January is the beginning of a new year – and 2012 lies before us with the potential to be a life-changing experience as we walk with Christ and grow in Him. An important part of our walk and spiritual growth involves our ministry in the lives of those whom Christ brings to us. We must embrace a vision of personal ministry – indeed, we have been redeemed, gifted and engrafted into the lives others to make a difference in their lives for Jesus’ sake. What a remarkable opportunity! Christ desires to use us to make an eternal difference in another’s life.
But to serve Christ in ministry to others, we must be drawing our life from Him by abiding in Him. (Jn. 15:5) In the feeding of the 5,000 in the gospels, the disciples discovered how ministry works – they went to Jesus, He gave them food to share, they shared, then they came back to Jesus for more to share. Such is the pattern for biblical ministry. We abide in Christ, He sustains and empowers our life; we always minister out of what He gives us.
In coming weeks, we’ll focus on the role of spiritual disciplines (e.g., prayer, solitude, meditation on scripture, fasting, etc.) in sustaining our life in Christ and creating space in our life for God. Indeed, the spiritual disciplines serve as pipelines to bring God’s grace, strength, and guidance into our life. Often, we discover our life must be “re-configured” around those disciplines that serve to open our hearts to God’s abiding presence with us. These topics will be the focus of sermons in January.