Just to follow up on Sunday’s Accountability Report and Visioncast presentation, we want to thank you again for your dedication and support of this ministry in 2013. It is mind blowing to realize how God has used you to keep this ministry going and moving forward. As the Lord has faithfully provided for you, you have faithfully provided for this very important work that has been assigned to our hands. Isn’t it amazing to see what God has done in hearts and in homes over the last 12 months? Isn’t it amazing to see the various nations we have reached through the internet? What we were blessed to receive financially in 2013, some ministries and businesses receive that amount every week or every month. One day, we may reach those levels. However, what we have learned is that we must be faithful stewards of what God gives us. If we can multiply and produce good results with what God has given, He most definitely will reward us with more. That’s His promise to those who are faithful with little. You may have wondered why we have such an elaborate website and a strong, far-reaching web presence. You may have wondered why we use so much hi-tech and detailed professional presentations in our weekly worship and teaching. You may have wondered why we're advertising to the world and by-passing the church circles of Harrisburg. You may have wondered why this tiny, little church is behaving like a huge ministry or business. Well, it's because we choose to operate like we're already at the level that our God wants us to reach. We're not waiting for hundreds of families to come. We operate like the families are already here. By doing that, we are being faithful with the little that we have right now. There's only a few families here now, but we're giving them the best that we have to offer. When more families come, we will continue to give them the best that God sends through our hands. Some of you gave tithes and offerings and others gave your time and talents. Some are still coming into a more consistent level of giving in one or more of these ways. Please believe us when we say that incredible promotion awaits the ones who will step out in obedience to God’s word and prophetic promise to Urban Life. You will not be disappointed following God in this way; by stepping out of the boat and walking on the waters. The miracles come when you step out and trust God at this new level. You see it works like this: God has a plan and purpose for the Urban Life Family Center, but He works His plan through people. He entrust them with a special mission. However, they will have to invest their time, talent and money into that mission. God will supply His people with what it takes to support the mission. He provides jobs, opportunities, promotions, and even extra income. Therein lays the test. Will His people hold onto all of the blessings for themselves and their own families, or will they give to the mission, in order to bless other people and their families? We have discovered that if you support what God is blessing, then God will continue to bless you so that you can keep supporting what is important to Him. You will find that you don’t have to worry about lay-offs, furloughs or malicious people trying to sabotage your income. They won’t know it, but if they try to stop you, they will be messing with God’s vision and mission. They think they’re just dealing with you, but they don’t know that they are messing around with the almighty God. Even if an economic challenge comes your way, like a loss of employment or some unexpected emergency, we have watched God continue to make a way for us as we continued to invest in this work, even in the midst of our own financial troubles. Even though 2013 was a pretty solid year, let’s determine to make 2014 even better. Let’s do something great for God and for the families that are about to come to Urban Life.
Can’t you feel the momentum building in our church? As each week passes, more people are coming and it won’t be long before our studio/assembly will be completely full. When that day comes, we’re not going to start looking for new space right away because the goal is not a bigger building, but to build people who will build their families. We want the growth in numbers to spark a desire for growth in the ways of God. Sometimes the efforts to expand the ministry can distract a church from its real purpose. So as we anticipate growth, just know that we are far more interested in your spiritual and relational growth. As we answered the online questions in last Sundays’ Family Impact session, it became apparent to us that we need to continue to focus on the families of Urban Life. We can see even more reasons why Lord has directed us to change our name to the Urban Life Family Center. We’re taking the battle directly to the front lines of our conflicts. God told us that when we moved to Harrisburg, it would be all about hearts and homes and we can see it so clearly now. There are some serious issues in our marriages. There are some serious issues in our families. Urban Life is not doing to dance around the issues and hold weekly pretense gatherings. God did not send us 800 miles away from home to just set up here and play games. We were very glad that someone sent questions about serious problems surrounding social media, pornography and husbands crossing the lines outside of the marriage. We were glad to step into the issues of women getting caught up in emotional affairs with bosses, co-workers, and the fictional characters in love stories. This revealed how spouses are holding one another to ungodly and unrealistic standards. Since we can get into issues at deeper levels, then we are now having‘real church’and not just a weekly performance that will mask our pain. Very soon, we will host a Friday evening session for the couples (engaged, married, separated, or divorcing). Why? Well, because we believe that this is where we must start building our families. It’s going to take the heads of households to rebuild, restore and renew hearts and homes. Urban Life will only be as strong as the weakest marriage and family. So we’ve got to start building in this arena. So, are you ready for real church? Stay tuned in and connected as we continue to follow the Lord’s direction.
We just want to encourage you to really pursue God in a fresh way this year. It may seem like we are pushing you a little more this year, than in times past and that so happens to be true.
The reason is because we have been given a short window of opportunity and we want to take advantage of the short time that we have to reach out to family and friends this year.
The reason we believe we have a short time is because of the series of world events that are coming into focus, that will eventually bring opposition beating on our own doors.
We firmly believe that persecution is coming to the church in America. It won’t be long before pastors will be arrested for speaking out against abortion and homosexuality. It won’t be long before any one of you could be arrested simply because you are a follower of Jesus Christ.
For some of you, being in Urban Life has been a challenge on many levels. You find yourself in a church where you are expected to keep up with various Sunday, online, and prayer schedules. You may wonder, “Why can’t we just do the same thing every week?”
That’s because we must get in the habit of living with a plan, not a ritual of religious repetition. We can no longer live oblivious to times and seasons. We need to be aware of what’s going on in the world around us and how it relates to what is being taught in our church.
For several decades, most Christians have lived with their eyes on heaven, and therefore ignoring the importance of knowing what’s on next week’s schedule, what they need to be preparing for next month, and what they should anticipate doing by the end of the year.
One of the reasons demonic forces and the people who are heavily involved in the occult and witchcraft, have been able to successfully oppress Harrisburg is because they have a plan. They live on a schedule and have events and agendas planned out for this week, this month, this year, next year, and for many years into the future. These plans have been targeted against YOU and your family.
Meanwhile, the average Christian Believer, in Harrisburg, doesn’t have spiritual plans and insight. They don’t have wisdom for what God wants them to do by the end of this week, much less, next month, or by the end of the year. They are more in tune with their personal work schedule, than they are the prayer schedule of their church. If we are to overcome in perilous times, this pattern must change.
We’re not trying to be mean or insensitive, but it’s time for the Church of Harrisburg to wake up to the reality that we are NOW in perilous times. Crime and violence have broken out in this city in waves that have never been seen before.
We can’t stress it enough. We cannot live in oblivion any longer. We have got to make prayer, praise, worship, the Word, and fellowship with our brothers and sisters, a top priority. Those of you who live in this prophetic flow can identify with this exhortation.
As a Church that places emphasis on the family, this may sound like a contradiction to what we have been preaching for nine years. But it’s not.
The truth is; if you want your family to be healthy and strong, then God and His Word must take priority, even before your family. We didn’t say the Church or the ministry, but God and His word.
If you really want your spouse, children, cousins, nieces, nephews, parents or grandparents to make it through the dark times that are upon us right now, then it’s time to get them all out from underneath the bondage and addiction of television, entertainment and the chase for money and pleasure.
They faithfully get up to go to work or school. They faithfully make it to practices or rehearsals. They can spend hours surfing the internet, playing video games or talking on their smart phones. They know every thing about Beyonce, Scandal and the Preachers of L.A. However, they are all knocked out and dead-man exhausted and tired EVERY Sunday morning. Something is wrong with that.
Meanwhile, witches and warlocks have been seen faithfully walking up and down Front Street, every morning, including Sundays, chanting and casting spells upon the people of this city.
It’s going to take a new level of faith and action for you and your family to make it in these perilous times. As you know, the Bible says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the Word of God.” It’s time to get the Word of God for your family. We’re NOT going to let some demon worshippers be more committed to their gods, than we are to our God!
It’s the Year of the Open Door, so let’s step up to the challenge while the window of opportunity is open. Come into the presence of God, with the people of God. You’re going to have to be intentional about it. The same way we are totally aware of every date and time we must be at work, at school, or at some other special event, we have to prioritize our time to worship together, receive the word together, and pray together.
We hope that our leadership over the past few weeks, months and years, has shown that we are being led by the Spirit of God. Even when we got discouraged and was ready to quit, HE still kept leading us.
Something is about to break forth against this nation again, and we will all need to be ready for it AHEAD OF TIME. After the next thing that hits us, it will be too late to start scrambling and trying to get a Word from God. We feel this just as strongly as every word that we’ve ever given to you in times past.
This is the window. This is the time. Please come while the table is spread and the feast of the Lord is available.
God sent some amazing information across our path this week.
We just learned that sundown on Wednesday, September 4, 2014 marked the beginning of Rosh Hashanah or the Jewish New Year. We are now living in the Hebrew year of 5774 (2014), which symbolizes and means 'The Year of the Open Door!' or a more precise meaning would be 'to see and walk in humility out of the tent'.
As you guys know, on August 31, 2013, we ended a fast and consecration time with a promise from God that HE was going to open doors via the passage in Revelation 3: 8, “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name."
We didn't know that four days later, the Hebrew New Year of the Open Door began. We did not realize how profoundly and accurately we were being led by the Lord. Following God is truly the most amazing experience in the world! We can’t get into this in depth right now, but here are three things we have discovered so far.
First: What Father releases in any year does not expire at the close of the calendar year. Think of these as annual layers of revelations that are coming into your life. This year’s revelation is building upon what God released to you last year, the year before that, and the year before that. So when 2015 comes around, it doesn't mean the doors close. It means God will reveal the next thing that HE is releasing upon you, even as doors continue to open in the following years.
Second: Here are some of the deeper meanings that can be found in the Hebrew letter/number that represent 74. Ayin dalet means “74″ in Hebrew – ayin meaning 70 and dalet means 4. Ayin is a silent letter. (No translation of it in English). It sees, but does not speak; representing humility. The name ayin can also mean “eye” or “fountain”.
Dalet is the picture of a hanging tent door. The door (dalet) can also mean the movement of one coming from or going into a tent.
Just from these simple meanings alone, we can surmise that in order to step outside of the tent, one must bow to exit the low-hanging door. To come out of limitation and confinement, dalet will require us to humble ourselves.
So even though this is the year of the open door, it will require that we stop trying to speak forth so much stuff that we have learned and just humble ourselves and submit to God and His ways.
Third: The year of the open door is going to involve seeing Jesus who proclaimed that He is the door. In John 10:9 KJV, Jesus says, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” Christ is our dalet.
This ‘Year of the Open Door’ is speaking of more than just a door of opportunity to fulfill our personal dreams. This is an open door to accomplish the will and purpose of God in our hearts and homes. We believe that this is to be a year in which we SEE (ayin) the DOOR (Jesus) in a fresh way.
As you know, we have asked the Lord for an open door to preach the mystery Christ. As more is revealed about Christ, the more we will understand about coming out of our tents.
Indeed this is to be the year of the Open Door for ministry in Hearts and Homes! We can hardly wait to share more with you this Sunday!
It is obvious that the highlight of 2013, for our family, was the wedding of our youngest son, David and his new bride, Michelle. We are still thrilled because their union has broken through ethnic, cultural, and even international barriers and boundaries. Now as the two become one, we can only ponder in our hearts, what God is going to do with two young people who both come from deep ministry roots.
We're also thrilled about what God is going to do, right here in Harrisburg, in our church family as well. This is an exciting time for the Urban Life family! Starting this Sunday, we will begin meeting in our new administration and multimedia/assembly suite, (Suite 144 B) in the Pennsylvania United Church Center. This move is already a fulfillment of God's promise to our church family. Back in August, when Carol and I were fasting and praying about what our next steps should be, the Lord directed us to a couple of scriptures.
The first was Revelation 3: 8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name."
The second scripture was Colossians 4: 2-3a "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ..."
These scriptures became a promise that God was going to give us an OPEN DOOR. When we learned of the new space that was available, we knew it was the open door that was promised to us. All we needed to do was step through it.
Every year we minister from a specific theme. The theme for 2014 is going to be: "AN OPEN DOOR for HEALING in Hearts and Homes."
We will share more with you this Sunday. When you arrive, you can still come through the North Conference Room entrance. However, when you come in, there will be someone to warmly welcome you and direct you to our new location.
As you already know, we are changing our weekly and monthly schedule for 2014.
In this new year, we will meet on the FIRST of each month, for Corporate Prayer and Holy Communion. On the SECOND and FOURTH Sundays of each month, we will provide our 'EQUIPPING THE SAINTS' teaching. On the THIRD Sunday of each month, we will continue to host the Family IMPACT Prayer Breakfast.
Since September of 2004, we have been striving to build the people who will build their families; because we believe those families will help us build a ministry that can bring healing to the hearts and homes of this community.
We are very excited and we hope (weather permitting) that you'll join us this Sunday. As always, all of our gatherings and sessions begin at 11:00AM.
We are overcomers, stepping through the open door,