A Special Newsletter from:
The Church of the Saviour, Conroe, Tx
"We are going to grow!"
I am writing you today to inform you of the current state of affairs at the Church of the Saviour. You may never have received any kind of correspondence from us at all. But if you are receiving mail from us for the first time, it is because someone in our immediate fellowship knows you and has from time to time brought you before the church for prayer.
It is my intention to contact as many people with whom we have to do, howsoever they may be related to this church and ministry, directly or indirectly. The reason for this is recently I have felt convicted in my heart that my thinking has been much too small, even to the degree that it has limited the work of the kingdom of God. The scriptures say, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." That being the case it is my hope to augment my thinking, to embrace a new attitude, an attitude through which God is free to move and grow us as He sees fit. And of course, I pray this for all of us. God forbid that any of us should limit God because of unbelief or smallness of thinking.
So I wish to begin by stating affirmatively: We are going to grow! And what I mean is that the kingdom of God, as it is represented by this fellowship of believers, is going to grow. And further, I mean that it is our best hope and intention that Jesus Christ shall be lifted up, and that people will be drawn to Him. It is our desire to see the lost come to Jesus; that His kingdom as it is represented here on earth is going to flourish. It is our conviction as citizens of heaven, which citizens we are, that in every way conceivable Godís people should demonstrate the presence of God, and that those who look on shall be drawn to the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto Me."
This is what I am doing as I write you Ė I am endeavoring to lift up Jesus. No, I am not trying to lift up this fellowship above others in the kingdom. Iím merely trying to do my part as pastor of this church. We know and understand that the church of Jesus Christ is not a building, but it is a people, "a people of Godís own possession". I am reminded of a great hymn; one verse in particular says:
In Christ there is no East or West,
In Him no South or North;
But one great fellowship of love
Throughout the whole wide earth.
I wish to lift up Jesus by proclaiming Him the Son of the Living God, God manifested here on earth in the flesh; as He who knew no sin, and became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. I proclaim His death upon the cross and the shedding of His blood for the remission of our sins. I wish also to proclaim His resurrection from the dead, His ascension into heaven where He sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. And all who believe in Him receive forgiveness of sins. Yes, Jesus, in the third chapter of the gospel of John at the sixteenth verse said:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
I am confident that most of you who receive this letter have made your peace with God. But if you have not, I urge you to ask the Lord Jesus into your heart today; to accept Him as Lord and Saviour, to give your life to Him, and know forgiveness of sins. There is no greater feeling or experience in the world than knowing your sins are forgiven; and most of all, knowing Jesus. Amen.
Continuing, I have felt compelled in my heart to see us grow. The scriptures teach us that when we faithfully use what we have, that God will increase us. And, on the other hand, if we fail to do so, then even the little we have will be taken away. I am exercising this principle in writing to you and sharing with you the sincere convictions of my heart before God. And I hope in so doing, you too will feel this conviction. We are admonished in the word of God to:
Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes (Is. 54:2)
In Genesis, the word says, "God shall enlarge Japheth." The name Japheth means "an enlarging spirit". So it is saying, God shall enlarge an enlarging spirit. I believe that God wants us to have an enlarging spirit; an attitude that anticipates and expects increase.
Just to keep things in perspective, though, I would point out on the day of Pentecost just after Jesusí ascension, the people of God went out into the streets of the city, empowered by the Holy Spirit speaking the wonderful works of God. Peter stood up at one point and began to preach, and there were as many as 3,000 souls added to the church that day.
It is not my intention to merely try to generate some kind of hype, get everybody pumped up in a fleshly sense. What we are talking about is people close to God, empowered by God, and sent by God. It is not something that can be drummed up or generated by some emotional exercise. If you ever got sucked into one of those multi-level marketing sales schemes, you know that this is what THEY do. They get everybody all pumped up about making money. I tell you I was in such a meeting years ago where hundreds of sales people were gathered. There was guy in a podium speaking emphatically about the money to be made. His tone was so compelling the people were clapping, cheering Ė I think I even heard an "Amen!" It was amazingly like some kind of a church revival meeting. And they would do this on a regular basis just to keep people fired up. Actually there is SOME wisdom to be gleaned from such an exercise, and it IS effectual to some degree. But I want to say, "How much more . . . !" Iím talking about how Jesus would often cite some worldly dynamic in order to drive home some point regarding the kingdom of God. He would talk about how fathers love their children and desire to give them good things. Then He would drive the point home by saying, "How much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him. I trust my point is clear. If people would go to the trouble of getting all pumped about the "almighty dollar", how much more should we seek to generate such devotion to God among ourselves as the people of God?
No! We want no part of anything fake or manufactured by the flesh. What we DO want is the presence of God in our midst. In recent days Psalm 46:4-5 has been very much in my heart:
There is a river whose streams make the glad the city of God; God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved
. . . and Psalm 27:4
One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.
These verses speak of and accentuate the presence of God. Why else should the people of God ever come together if not to enjoy Godís presence; to worship and have fellowship with Him?
We are NOT selling personal alarms, water filters, weight loss products, miracle nutrient supplements, life insurance, vacuum cleaners, or miracle cleansers. In fact, we are not SELLING anything! There has been but one purchase made with which we are concerned. And that is that Christ has redeemed us with His own blood, and purchased a place in heaven for us for all eternity. As the redeemed of the Lord, it is our privilege to enjoy His presence in our lives Ė "God in the midst of us"!
Moreover, we "were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from our vain conversation received by tradition from our fathers." But we have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus, Who gave Himself a ransom for us all.
As the scripture in Revelation declares of Him "who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks", I am moved by the conviction that Christ indeed walks among us; that there is as yet a candlestick in our midst, and we are honored daily with the presence of God Almighty.
In recent days, I have had every reason (in the natural sense) to have concern over our present situation. Our building has suffered damage. There are repairs which must be done. There are a number of precious souls among us who have suffered severe attack against their very lives. With the exception of the past month (and Easter Sunday) our attendance numbers have been off considerably. It may interest you to know, however, as our numbers have decreased, the requests for prayer and intercession have increased. And even though we preach to smaller numbers, whenever we come together for prayer and intercession, the presence of God bears us up. We are strengthened and encouraged even in the midst of seemingly bleak circumstances. Oftentimes we come together for prayer and there is a heaviness that makes the very act of prayer difficult. But each time we press in, the Spirit of the Lord quickens, liberates, and encourages us. And we depart with a sense of victory. And, as it is written, "We walk by faith, and not by sight." Yes, despite appearances, we are encouraged. I wish to share this with you that you too might be encouraged. But I also wish to challenge you. Do not forsake the assembly of the Lordís church, for Satan himself has desired you in order that he might sift you as wheat. We must come together for worship and fellowship; to speak to one another, to encourage one another. I am again reminded of C. S. Lewisí on the subject:
Enemy-occupied territory-that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. When you go to church you are really listening-in to the secret wireless from our friends: that is why the enemy is so anxious to prevent us from going. He does it by playing on our conceit and laziness and intellectual snobbery.
WE ARE GOING TO GROW!
I am expecting great changes! I have a new attitude! There is as yet a great vision, which has yet to be fulfilled. It started with my father-in-law, Henry Alloway, a great pioneer of the faith of God. It was then, and still is to this day his goal to build a church where the people would make Jesus Christ Lord of all. We intend to carry on that same mission and encourage people to make Jesus Christ Lord of their lives. If you are involved in the work of a local church, support that church with your, prayers, your gifts, your attendance, and your service Ė be faithful. If, on the other hand, you are not so involved, then I urge you Ė make it your highest priority to find your place in the church of God. You are, of course, welcome here. Please pray for us too. God bless you and thank you for reading.
Brian D. Baker, Pastor