I Believe in North American Missions


Posted on July 10th, by LJ Harry in Sheaves for Christ. 1 Comment

I Believe in NAM
There is a place for constructive criticism, even in the church, but if the criticism is not contributing to the health of the body of Christ, I have some alarming news. You may be cancer. Cancer cells look different from other healthy cells, ignore signals from healthy cells, and diminish the blood supply to healthy cells. Cancer cells will not stop dividing, will not stick together, will not mature, and will not repair.

It’s true, “Some of you have been hurt by the church or discouraged about your experience with the church,” as Timothy Tennent aptly noted, “but the Church is what God is building in the world. Allow Him to restore your vision for the church—because there is no true access to His holy presence without your brothers and sisters.”

I love my church, and by “my church,” I mean the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI). Let me take a moment to share why—scripturally and practically—I love the UPCI.

Scripture describes the church as a fellowship of saints. In fact, “saints” became the Apostle Paul’s favorite name for Christians throughout his letters to the church. But what is intriguing to me is that the call to be saints was not primarily to individuals. In the old covenant it was a call to the whole nation of Israel, and in the new covenant it is a call to the whole body of Christ.

In the Corinthian epistle, for example, Paul opens the letter with these words, “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints” (I Corinthians 1:2). Referring to the church as “saints,” Paul reminds us of the call for the whole community to live in unified holiness. Through the infilling of the Spirit, God has created a fellowship of saints, a community that demonstrates to the world “the truthfulness of the gospel of grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation.” (See II Corinthians 5:17-19).

As a North American Missionary I have experienced this love in a remarkable way. In June of 2011, my family and I assumed the pastorate of a daughter work, and we have seen the gracious work of Jesus Christ unfold in our church and city over the past five years. Average annual attendance has grown from around twenty to ninety-six people with a record attendance of 150. Most of all, we have seen twenty-eight people baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and eleven filled with the Spirit.

In November of 2015, New Life Hutto became an autonomous work affiliated with the UPCI, and in February of 2016, the church purchased three acres across from our community central park and less than a mile from the downtown area.

When it came time to purchase this property we applied for a Sheaves for Christ property grant, and we were moved to tears when we received the news that we would be receiving $25,000 toward the purchase. Why tears? Because after selling our home, after working a number of odd-jobs to make ends meet, and after seeing our church community make significant financial sacrifices to take this crucial step, we were still short of our goal.

It was the gracious generosity of UPCI churches, the youth, and young adults of the General Youth Division that enable our church to complete this purchase through the property grant provided by the Sheaves for Christ offering. Now for the first time in the history of our city a United Pentecostal Church will be established by the grace of God and the sacrificial love of our UPCI fellowship.

Indeed, I love my church. May this example of love “restore your vision of the church” and help us eradicate the cancer that would seek to destroy the body. Let us keep in mind the words of the apostle Paul, “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple” (I Corinthians 3:17).

#IBelieve #SFC16

Visit www.sheavesforchrist.com and www.northamericanyouthcongress.com for more details.

IMG_3094

IMG_3095

IMG_3096

IMG_3097

IMG_3098

IMG_3099

IMG_3100

IMG_3101

IMG_3102

IMG_3103

IMG_3104

IMG_3105

IMG_3106

IMG_3107

IMG_3108

IMG_3109

Simmons, Seth

Seth is continually amazed by the grace of Jesus Christ. He and his wife Sarah live in Hutto, Texas, just northeast of Austin, with their daughters, Promise and Purity. There he is graciously allowed to lead and serve as pastor of New Life United Pentecostal Church of Hutto. He is also a graduate of the University of Texas and is currently wondering why he is still a student at Urshan Graduate School of Theology after all these years. He should be finished by now.

 





One thought on “I Believe in North American Missions

  1. Pingback: I Believe in North American Missions - Anthem Youth Ministry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



FROM THE BLOG

We know you love to read! Go ahead and take a peek at some of our latest posts.

Treasures from a Friend

I once read an interesting story about an old miner who lived isolated in the mountains of Colorado. When he unexpectedly passed away, a...

The Little Red Devil Behind the Pearly White Gates

It’s strange to see him out here. The all-star apostle Peter stands in a cold courtyard by a warm fire when a girl asks...

Check Your Brightness

It’s the twenty-first century, so by now most of us all have these wonderful handheld devices we call smart phones. We can do almost...

Jobs and Jesus

Ahhh the first job. The first paycheck. Graduating from piggybank to a legitimate savings account. The first time having a consistent tithing routine. What...

Seasonal Lessons

Here in the Midwest we love our seasons. We welcome the warmth and brightness of spring, we celebrate the long hot days and suntans...

2018 Youth Day

Let me begin with this statement—I am old! I know that seems like a strange way to start an article about Youth Day service...

See You at the Pole

Wilma Rudolph was born in St. Bethlehem, Tennessee as the twentieth child of twenty-two children. She grew up in poverty and had a terrible...

A Miracle for a Girl from Maryland: My AYC Story

Excitement and anticipation surged through my mind as I boarded my flight from Washington D.C. to Miami, where I would meet the rest of...

Learning Not to Share

From the time we were toddlers, our parents, teachers, grandparents, and any other choice adults have pushed the concept of the importance of sharing....

Grace

Noun | \ ‘ɡrās\ : a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance

When I was younger, I could never understand the peculiarity of...

The Ripple Effect: My AYC Story

Reading the story of David, I don’t believe Jesse understood the effect a little cheese and bread would have on the kingdom when he...