The Greatest need in the Church today . . .

If I was with you right now and asked you, “What is the greatest need in the church today?” What would be your answer? Please give that a few moments of thought. 

I have been a part of church all of my life. I have served in church as long as I can remember. I would not trade my life for any other life, I love God’s church. Today I am honored to serve an amazing network and fellowship of pastors.  

So let me share what I feel is the greatest need in the church today. It comes from the Apostle Paul as he writes to the Colossian believers. In Colossians chapter three, after Paul had told them of his love for them, the hope of glory that was in them through Christ and challenged them to, “Set your minds on things above . . . and put to death the works of the flesh .  . .” Then he writes:

“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection” (Colossians 3:12-14 NKJV).  

The Passion Bible presents the same verses like this, 

“You are always and dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. Tolerate the weaknesses of those in the family of faith, forgiving one another in the same way you have been graciously forgiven by Jesus Christ. If you find fault with someone, release this same gift of forgiveness to them. For love is supreme and must flow through each of these virtues. Love becomes the mark of true maturity”

Please allow the words of the Apostle to seep deep into you for just a few moment.

“The elect of God.”
“Dearly loved by God” 
“Robe yourself with the virtues of God”  
“Since you have been divinely chosen to be holy.” 

You were not chosen to be famous, a big name, rich or poor, you were chosen to be “holy.” Then he says, 

“Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others.” 

How many times have you felt, offended? Had a complaint against another brother or sister in the Lord? Whatever part of the Body of Christ that the Holy Spirit has placed you, you can be sure that “offenses” will come. That is a fact and perhaps why Paul is addressing this and telling us the Christ way to respond.

So, here is the greatest need in the church today: Reckless Forgiveness!

“Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. Tolerate the weaknesses of those in the family of faith, forgiving one another in the same way you have been graciously forgiven by Jesus Christ. If you find fault with someone, release this same gift of forgiveness to them.”

“Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

In all my years of ministry, especially the years that I have been in a stewardship place serving pastors and leaders, the greatest heartache has been when, conditional forgiveness, ruled. When “forgiveness” was simply some empty word that was thrown out like, “I have forgiven them, but . . .”  If this has broken my heart the many times when I have been dragged into some conflict between God’s people, I can only imagine how our, conditional forgiveness, must break the heart of Jesus Christ who forgave us and buried all our sins under His blood. 

Paul clearly describes the depth of what true forgiveness is for an offend-able act in the “family of faith”, “forgiving one another in the same way you have been graciously forgiven by Jesus Christ.”

Prayer: Dear Father, I pray for anyone who reads this, that we will come to a new level of forgiveness toward those in the family of faith. That we will forgive one another in the same way that we have been forgiven by you. In that way the “hope of glory” will shine through us to this world. 

Larry Neville

One life . . .

Janet and I attended the funeral service for Pastor Frank Navarro. His family gave him so much honor, especially for the Christian example that he was to all of them. At the end Johnny Dorris shared, concluding a very encouraging and God honoring service.

As I sat there, I gave God thanks that Johnny and Patty Dorris moved to Ontario over 40 years ago and planted the Praise Chapel church.  Because, it was at an outreach where Johnny met and witnessed to Frank Navarro who soon after gave his life to Christ. Johnny said, “He never turned back.”

Frank and Renate Navarro went on to plant a church in Hayward, CA., and then in Germany.  They have served and been a part of Praise Chapel all these years. The impact of his life upon his Children, Grandchildren and Great-grandchildren was amazing to hear as they shared about him. Only now as he is in heaven will he understand the impact of his life. 

This is the impact of Win- Build- Send.

One couple responded to plant a church in Ontario, California. One man got saved at an outreach. Generations of people are saved around the world.

Never underestimate what God is doing through your life and ministry. God may have you where you are serving for just that, “1” person or one family.  Jesus stopped for one woman at a well and as a result an entire village received him. 

Let’s keep at it, always. 

Larry Neville

“Happy Thanksgiving” from Larry & Janet Neville

The American Thanksgiving Holiday was birthed in 1621 when the Pilgrims celebrated for three days after their first harvest in the New World.

 

Have you ever thought about how small that group was in 1621? There were 53 Pilgrims and 90 First Americans. Here we are in 2018, over three hundred years later, and millions of people are getting celebrating Thanksgiving. That shows me that God’s plan was so much more far-reaching than they could ever have imagined and it is the tiny “seed” that eventually produces the great harvest.
 

God’s plan for your life is much more far-reaching than you can “ask or think.”

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20).
 
The church was birthed with 120 people in the Upper Room. The Azusa Street revival was a few people in Los Angeles. The Praise Chapel movement began with one church in Maywood. Please don’t underestimate what God is doing through your life.

Thousands of people are walking over 2000 miles from Central America to the border of the United States to claim asylum. 

Can you imagine the passion in these people to experience the life that we so often take for granted or even complain about? Millions of people around the world would give anything to live in America and to have the freedom and opportunity that we enjoy.
 

I have coffee once in a while with a friend who is blind. His wife drops him off at Starbucks then I will take him home. Even-though he is blind they still travel all over the world preaching and I have never heard him complain about being blind. Every time I get with him, there is this thankfulness that swells up within me that I can see. I realize how easy it can be to neglect to thank God for something as common as eyesight. Yet, how many blessings, gifts, acts of grace and mercy does God pour out upon my life every day? God always does, exceedingly abundantly above all that I ask or think.

As you spend today with your family and loved ones, We pray that God will do exceedingly abundantly above all that you ask or think. I pray that your time around the dinner table will always be blessed.

Janet and I want to say  “Thank You” especially this Thanksgiving Day.

Larry & Janet Neville 

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