Singleness of Purpose

Singleness of Purpose

For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, ‘how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. “ 1

On Sunday, May 3rd, we heard a message from Pastor Matt & Eliza from Ephesians chapter 3. Pastor Matt stated that we are called out as both a prisoner and priest of Jesus Christ. The example from the life of the apostle Paul is laid out before us in Scripture in how to live as a prisoner and priest.

In my recent daily Bible reading, I recently was reading in the book of I Chronicles, and the following verse struck me as I was reading in chapter 12. “Of Zebulun 50,000 seasoned troops, equipped for battle with all the weapons of war, to help David with singleness of purpose.2The key phrase that stuck out to me was, ‘singleness of purpose’.  For a few moments today, I want us to consider what that means for us personally and corporately as a local church who seeks to bring Heaven to Earth in our community with singleness of purpose as a prisoner and priest. 

At the beginning of a new year, many people often find it helpful to document a few resolutions or goals that they want to achieve during the year. In many cases, there is likely a primary goal or objective they are seeking, and the other resolutions are checkpoint markers to ensure the goal can be attained and to help guide their purpose as they progress throughout the year. There is a singleness of purpose that drives all other actions and decisions; a waypoint marked on the compass to judge direction against. There is an element of confidence, sure-footedness, in the stated goal that this is right, and it is good.

As a teen and/or an early adult Saul sought out to persecute Christians and to thwart the spread of the gospel. His goal was to stop the spread of the good news; this was his singular purpose. Acts 8:3 states, “But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.” 3 His pursuit of persecution of the early church provided proof of the focus of his heart’s purpose. “But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. “ 4 If we are honest with ourselves, we all can recall times where we have been prisoners to our sinful nature and ill-devised plans that are not rooted in the Word of God and His righteousness. We were prisoners of our sinful and fallen human nature. We have a time where our focus is ‘but (insert your name here)’ pursuits that only lead to emptiness and destruction.

…But God

For those who have experienced new life, salvation, through the transforming work of Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father we can testify that the compass of our heart has been redirected as we are transformed from death to life. It is not only a one-time transformation, but a daily renewal of configuration that our heart’s compass is pointed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and acts of out of the goodness of God. Ephesians 2:4-7 becomes real & personal; ‘but God’ overwhelms the shame & guilt of our past, gives us a new name, purpose, and guides us on tracks of never-ending light as we journey through life as an ambassador of His mercy and grace. We become prisoners to Him as we rightly divide the word of truth as priests in our personal walk, our household of faith, and the spheres where we work and play to disciple others in a relationship with Him. Our singleness of purpose is built on the chief cornerstone, Jesus Christ, and the goodness of God.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” 5

Saul had a memorable transformation experience that we can read about in Acts chapter 9. In verses 8a and 9b, it says, “Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing…and for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.” We fast forward a handful of verses to verse 18, where it is recorded, “And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight.”. During the span of those three days, I am curious to know what he experienced:

  • Did he experience fear in the loss of his human sight?
  • Did he experience amazement at the wonder of God & His promises being presented by the author of life?

My personal belief is that during those three days there was a radical transformation taking root in the life of Saul to turn him into who we commonly refer to as, the Apostle Paul. The Father’s purpose for Paul’s life from the beginning of time was downloaded into Paul and grafted into the purpose of his heart. I like to envision that Paul experienced a taste of the outcome of what the rest of his earthly life would produce for the history of the church for all of time—even at the expense of his own life. At a young age, Saul was trained in the Old Testament law under the teachings of Gamaliel. Saul declared himself a Pharisee of Pharisees but was also born with Roman citizenship; in that day, Saul was on a right course, the compass was set for success. However, Saul still needed to be physically blinded to allow the Father to reset the compass of his heart and fill him with all the fullness of God so that the Apostle Paul could display & declare the manifold wisdom of God throughout his missionary journeys and letters to the churches.

I trust that each of us can find personal encouragement in the story of Saul’s transformation experience and how God has used and will continue to use transformed hearts and lives with singleness of purpose to further declare His manifold wisdom and love. The Father is seeking for warriors, mighty men, and women of valor, fully equipped with gifts & talents from the Holy Spirit to serve as prisoner and priest to God for the sake of the world. May our prayer echo that which Paul penned to the church in Ephesus at the close of chapter 3.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” 6

 

 
-Shawn Moshier
 


The Love of Easter – Easter Reflections

I love Easter… For a Christian it is the apex of our Holidays that celebrate our faith and our Savior. I love that Easter falls in spring and that resurrection life and new life is coming up all around us. I love that much like Christmas, even the world sets aside a day to remember and acknowledge Jesus’ existence and importance in history.
 
During the week leading up to Easter I often think about the steps Jesus was taking, what he endured, and what my freedom cost. I think about his sham trial, about the beatings and taunts he suffered. I think about the cross he bore and the agonizing death and separation from the Father he faced for me.
 
Then I think about the joyous and victorious resurrection we celebrate on Sunday morning. Easter Sunday is, and will always be, a day when I can’t wait to be in church so I can worship, celebrate the grave being emptied, and celebrate death’s defeat. Even now, just thinking about the morning of the resurrection fills me with emotions of joy and gratitude. But have you ever thought about Saturday?
 
On Wednesday this week Pastor Matt asked me if I would be willing to write something that he could share with the body on Saturday. His text said he would like me to write, “Reflections on what Saturday or Easter means to me.” My first thought was, what does Saturday have to do with it? Then in the way God so often does He graciously opened my eyes and spoke to me and said, “Saturday is just as important as the day of crucifixion and the resurrection”.
Saturday in the story of the resurrection is a glorious day.
 
On Saturday Jesus’ earthly pain and suffering were over. It was calm and still for him. The world was still running about, frantically trying to do what they had always done. For the Jews it was the Sabbath and the Passover, so it was historically a time of rest, but the events of the week had many on edge. For the disciples it was a time of fear and anguish as they had lost their friend and the Messiah. The pharisees were still trying to make sure Jesus’ story was dead with him. Pilate was compelled to place guards at Jesus tomb and to seal it. But for the body of Jesus, it was rest. The battle had been fought; he had followed through with obedience to his Father’s plan. The work was complete, everything now was in the hands of the Father. Jesus knew the prophecy in Psalms 16:10 “You will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy one to see decay”. For the body of Jesus and heaven, they just waited.
 
As I began to understand what God was showing to me there were two main points that spoke to me.
 
If we are to find true life in Jesus, we must be willing to die to our flesh so we can dwell in His Body. “Very truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24
Far too often, we as believers focus on the death and the crucifixion, without realizing when we die there is rest as we wait for the Father to do his part and bring forth the harvest. Give up the fight and enter His rest. He who seeks to save his life shall lose it but he loses his life for my sake shall keep it.
 
Saints, let this life go and enter the rest that can be found in the grave.
 
Today as the world frantically scrambles with disease, distress, and doubt we can be found in the grave with our Lord resting in him, knowing all things are now in the hands of the Father.
 
What glorious hope that with each passing second, we draw closer to the moment when our Father steps onto the scene and shouts, “Son or daughter come forth!”. Imagine the moment when the things that have guarded your life to control you are vanquished. When the seals of the tomb are broken, and resurrection light comes pouring in.
 
As I considered what Saturday meant to me, I felt greater expectation and excitement knowing the move of God, resurrection life, was right around the corner. Can you just imagine the anticipation and excitement the hosts of heaven, the Father and the Son felt waiting for the word to be fulfilled and the glorious revelation of a risen Savior and the dawning of a new age?
 
We are living in that new age. I am sure as you read this many, if not all of us, have areas in our lives where it seems death is reigning, but you need to know you are living in Saturday. You are so close! The darkest hour of death means the dawn is right around the corner. The glorious unfolding of the power of God in your situation is just moments from exploding! Don’t give up! Don’t give in!
 
As a family at Abundant Life we have been like a body in a grave. For three years we have been on a prophetic mission and this year we turned our focus outward. The present crisis should be an indication the enemy is trying to thwart what God has called us to in this time. I believe with all my heart he won’t succeed because the seals of the tomb are cracking and the first ray of sunlight is cresting the horizon, Saturday is about to become Sunday and a resurrected church is about to come out of the tomb. All creation is groaning for the revelation of the sons and daughters of God. Romans 8:19
Do not despise Saturday it just means Sunday is moments away.
Day turned to night, His friends scattered, and death thought it had won. But heaven just started counting to three.
I love and miss you all. I can’t wait to be reunited with my church family and worship with you.
 
 
Steve Byers


They move on tracks of never ending light

The announcement of a search for a generations pastor should unite us a church body as we see the vision of the church unfolding.

This announcement calls attention to the growing body of children, youth, and young men & women who consider ALCCL their home church. We should devote ourselves to prayers of thankfulness for this blessing and specific prayer for the couple that God has targeted to serve in this capacity. He has been working throughout the tapestry of their lives and has equipped them to serve in this capacity for such a time as this.

We should commend the effective stewardship of the elders and leadership team for positioning the church to be in a strong financial position to make this targeted investment in the future church. The youth of this nation, our local community, and church will have a profound spiritual impact on future generations.

We can all be thankful for the Godly examples that selflessly poured into our lives, perhaps without our knowledge. It is now our time to pay it forward by actively investing in these young lives. Perhaps some are seeking to set a new example for their family and stepping out in faith to be set apart—for Christ. Let’s join with them on the journey of a lifetime! Each of us has a role to play in the spiritual development of these young men and women.

Let us collectively as parents, relatives, friends, mentors, or fellow members at church seek to do our part to display Christ and speak life into the next generation. As they seek to mature in an understanding of the knowledge of God’s will for their lives, let’s be sure to lay down Christ empowered railroad so that they can move forward on tracks of never ending light.
 
Shawn Moshier


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