June 19, 2014

 

Dear Church family and friends,

“Staying on Mission…”

I heard a fascinating story recently about a soldier who passed away in January of this year.  This officer was in the Imperial Japanese Army.  He had been stationed on the island of Lubang in the Philippines and given strict orders to stay there and carry out reconnaissance and guerilla warfare.  Lieutenant Onoda was directed not to leave the island or to surrender.  His commanding officer spoke these words to him…  ”You are absolutely forbidden to die by your own hand.  It may take three years, it may take five, but whatever happens, we’ll come back for you.  Until then, so long as you have one soldier, you are to continue to lead him.  You may have to live on coconuts.  Under no circumstances are you to give up your life voluntarily.”

For 30 years after the war had ended, this Lieutenant did not compromise and continued to stay on the island because he did not hear back from his commanding officer.  He followed his orders and has been called the “holdout soldier”.  We, too, have been given orders! 

Our orders given by our King Jesus was “GO” - …take the Gospel to the surrounding community and to the ends of the earth.  (Matthew 28:18-20)  In order for us to fulfill these orders we must all be  “in” and uncompromising in our faithful commitment.  Martin Luther said there are three conversions necessary as we follow Him as true soldiers… “the conversion of the heart, the conversion of the mind, and the conversion of the purse (or wallet, as we would say today)  But for many of us, the wallet is often the last thing to change or be converted…”

Our commitment to give sacrificially and consistently to the church is a test of our faithfulness to God for His advancement of the Kingdom.  Jesus said, “If you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?” (Luke 16:11)  It has been said that we should give until it hurts, but in reality, it should hurt when we do not give… 

What a great privilege it is to be trusted with His financial gifts and provision to us - and in return to be able to  give back to Him as an outward expression of thankfulness and valuing of His plans and purposes for provision for the local church…

In order for City Bible Church to continue to be effective and “transform the city and beyond”, we need your continued and consistent giving of your tithes and offerings.  We have had to make necessary adjustments and cuts to the budget, and the summer season can be extra challenging if we do not all commit to being and staying faithful in our giving.  If you miss a Sunday, pleasemake the commitment to make up for that week.  What a blessing to us and to God -  and you can have the wonderful pleasure in knowing you have been a “good and faithful servant…“   (A special word of blessing and thanks to those of you who have stepped out in faith this past year and have began to tithe or have increased your giving in your faith journey towards tithing!)   Thank you!!

May we all be likened unto  the “holdout soldier”… following His orders until His Return!

 

In His Service,

Pastor Berry

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