NEO Team Update 2-14-19
Rolling a Large Stone Up a Steep Hill
The work of reaching out to our world is hard. Let’s be honest, although every biblical Christian in the world declares that sharing the message of God’s love is a priority, most of us have a hard time keeping this on the front burner. Keeping our focus off ourselves and on those outside of God’s family is like rolling a large stone up a steep hill. This might sound a little fatalistic, but it is true. Few things we do as Jesus’ followers are harder than keeping our hearts revved up for evangelism.
It has been said that vision leaks. When it comes to evangelism, it would seem there is a bigger hole than in most areas. We can be fired up and committed to share God’s message of love with others, and a month later, our evangelist prayers and efforts have come to a screeching halt.
Why is this? If sharing the Good News of Jesus is such a high value for Christians, why do we struggle to fulfill the Great Commission of our Savior? In His final words on this earth, Jesus told His followers, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
There are a number of reasons we struggle to make the shift from us to others. First and foremost is the spiritual reality that all of the forces of hell are thrown against the work of evangelism. There are lots of things the church does that Satan is not all that concerned about, but evangelism is not one of them. Of all that Satan hates, evangelism is on the top of the list. Why is this? Because his desire is to take as many people to hell with him as he can. He is more hate-filled and evil than we could ever dream. His desire is the destruction of all creation, and top on his list is people. He is a roaring lion, prowling around seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Every time a person becomes a follower of Christ, not only does Satan lose someone he had captured in sin but he also gains an enemy who begins to work against him.
Making the shift from us to them is challenging and difficult. But this should not discourage us. We serve a Savior who has broken the power of sin, the threat of death, and the back of Satan. He who is in us really is greater than the Devil, who is at work in this world (1 John 4:4). The challenge of evangelism should drive us to our knees in prayer. It should move us to action. There are some specific shifts we can make to propel us into the world with the good news of salvation.
–From Seismic Shifts by Kevin G. Harney
Over 40 members of the NEO Family were in attendance at M19. What a powerful time of inspiration and prophetic challenge! I hope to include some reports from attendees in the next Team Update. I want to thank those who took time to attend and churches which helped cover expenses.
Pastor Updates/Prayer Requests
Pastor Nick Vernier (The Tribe) had a heart attack on Feb. 4 and bypass surgery on Feb. 11. We rejoice that Nick’s heart is strong, the surgery was successful and the healing continues faster than anticipated. Continue to lift Nick and Kay up in prayer. Nick has some fluid around his heart that they are wanting to get rid of and needs some good sleep!
Pastor Keith Cole (Chandler) is having Cardiac Ablation done on February 20. I know Keith and Nancy appreciate your prayers.
I Want to Celebrate. . .
Mark Smith, Cushing and Drumright. . . We are currently discipling 4 people to take on teaching small groups. Our Wednesday night has grown from 5 to the highest 24. We have gone past the 30 barrier a few times in December and January. The people who have come to us were churched and even confess Jesus as Lord at one time in their life, but they turned to drugs and alcohol, fell away and are recommitting their life to Jesus. Jesus is cleaning them up by the power of the Holy Spirit. We will be having our first revival service at Drumright and Cushing in about 15 years. Our combined services will be from March 31 – April 3 with Marcus Whitworth.
Yalmi & Norma Izaguirre, Tulsa Regency Park Iglesia. . . God is blessing us with good time in our worship time.
David Stevens, Vinita. . . God has helped us in church services. We also celebrate answers to prayer for some who were sick, and some who went through difficult times. Thanks to NEO District for their support of the pastors and their spouses.
Otoniel Dannemann, Tulsa Fuente de Vida. . . We did a fasting of Daniel for 21 days in January, and we had a good time praying together.
Bret Metcalfe, Claremore. . . People are seeking God’s will and guidance at the altars on Sunday morning. We are having a small increase in attendance on Sunday evening.
Geoffey Gunter, Tulsa Regency Park. . . We are celebrating with the two young adults who gave their lives to God this month. It’s so encouraging to our congregation, and something we have been praying for and will continue thanking God for his sweet presence in our worship services. Also grateful to host our district ladies at the retreat last weekend. It was a great time of worship and fellowship.
Brian Loderhose, Owasso Silver Creek. . . I would like to celebrate that we had 6 students register for NYC and raised enough to get their deposits covered by the church. Also, I would like to celebrate a greater assimilation of some of our Hispanic church members.
Cary Tipton, Mannford Grace Family Worship Center. . . 25 of our church went to Denver, Colorado this past month to show livestock and enjoy vacation. This represents five of our families in our church. They continue to grow in fellowship and faith. We are thankful they all came back safe and sound and continue to be faithful to their Lord and the church. Secondly, Pastor Curtis and Lesta are back!
Melissa King, Chelsea Open Doors. . . We have a new ministry leader for our Celebrate Recovery which completes our CR T.E.A.M. We are excited what God is doing and how lives are being changed. We have received 4 new members this month!
Ronnie Baker, Tulsa Audacity. . . We kicked off the year with our downtown homeless outreach. We fed over 150 people. Additionally we provided each person with a new pair socks, toiletries, blankets, and clothing. Our church sacrificially gave to the cause of feeding and clothing the homeless in our community. We had a very large contribution given this month; it is an awesome miracle story. This gift will help us get caught up on all of our finances and our district tithe. God is faithful!
Austin Troyer, Tahlequah. . . We had Titus Troyer’s baby dedication this month! Our teen group has new leadership. We also fed the NSU men’s basketball team.Anthony Beville, Bristow Fellowship. . . We were blessed by the helpfulness in Jerry Wilburg coming to help install LED lights and in providing valuable advice, expertise and friendship.