Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A life verse for Calvary Chapel Churches

This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:"Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit," says the Lord of hosts. Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! Zechariah 4:6-7 

When the nation of Israel came back from captivity they set to the task of rebuilding the temple. They realized that the worship of the one true God must be central to their existence. However as they began to build they became discouraged. They had successfully laid the foundation, but due to persecution and difficulty they quit and went back to building their own houses leaving the temple incomplete. The Lord then raised up His prophets Haggai and Zechariah to come along side of the people. Through their ministry the work of the temple resumed and was eventually completed. 
One of the encouraging words in the midst of the work was found here in Zechariah 4. It appears that Zerubbabel thought that the task before him had to be completed through his might, and power. It seemed as though a mountain stood before him that couldn't be removed. The Lord then told His servant that the work would be done through the Spirit. 

In many ways this verse has been a hallmark of the Calvary Chapel movement and its churches. Pastor Chuck always pointed us to the fact that the ministries we were involved with were in great need of the power of the Holy Spirit. You can have power, human ingenuity, even talented people,  but those things could never accomplish what the Spirit of God can accomplish. For many of us we set out to plant and pastor churches with this promise in mind. We were aware of our own inadequacy. We knew that apart from the Lord we could do nothing. A trust in God and His Word were the tools to build the church. The foundation was Jesus, and we just went for it. We came to find out that this promise is true. The Spirit of God can level the mountains that we could never move. The Lord can make a way in a community, or even another country. He isn't limited by anything. 

Yet as I reflect a little more on this passage of scripture I begin to think of the future of the Calvary Chapel churches. I believe we need a fresh reminder and discovery of this promise. I consider the many mountains that seem to surround us at the present time. I realize that they are too great for us to remove, but they are not too great for the LORD to remove. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  I believe we must continue to stick to what we know. That we continue to faithfully teach the Word of God, chapter by chapter verse by verse declaring the whole council of God. That we remain dependent upon the power of the Spirit, and that our prayers are directed toward that end. Lord pour out Your Spirit in these last days. Bring people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Give us boldness to continue to proclaim the truth without compromise. 
I also feel that it is imperative that we don't look around at the way others are building, and how they are building in making comparisons. In each individual church we have enough to be held accountable for. Let's simply do our job to the best of our ability and let other people do theirs. God uses different churches to minister to different people. The gifts and the callings that He distributes are not the same for everyone. I want to use the talents I have been entrusted with in order to be a faithful steward before my master returns. Stay focused, be faithful, do your best, and leave the outcome to the Lord. 

I realize in my own life and ministry after 20 years of pastoral ministry I am still completely powerless and ineffective without Jesus. I know that apart from my savior and His Spirit I can do nothing. Like so many of my brothers across this world there is a desire to see a greater work of Gods Spirit. Let's not let up, let's not shrink back, let's press on, push forward, continue to advance in the Spiritual battle. And may the Lord grant us a greater measure of the outpouring of His Spirit in our churches in the coming year.