‘A New Chapter Begins’
Greetings! Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord (2 Pet. 1:2). It is a blessing to greet our district family this morning in a new shepherding responsibility. Today my tenure as district superintendent officially commences. You have already been dear to my heart, and we have had rich history together, but today marks a new chapter in our district history. Jackie and I view this as an epoch in our lives. It brings us afresh to the fearful and joyous recognition of our utter dependence upon the Lord. He is the Vine, we are the branches. Apart from Him we can do nothing, but abiding in Jesus we will bear much fruit!
In beginning I want to express my deepest thank you to Dr. Wayne and Debbie Brown! Their fourteen years of faithful servant leadership are an invaluable legacy by which we are all benefitted. Dr. Brown ministered with a pastor’s heart and was a visionary shepherd for his flock. He labored tirelessly to see the advancement of the Kingdom of God in Northern Michigan. He and Debbie are dear friends and Dr. Brown’s leadership on our district casts a tall shadow. We have been blessed by his godly example, his contagious joy in serving, his care for souls, his quick wit, and many other blessing in Christ received through the years of their leadership. They will truly be missed, and yet are a blessed part of all that we continue to do together!
I also wish to express thanksgiving for the ministry of Rev. Kevin Donley. He did not accept the interim DS assignment just to fill a role. He came to us with his sleeves rolled up ready to help. In the few months of his assignment he led in several ministries to our district including a 50 day prayer initiative and directing a week-long Church Planting seminar. His oversight in preparing for and leading in our district assembly was a great act of selfless leadership. Think of that, he will have to prepare two district assemblies this year. That’s like opting for an IRS audit. We have been greatly blessed as a district and I want to extend our gratitude to Kevin and his wife, Cindy!
The first priority of my shepherding responsibility which I sense from the Lord is to call our district to fervent prayer for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit! In the next several months I hope to be in each of our thirty-one congregations to share a burden which I believe the Lord has laid upon my heart. We are in need of several things at this critical point in our history as a district. Planting new churches is crucial, vital church renewal is a necessity, bold proclamation of the holy gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is our very
purpose for existence. Yet in all these things there is a necessary spiritual ingredient, without which all our efforts are sure to fail, it is REVIVAL! E.M. Bounds in his essential work on prayer, “Power Through Prayer”, notes, “The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men.” He continues, “What the
Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use, men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men, men of prayer!”
“Will you watch with me?” Long ago our Lord asked that of His disciples. He asks that of us again today. And I ask, will you covenant together with me to cry out to God in prayer? Will you pray with the importunity of Jacob, “I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me”? The old-timers used to talk about “praying through.” What a powerful concept; praying until the answer comes. Daniel fasted and prayed for twenty-one days until he received a powerful vision from God. But what if he had given up on the twentieth day? The early believers prayed for ten days and the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost. But what if they had stopped at the ninth day? Let’s pray till the answer comes! Jesus said, “Tarry (wait in prayer) in Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high”! That command seems appropriate as we begin this new chapter in our Kingdom service together. Let us tarry before the Lord until we are endued with holy power from on high to live and proclaim the holy gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ! Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen! (Jude 1:24-25.)
In Our Savior’s Service Together,
Rev. Daniel T. Gilmore