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A Year of Hope Encouragement

For our members, with love…

The chill of the morning air lingers just a little longer before the strength of the sun reminds us summer isn’t quite over. The leaves are slowly turning, but you know that one morning when you open the blinds, everything will be coloured red, yellow, orange, and brown.

The dreaded first frost is holding off for now, but it won’t be too much longer before you have to scrape the thin layer of white before you drive. Or, you just might be one of those who starts the vehicle and lets the defrost do the work for you.

The patio furniture needs to be winterized, the garden needs to be fully harvested, and the rake needs to be swapped out with the shovel. Hoses wrapped, water lines turned off, and one final cut of the grass.

There is something inherently sad, but also a relief because the summer yard work is hard work. It’s nice not to have to remember to water, pull weeds, patch the grass, paint the deck or fascia on the house.

But you know as well as I that the work doesn’t disappear, it changes. It morphs into the tasks of another season.

Hanging the Christmas lights, raking the leaves—which quickly turns into shovelling the driveway and sidewalks. It’s making sure the fireplace pilot light is on or the wood is chopped. It’s blankets and cozy things that make their way into daily use.

And for us who work with a passion for the gospel, it’s special meetings, Alpha, Thanksgiving and Christmas outreaches. It’s making the church open to the community, a lighthouse, a warm and loving place where grace is extended and hope, ignited.

“I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. God has given me the responisbility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect [mature] in their relationship to Christ. That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.”

Colossians 1:24-25; 28-29 NLT

You do what you do at personal cost many times, and that is right. Because according to this scripture, in order to serve the church, you are willing to:

  • Suffer for the church
  • Serve the church
  • Steward God’s Word faithfully
  • Strive for maturity in God’s people
  • Struggle and work hard
  • Sustained by God’s power at work within you

Though the work of every season changes; there is still a need for our Pastors and Church Leaders to be serving from a place of health. So as we head into the busy fall season there are three ways your ACOP Family can help today…

  1. Your regional directors have been prayerfully placed in this position of support. They are there for advice, difficult conversations, and prayer. If you’re not sure who your regional director is, we’re happy to provide you with that information; email us.
  2. You can reach out with a prayer request. ACOP leadership prays! We’re with you to support and trust God that He has all we need. Submit your prayer request through our members portal.
  3. Clergy Care is a service we offer in partnership with Focus on The Family Canada. You have access to professional counsellors, articles on healthy routines in ministry, Kerith retreats, and resources for your ministry. You can access this resource by visiting our members portal.

Extending Grace & Igniting Hope happens when we are serving people with intention. As ACOP Family, we’re moving forward together…

“We acknowledge that the kingdom of God prefers collaboration, interdependence, and community. Whereas the kingdom of darkness prefers independence and individualism. We confess that too often we have chosen independence and individualism and done what was right in our own eyes, for this we repent. Lord, help us to recognize and demonstrate that we are better together.”

President, Rev. Wes Mills—ACOP 101 Conference
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A Year of Hope From The President

A Season of Disruption

“Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate contest of history, therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love.”

Reinhold Niebuhr

We are living in a season of disruption.

It seems that the global Covid-19 pandemic is finally beginning to lose its momentum, but now we are facing economic woes that are shaking the global economy. In North America, inflation is higher than it has been in 40 years, and we are all feeling the pinch of increased costs.

However, in many parts of the developing world inflation has risen astronomically—80% or more within the past year, causing severe economic pain for millions of people.

As followers of Jesus, how do we make sense of this season of disruption?

There is a “go to” scripture that people often turn to in times like these:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

This verse is often used as a “spiritual security blanket” in difficult times. We find this verse stamped on T-shirts, imprinted on greeting cards and posters, and etched in coffee mugs.

While it is true that God is a God of hope, we need to understand the context of this verse. This verse was written to people in captivity. This verse was written to people who had been uprooted from their homes and taken to a foreign land. This was written to people who were in a season of disruption.

What this verse tells us that God plays the long game. God was working out a plan that was generations in the making.

Yes, there was hope and a future, but it was not the kind of short-term hope that the captives in Babylon may have wished for. The Lord’s direction to the people in captivity is found earlier in the chapter:

“This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

Jeremiah 29:4-7

I would suggest to you that in spite of the disruption we are currently experiencing in our time, we can still have hope because we know that God is working his grand eternal plan, that will culminate in the blessed hope—the return of the Lord Jesus Christ!

In the meantime life goes on, we should live hope-filled lives by building houses, planting gardens, enjoying the harvest, planning weddings, raising children, and loving grandchildren. Be salt and light in our communities and expect that God will cause us to flourish in the midst of this season of disruption.

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A Year of Hope

The Hope of The Return of Jesus Christ

“We shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.”

1 John 3:2 NKJV

In recent years earthquakes, tidal waves, and natural catastrophes all around the earth have caught the attention of the world like few events ever have. Many secular commentators have referenced the Bible, and for good reason.

Wars and strife abound in various nations, and terrorism is rampant. Financial upheaval and failure are all around us. Fear and hopelessness mark the lives of millions of people everywhere. We as Christians should take note of these events, in light of the teaching of God’s word.

“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”

Matthew 24:32-36 NKJV

“But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.”

“These things are the the first pains of childbirth.”—GNT1

“These things are like the first pains when something new is about to be born.”—NCV2

“These things will be like the birth pangs of a new age.”—FBV3

Matthew 13:7-8 NKJV

The Old Testament prophets and saints lived in the hope of the coming of the promised Messiah. The Messiah came in the fullness of time…

“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”

Galatians 4:4-5 NJKV

The Old Testament prophets did not clearly see the distinction between the first and second comings of the Messiah. They spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, but they did not always understand the detail of what they were given to speak.

“Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you throught those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven; things which angels desire to look into.”

1 Peter 1:10-12 NKJV

For us, the first coming of Jesus is living history—precise fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. We now live in hope of Jesus’ second coming. That event will also occur in the fullness of time, according to God’s schedule.

Hope can be defined as “the expectation of something desirable, or having confidence in a future event.” It is not wishful thinking, like buying lottery tickets.

“Now faith is the substance [realization] of things hoped for, the evidence [confidence] of things not seen.”

Hebrews 11:1 NKJV

Hebrews 6:19 tells us the hope that is set before us is an anchor for our souls because Jesus, our forerunner, has already entered into the presence of God.

The Holy Spirit inspired the Bible to be written in such a way that believers in every generation, in every era of history, would have reason to live in the expectation of the return of Jesus Christ. Only God the Father knows the exact time when Jesus will return for His church.

Peter wrote of the scoffers who would come on the scene, questioning the purposes of God…

“Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.'”

2 Peter 3:3-4 NKJV

Peter goes on to explain the reason for this apparent delay—

“But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousond years as one day. the Lord is not slack concerning His promise,as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

2 Peter 3:8-9 NKJV

We will consider five ways the Scriptures speak to us about the hope we as believers have in the return of Jesus Christ.

It is a Certain Hope

God is a God of purpose: He does not say, “I might” or “I’ll try,” but rather “I will.” He speaks and His word is fulfilled.

  • In Joel 2:28 God said, “I will pour out my Spirit,” and He did.
  • In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “I will build my church,” and He is.
  • In John 14:3 Jesus said, “I will come again,” and He will. (Note how often the declarative mood is used by Jesus in John 14.)

As Jesus was ascending into Heaven two men in white apparel stood by and said,

“Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

Acts 1:11 NKJV

He will not be a different Jesus. See the words of Jesus…

“If anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the ligtning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”

Matthew 24:23-27 NKJV

It will not be a spiritual or symbolic return, but a physical return, a visible return, in like manner as He went into heaven.

When Jesus returns to this earth to establish His millennial reign every eye will see Him.

“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him.”

Revelation 1:7 NKJV

This is referred to as the revelation of Jesus Christ.

When Jesus returns for His bride, the church, He is coming for those who are looking for Him, as we read in Hebrews 9:28, “To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

His return is getting closer each day—and His return was so real to Christians in past years. This song4 reminds us of this fact:

Years of time have come and gone 
Since I first heard it told, 
How Jesus would come again some day; 
If back then it seemed so real,
Then I just can't help but feel
How much closer His coming is today

Jesus is coming again. We need to purpose in our hearts to be ready and watching.

It is a Blessed Hope

“Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Titus 2:13 NKJV

It will be blessed in comparison to our present life:

  • We have abundant life now (see John 10:10; Psalms 16:11; Psalms 84:11)
  • There is glory to come (see 1 Cor 2:9; Eph 2:7; Phil 3:20-21; Heb 13:14)

It will be even more blessed for those who suffer for their faith in Jesus:

  • Many Christians in other parts of the world have endured such persecution that some wondered if they were experiencing the great tribulation. Jesus said, in Matthew 24:21, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
  • Proverbs 4:18, “But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.” The darker the circumstances, the brighter the light shines. Fanny Crosby5 wrote these words:
Oh the children of the Lord have a right to shout and sing, 
For the way is growing bright and our souls are on the wing.

It is a Comforting Hope

We are instructed to comfort each other with this hope.

“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words.”

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NKJV

It is a Purifying Hope

The knowledge that Jesus could return at any moment is an incentive for us to live holy lives before God. “Beloved, now are we children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”—1 John 3:2-3

John W. Peterson wrote about this in his song6, “Jesus is Coming”…

O it is a blessed hope to those who know the Saviour, 
blessed in the many joys that it will usher in.
Purifying hope that has the power to change behaviour, 
Keeping from the world's defilement and sin.

As we live in the hope of the return of Jesus Christ we will want to be holy and blameless before Him because He has made it possible by His provision. Hebrews 12:10, “…that we may be partakers of His holiness.”

1 Thessalonians 3:13 tells us that God’s purpose for us is to establish our hearts “blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”

It is a Motivating Hope

Many scriptures admonish us to watch and be faithful in what God has appointed us to do. The hope of Christ’s return motivates us to live uprightly and to be actively serving the Lord.

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and wordly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.”

Titus 2:11-15 NKJV

We are not just putting in time…

“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he come, will find so doing.”

Matthew 24:45-46 NKJV

Doing what? Doing whatever his master asked him to do; being faithful.

Conclusion

There is no promise in Scripture that we will escape persecution. This was a truth I remember discussing with my father a number of years ago. He strongly believed, as I still do, that we need to distinguish between the wrath of man and the wrath of God:

  • Persecution is the wrath of man (under the obvious instigation of Satan). Jesus said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Psalm 76:10 says, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise you [God]…”
  • The Great Tribulation will be the wrath of God, with special meaning for the nation of Israel; it is the 70th week of Daniel. 1 Thessalonians 5:9 says, “God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” In Revelation 3:10 Jesus spoke to the church in Philadelphia saying, “Because you have kept my command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”

An interesting (and sometimes controversial) question was asked by Jesus in Luke 18:8, “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

  • Matthew Henry’s Commentary7: “In general…he will find fidelity among men” (fidelity = “faith” or “faithfulness). “In particular, he will find few that have faith concerning his coming.” “Where is the promise of His coming?”— 2 Peter 3:4
  • I do not believe this was a question asked in desperation. This is the same Jesus who said “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” I do believe it is a rhetorical question for us to answer as individuals. For my part, I am determined to be found faithful when Jesus comes for His church.
  • We are not looking for the anti-Christ; we are looking for the blessed hope.
  • We are not called to self-preservation; we are called to evangelism. There is an end-time harvest to bring in. God is not willing that any should perish.
  • Jesus is coming back for “a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”—Ephesians 5:27
  • The church will go out in a blaze of glory: washed in the blood of Jesus, clothed in His righteousness, filled with His Spirit, and walking in His anointing.

From my earliest childhood, I was taught to live as though Jesus could return at any moment. That truth is still as real to me as it ever was. I will close with words of a chorus8 that the Lord gave to me several years ago:

"He's coming again in clouds of glory
He's coming to catch His bride away
Be ready and watching for His coming; 
Our Lord Jesus is coming again.
It may be at noon time or at evening, 
It may be the dawning of the day; 
Be ready and watching for His coming; 
Our Lord Jesus is coming again."

Jesus is coming again! Be ready! Be busy! Be faithful!


Ken Dynna is forever thankful for his heritage. His family experienced the faithfulness of God.  There was always ministry in music, preaching, and visitation, so he still holds memories of such things.

He graduated from Central Pentecostal College in 1965 and completed his Bachelor’s of Theology in 1988. He’s been blessed with the opportunity to visit many churches from Western Ontario to BC—ministering.

Ken married his wife Heather in 1967, and together have two grown daughters, both of whom live in Vancouver. 

Ken and Heather attend the Regina Apostolic Church. In 2004 he was ordained by the Apostolic Church of Pentecost.


Notes & References:

1 Good News Bible—Second Edition, © 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by permission.

2 New Century Version, © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

3 A free restating from the King James Version by the author. Any similarity to any other version or translation is purely coincidental.

4 Redemption Draweth Nigh, Gordon Jensen, © 1970 Silverline Music, Inc., assigned to Goldline Music, Inc. 1971.

5 Glory of God Hallelujah, Fanny J. Crosby, © Public Domain.

6 Jesus Is Coming, John W. Peterson, © 1972 John W. Peterson Music Company.

7 Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Matthew Henry (1662-1714).

8 He’s Coming Again, Ken Dynna, © 2001 Ken Dynna.

Categories
A Year of Hope Encouragement

Rediscover Amazement

Science and statistics wave their unmagic wand across the face of life, squelching the oohs and aahs and replacing them with formulas and figures.

Would you like to see Jesus? Do you dare be an eyewitness of His Majesty?

Then rediscover amazement. The next time you hear a baby laugh or see an ocean wave, take note. Pause and listen as His Majesty whispers ever so gently, “I’m here.”

Max Lucado—God Came Near

A feeling of nostalgia is locked in our minds when we think back to our childhoods. There was wonder in the world when we first made discoveries and when we recall the crazy things we used to do—there is still a sizzle of excitement!

Jumping out of barn lofts, catching anything from frogs to snakes, or bugs. Eating outside, riding bikes, jumping in the lake, or…

Like Hazel’s article (Jesus The Healer), you remember the encounters with God that impacted and changed you!

We each have personal revelations about who He is, where He’s met our needs, spoken a word of peace or correction, or shown His love in unmistakable ways. And this God of love delights in continuing to show us how beautiful life can be.

Rediscovering amazement is not about nostalgia or wishing for what once was. It’s about savoring the simple things, noticing life through a gratitude filter—replacing hopelessness with joy.

It’s good to remember, but it’s also good for our souls to have a laugh around the supper table, to see the little birds around the bird bath—splashing and making noise. It’s good for us to notice the sunrise or sunset, to feel His love painted across the sky.

It’s the warm hand of your spouse or the sticky fingers of the little person in your life. It’s the worship that surrounds you in church on Sunday, causing a tear to fall in gratitude.

“We were not retelling some masterfully crafted legend when we informed you of the power and apprearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we saw His magnificense and splendor unveiled before our very eyes.”

2 Peter 1:16 TPT

We tell others that God wants to show Himself to them, and then we forget to look for Him ourselves, not pointing fingers, just saying that the same God whose magnificence and splendor was on display for the disciples is right there for our discovery too.

What amazes you about today?

Categories
A Year of Hope

The Potter and The Clay

The Word of the Lord from the Potter’s House

Scripture Readings

Jeremiah 18:1-6; Ephesians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 4:7

“The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD saying. ‘Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear my words.’”

“But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.”

Jeremiah 18:1-2; Isaiah 64:8

In our text, the Lord instructed the Prophet Jeremiah to go down to the potter’s house where he would receive a message from God as he watched the potter working with clay on a potter’s wheel.

As Jeremiah watched the potter working with the clay, a reassuring message came from God to him, which also has a powerful spiritual application for us today. Jeremiah observed the clay go through three stages:

  • The clay was being made into a vessel
  • The vessel, being made of clay, was marred
  • The vessel of clay that was marred—was mended

“O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this Potter? Says the LORD.”

Jeremiah 18:6

The nation of Israel was ‘made’ by God but was ‘marred’ by sin! But God the master potter, could ‘MEND’ them again so that He could use them for His purpose and glory!

All human beings were originally ‘MADE’ in the image of God, for His glory but were ‘MARRED’ by sin (Romans 3:23; Ephesians 2:1-3); but praise God, through the redemptive work of Christ at Calvary, fallen humanity can be redeemed (Romans 3:24-25; Ephesians 1:7) and ‘REMADE’ by the master potter into a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

This is described in Ephesians 2:4-10 as “His Workmanship”. Humans can be made into Christ’s spiritual image (Romans 8:28-29) as vessels of honour (2 Timothy 2:21) to be used for His purposes and for His glory, as they submit to the Lord the master potter (Ephesians 2:4-10).

There are several steps or stages that a vessel of clay goes through to become a vessel of honour which can then be used.

Some years ago, in a couple of places here in Canada, we had the privilege of visiting potteries where we were shown how ordinary clay could be skilfully moulded and made into a beautiful vessel. We have also observed the beautiful pottery made by African Potters.

There are some particularly important spiritual lessons for us to learn from how a potter works with clay to make distinct kinds of vessels. Let us remember the passage of scripture in Isaiah 64:8, “But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.”

Let us consider together the steps or stages utilized to make clay into a beautiful vessel. (NOTE: In Bible days, and many places even today, these, or similar steps, are still followed, although there may be some variations in different locations, especially in larger potteries).

Step One: The clay must be found by the potter. Not just any kind of dirt or material will do, but the potter searches for clay that can be used to make vessels. The clay the potter finds is brought into the potter’s house or to the place where the potter makes vessels.

We too had to be found by God, our master potter. He searched for and found us; Compare Psalm 40:1-4 & Ephesians 2:1-10.

The Local Church is certainly like a ‘potter’s house.’ Compare 2 Timothy 2:20-21: After the Lord finds us (the clay) he brings us into a local church where we can be disciples—moulded, and made into the vessel He desires.

His desire for us is that we become ‘chosen vessels’ of ‘honour’ to bring honor and glory to His name. Note the new believers (disciples) in the church at Antioch became known as ‘Christians’ as a result of the teaching ministry of Barnabas and Saul! Acts 11:21-26.

Note Ephesians 4:11-16: the five-fold ministries named as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers help to equip and train the believers (saints) in the local church to serve in their God-given place in the church and in service beyond. The local Church is indeed like a potter’s house!

A word to parents: Your home is also a key place where parents have been given the responsibility and privilege of being the extended hands of the master potter! Moulding the lives of children in the ways of the Lord so that they will become vessels of honour—for God’s purpose and glory! Teaching, training, discipline, and character development should begin in the home. Read Deuteronomy 6:1-9.

The Lord, the master potter, also uses the circumstances in life we go through to help mould and make us into His image, (note Romans 8:28-29), and to help prepare us for the work and ministry He has for us. Think of the life of Joseph in Genesis chapters 37-50.

Step Two: The clay is washed.

All foreign substances, stones, dirt, sticks, grass, and rubbish must be washed out of this clay until it is pure clay. This is an important process. The clay must become pure and pliable so he can work with it.

After the Lord finds us, He also washes us. He uses several agents to wash us. He washes us with His precious blood. 1 John1:7-9; Hebrews 9:12-14 and Zechariah. 13:1; Hebrews 10:10.

He washes us with His word. John 15:3; John 17:17. Ephesians 5:25-2.

The Holy Spirit sanctifies and sets us apart from sin to live a life of holiness. Compare Romans chapter 8 and 1 Peter 1:2.

The clay is washed and made pliable so that it can be moulded and shaped into the kind of vessel the potter desires. We also must learn to be surrendered and yielded—pliable in the hands of our master potter.

Step Three: The Potter then begins to mould and shape the clay into a vessel he has in mind. He, therefore, places the clay on the potter’s wheel and begins to gently work with the clay, moulding and shaping it.

He has a plan and purpose for each of us. It is important that we yield and submit to the hand of our master potter; for only then can He mould our lives into what He desires us to be. In Romans 8:28-29 we are taught that God’s ultimate purpose is that we be ‘conformed’ or ‘transformed’, into the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

He works in every situation we go through in life to further mould us into the image of His Son. He also has a work or ministry for each and every believer in His house, which is His Church (also called His body). Compare Romans 12:1-8; Ephesians 2:18-22; and Ephesians 4:7-16.

In our text in Jeremiah18:1-6, the vessel was marred in the hand of the Potter, possibly because of a stone or lump of dirt. But the Potter picked up the clay and remade it into another vessel as was pleasing in His sight.

The Lord, the master Potter can do this in our lives as well. There are many examples down through history as well as in our day, where the Lord has picked up a marred, broken vessel, and remade it into a vessel of honour for his glory.

Step Four: After the vessel is moulded into the shape and type of vessel the potter desires, it must then be hardened or strengthened in the fire. The vessel is placed in a furnace where it is exposed to certain degrees of heat; enough to harden the clay with which the vessel is made so that it becomes strong.

After we are born again [saved] and the Lord is moulding us into a vessel He has desired to make us into, He also allows us to go through times of testing and even fiery trials. The purpose of this is to strengthen us as vessels and for character development. The Lord desires us to grow and become strong in Him. Compare 1 Peter 1:7 and 1 Peter 4:12-13. Note Isaiah 48:10; “I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.”

Remember God’s servant Job. Job 23:10. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.…”

“And not only that but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Romans 5:3-5

Step Five: The vessel is then beautified and glazed. Paint is used to paint flowers and other designs on the vessel. The potter will also at times put his own name or trademark or special ownership mark on each vessel. The next step is to put the vessel back into the furnace for the glazing process. When this step is completed, the vessel is beautifully glazed and strong.

The master potter desires us to become Christ-like. The beautiful fruit of the Spirit in our lives makes us Christ-like. As we allow the Lord to continue to work in our lives by His word and by His Holy Spirit, the character of Christ will be reflected in our lives increasingly.

Step Six: The vessel can now be filled and used for whatever purpose the potter has for it.

As true believers in Christ, He indwells us by His Spirit. Read 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 2:20; l Corinthians 6:19-20, and 2 Corinthians 4:7.

But we also need to be:

  • Filled with His word (Colossians 3:16)
  • His Spirit (Ephesians 5:18; Ephesians 3:14-21; John 7:37-39)
  • And then flow out in blessing to others with His word, love, and compassion.

“A Chosen Vessel of Mine” (Acts 9:15-16). The Lord told Ananias to go and minister to Saul (later named Paul), for “he is a chosen vessel of mine to bear my Name before Gentiles: Kings and the children of Israel…” As believers, we are all also called to be vessels to bear our Lord’s name and His message to others.

Step Seven: A vessel must be kept clean and set apart unto the purpose the potter has for it.

We need to continue to be surrendered to the Lord, and submitted to His purpose for our lives. Our lives need to be kept clean and we need to live and walk in the Spirit. Compare Romans 12:1-8; Galatians 5:22-25.

In 2 Timothy 2:19-22 Paul the Apostle spoke to Timothy, his spiritual son in the faith, about the importance of living a dedicated and separated life so that he might be “a vessel of honour, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work”. Note also Mark 4:19.

We also need to constantly be reminded of what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:7 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”

We are only vessels of clay, but we have within us a treasure of great value. Christ Himself indwells in us by the Holy Spirit who fills us as we surrender to Him. We have His word within us. We have the message of the Gospel in us.

What a treasure we have within us! We need to share this treasure with others all around us: but we can only do this effectively through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord, the master potter, specializes in restoring and remaking marred and broken vessels.

There are many examples both in the Bible and throughout history where the Lord has done this. God uses that which has been broken.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken and contrite heart”

“For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.’”

Psalms 51:17; Isaiah 57:15

He will do this today for each and all who truly humble themselves and fully submit to the master potter. God cannot use a proud heart. We need to humble ourselves and be broken in His presence.

We understand that in Japan they have found a way of taking vessels that are broken and repairing them with liquid gold. They then are exceptionally beautiful vessels and are a showcase for special purposes, showing the handiwork of the master potter. If we humble ourselves and are broken, God will do the same for us.

We need to get to the end of our self-sufficiency and realize our absolute need of the Lord in everything. May we all surrender to the Lord the master potter and allow Him to mould us and make us into vessels of honour into which He can pour His Spirit and His word, and then use us for His glory and honour.

The words of the beautiful Hymn, Have Thine own way Lord, so beautifully express the truth of the message of The Potter and the Clay. Please take time to read and use the words of the song as a prayer and allow the master potter to minister to you…

Have thine own way, Lord!
Have thine own way!
Thou art the potter; I am the clay.
Mould me and make me
After thy will, 
While I am waiting, 
Yielded and still.

Have thine own way, Lord!
Have thine own way!
Search me and try me, 
Saviour today!
Wash me just now, Lord, 
Wash me just now, 
As in thy presence 
Humbly I bow. 

Have thine own way, Lord!
Have thine own way!
Wounded and weary, 
Help me I pray!
Power, all power, 
Surely is thine!
Touch me and heal me, 
Saviour devine!

Have thine own way, Lord!
Have thine own way!
Hold o'er my being
Absolute sway.
Fill with thy Spirit
Till all shall see
Christ only, always, 
Living in me!

Written by Lloyd Schuetz—Word in Season

Categories
A Year of Hope

You’re Too Busy

Maybe you can relate to some of these stories…

I once spent five minutes searching desperately for my cell phone, complaining the whole time about it being missing, to my girlfriend, who I was talking to on my cell phone. This went on until she timidly asked “Are you using your phone right now?” It was such an out-of-body experience, I just hung up.

Eeeps—sometimes we’re so distracted that we don’t know what we’re doing. Put your hand up if you’ve done one of those! You’re not alone.

Many years ago I had to do a presentation. When I got to the meeting and opened my briefcase, I realized I had been carrying a backgammon board all morning.

How about that? Have you ever been too busy to notice?

In the middle of the night, George was pacing back and forth in his room, unable to sleep. this woke his wife, who asked him why he couldn’t sleep. He replied, “You know that thousand dollars I borrowed from Bob next door? Well it’s due tomorrow, and I don’t have it, and I’m anxious and can’t sleep.” His wife said, “Honey, I have the solution.” She opened up the window and yelled to the house next door. “Bob, wake up.” A light went on in the house next door and Bob stuck his head out of his window. She continued, “You know that thousand dollars my husband owes you? Well, he doesn’t have it!” Then she closed her window and turned to her husband. “There, now let him pace the floor and you go to sleep.”

Worry and stress cause you to think (and walk) in circles, and if tripled with sleeplessness, it creates some hard days ahead. No one is alone in these feelings. These small stories only serve as an illustration of how crazy, stressful, and busy life can be at moments.

The following descriptive passage of scripture (make sure you read it slowly), puts a special light on what Jesus wants for us.

“The apostles returned from their mission and gathered around Jesus and told Him everything they had done and taught. There was such a swirl of activity around Jesus, with so many people coming and going, that they were unable to even eat a meal. So Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Come, let’s take a break and find a secluded place where you can rest a while.'”

Mark 6:30-31 TPT

Jesus recognized that they needed a break, a secluded place, and some much-needed rest. The word rest, Anapauó, means to give rest, give intermission from labour, and by implication refresh.

The disciples were on mission (so are you), they were doing and teaching (yes, again), loving and serving people (your community).

You have a list (and probably always will) and we understand that sometimes the work must continue, that rest is still a way off, and that you’re giving your life to what matters.

But, there is still a call to rest. This is simply a friendly reminder that Canadian summers are so short, take moments, and hopefully at least a week to stop, rest, refresh, and pause from your labours.

“The same way a loving father feels toward his children—that’s but a sample of your tender feelings toward us, your beloved children, who live in awe of you. You know all about us, inside and out. You are mindful that we’re made from dust.

Psalms 103:13-14 TPT

We pray that you find rest this summer. Thanks for all you do.

Categories
A Year of Hope

Holy Spirit Pollen?

They are sneaking in everywhere…

Through the tiny squares of window screens, invading the venting system of vehicles, peppering the leaves of all plants in the yard, and clinging to the bottom of our shoes.

There are many trees in my neighbourhood, and the elm trees are happily releasing all their little yellow-green pollen spores to the world.

I’ve not noticed the proliferation of such pollen before, which is a wonder this year. It’s amazing how the conditions on a year-to-year basis cause trees and plants to respond to the growing season in different ways.

Sometimes it’s a great growing year, and other times it’s not.

For example, the same conditions by which the Elm tree pollen is prolific are the same conditions (including all the wind and rain), in which the immature pinecones from the pine trees have been blown to the ground. These pinecones will not mature and bear seeds as they were meant to. Future generations of the pines will be affected by the seeds that never were.

Ok, maybe I’m being dramatic, but you know what I mean. 😉

I’ve been noticing the same type of patterns, and growing seasons in my own life, and I know you see it too, in your own life! And I got to thinking that all the pollen, should be much like the Holy Spirit…

“So be very careful how you live, not being like those with no understanding, but live honorably with true wisdom, for we are living in evil times. Take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for His purposes. And don’t live foolishly for then you will have discernment to fully understand God’s will. And don’t get drunk with wine, which is rebellion; instead be filled continually with the Holy Spirit. And your hearts will overflow with a joyful song to the Lord. Keep speaking to each other with words of Scripture, singing the Psalms with praises and spontaneous songs given by the Spirit! Always give thanks to Father God for every person he brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Epesians 5:15-20 TPT

Growing and gardening teach us so much, not just about the natural world but also about our spiritual lives. The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth (John 16)—making Him just like the pollen—covering everything and like pollen’s purpose, to bring new life, there is no fruit without pollination! Hello, Fruit of the Spirit!

The scripture above asks us to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit. How? Joyful songs, scripture, more singing, and surrounding yourselves with good people. Listen, I know I’m making this sound simplistic, but the reality is that the Holy Spirit was sent to us, He is with you, now.

I remember when, young in my faith, and growing up on the farm, our neighbour’s horse got tangled in her lead and spooked. We were all playing nearby and this huge, Arabian, charging horse was coming right for us!

Holy Spirit clearly spoke to me and told me to grab my younger siblings and climb the dirt hill in our yard. As I stood on the top, still shaking with fear and adrenaline, He whispered to me again that the horse was not going to break its stride to climb the hill, sure enough, I witnessed the horse, in a full gallop, come near the hill and pass by into the fields behind.

I was surrounded. And still am. Now I know the Holy Spirit doesn’t “sneak,” but He is a part of my life and He fills the spaces where He is invited, pollinating, and helping me to bear fruit.

And we all have the choice to take full advantage of every day, spending our lives for His purpose.

Categories
A Year of Hope

White Stones

Declare a holy fast; call a solemn asssembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.

Do not hold against us the sins of past generations; may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need. Help us, God our Saviour, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake.

Joel 1:14 NIV; Psalms 79:8-10 NIV

Century—a big word all on its own. One hundred, year after year, those who served before now in the presence of Jesus, and we, continuing the work but also inviting change and the correction of the days ahead.

“We are ACOP and what we become in our second century is up to us—we have no destiny apart from our shared destiny.”

ACOP President Rev. Wes Mills—ACOP 101 Revive • Recalibrate • Recommission

Drawn from the scriptures, our future is good…

Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he as become an entirely new person. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new. And God has made all things new, and reconciled us to himself, and given us the ministry of reconciling others to God.

2 Corinthians 5:17-18 TPT

All that is related to the old order is vanished, that includes our identity—which was discussed during the Solemn Assembly—names are about identity and identity brings purpose. What name did you allow the Holy Spirit to give you?

Sin vanishes too, along with Satan’s power—

So, we can boldly declare that NO…

  1. Denominational distinctive will be placed above the mission—Gone!
  2. Independent and insular attitudes—No more sowing to the wind!
  3. Neglecting to prioritize evangelism and disciple-making—Plunder Hell!
  4. Mishandling of sexual sin—Biblical Correction!
  5. Resisting the work of the Holy Spirit—Fresh and New!

The religious works of trying to please God disappear when we become enfolded into Christ. Keeping the main thing—the main thing! The confidence we have is grounded in the truth that we are not reformed or refurbished (the old just waiting to break through), but we are made completely new, enfolded into Christ and the indwelling, or permanent presence of the Holy Spirit.

ACOP has remained faithful to the Word of God—desiring to know the scriptures and the power of God. We have faithfully lifted up the name of Jesus and championed the message of the Grace of God.

We have also faithfully sent out Global Workers, and even sent out youth and young adults through Street Invaders and LifeForce Teams.

We won’t stop doing these things—but, behold everything is fresh and new! We have renewed our covenant with the Lord and we resolve that by God’s grace our future will be different from our past.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomems I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone an new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.

Revelation 2:17 ESV

White stones, new names, shared destiny, and the ministry of reconciling others to God—what a century ahead!

If you missed or would like to watch our Solemn Assembly again, follow this link.

Note the new names given to our members on May 17, 2022!

Categories
A Year of Hope

When Dad Isn’t Stellar

Father’s Day is a great time to have your children tell you how amazing you are. I love my boys; it’s great to hear them recount stories that, thankfully, have been affected by their poor memories in a positive way.

However, some children grow up in homes where they didn’t have the best relationship in the world with their dad. For this occasion, Hallmark doesn’t make an honest Fathers Day card, even if we kids could muster up the courage to send it. 

Such was my story.

My father left my mother, sister, and me when I was young and was hardly ever in our lives. He struggled with alcohol and as a result, made a decision to leave rather than fulfill the responsibilities of being a husband and a dad.

My sister and I grew up with an understanding that this was just the way it was. Mom was the provider (she did an amazing job) and dad; well he wasn’t the topic of conversation often, even though he lived in the same small Ontario town as we did. 

All things considered, we had a good life. After college, I married the girl of my dreams and we had our first child. We came back home to share the birth of our son with my side of the family and had the chance to introduce our son to his grandfather. Thankfully we had a picture taken with them together because it was the only one we would have. Three days later, my father passed away from a brain aneurysm. 

Fast forward to a Father’s Day, not so long ago. While talking with my boys, I began to think about my own father. I remembered what he was like and how I have thought about him since he died. I began to wonder what I would say to him if he were still alive today.  

I felt a prompting from the Holy Spirit to take another look at Dad and me.  

I realized that as disappointed as I was with our relationship, deep down inside I loved my father. If he were alive today, I would take the time to tell him so, to be honest with him—whether it changed our relationship or not, and to let him know that I forgave him. I would make sure that his grandchildren knew him and I’d tell him about Jesus and how He can change our lives if we let Him.  

Thankfully, this isn’t everyone’s story as many have had simply amazing fathers. On the other hand, some have had relationships much worse than I could even begin to imagine. Mine would seem like heaven compared to theirs, but comparing stories isn’t the purpose of this note.  

I sensed the Spirit pointing me again to the amazing potential of Christ’s redemption in every situation. Jesus died to provide this hope for all of us and given the chance again, I would live as if this redemption was available for my dad. Because it was.  

Unfortunately, I won’t get that chance, but maybe someone who reads this will. It’s worth the risk. Happy Father’s Day!  

Larry Moore, married his best friend Sandra, and together they have four sons.

Larry serves as the Lead Pastor at the Regina Apostolic Church.

Larry is also Director Emeritus of United Youth Outreach—being passionate about youth and evangelism.