Responding to God's Call

One of the amazing truths of Christianity is that we love and serve a God who is not distant and far away but personal and intimately involved with every dimension of our lives. He is our heavenly Father, perfect in love, and He has pledged Himself to us by way of covenant. He provides, protects and guides us through life both individually and as families, including our extended family the church. And so what we see from the beginning is that God speaks to us in varied ways to communicate His love, to guide us in life’s decisions and to reveal His plans and purposes for our lives. God is always seeking to establish us in covenant so that we can understand our true identity as the people of God and then have our daily life experience match our position. As we abide in a fresh experience of God’s covenantal love we walk in His authority and power as His representatives in the earth.

 

From the beginning we see that God speaks, revealing His will to His people and then sovereignly orders the affairs of their life in order that they might be a blessing to others. God spoke to Abraham and blessed him in order that he might bless others and become the father of nations. (Genesis 12-23) God spoke to Joseph through a couple of dreams and then spent the next years preparing him to be second only to Pharaoh. All in order that God’s people might be provided for in the famine that was to come on the land. (Genesis 37-50) God revealed to Moses his true identity as a son of Israel and then speaks to him about His calling to deliver the people from their bondage in Egypt. (Exodus 1-3) In the New Testament God speaks to Saul, a zealous persecutor of the church and he becomes Paul, missionary to the Gentiles. (Acts 9) Later God would speak to the church collectively and Paul, along with a small team, was sent to Antioch (Acts 15), Syria, Berea and many other locations to establish and strengthen the churches in the things of the Lord. It is important that we recognize the consistency of the pattern that God speaks in various ways, often to an individual or small group of individuals, not for the fulfillment of their personal desires but for the strengthening of the body and the advancement of the kingdom of God.

 

God Has Spoken to Us

 

In a way that is consistent with the Biblical pattern just described, we, the pastors of Thanksgiving! believe that God has spoken to us about a new ministry initiative that will strengthen the body and advance the kingdom of God. In the pages that follow we will share the key events where God spoke to us, what we believe God is asking us to do and how we can walk in obedience and experience His blessing.

   

August 2006- During the summer of 2006, Pastor Bruce was finishing his sabbatical study on the earthly ministry of Jesus and the interdependent relationship that existed between His proclaiming the Kingdom of God, His healing of the sick and His ability to practice authority over Satan and his demons (fallen angels). In a prayer time, before a preaching assignment, God declared that He wanted to do something new and confirmed it with words from the prophet Isaiah,   “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My chosen people” (Isaiah 43:8-19) From that time forward Bruce began to pray asking God to reveal what it meant.

 

March 2009- In March of 2009 while he was leading a retreat at the St Benedict Center in Schuyler, NE, one of the retreat participants received a prophetic word for Pastor Bruce. That word was as follows.

 

Glenn will lead in all truth. Bruce will follow and begin anew. 

 

You will lead a ministry of my making and Glenn will bless it. They will go hand in hand but not be the same. I am doing a new thing here-none have seen before. I will reveal in My time and in My way. Try not to imagine it Bruce, because you cannot. I am doing a new thing and you and Glenn will bless each other in this. It will begin soon. Be patient. But do not go ahead of Me. You must follow My leading but do not lag behind.  Soon you will see I make all things new.

 

December 2014- After several months of personal reflection, Pastor Glenn shared with Pastor Bruce what he has been hearing from God about birthing a new ministry. It is his belief that the establishment of a new independent ministry, with a strong continuing relationship with Thanksgiving, would allow us to preserve the discipleship ministry God has begun at Thanksgiving while positioning the new work so that it can become a unique regional discipleship resource for many other churches.

 

This December meeting was the first of several confirmations that were received over a period of several months. The day after his meeting with Pastor Bruce, Pastor Glenn shared with Pastor David his conversation from the previous day. Pastor David agreed that God was speaking to us and excitement began to build as we began to contemplate in a more intentional way what God was saying and ultimately calling us to do. 

 

January-August 2015- Early in 2015 it was determined that God was calling us to widen the number of people praying for God’s wisdom and discernment and so the vision was shared with a small group ( about 25) of people at Pastor Glenn’s home on Sunday night February 22nd. Though nothing specific came out of this initial corporate prayer gathering, the consensus was that indeed God had spoken and we were to be careful to stay in step with the Holy Spirit.

 

In June 2015 Pastor Glenn shared with the church council what we believed God was saying to us as a congregation, namely that God was calling us to play a major role in helping to birth a new discipleship ministry that God would use to bring blessing to a great many churches in our region. While several on the council desired more details, there was agreement in principle with what was being discussed.

 

Pastor Bruce spent much of his sabbatical this summer praying into many of the issues surrounding the launch of a new ministry. Many of the concerns were relatively easy to resolve in that we are already “doing” the ministry. However, considerable reflection and prayer was spent on questions concerning timing of the transition, the nature of the relationship between Thanksgiving and the new ministry, how to insure the continuation of the discipleship ministry at Thanksgiving and how to adequately fund the new work so as to insure ministry effectiveness and long term viability. While some questions remain we believe God has revealed the way forward. It will be a faith filled journey that will necessitate a new level of dependence upon hearing His voice and staying in step with His Spirit.

 

In Summary

 

We believe that God has spoken revealing His will and purposes for us as a congregation. The word has been tested and confirmed by many witnesses. Consistent with the Biblical model, God is calling Thanksgiving to send out some of its own (Pastor Bruce and Barb, others) with a message and a ministry that will bless others by bringing healing and freedom to His people through a unique discipleship ministry. The new work, God’s Living Stones, will be a separate 501 c (3) non-profit corporation with a strong working relationship with Thanksgiving. In fulfillment of the prophetic word Thanksgiving! and God’s Living Stones will bless each as they live out their unique roles in God’s plan.

 

In concert with the congregational council, we believe the right timing for the transition is December 31, 2015. As Pastor Bruce moves to bring leadership to God’s Living Stones, Thanksgiving! will create a new position of Discipleship Coordinator. This person will coordinate the Cleansing Stream seminar, RTF Issue Focused Ministry and the scheduling of all retreats. Thanksgiving! will contract with God’s Living Stones, as needed, to have Pastor Bruce teach , train and lead retreats in each area of ministry just as he does currently. The combination of these 2 coming together will provide a seamless transition and insure the continuation of the various discipleship ministries currently under Pastor Bruce’s leadership. Funding for God’s Living Stones will come from ministry fees, TLC benevolence dollars and the cultivation of individual donors and church support.

 

We are excited about this new season of ministry and about the opportunities it represents. God is doing a “new thing” and we invite you to join us for the adventure!