Stupidity Is Not A Virtue

A STUDY IN THE BOOK OF DANIEL

One of the worst things about the English language is that too often we don’t really know how to use our own words.  DATA, for instance, is plural.  There’s no such thing as one data point.  Or, take the word CORPORATE.  When you see that word I suspect you’re thinking of Microsoft or Amazon as examples (I live in Washington State).  Well, originally it just used to mean any task undertaken together.  You know, lots of people corporately coming together for a single purpose.  It used to be that the *opposite* of corporate was an idiot–literally a solitary single person who didn’t go for the BENEFITS of being part of the group.  It used to be that AN IDIOT was just somebody who stuck to himself–in a peculiar way.

“Oh, oh.  I know where you’re going,” you might be thinking.

But I’ll tell you the word that’s been messed up the most and that’s the word ‘CHURCH’.  Christians aren’t idiots.  We know that a church is a group of people–it’s a CORPORATE GATHERING of the body of Christ.

But let’s face it: when you think of THE CHURCH, you’re probably thinking of a building.  The truth is, it’s so easy to think of THE CHURCH as a building because it’s easier for THE CHURCH to be a place more than a way of life.  We can visualize a place and identify with it better.  It’s safer when it’s a building we go to once a week more so than AN ATTITUDE which defines our lives.

Well, that might be what we think, but it’s too limited.  At times, I fear we may be in danger of losing our CORPORATE notion of CHURCH.  I believe the fellowship I’ve been gathering with for the past 5 years has a better understanding of CHURCH as a people, but we can always do better.  We do a pretty good job of carrying for each other, praying for one another in times of need.  But even we have friends and neighbors and colleagues that NEED us as well.  Too many isolated people are imprisoned voluntarily in the cells of their own homes when what simply they need most is companionship and friendship of a God-breathed individual more interested in serving God than himself.

Our God is a CORPORATE God.

Not in the sense of the way of doing things according to some rules laid down, but in the sense of togetherness that He desires for us.

WE WORSHIP HIM IN COMMUNITY.

It’s a community centered on Jesus to be sure, but it’s not, as we suppose, just a ‘Jesus and me‘ thing.

SCRIPTURE  Daniel 2:14-30

In my study this week and at first thought, I noticed a missing detail, but it is a detail that shows up time and time again centered on RELATIONSHIP. Think about the RELATIONSHIP that Daniel has with Arioch, the king’s captain.  Think about the RELATIONSHIP Daniel has with his young friends.  See how it is these relationships ultimately bring Daniel closer in relationship to God.

Well, okay, Arioch’s job was perhaps to bring Daniel a bit closer to God than Daniel was expecting, but I noticed here, how Daniel was able to talk with him so freely.  Clearly, Daniel and Arioch had a pre-existing RELATIONSHIP, so string that together that Daniel could ask Arioch to risk not only his job but his neck, in delaying the king’s order.  That doesn’t happen by accident.  I sure that they must have spent time together.  There’s nothing to suggest that Arioch could have cared a lick about Daniel’s god.  But he CARED about Daniel.  And through RELATIONSHIP he could learn to appreciate his god, I know it’s a cliché, but it’s so true.  We are often the only Bible our friends will ever read.

STUPIDITY ON DISPLAY!

One cold and rainy day while visiting my brother and his family in Texas, we had all decided to venture out to the family property, the Ranch, and see all the progress that had been made.  After arrival, we reluctantly got out the vehicles into the inclement weather, shivering, but trying to stay enthusiastic.  My dad, my wife, and my sister-in-law’s sister decided it was wiser to remain in the car.  My dad was in the front seat while the girls were in the back seat, unnoticed by dad.

After seeing the family out in the cold and wet elements he shouted, Stupid, Stupid, Stupid not noticing the ladies in the back seat grinning, knowing that he had no idea they were there..  My wife still muses at the event.

I noticed in this passage of Scripture the only STUPIDITY on display is the one who is acting by himself?

I mean, why is the KING so furious that he wants to kill off the entire government?  WHY?  Because he is acting foolhardy and alone.

This isn’t CORPORATE unless perhaps if you were a big accounting firm.  Corporate acts are slow and deliberate because they benefit from counsel.

More importantly, I specifically noticed the FELLOWSHIP of the believers present: Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.  They all came together to PRAY.

It just so happened the Word came to Daniel.  That’s a group in total HUMILITY to God and to each other.  I doubt they cared which one of them actually heard from God directly.  They were simply living out the commandments.

GOD IS COMMUNITY.

They didn’t go to Temple (Church) together–Temple was over 800 miles away, and it was in ruins.  They simply came together out of common LOVE for an uncommon God who had supernaturally reached out to them and chose them for His kingdom.  I’m sure sometimes they wondered about their ‘chosen people’ status. But they knew if they were going to be FAITHFUL, they needed each other.

Today, we’d call that an Accountability Group:  A group of people comes together for the sake of the GOSPEL.

They come together in HUMILITY…COMMON LOVE for God and for one another.  They extend that LOVE to the world around them and they lift each other up.  When one is hurting, they extend God’s love.  When one of them is missing, they’re there.  And when one of them is REJOICING, they’re each lifted up in praise.

Christians are called to be a COMMUNITY of Christ-like believers that realize as great as our individuality is, our CORPORATE presence is in the WORSHIP of our King is even greater than ourselves.

As Christians, we are CALLED to overcome the world (1 John 5:5).  We do that precisely by being greater in LOVE, COMPASSION, and FRIENDSHIP.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say, ‘They will know that we are Christians by our…doctrines, or our theology–even our potlucks.’  No, the world recognizes how we love one another, how we visit one another, and how we care for each other.

THE PRINCIPLE laid down in Daniel is CORPORATE WORSHIP–with Mishael, Hananiah, and Azariah.

It is a PRINCIPLE I see all across the Bible.  For every great hero in the Bible, there’s a companion:

  • Adam had Eve
  • Moses had Mirian
  • Aaron and Joshua
  • Joshua had Caleb
  • David had Jonathan
  • Ester had Mordecai
  • Paul had Barnabas, even Jesus had Peter.

When the Lord said that it was not good for man to live alone, I think He meant more than just males and more than just marriage.

Daniel had Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego.

In Daniel 1, Daniel was already in close communion with these fellows.  In Daniel 3, you are probably familiar with the fiery furnace story.  These three are never mentioned except in COMMUNITY with one another.  Daniel is chock full of stores of integrity and courage in the face of dire circumstances–standing up when everyone else bows to the culture.

How did they do it?  They did it together!

How would you have liked to be a part of that small group?  I’m sure they had their squabbles and disagreements.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Shadrack thought Abednego was always late for the prayer group, and I wouldn’t be surprised that perhaps Meshach needed to shower more often.  I’m sure that each of them was an individual who was great in his own right–after all, you don’t get to be princes by being a wallflower.

But it’s a testament to their sense of CORPORATE LOVE for God that we don’t know anything about of these guys except as part of a group.

These men were all great, but they were all equal before God.  You cannot acknowledge God’s complete, scale-altering greatness, not see that any comparison to your fellow man is but petty foolishness.  That would be stupidity!

After praying corporately, Daniel is given the answer to the secret of the king’s dream.

[19]  Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night, and Daniel blessed the God of Heaven.

[20]  Daniel answered, Blessed, be the name of God forever and ever!  Doe WISDOM and MIGHT are His!

[21]  He changes the times and the seasons;  He removes kings and sets up kings.  He gives WISDOM to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding! 

I certainly don’t find stupidity in those who are blessed by God with “WISDOM” and “KNOWLEDGE” and “UNDERSTANDING”, do you?

We are all beings created for FELLOWSHIP with God and others.

WE ALL NEED EACH OTHER!

__________________________________________________________________

CREDITS –

Photos:  Google Image Search, advanced settings.

Dictionary:  Webster’s Online Dictionary.

Bible used:  Amplified Bible (AMP).

“Where is the PREEMINENCE of Christ in Most of Our Churches?”

In my last blog-post, JESUS Is More Than An Image, I intentionally skipped over Colossians 1:18 to address the importance of who JESUS is and His headship of the body, the Church.

“He [JESUS] is the head of  [His] body, the Church, seeing He is the Beginning, the Firstborn from among the dead, so that He alone in everything and in every respect might occupy the chief place [stand first and be preeminent]”  (Colossians 1:18 AMP).

Church in the Wildwood

A Song of Old – “The Church in the Wildwood?”

I’m probably dating myself with this song, but here are but a few of the lyrics:

There’s a church in the valley by the wildwood.

No lovelier spot in the dale.  No place is so

dear to my childhood.

As the little brown church in the vale.

I enjoy the song, but being perfectly honest here, what a sappy and sentimental picture this is of the Church.  The words might bring back some memorable images, but not a true picture of the Church.

The Church is…

The Church is the body of Jesus Christ Himself.

The Churchthe one we might be attending–is the body of Immanuel, God with us.

Before we start the detective journey together, let me give you understanding of why I chose the word PREEMINENCE in the title of today’s blog.

PREEMINENCE simply means “to be first” (Grk. protos) and is used of Christ in relationship to the church in verse 18.  So now perhaps you understand a little better and I’ll continue on with the importance of Christ being Pre-eminent; in everything that we do personally and the effect of our responsibility in the church.

How dare we ever take that for granted.  How dare we abuse the body of Christ with gossip and backbiting.  How dare we neglect the body of Christ with messed up priorities and apathy.  Notice who the apostle Paul is talking to here–the local church and not some unseen universal church.  He is writing to a specific group of believers who gathered together on a regular basis; the local church in Colosse.  Paul tells them they are JESUS’ body!

The Church Is the Body of Christ Jesus–

The word “church” comes from ekklesia (ek-klay-see’-ah), meaning a congregation or assembly made up of people who have been “called out.”  Being “called out” by the gospel (“born-again”) means being part of the local church as Jesus’ body.  This is the only way that we can truly give Him the preeminence in verse 18 of Colossians 1 refers to.

Don’t misunderstand me here, the preeminence is already His:

“Therefore  [because He stooped so low] God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him [JESUS] the name that is above every name” ~ Philippians 2:9.

JESUS willingly obeyed the will of the Father, and the FATHER highly exalted Him–lifted Him up.

JESUS SAVES–

When JESUS saves a person, He saves them to be baptized into the local church, to be united with other believers into His body.  If you think that you are saved and not part of a local church, you might want to check your heart.  The Bible doesn’t talk about JESUS’ body parts floating around by themselves.

Jesus’ Relationship to His Church and its Importance–

His relationship to His church is His body on earth.  Paul speaks of the many parts of the body; the body does not consist of one limb or organ but of many (1 Corinthians 12:12-24).  So when you hear of a friend in the local church who is in the hospital sick, don’t ask and expect the Pastor of your church to go–you’ve got feet…you go!

JESUS in-dwells those who trust Him as Lord and Savior and because He in-dwells us, we become part of His body.  As a part of His body, we should desire to unite with the rest of His body.

But Only In The Context Of Worship and The Work In The Local Church–

I am probably sounding redundant to you at this point, about PREEMINENCE, but the emphasis is critical to the church.  This is where the body gathers, where we can truly show JESUS the preeminence He already has.  Our worship, our work (James 1:22-27; 2:26), is the only thing that truly shows who JESUS really is to a lost and dying world.  Don’t judge your own past relationships with people in a church you once attended by what God has to offer.  It’s not all about you, it’s about JESUS–His preeminence.

JESUS HAS A RELATIONSHIP TO HIS CREATION:

In 1985, being without employment, I decided to take an opportunity of a new job and location in the United States–Honolulu, Hawaii:

I lived with a young couple who also worked at the same job in a small cute home.  They were parents of a three-year old little girl and were having difficulties with their finances.  Contrary to belief, Hawaii isn’t the Paradise you might think.  So here I was, in Paradise (not really), living in a small but full house, with people I barely knew.  Three months later, I left the island of Oahu after sharing the Gospel and seeing a young man saved by JESUS.  This would have never happened if a relationship hadn’t been developed and nurtured.  It’s called Life Style Evangelism and I had become like a member of their family.

Living in someone else s family, in their home, made it impossible not to have a relationship.  JESUS has a developing and nurturing relationship with us–His church.

Biblical Examples of Christ’s Relationships–

“Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her,    So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word.    That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things [that she might be holy and faultless.    Even so husbands should love their wives…”  (Ephesians 5:25-28).

SALVATION and BAPTISM ARE ALWAYS IN THE CONTEXT OF THE LOCAL CHURCH:

When JESUS SAVES a person, He saves them to be baptized to the local church; to be united with other believers into His body.  If you think that you are saved and not part of a local church, you might want to check your heart and the hardening of an artery or two.  The Bible doesn’t talk about JESUS’ body parts floating around by their selves.

Washing away our sins in Baptism–

The context here in these verses pertains to the RELATIONSHIP between husbands and wives.  Something I’ve learned in over 48-years of being married to the same woman is,  “LOVE can only be known by the action it prompts.”  Christ uses His relationship with His bride, the church as an example for us to follow.

The definition of the word “washing” as found in Strong’s Concordance Greek Dictionary #3067, indicates that water baptism is used by Christ to achieve cleansing and sanctification of the bride–the church.

“And now, why do you delay?  Rise and be baptized, and by calling upon His name, wash away your sins”  (Acts 22:16).

I was saved and baptized at the age of 30.  Although I understood the meaning of the act–and in obedience to His Word–I somehow had lost the preeminence of JESUS over the years and I know my worship had suffered.

THE REAL JESUS IN OUR CHURCHES:

God almighty cannot be known, worshiped, served in any way, to any decree, except as He is known, worshiped and served by faith in and through the merits of Christ Jesus our Mediator.

Our Savior declares, “No man comes to the Father but by Me.”  Our faith, prayers, church services, and sacrifices of praise are acceptable to God only through the person and work of JESUS our Mediator (1 Peter 2:5).

In the Preaching of the Word Christ is Pre-eminent.

The most important aspect of public worship is reading and preaching of the Word of God.  But this fact must be understood–it is not enough to just preach the Bible.  We are “called to preach” the message of the Gospel!  And the message is JESUS CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED.

There is not a page in our Bible that doesn’t speak of Christ, not a page!  And there is no preaching of the Word of God unless Christ, who is the Gospel, is preached (1 Peter 1:25).

The Book of Acts–

The Book of Acts demonstrates that our Lord JESUS was the  singular subject of preaching in the earliest days of Christianity.  The words preach, preached, and preaching is used 37 times in the Book of Acts.  Every time they are used the subject preached is JESUS Christ the resurrection!  So if the Book of Acts is then our standard, it must be concluded, unless Christ has been preached…no preaching has been done.

That man who pretends to be a “preacher”  and doesn’t preach JESUS Him crucified, mocks the people who hear him.  Rather than serving their souls, he destroys them.

In all our songs of praise Christ must be Pre-eminent–

It’s insignificant–what musical instruments are used.

It’s insignificant–whether the tempo of the music is modern/contemporary or conservative.

But it is the utmost importance that the Word of and message contained in our songs of praise be both doctrinally accurate and Christ exalting.

Going Back to the Question I Started With–“Who is Jesus to you?”

Is He just a baby in the manger taken out of a boxed stored in the garage, then dusted off once a year?

Is He some “get out of jail free” card to you?

Is He some type of Fire Insurance that lets you live any way that you want to and still escape the fires of Hell?

Do you know the real JESUS or have you settled for a cheap imitation?

What the Real JESUS Demands in His Preeminence–

Preeminence in yours and my church! 

He doesn’t just SAVE you to keep you out of Hell!

He doesn’t just SAVE you to make you healthy, wealthy and prosperous!

1.  THE REAL JESUS SAVES YOU FOR A PURPOSE–To die to flesh and live for Him!

2.  HE SAVES YOU TO GROW IN HIS CHURCH–

3.  HE SAVES YOU TO REACH THE LOST– (even going to Hawaii if needed)!

That’s the REAL JESUS!  It is your decision if you haven’t already, to make Christ Pre-eminent in your life–in your church.  What then are you going to do?  I’ll be looking forward to you answers in the comment section of this blog.

JESUS Is Calling AMERICA! (Year of JUBILEE-Part 2)

The Bell Is Ringing Again!

THE UNITED STATES, LIBERTY, AND THE SABBATH JUBILEE YEARS

The Liberty Bell, currently located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is an iconic symbol of American independence.

The first line cast into the bronze metal of the Liberty Bell is quoted from Leviticus 25:10 (King James version):

“PROCLAIM LIBERTY THROUGHOUT [ALL] THE LAND AND UNTO ALL INHABITANTS THEREOF”

On July 8th, 1776 the bell rang out to summon the people to hear the Declaration of Independence.

Unfortunately, the United States has not obeyed the Law of Jubilee. Some fifty-nine years later, in 1835 while the bell was being rung. it cracked.  Never to rung again.

THE HISTORY OF THE JEWS IN RELATION TO THE SABBATICAL AND JUBILEE YEARS

In Josephus’ book Antiquities (History) of the Jews, historical events are recorded during Sabbatical years.

Antiochus besieged Judas Maccabeus and the Jerusalem Temple during a Sabbatical Year.  The war between Ptolemy and Hyranus and taxes not paid to Caesar happened during the seventh year. Josephus states that Herod the Great’s plundering of the wealthy and the dead for silver and gold to give to Anthony, was during a Sabbatical Year.  In Whistan’s footnotes to Josephus, he says “the great famine and pestilence occurring during Herod the Great reign was worse than the famine of the day of Ahab”.

WHY DID ISRAEL GO INTO CAPTIVITY?

In Leviticus 26, the verses tell us plainly, that one of the reasons was Israel had not let the land rest. Also in Jeremiah 34:8-17, Israel reneged and didn’t free their Hebrew servants in the Year of Release. God would proclaim “liberty” to the cruel taskmasters; to the sword, pestilence, famine and captivity.  2 Chronicles 36:14-21 describes how Judah mocked God’s prophets and so were carried away to Babylon, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths. The land of Israel rested seventy years before the Jews returned from captivity.

PROPHECY IS LIKE AN ONION

When we read through the Old Testament, often the prophecy has already been fulfilled. But not all things have come to past yet. There is still more to be revealed in the last days.

“That which is now already has been, and that which is to be already has been; and God seeks that which has passed by [so that history repeats itself]” (Ecclesiastes 3:15).

“The thing that has been–it is what will be again, and that which has been done is that which will be done again; and there is nothing new under the son”  (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

Although the Old testament Prophets saw God’s Word revealed to the people in their day, there were prophecies they knew were true and had faith in God’s words but never realized them; not manifested before them.  It was like peeling an onion one layer at a time.

WHEN WILL THE NEXT SABBATICAL AND JUBILEE YEARS OCCUR?

My detective work for answering the question was again found in William Whistan’s footnotes to Josephus’ Antiquities.  How accurate the dating is might be controversial but I am sticking with it to get your attention.

24 B.C. was a Sabbatical Year and 23 B.C. was a Jubilee Year.  This would mean that A.D. 27 was a Sabbatical Year and A.D. 28 was a Jubilee Year.  If this is true, then Sabbatical Years would occur in 2013, 2020, and 2027 (every seven years) with the next Jubilee Year in 2028.

JESUS IS CALLING THE CHURCH

Gallup Research Organization recently said,that 40% of all Americans, 118 million people say they attend worship services the previous week. THAT’S A LOT OF PEOPLE IN CHURCH!  But, Kirk Hadawe and Penny Marler found that only 20.4 % of the population actually attended. Their reasoning?  People simple lied about their attendance!

I discovered some interesting facts from the Schaeffer Institute by Dr. Richard Krejcir on church growth today:

“These Churches were marked with solid Bible teaching and treated each other and outsiders with good hospitality.”

— Churches that practiced 80% to 100% of the 44 grew 18.8 %

— Churches that practiced 60% to 79% of the 44 grew 10.2%

— Churches that practiced 50% to 59% of the 44 grew 3.8%

These Churches were marked with gossip and conflict and poor Bible teaching:

–Churches that practiced 10% to 29% of the 44 decreased 1.2%

–Churches that practiced less than 10% of the 44 decreased 17>6%

I need to point out from the study, even the highly successful churches; the rate of growth by converting new Christians was only up to an average of 5% to 10% of their increase.  Most people came from other churches [“church swappers”].  But in comparison, the lower stat churches had few to none in conversions.

JESUS is calling America!

WHEN NATIONS OBSERVE GOD’S WORD

If a nation or groups of people observed the Sabbatical and Jubilee Years they would be tremendously BLESSED instead of CURSED;

1.  NO CRUSHING DEBT

2.  NO IMBALANCE OF THE VERY RICH AND THE VERY POOR

3.  LAND VALUES WOULD BE RELATIVELY STABLE

4.  INFLATIONS AND DEPRESSIONS WOULDN’T OCCUR

5.  THE LAW OF GOD WOULD BE TAUGHT IN DETAIL –every 7th year resulting in good government and prosperity.

If we Christian believers will observe the practices written in Leviticus 25, in the 7th year God promises us that we will dwell in the promised land.  God also says in Leviticus 25:20, 21:

“And if you say,  What shall we eat in the seventh year if we are not to sow or gather in our increase?    Then [this is My answer:] I will command My [special] blessings on you in the sixth year…”

According to Josephus book Antiquities (History) of the Jews, next year (2012) is the sixth year. A year of gathering in the “fruit of the land”.  A time for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the land.

In 1910 on Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California, a black man by the name of William Seymour sat on a small platform with an empty box on his head. He said that he wouldn’t remove the box until God spoke to him.  Can you even imagine a man sitting with his head covered in church this next Sunday? 

He eventually removed the box from his shoulders an prophesied that in a 100 years, there would be an outpouring of God’s Spirit and His Shekinah Glory that will be greater and more for reading that what was experienced at Azusa.

Well, 2010 has come and left. Has Pastor’s Seymour’s prophesy shown up in our land?  Maybe, but the world is a large place and the church is hearing stories of the outpouring of Holy Spirit everywhere.  In Yoido Full Gospel Church, a Pentecostal church in Yeoiudo in Seoul South Korea, they had 1,000,000 people on the membership roles (2007).  In 2010, their membership dropped to 780,000 members. What happened? The Pastor, Young Hoon Lee said it has been good for the church to reduce its membership by over 300,000 people. They now have 20 Satellite congregations and more than 1000 new converts are being added to the church…EVERY MONTH! 

In 1975, John W. Peterson and Don Wyrtzen wrote a cantata called “I Love America”.  The Church Choir that I was singing in at the time decided to perform the music at Organ Power Pizza for the 200th anniversary of America in July 1976.  In the cantata, was a song called “Jesus Is Calling America” which was appropriate then and at anytime. And since we as a country, on September 27-28, 2012 will enter the 6th year in the Sabbatical Year at Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), I thought I would give you a few lines from the song; the ones I remembered.

Jesus Is Calling America” 

Jesus is calling America  Calling her back to the fold

Jesus is calling America  Calling the young and the old

Jesus is calling America  Back from her sinning ways

NOW IS THE TIME: “FOR SEED, TIME AND HARVEST”

If the sixth year, the year before the Sabbatical Year doesn’t begin until September 2012, can we start preparing now? Good question if that is your thought. And the answer is YES!  Now is the time of preparation.

PERSONAL PREPARATION:

1.  If you don’t have a freezer, NOW IS THE TIME to purchase one.  The size will be determined on the size of your family and the ages of the children.  When there is a meat sale, start freezing now.  Meat, berries, vegetables, cheeses, butter, etc.

2.  Do you have a pantry inside the house or one in the garage? Stock it with can staples and rice.  Beans, sardines, tuna, tomatoes, etc.  WARNING! Don’t become a ‘hoarder”. When the Israelites were in the wilderness for forty years, God provided Manna [manna bread like coriander seed, white, and it tasted like wafers made with honey–Exodus 16:15, 31].  God also provided meat in the evening, or quail for His children to eat. However, according to Scripture, each one was to gather the food provided;  “each, gathered according to his need” (Exodus 16:18). If they gathered too much bread and meat during the day, it would spoil.

3.  Water storage. Start filling clean 3-liter empty bottles with good filtered water.  Don’t wait for next year; NOW IS THE TIME to start.  Water is a neccessity of life. You can abstain from food for a time, but water…?

CHURCHES SHOULD PREPARE–NOW IS THE TIME

1.  If you don’t have a large closet or small room to store extra food for your community, NOW IS THE TIME!  Promote it to your membership in bringing in staples to the storehouse; have a list made and someone who will lead in the ‘gathering’.  Remember Joseph’s leading in Egypt in the Book of Genesis.

2.  Relationship building with non-believers. NOW IS THE TIME!  I once heard a story about a church who was going to have a one day women’s conference and luncheon. They were encouraged to invite an un-churched friend or non-believer to the meeting.  One lady voluntarily said, “I don’t know any women like that. I just have relationships with ladies in the church”.  Will your church be ready for the outpouring of the Spirit in 2012-2013?  JESUS IS CALLING AND HE IS CALLING YOU!  Don’t wait. Start building new relationships TODAY! Ask God to send you someone.