine Acres Children’s Home this year!

We were so grateful we could pull together as a church family and serve the Sunshine Acres Children’s Home this year!

What a joy to welcome our dear sister Seannah into the Kingdom of God!

What a joy to welcome our dear sister Seannah into the Kingdom of God!

It is against this backdrop—this chaotic collection of turmoil, tragedy, and the human sinful nature at its worst—that we bring Christ’s light and vision, to evangelize the nations in our generation! There is only what we can do with our hands, hearts and minds here and now, day by day, soul by soul. Jesus’ light can change a person, and a person can change another person, who changes another…and before you know it, the world is paying the light of Christ forward. Christ highlighted this vision in Matthew 28:18-20:

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

As a person is made into a disciple of Jesus, they are called to be taught and to teach everything that Jesus commanded. Jesus just commanded them to “go and make disciples of all nations” and to be “baptizing them” and then “teaching them to obey everything” he commanded. It’s a call from Christ, to win as many as possible out of the darkness and bring them to the light and to bring this light to “the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) The bible teaches we “all have sinned” and “fall short of the glory of God” and need to be “justified freely by his Grace” (cf. Romans 3:23-25) Therefore, since we all sin and all fall short, we all start in the darkness and God calls us all out of the darkness into his light. God chooses us and changes us profoundly when we are called out of our darkness – “you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9) We are called out of darkness and given the purpose that brings the revolution – declaring the praises of our God!

It was so encouraging to see Charles Day make the decision to seek the light, change his heart and his life, becoming our brother in Christ! We are so thankful to witness God change the heart of Seannah Franklin as well – the Campus & Teens ministry has been refreshed by these two joyful disciples. The South Phoenix ministry is excited to have the fiery single brother Nehemiah Thompson join them as their brother in Christ! Scott Lunde is particularly grateful to have a “Timothy” alongside him now in the effort to begin the ASU Downtown Bible Talk! And the Chandler/Gilbert house church is thankful to God for our dear brother Larry Henderson! Larry really is one of the most tender-hearted servants of the church that could ever be. Certainly, the whole Phoenix Church family rejoices in God adding to our number these precious disciples!

Larry Henderson is added to God’s Kingdom in the refreshing waters of baptism!

Larry Henderson is added to God’s Kingdom in the refreshing waters of baptism!

At the center of this choice to seek the light, at the center of the light itself, is a sincere and deep love for God and one another. (John 13:34-35) The love from God, for God, and for one another, will always be the answer as “the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love…” (Galatians 5:7b) We want to welcome you to the family today and encourage you to answer the call alongside us to “walk in the light as he is in the light” and thus “have fellowship with one another” and to know the “blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin!” (1 John 1:5-7) And to God be all the glory!

The Dubai Mission Team boldly led by RD & April Baker! Also pictured is Jamal Ellis, whose mother (Melinda) and father (JJ) are a part of the Phoenix Church family!

The Dubai Mission Team boldly led by RD & April Baker! Also pictured is Jamal Ellis, whose mother (Melinda) and father (JJ) are a part of the Phoenix Church family!

Comments

comments

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

 
%d bloggers like this: