Near to Creation, Near to God

By Nate Powell

You may or may not notice this over the next few weeks’ sermons, but I get passionate when I talk about God and his creation. That is because I’ve had a long time interest in the topics of Genesis and creation, and I (like many of you) love God AND His creation. And when I’m in his creation, and I’m reminded of his majesty and my own frail nature, I’m humbled and my heart is filled with a lifetime of worship. These next few weeks, I simply want to reflect on a few moments when encounters with creation have caused me to be especially aware of the creator.

A few years ago for a summer of church camp, we titled the theme for the summer fame. At the time, a song by Chris Tomlin was a well-known and much sung song, the song Famous One. The lyrics went like this: “You are the Lord, the Famous One, Famous One, Great is your Name in all the earth, The heavens declare You’re glorious, glorious, Great is Your Fame beyond the earth.” Those lyrics reflected what the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 19, which I also see as a public service announcement that comes from scripture to all people: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands.”

These were apt words to speak and sing to point students to God with the evidence of a creator. One of the things that inspired me to push for that scripture and that theme was the nearness to God that so many of us felt in worship around the campfire at Camp Nebowa. If you’ve not been to the camp, the one place you really need to visit is the campfire. The Camp sits on Blue Lake, which is an oxbow lake off the Missouri River, in Onawa, Iowa. It is in the country, and while there is a small measure of city light that occurs there from the Omaha & Sioux City directions, the nighttime sky there is clear and beautiful. The area we have for campfire (which you see in this picture) sits on the lake at the south end of the campground. It is on a point surrounded by water. Except for a couple trees, the sky is very clear for viewing while sitting there at night, and the moon glistens off the lake’s surface when shining over the campfire. I’ve spent many weeks of my life there, worshipping into late evenings with students and drinking in the majesty that God has put on display before us there. It is because of encounters in scenes like these that I will never stop singing the creator’s praise.

The psalmist calls this display speech and knowledge that is known in every language, so that all mankind might know that there is a creator and might seek him out. But not just that. David’s meditation in Psalm 19 on the creation leads him as well to God’s revelation in his word and commands. David continues later in that same Psalm: “The instruction of the Lord is perfect … the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy … the precepts of the Lord are right … the command of the Lord is radiant … the fear of the Lord is pure … the ordinances of the Lord are reliable.” The reflection on creation is meant to lead to hearing and seeking out God’s revelation in His Word. We are called to know him better, to fear him, to keep his commands, to be his followers. Which is why the Psalm ends with a prayer of repentance and a request for keeping God keeping us following in his ways. “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.”

I pray that as we meditate on our creator God in these weeks and months, that He would prove himself once again and make clear thru his Creation and He is God! And power and glory and honor belong to Him.

Worshiping our Creator and King with you,

Pastor Nate

A New Year, A New Harvest

by Pastor Nate Powell
This morning’s devotion starts with a big thank you to Zach Shackelford, Janell Johnson & the rest of the ACC team for picking up the slack for me last week as I was sick and not able to preach. I’m grateful to serve alongside a capable team that has my back when I’m down. That being said, I was hoping to give my annual “State of the Church” message, to catch us up on where we are at and where we are headed. I will share those updates in a variety of ways in the coming weeks, but I simply want to start with a simple reminder for us this week: let’s set our eyes on a new harvest in 2023. In order to do that, we must fix our eyes on Jesus once again. (Hebrews 12:2)

Within the Old Testament, we read of God’s care and provision for his chosen people, Israel. He brought them to Egypt for their survival, later delivered them from slavery, and then gave them his covenant and commands before sending them into the land he had promised them. But he didn’t do any of these simply as one-time isolated events. He gave them as constant reminders of his care and provision. The stories and commands of the Old Testament have been handed thru them to us, so that we might have constant reminders before us of God’s care and provision which would call our own children, family and neighbors into covenant with the Lord thru Jesus Christ.

Parents, we should take special note of this scripture in the new year as a reminder to set the spiritual tone in our homes: Deuteronomy 6:4-9:

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

What do we see happening here in this passage? It is the statement of the central fact (there is one God) and the central duty of His people (to love and obey Him). The words and commands of the covenant are then bound to the hearts of parents who will impress them upon their children. Where? In the house. When you walk. When going to bed. When rising. The commands and stories of the Lord are to be always on the hearts and lips of his people. Why do we need this? Because we forget, and because if we do not discuss such things, our children will not know of the Lord’s goodness.

This is especially important to parents, because your home is your first ministry. Faith is fed and nourished in so many ways by the spiritual climate you keep in the home. Decisions for Christ and preparation toward baptism in students hearts is founded in the seeds that you plant. We have a generation of ripe harvest for the Lord in our homes, and you must urge your children toward it. Speak of the Lord and his works at all times. Show your children the priority by being present and serving. As your children come to profess faith, let it be known to the elders and to the church. We want to celebrate your children coming to faith in Jesus. We all need to celebrate victories large and small of what the Lord is doing.

The first harvests to be made in 2023 are the harvests of faith that come in your home. Your children coming to faith and repentance, and being obedient in baptism. I look forward to this being a year of celebrating victory in salvation finding a home in our homes. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 4)

Blue Christmas

By Pastor Nate Powell

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Sometimes I wonder if we wore out our families copy or the speakers on the stereo record player listening. And when you’re in the thick of life (as I currently am), it’s hard not to sing right along: The college kids are coming home, they are bringing friends with them, we will all be together with extended family, the cookies are baking, and the lights are hung. What’s not to love? It truly feels like the most wonderful time of the year

But I know to some in our church family and community, it won’t be the most wonderful time of the year. It will be a blue Christmas. You’ve gone thru a difficult loss or a breakup of a family relationship. This year you may have an empty seat at your holiday table (or even two or three). This year, you may spend some time feeling alone and grieving those losses. If that is the case for you, I want you to know that many of us as a part of this church care deeply for you, and that we are praying for the hope and peace of Jesus to sustain you in this season.

So, what can you do in this season, if the season seems more difficult for you this year than in others?

Find Solace in the Savior: At Christmas, we celebrate Jesus, also known as Emmanuel (God with us). That doesn’t just mean that God came to join us in our joys, but he also lived with us in our sorrows. In Jesus’ 30+ years on earth, you know that he encountered losing a loved one. Likely his father Joseph was dead by the time we get to the gospels. Jesus had seen many around him who dealt with sickness and suffered loss. Did he heal some? Yes. Did he raise some? Yes. But he did not heal or raise all, because that is not the ultimate purpose for which he came. He reminded us that in this world his followers would have trouble, but that we are to take heart because Jesus has overcome the world. (John 16:33) To take heart is to not allow discouragement and depression to dominate our story. Certainly, we will have struggles with those things, but Jesus does not want us to remain there forever. He has suffered alongside us. He has been abandoned. He has been wrongly beaten and killed. What a friend we have in Jesus, that he is alive and that he calls us his sheep of his flock, his brothers and his friends! (Matt 9:36, Matt 12:50, John 13:14) Look to him, friend!

Find your voice in Prayer: One of the things that sometimes holds people back in prayer is that they think God only wants to hear from them when it comes to the thanks for the good stuff, or the help the sick needs that we have. But that is not the intention of prayer. Prayer is to be a pouring out of the heart to God: “Trust in [the Lord] at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:8) What does that include? It means all the contents. The loneliness. The disappointment. The frustration or anger. The unforgiveness. We can pour it out before him. If you’ve read more of the Psalms, more than just the handful that most people know, you know that David pours our many emotions before God: anger, frustration, complaints, sorrows, loneliness. He will receive them all. “Throw all your anxiety on [the Lord], because he cares about you!” (1 Peter 5:7)

Find Community with your Church: One of the biggest things that holds us back from healing in these difficult moments is isolation of ourselves. We are tempted to seal ourselves up, cut ourselves off, and continue to live in a cycle of depression; when some of the best listening ears and help lie with some of the people who care the most and who God gave for our support and help, the church! I see it again and again WEEKLY, that the church supports the widow, surrounding her with other widows who can help bear those burdens. The Church supports those who have lost by surrounding them with people who have lost. The church surrounds those who have suffered the effects or consequences of sin in their lives, with those who have been in similar circumstances and who care deeply. Paul writes in Colossians 3:12-15: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.” This who the church is called to be and who the church is. I am grateful to serve at a church like that.

I hope wherever this Christmas finds you, that you will be faithful to come and worship Christ the King, and that you will see in doing so that you are not alone. God is with us and he has made provision for us to know that we are not alone in our struggles. God is with us!

Merry Christmas to you,

Pastor Nate

Making Much of Mary

By Pastor Nate Powell

In a week when we are observing Men’s Matins, we go to each of 6 Auburn churches during this week, and men of all ages sing, read scriptures, and pray together in the songs and scriptures of Christmas. This morning (as I write this), our reading was focused on the message from the angel Gabriel that came to Mary, found in Luke 1:26-38. To me, knowing the different churches that are represented in that room, there are some who would read Gabriel’s words differently from others. In verse 28, the angel says “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” He also goes on to say in verse 30 that Mary has “found favor with God.” When we read this from differing faith traditions, some (especially the Catholic tradition) venerate Mary. These verses (to the Catholic) are the closest textual signs that Mary is the holy mother, that she is sinless and that only in her sinless state can she give birth to the Son of God. And according to them, it is because of this status as the holy virgin mother that she can be a mediatrix alongside Jesus.

Color me and my protestant heart skeptical, but that is not what the text says. Mary’s favor here is not a merit-based favor, but unearned. It is no different than when Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. (Gen 6:8) It is no different than when Abram (later Abraham) was chosen by God. (Gen 12:1-3). And Mary herself does not think these things of herself or make much of herself. Her humble position before God leads her to worship. Of herself in worship, Mary says in verses 46-47: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” If Mary were sinless, or a Mother-god, she would not need a savior. But she confesses that she does need a savior. The rest of her song is a rejoicing of a humble person, not of a proud sinless woman. Humility is an indication of her state before God and her need.

I don’t say this to bash on Catholics, but I say this to be clear about who Mary is and who we are. We are sinners who are in need of grace. We are not the good people who can be good enough on our own. Mary needed Jesus, and we need Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:5 reminds us that there is one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ.” He is the one we need.

So when you are setting up or looking at your nativity in your Christmas decorations, be reminded that Mary in not an object of our worship. She is a vessel that was used by God to deliver the one we worship. So when we see her kneeling beside the manger to worship that baby-king, let her heart’s attitude inform your heart’s worshipful position before the savior. We stand with her on the same manger ground: “justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:24)

Magnifying the Lord with Mary and you,

Pastor Nate

Being Clear Where the Bible is Clear

By Pastor Nate Powell

I have been thankful in this Christmas season to offer clarity as to the identity of Jesus Christ. If we worship Him, then we ought to understand the one we worship.

Yesterday, I mentioned a survey that was put out by Ligonier regarding the State of Theology in the church. If you want to read more about that study, you can look at the data by clicking here. There were 36 statements. The most troubling of those statements to me were the one surrounding the person and identity of Jesus. Look at the following 3 statements:

  • Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God.
  • Jesus was a great teacher, but he was not God.
  • The Holy Spirit is a force but is not a personal being.
  • God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

On each of these statements, there is a proper, biblical stance. But, also on each of these questions, the results were VERY divided, as if many churches do not properly teach on the identity of the Trinity. 73% agreed that Jesus was created. 43% agreed that Jesus was a good teacher, but not God. 60% agreed that the Holy Spirit is not a personal being. 56% agreed that God accepts the worship of all religious. All of us should find this troubling. As a pastor, I certainly do. If we do not know who God has revealed himself to be from his word, then we do not know God, which means that we do not know the one we claim to worship.

Christmas is God’s message to us: he wants us to know the one that we worship! This is why Jesus came as Emmanuel, God with Us. God wants us to know who we worship. At Christmas, it is clear. The Son was not created, but revealed at Christmas. (John 1:1-14) According to Jesus’ own words on multiple occasions in John’s gospel, Jesus has implied and directly told us: He is God! (John 10:30; 8:58) The Spirit was sent to the church, the counselor, who lives in us and is one of the persons of God who is very personal to us. (John 14:26; 16:13) Jesus is the way of our worship, and he says that no one comes to the Father but thru Him. (John 14:6) Trinitarian theology is important and central to Christian worship.

Christmas is a great opportunity to recognize what God’s word has recognized to be true and to be grounded in truth. As Jesus said, when we abide in His word, we are truly His disciples. (John 8:31)

The Heart for the Nations

The Heart for the Nations

By Pastor Nate Powell

How did you spend your Thanksgiving? I’m guessing that mine might have looked and sounded a bit different from yours. Our daughter Grace has befriended a good number of international students at her college, and last year during the holidays (and again this year), she has brought a large group of international students into our home. We have been glad to host them for the holidays, since many of them cannot go to their home countries or see their families for the holidays. So we have sought to be a family away from their family, and to bless the students we have hosted.

We have had students in our home from: South Korea, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Belize, Nicaragua & Ukraine. So along with their unique cultures and perspectives, they have brought their languages with them. It was not uncommon over the past Thanksgiving to hear a lot of Spanish chatter at our house. Along with all of this, the students visited during the FIFA World Cup, so there were many hours of Soccer being consumed in our house, with nations from every continent represented. You have never heard cheers so loud as the cheers that came for Argentina in our living room this past Saturday. (I think our cat still has PTSD from it.)

I know that our Thanksgiving may not look like a Thanksgiving that you may ever have at your house, but I do want you to know that the heart of a disciple of Jesus Christ is a heart that beats for the nations. I was so grateful that each of these dear ones could gather and worship with our church, and that the faith in Jesus they carry with them is the faith that we live in as well. Though we have different skin colors, languages, customs, flags & borders, we are part of the same Kingdom and serve the same Lord.

God’s word makes it clear that He has a heart for all the nations to hear the message and respond to the good news of Jesus. When Jesus speaks of the “sheep that are not of this fold” who will hear his voice (John 10:16), he speaks of the gentiles, the other nations who are not Jews. That includes us! Aren’t you glad that the voice of the shepherd spoke to Germans and Spaniards and English and Chinese and Ethiopians? Because that Gospel message made it’s way to them, that means it made its way to you!

Not only that, but Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations in his great commission (Matt 28:19). Christ affirmed that the Gospel is to be proclaimed thru the whole world, and then the end will come (Matt 24:14). So we are to work and pray to these ends, as the Apostle Paul encourages prayers for all people (1 Tim 2:1). We work and pray so that the glorious vision of Revelation will come to pass, when all tribes, people and languages stand before the throne in worship (Rev 7:9).

Do you have eyes to see the world in this way? Are you praying toward these ends? Are you giving so that the missions and missionaries we sponsor can do the work that we claim to affirm? Would you even consider going to see what God is doing in the world? Or would you, like us, even welcome the world into your home to encourage and pray for them? We all have a way to contribute to God’s work among the nations.

Growing in Love for the Nations,

Pastor Nate

22 Things I’m Thankful for in 22

By Pastor Nate Powell
It’s the week of Thanksgiving, which is a short week. Every pastor I know is crunched for time to get everything done in a few short days ahead of the weekend. And most of us really are crunched, as this week begins “the Holidays”. As we take a deep breath and a bit of time to give thanks this week, I just wanted to note 22 things that I’m thankful for as a husband, father, Christian & pastor in 2022.
1. My family … They bring me more joy than I can imagine and have more patience with me than I deserve.
2. My Health … I won’t always have it, and I don’t want to take it for granted.
3. A Working Vehicle … after losing my car to a battery and starter for 10 days, I’m so grateful that its fixed and working.
4. Our House … God’s provision has aided us this year to have new roofing and siding, to fix our bathroom and other small fixes.
5. Baseball … because baseball is awesome and I’m also certain it is God’s favorite sport.
6. Our ACC Church Family … because God has brought and is bringing the right people together at the right time to make Jesus’ name great in Auburn.
7. Our ACC Elders … because they grow together, pray together, and are committed to forward progress for our church in unity. An awesome group of men.
8. The Shackelfords … I pinch myself sometimes, shocked that God provided us such a great youth pastor and his family. A great example to our students and other young families.
9. Janell the Secretary … Raise your hand if you agree that we have a loving, kind, hardworking church secretary. There’s only one Janelle.
10. Praying People … When you know of people who pray for you in your life, thank God for them and never take them for granted. Thank you to those of you who pray specifically for me and my family.
11. The Harvest Campaign … The continued generosity of our church floors me. Thanks for catching the vision with us.
12. The Family Life Center … every piece of pipe, bit of concrete, section of steel is cause for joy. God is providing for the future of Auburn Christian Church.
13. The Giving Church … Tim & Monty brought us a great design for a building and were fantastic
14. Genesis Contracting … God brought us the right bid at the right time. We love working with Mitch & Brett, and we thank God to be working with them every day
15. The Solomon Foundation … Rowlie & Bill have been awesome partners to encourage our leadership and help provide the needed backing in terms of our financing to bring this vision into reality.
16. Our students … when I hang out with our students and kids, the future of our church, I am excited. The future looks bright with disciples like these!
17. Auburn … it is a great place to live and raise your family. Love our local restaurants and businesses!
18. Our Schools … love being a Bulldog and being a part of a community with so many great educators and support staff. Thankful for outstanding smaller schools in our region like Johnson-Brock & HTRS as well!
19. Heat … when winter hits hard, it’s great to know that God has provided for your needs to be in a warm house with heat.
20. Books … I’m grateful to have so many books to use for encouragement and study, and easy access to purchase more when I need them.
21. International Students … we are currently hosting a houseful of international students from John Brown University, and those students bring a ton of energy and joy to our house. We love making new jokes with them, or learning new words or customs.
22. Jesus … A year of preaching a book about him, and I’m in awe of him more now than ever. He is my Lord and Savior, and every year is a better year because of Him.
Do you have a list of 22? What’s on your list? Take time to be thankful. “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” (Psalm 100:4)

John At The End

By Pastor Nate Powell

Last week, I was just reflecting on the fact that we will have completed 51 sermons in the Gospel of John as of this week. A full year in a single book of the Bible! In taking a few minutes to reflect on where a year has led us in this great book, I have just a few things that really stand out to me at the end of preaching thru John.

Preaching is Hard Work: To this point, we have preached thru several books of the Bible, but I am not certain that I was prepared for how much work it was for me to preach thru this book! It is a narrative, which isn’t necessarily difficult on its face, but John has lengthy discourses and discussions. And many of those lengthy discourses and discussions repeat themselves for clarity and have a certain rhythm to them. What I found was that John’s themes are very focused and very repetitive. He writes in his concluding words, that “these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” This entire book is laser focused on belief. So we emphasize that week by week as we preach it. It makes it difficult for the pastor to ensure that what you are preaching is not simply a repeating of everything you said in the previous weeks. To some extent it is a repeating, but the hearers should hear it in a fresh way. It is challenging to do that in a book like John for a full year! But we have, and I am grateful. God is good. We’ve been planting seeds of belief that will grow into a harvest of faith for years to come. Is it any surprise that sowing seeds is work?

Seven is a Serious Number: Seven Signs. Seven I Am statements. An appearance to Seven disciples. Numbers are important to John. It stood out in this full study of the book just how important they are. Is it any wonder that the disciple that wrote Revelation saw a significance in numbers surrounding the savior. But it’s not just the number seven. It’s the beautiful structure of the book. It’s very symmetrical, exquisitely crafted by a master writer, inspired by God. The beginning and ending on the lake is really the icing on the cake. Admiring the writing of the book as a whole is like looking at a masterful painting or a intricate wood carving.

John is a Great Model for Modern Disciples: I think in many times and in many ways, we each identify with individual disciples of the 12. Sometimes we may identify as a Peter, enthusiastic but rash. Sometimes we may identify as a Thomas, someone who is doubting yet open to proof. Sometimes we may be a Matthew, someone who’s greed and past identity was overcome and changed by Jesus. John does not name himself, choosing rather the title “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. In reflecting on this, I do not think he does this from pride, but from a sense of humility and a firmly planted identity in Jesus. If there is a disciple who provides a target for all disciples to aim for, John is it. He is ever present by the side of the savior. He is always open, listening and remembering to Jesus. When Jesus is in trouble, he follows to the trial. When Jesus is killed, he boldly is present. When Jesus tomb is reported empty, he runs there the fastest. When Jesus is engaged in his most intimate conversations, John is ever present. When we see good models of people who live by faith in scripture, we should learn from them. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:1: “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” As we have seen John model good discipleship, we should follow in his steps and walk faithfully with the savior.

Jesus is Great and Glorious: It started last Christmas when we saw Jesus, not simply as a baby of Christmas, but the word who was with God and was God, who existed before time began. We saw him demonstrate his power in his coming in seven different realms of influence, to show that Jesus is the Lord who has power over all things. We listened as he lovingly spoke to and shepherded his disciples. We witnessed as he tactically sacrificed himself at just the right time. We wept as he suffered and died. And we stood in awe of an empty tomb that proved all of it was real, and that Jesus is King and Lord of all. In all of this, I hope that this great book has led you to deeper faith, and to stand in awe of the Savior, Jesus!

Those are my reflections on John. Did you have others? How did your faith begin, change or grow because of what we encountered in this book? I’d love to have you drop me an email and let me know what this journey thru John has meant to you. Drop me an email at:

Blessed by the Word,

Pastor Nate


Flipping the Calendar

by Pastor Nate Powell

             We have been preaching thru the book of John for the past 49 weeks, and we have 2 more weeks to go! What a journey it has been! The Gospel has been displayed, Jesus has shown us who he is, and the Holy Spirit is moving, encouraging and growing the Church. It’s been a very good year.

              At the end of a season like this, the time comes to flip the calendar. I’m looking ahead a few times a year, and praying about where the Lord would lead us as a church. As I do, I continue to maintain a preaching calendar, which charts where we are headed in the coming months and years. At this point, I have tentative preaching plans that take us thru the year 2026 (which is crazy, because our son Elijah graduates HS that year)!

              I thought that as we wind down the preaching of John’s book, I would let you know about what’s ahead over the next two years in terms of my ministry here at ACC. Coming in 2023 & 2024 you will hear sermons from the following books and themes:

January -June 2023: In the Beginning // Foundations of Genesis. This will be messages from Genesis Chapters 1-11. The book of Genesis is a fascinating book, especially because it is so targeted as many attempt to discredit or tear down God’s word. They seek to do that by attacking the foundations. This series will seek to understand the foundational truths that are put forward in those chapters, and to see that we can trust and obey God’s foundational truths for our lives today.

June-September 2023: The Summer of Love // Themes of Love in the Bible. Love is an important word, but it’s also a misunderstood word. What does the Bible say about Love, and how to we learn to love God and others in the way the Lord intends for us? We will seek to answer all the important questions about Biblical Love.

September-November 2023: Faith in Action // A Journey thru James. We will take three months to understand the book of James and how the words of James mesh with the New Testament to form a united message: “Faith without works is dead.”

Early and Late 2024: V is for Victory // The King of Revelation. Much of our 2024 year in preaching thru the entire book of Revelation! Many people would find this journey fearful, but the book of Revelation is meant to bring great joy and comfort to the Church. The church and Christians will face many challenges and tests of our faithfulness, but we can take heart, because our King will return and we will be victorious. We will spend a lot of time in prophecy and apocalypse, preaching thru the book of Malachi during the year as well.

              We all need goals and direction, so now you know a bit about our preaching roadmap as a church and where we are headed. I hope to use bible studies, articles, and social media posts to also augment other scriptures or topics that we need to touch on over these next years as well. I’m hopeful that God will use all of this for his glory and our good. I can’t wait to go into this great future with you.

              Next week, I will reflect on the X Factor of John and some of my own key takeaways from preaching thru the book.

Stay in the Word,

Pastor Nate

Identify Your One

By Pastor Nate Powell

During this harvest season, we’ve been preaching the Gospel of Jesus and I’ve been writing reflections on how we share our faith and grow the church. I think it is a true desire of everyone to see the church grow, but we don’t always know how to get there. Sometimes we may assume that the preacher preaches, the people just magically come forward, and we baptize them by the dozens. But that’s not usually what happens … it’s not the norm. The church grows and the Lord adds to their number when all of the members are faithfully praying for and identifying people who they can bring to Christ. Some likeminded churches I know ask the question: “Who is your one?”

When it comes to calling people to follow Jesus, the strategy that the savior taught us was not one of mass marketing campaigns or social media blitzes. It was a strategy of going to towns, and houses, and people. It was one of making personal connections, relationship building and good news sharing. Jesus shared the plan with his disciples in Luke 10, as he sent out 72 of his followers in pairs to proclaim the news that God’s Kingdom is near. This is the work that would lay the groundwork for the establishment of the church and the growth of the kingdom following Jesus’ ascension.

But how were they to do it? They were to do it, as we read in Acts 10:5-7 by traveling from town to town and identifying “a son of peace.” The son of peace is a person who is open and receptive to the Gospel of Jesus. If you identified that person, you were to stay with them, to share the good news so that they would believe and use their home and resources as a way to share the good news with those who were receptive within their circle of influence.

I don’t know if you’ve had the experience of doing door to door evangelism or canvasing within a town or community. I have several times. One thing you will learn from the experience is that you will quickly identify those who are open to you and your message, and those who are not. Those who are open are willing to have a conversation. Those who are not will often end the conversation abruptly, slam the door in your face, or even not answer the door. And I’ve had that happen many times in my experience of going door to door.

Christians and churches don’t have to do door to door evangelism. They can, and it can have some effect. But EVERY Christian should be identifying and praying for a “Person of peace” in their life, the person near to them who might be open to hearing and responding to the good news of Jesus. That is what we refer to when we speak of “your one.” Is there a person in your circle of influence daily & weekly that would be open to hearing the story of Jesus and hearing your story about the hope you find in him, and what he has done in you?

If every Christian would identify, be praying for consistently, and be conversing with that one person, the growth of the church would be exponential, and we would be even more prepared for larger opportunities that would present themselves to us as a church.

Every one of us as a role to play in the growth of the Church and a Harvest for the Lord. It will begin because we prayed, we sought the son of peace, and God opened a door in life and conversation that we would readily share the good news of Jesus.

Be praying today: “God, give me opportunities with one person today to share of your good news.”
Praying with you,
Pastor Nate