Only love can save us.

"He stood me up on a wide-open field;

I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!"

—2 Samuel 22:20 MSG

Inviting.

Our ministry theme for 2017

Inviting.


A rich word with rich possibilities, inviting can be an adjective that describes us and verb that compels us. As an adjective it means “attractive in a way that makes you want to do something, go somewhere, be near someone, etc.” As a verb it means “to request the presence or participation of; to urge politely.”


The adjectival application of this word is undoubtedly more natural to us. As the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in us, as we have become increasingly at home in our identity as sons and daughters, as we continue on the path of choosing love, we are becoming more and more inviting, more and more welcoming. Christ in us, the hope of glory, is making us attractive and inviting!


It is the second application of inviting that will challenge us and ultimately enlarge us. But we do not lose heart because the Father is our forerunner in this regard. Scripture tells us God is the ultimate inviter. In fact, inviting is His ultimate action in the Bible. In Revelation 22:17, this invitation is offered to all humankind: “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.”


Do you see it? The invited become inviters. The way God is, what God does—this is the way we are to be, this is what we are to do. We should have expected it all along. After all, Jesus declared in John 5:19 “…Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.” Sons and daughters make inviting their lifestyle believing that being like their Father and doing what He does is the most natural thing in the world.


Thus His word to us and our ministry theme for the year: inviting. It’s what He’s about, so it’s what we will be about. It’s going to be an exciting year as we invite people in our day to day lives to taste and see that God is good.

It is well with my soul.

Our Prophetic Word for 2017

This word is to govern our hearts even as the ministry theme is to govern our actions, but many of us may not know what to do with it initially.


That’s because the culture of the church in the western world hasn’t given us many tools with which to think about our souls, much less how to tend to them. The church has done so much good our lives but over the years we have not heard much (if anything) about our soul.


Odd, when you think about it, given the soul’s place in Scripture and how frequently it factors into the divine conversations the Bible invites us into, such as in Deuteronomy 4:9, “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently…” Keep your soul diligently… this summons to tend to our inner life is echoed by the compiler of Hebrew wisdom sayings in Proverbs 4:23, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”


Whatever the soul is—and it is beyond scientific methods of measurement or identification and it defies even poetic description—we know this: from it flow the springs of life. Soul is the essence of a person, and if we are to learn how to tend to our inner life, we must go to the life-giver to learn how to care for our life-center.


Thus, the prophetic word for 2017. It is God’s heart that we give care to the essence of our being so the springs of life that flow from it are fresh and clean, and we are enabled to live joyfully and hopefully as sons and daughters who are deeply loved by their Father.

Love.

Our commitment to the most excellent way

Many of us are convinced God is obsessed with our sin and cleaning up our lives. But this cannot be the case. Loving the Son is the center of the Father’s world, and always has been. The Son, not our sin, is the Father’s obsession. And when this cascading Trinitarian love comes crashing through, it changes the landscape of our lives.

Of course, there will always be someone objecting, “There’s more to it than love. There’s got to be more.” Probably so. Certainly so. There is something more. But there is nothing better. Most of our problems can be traced back to this: we inevitably go for the something more before being established in the nothing better—and then we wonder why our life with God seems so dry, so listless, so exhausting.


Only love can save us. From ourselves. From fraudulent distortions of Christianity masquerading as the real thing. From the enemy of our souls. We can be sure of this:  Satan isn’t threatened by human brilliance, he isn’t impressed by human activity, and he isn’t worried about church programs. But love? Love will be his undoing.


Love. It is the single most powerful weapon in our spiritual warfare. Love. It’s eternal. Unstoppable. Tireless. It’s the pathway light runs upon. It opens prison doors and unlocks the tormentor’s shackles. It cannot be defeated. As we choose love, Wonderful Mercy Church will begin to see the fulfillment of our vision to be transforming our world with God’s love and God’s power.