Lev 26:7-8 You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you. 8 Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you. NIV
This year’s Annual Conference theme is Cultivating your giftings in the Spirit. It is also the challenge for TMCI around the world for this year. God has gifted all of us with special gifts to further God’s Kingdom. Please note that we are not gifted so that we can build our reputation or increase our ministry but to increase the Kingdom of God.
The above scripture challenges me. Our society gives great honor to what they call a self-made man: the person who through much effort on his part singlehandedly reaches his goal. But if you look at the lives of “self-made men”, you will find that they had people around them who helped them along the way. God’s will is that people not be lone Rangers. Jesus sent his disciples out two by two.
We need each other as Paul outlines in 1 Cor 12:14-20
14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. NIV
We all have various gifts but no one person has all the gifts. Jesus is the only one who operated in all the gifts.
One of the mistakes people make is that instead of looking at the gifts God has given them, they look at the gifts they do not have. I remember complaining to God, (now I know you would never do that) about my becoming interim pastor at my church – replacing a pastor who was a dynamic preacher and operated in the gifts of the Spirit with power. He could paint a picture on the wall with his words. So there I was early Sunday morning praying, but reality I was complaining that I did not have the gifts that former pastor had. Then the Holy Spirit spoke to my spirit and asked who preached on the day of Pentecost and 3000 got saved.
I said Peter, of course, but the Spirit said no, I did through Peter and the same Holy Spirit that preached through Peter is in you, so stop your complaining and do what you are called to do and let me operate through you.
The other mistake we make is try to” work on” the gifts we do not have, and neglect the one we have. We should always try to refine; to perfect the gifts God has put in us by reading the Bible to see how they are used in Scripture. We should join with mature Christians who operate in the Same Gifts becoming an Elisha to that person. Remember, Elisha did not start his ministry; he let Elijah train and speak into his life.
So when you need a gift you do not have, reach out to those who have the gift and join with them so your gifts will bless them and their gifts will bless you. When Barnabas was sent to Antioch (Acts 11) he saw that they needed more than encouraging, they needed a strong teacher so he went and got Paul and together they ministered to the people. It is like TMCI’s partnership with Live School in Africa. Live School helps train church people to plant other churches: they have the people and curriculum so we help them and they help us in training our TMCI-Liberia churches and the kingdom is advanced.
This coming year is a year of Divine appointments. Last year, God called us out as His “no name army”. This year, I believe he wants to unite us together in force that will attack and take back territory from the enemy. I believe that there are areas in this country and throughout the world that God want to use you and other TMCI ministers to take ground and overcome the enemy by helping each other with our giftings.
My pledge to you is that, if you are interested in doing something special in your geographic area of ministry, I will put you in touch with other TMCI ministries in your area and help organize your event with these TMCI ministries. If you want to do something international, let me know what area of the world, and we will put you in touch with the TMCI missionaries in that area.
It is time for us to not only look to our ministry, but also look to see how we can work with others to make a bigger difference for Christ in our geographic area. We need to help each other solidify the victory by making disciples of new converts and making sure the territory gain is solidified before moving on to gain more ground. What do I mean by that? Too many times we think we won the victory only to lose it because we did not follow through and solidify the gains.
Let look at David and Goliath, David threw the stone that felled Goliath, He had knocked Goliath out but had not defeated him completely until he took Goliath’s sword and cut off his head. Then he had complete victory.
Too many Christians throw a knockout punch and walk away thinking they have the victory when they only won a battle and not the victory. We need to follow through, solidify the gains and only then move on.
How do we do that? By making converts into disciples for Christ and then releasing them for ministry to help us take more ground from the enemy.
So I encourage you today to have a shift in your ministry thinking. To ask yourself, whom can I connect with to make a bigger difference in my ministry area. I do not feel God has called us to be lone rangers, but to unite our ministries with others in our area of ministry to make a bigger impact in the world.
That is my prayer for you. Go forth united and build the Kingdom of God with your other brothers and sisters in Christ.
Let us move forward together,
Bishop Bob Coulter
Please remember the Annual conference September 23 -25 in Lancaster, SC; I pray that you will join us either in person or via the web.
This month’s recommended book is The Coming Shift by Larry Randolph