Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Time to Thrive

This week we just want to remind you of the prophetic word that came to us during our church anniversary celebration through Pastor Frank King. When you connect this powerful promise with the encouragement the Lord gave us through Pastor Carol that our breakthrough is imminent, you just have to feel like a little kid on the night before Christmas. We’re rejoicing with excited anticipation.

Recorded in our church history on Sunday, March 25, 2012:

“Prepare for the shifting for you are now ready to begin. For many will come from all walks of life to build. For there are a people yet ready to come. Some whom the Lord will relocate. They will be relocated to this emerging region. For Harrisburg is an emerging city. It is a city that is on the horizon. For you will compliment, not compete with Philadelphia. For the Lord has purpose for that place as well.

Do not compare, but be prepared for what the Lord desires to do HERE in this emerging city. You will be an emerging city in this nation. For many will come to build, for many leaders will come to glean and many will come to live.

Likewise do not compare yourselves to others. For the call that is on you is unique to you and to His purpose for this generation. For the Lord says you are forerunners. For the Lord has given you the grace to survive the pressure. Now you will thrive. You are moving out of survival mode into thriving mode. For the Lord will place you in the center of this growing region. Wait on the Lord!”

This is the reason we keep declaring that we’re going to do something great for God. New people are coming to this region and when they get here, we’re going to be ready to minister to them in the unique styles, methods and strategies that God has given us.

This week we're going to start a very intentional preparation process to get us ready to thrive. This Friday, we're meeting with our ministry TEAM and we have wonderful news to share. This Sunday, we're going to partake of Holy Communion and prayer for every person and family. There's just so much that's about to be released upon our church family, that it's impossible to put it into words. All we can say is get ready for your moment in purpose and destiny. Don't let it pass you.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Perseverance and Purpose

Something is happening to us. We can’t explain it, but ever since we celebrated our church anniversary, there has been a fresh strength and grace upon us. In our gatherings, we are experiencing a new freedom. We’ve been laughing (a lot) in the midst of the teaching and feeling deeply, the healing of the Lord in our hearts.

As more people continue to visit us from time to time, our church family is doing a great job of making people feel welcome. We love watching them give out the same kind of warmth and openness that they received when they first attended.

Even though we’re not led by our feelings, it’s still very nice to feel the joy of the Lord and know that HE is with us, teaching us, guiding us, and helping us move forward in our journey together.

Some of them are new to the Faith and some are returning to the path of purpose. Others have been walking in this way for a long time. That’s what makes this so fascinating. Even though we are at many different stages of life and even though we are moving at different paces in life, the Lord is helping us to walk together.

This week we want to encourage you to keep pressing forward. Keep chasing the Lord with all of your heart. You may have discovered that when you make up your mind to follow the Lord with all your heart, there are many obstacles that rise up to stop you. Most of those obstacles revolve around old habits, old friends and family relationships that may not be healthy. At one time in your life you may have been dependent upon certain vices, people and relationship to help you get through difficult times.

However, now that you have drawn close to God, those people and things that you once leaned on for support are no longer needed in that way. This is mainly because; you are not the same person. You are a new creation in Christ. Old things have passed away and all things have become new.

Often, the people that become offended with your relationship with God will begin to do or say things to pull you back into that unhealthy connection. We just want to encourage you to keep chasing after the Lord. You may feel the strong temptation to go back to your old familiar pacifiers for comfort. Now is the time to exercise perseverance at a new level in your life.

Please hear us closely. This is part of what it means to follow the Lord. Everyone will not understand and many will simply not accept it, at least not until they make the same decision that you have made: to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

The past couple of weeks we have been teaching about the keys that will unlock the dream of God within you. One of those keys is virtue, which is moral excellence. You have to make up your mind to live a righteous life and sever those things and people who will hold you back. We also talked about what it means to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Simply put, make it your goal to get to know Jesus.

Finally we talked about self-control and receiving the ability of God to rule your own spirit. We cannot live out the dream of God if we cannot master our passions and desires.

This Sunday, we’re going to talk about adding perseverance which is a major key for all of us. During our church anniversary service, our special guest, Pastor Frank King, declared that perseverance is in the DNA of this church. We’re going to dig deeper into the Word of God so we can have a greater understanding of what has been infused into our substance as a church family.

If rather you’ve been a Believer for a few weeks or for many years, we will all benefit from this special teaching that the Lord has given us to share with our church family.

If this has been a tough week for you, please press past the circumstances and gather with your Urban Life family and friends. Please don’t sit at home trying to work out everything in your mind. Remember the lyrics of one of our praise songs:

Come on in, the table’s spread.
There’s a feast going on.
 Come on in; have your fill.
We’re so glad you made it home.

Come on and get another full course meal of home cooking. Get some strength for your weary soul. Drink deep of the cool waters of the Spirit. Don’t allow the enemy of your destiny to cause you to go one more day, one more week, or one more month without receiving the LIFE that you need.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pioneer the Chosen

We were just thinking about how honored and blessed we are to be able to serve and minister to such a special family of Believers. Every week we are privileged to share in fellowship, teaching, breaking of bread and prayer, just like the original Church in the second chapter of Acts. This is so amazing!

Many years ago the Lord gave us the following songs:

Pioneer the Chosen
Fulfill the Father’s dream
Pioneer the Chosen
That He has redeemed

March through barren land
To waters never seen
Pioneer the Chosen
To the place where they believe.

Little did we know that over 17 years later, we would be living out the lyrics of that song as pastors leading a church family in a mission to rebuild, restore and renew hearts and homes.

You may wonder why we are working so hard to keep your email inbox constantly receiving an encouraging word. We believe that we are under orders to consistently send forth the Word of God to dismantle the strongholds that have built up in many of your lives.

Most of you have had so much negative reinforcement of doubt and fear that it is going to take a deliberate and very intentional assault to destroy what has been built up over many years.

It’s going to take FAITH in order for you to overcome in this relentless battle for your purpose to be fulfilled. And FAITH comes by HEARING the Word of God, over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.  That’s what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote in Romans 10:17, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

We discovered that this usage of the word hearing meant a constant repeating of the Word of God. We have to hear the Word of God over and over until FAITH (Insight from God, agreement with God, and obedience to God) comes forth in our hearts and lives.

We have a dear pastoral friend who worked in a top U.S. corporation for 20 years. He said that when they trained people in the company’s policies and procedures, they would repeat the instructions at least seven times. This practice was based upon various psychological studies that said new ideas and concepts must be repeated at least seven times in order for a person to be able to really grasp the new way of thinking.

That’s why we are making every effort, to the best of our abilities, to give you the opportunity to hear the Word of God over and over again. That’s why we’re sending something to you almost every day, every week and every month. It takes this kind of effort to help us grasp this new way of thinking.

We’re not trying to fill up your email inbox with useless information and advertisement. This is not junk mail, as needless email has been labeled. This is LIFE email.

So here is our FAITH BY HEARING strategy:
For those who feel they are in a season of transition, we’ve set up an online class that we call Purpose Preparation. Each video is an actual a clip from various teachings at Urban Life since 2005. You will find that these teachings will settle and ground you in foundational principles that are necessary for understanding what God is doing in this season of your life. Every Monday we send you a class segment to build your FAITH concerning your purpose and future.

Every Tuesday, we send you a replay from a Sunday gathering so that you can rehearse and reinforce the Word that was taught. We call these our IN CASE YOU MISSED IT posting and it is designed to keep the cares of this life and deceitfulness of riches from choking out the Word that was sown in your heart. It will also give you an opportunity to receive a seed that may have been plucked away or fallen on shallow soil in your heart the first time it was sown.

Of course, every Wednesday we send this Midweek Connection e-mail.

Every Thursday we send you a Nugget of Wisdom to help you navigate through life’s trials, challenges and changes.

Every Saturday we offer words of advice and healing for married or engaged couples from our We Made a PACT video series. These video clips can also benefit those who may be separated or divorced.

Every Sunday, we post some of our most important teaching sessions. We have broken down the sessions into short video clips so that the Word can be received in smaller bite-size portions. We call this our ONLINE CHURCH.

These daily releases are part of our God-given mandate to Pioneer the Chosen. To pioneer someone means that we are commanded to lead them out of the place of bondage, through the wilderness and into the land of promise and purpose. We have to guide them through unknown and unfamiliar territory into a place of fruitfulness.

We have been commanded to do this because God has chosen YOU for a powerful mission in this community.

In John 15:16, Jesus said, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain.”