Catching the Vision

For over 130 years the Christian and Missionary Alliance has been taking the gospel message of Jesus Christ to the nations. This passion for reaching lost people with the gospel still resonates passionately among The Alliance family to this day. I firmly believe that our calling here at Circle Drive Alliance still beats with the passion of our founder Dr. Simpson as we seek to make disciples of Jesus here in our local community, there among our region, and everywhere, even to the ends of the earth. This is who we are.

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I want to ask you to stop and think about whether or not you are as passionate for global missions as our founder was or as our Lord Jesus is? I think that if we honestly assess our hearts, we would have to answer that we probably aren’t as passionate for missions as we’d like to be. We often get distracted by the things that we feel in our own lives and forget about missions or put the nations on the back burner. 

To make sure that Jesus’ command to preach the gospel to the nations is constantly before us, we often need a refreshing of the vision. I want to inform you of a wonderful opportunity that I have. I have been approached by the District to be a part of a pastoral vision team that will gain a fresh perspective on what God is doing in the lives of the people of Bosnia and Germany. I am a part of a team of 4 lead pastors from around the district, and we will be there from November 7th-17th.

Our team will interact with international workers in their fields, participate in their work, meet the people whose lives have been touched by the gospel, and to prayerfully consider how we can better engage our churches and district in partnering with these workers and churches to take the gospel to the nations. I firmly believe that through this trip God will give voice to this incredible work and allow me to communicate His heart for the nations to you through this trip. 

Friends, this trip is all about how we can have greater engagement with the mission and our workers. I long for you to join me in prayer over the next months so that I will be able to hear from God in powerful ways. Also pray about how Jesus would have you participate with Him and us as we preach the gospel to the nations. I look forward to all that Jesus will do through this incredible time in our church. May God receive all glory, honor, and praise. 

Experiencing God's Passion

The last words that Jesus spoke while on this earth are words that drive the church’s focus and passion. As Jesus was ascending, He turned to His disciples and said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” These last words of Christ to His church reveal His heart, and as believers in Jesus Christ our hearts need to beat in time with His. 

There are a couple of opportunities that will take place this month that will aid us in keeping in step with God’s heart. Let me share these with you. First, when we look at the Gospels, we can plainly see that God has a special place in His heart for children. He wants them to come to Him, to grow in Him, to love Him. On October 23rd, we will have the great pleasure to hear and interact with Melissa MacDonald, The Alliance National Children’s Director. She will share how we can better lead children to know Christ and better strategies to share that love with them. There will be a time for questions and answers for anyone involved with Children’s ministries at 10am that Sunday. This is an amazing opportunity for us and I’m looking forward to how God will work. 

We also see God’s heart for missions. Our first core value in The Alliance states, “Lost people matter to God: He wants them found.” We need to have a huge heart for missions, and on October 29th, we have a great opportunity to hear about how Alliance Missions work and allowing God to impassion us for this great commission work. Our Vice-President for International Ministries will be speaking and sharing God’s heart for us. This opportunity is open to anyone who has a passion for missions. 

I’m excited to see where God is going to take us and impassion us for. 

 

How Far Will You Go?

I absolutely love sports.  I love playing them.  I love watching them live or on TV.  Even as I begin to write this letter I am looking forward to Opening Day of the baseball season!  I am fortunate to have been given the ability to participate in playing sports.  But the culture of sports is rapidly changing—there’s more competition and specialization of sports—all for the hope of having the opportunity to make it to college or even the professional level in that sport. 

I have had the opportunity to chat with some parents lately who have described the lengths that they are willing to go to in order to allow their children every opportunity to succeed at their sports.  From driving incredible distances to hundreds or even thousands of dollars being spent on lessons, travel or equipment, there’s no length that these parents will not go.

Whether or not you agree with the parents’ positions on raising their children is not the subject of this article.  In fact, these conversations got me thinking along a different line—how far am I willing to go to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to know Jesus Christ?  This is the question that is before us here at CDAC and even for the Church of Jesus worldwide.  How far are you willing to go?

God has and continues to work mightily in our midst.  Our baptism services on Easter Sunday were such an encouragement to me.  In fact, this is the most people we’ve baptized in a year since I’ve been here!  We are seeing people saved by the gospel of Jesus Christ all the time in our ministries and through your sharing of the truth with your friends and neighbors.  God is working. 

 But with all of this, we have some challenges.  There’s no denying it.  But what we have to ask ourselves is how far are we willing to go to make sure that these obstacles don’t block access to Jesus?  How much would you pay to bring the gospel to just one person?  How willing would you be to answer God’s call and serve in a ministry that might be new to you?  Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:2-3, “Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.  We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry.”  Paul wouldn’t let anything block people from Jesus—not his rights, not the ministry, not finances, not personal preferences.  His goal was people coming to Jesus.

The question lies with you.  How serious are you about bringing the gospel to this community?  To this nation?  To the world?  My prayer is that we all would seek God for His wisdom and plan and then follow with reckless abandon as we see Him do some amazing things!

Merry Christmas!

There’s a popular question being asked in households all over the nation and even around the world at this time of year: “What do you want for Christmas?” Living in a house with a 5 and a 2 year old brings about a sense of excitement every time a commercial comes on advertising the new great toy that they just have to get. We hear words like, “I want that, Daddy,” or “I really like that,” with their gleeful smiles and hopeful pleas. I must admit that I do like hearing my kids get excited about what they want for Christmas.

But one thing that I’ve noticed about my household is that I haven’t been asked what I want for Christmas? So since I haven’t been asked, I will share it with you all. This is what I want for Christmas—for the Church worldwide to give the rest of the world a reason to say “Merry Christmas!”

You might be wondering what I mean by that sentiment. This is what’s going through my heart and mind. We can see all around us how our culture is moving away from a celebration of Christmas to a celebration of “The Holidays”. I know that many of you hate hearing “Happy Holidays” from the bank teller or checkout person. We often try to correct them with a “Merry Christmas” back at him, but to little or no avail.

Let me propose an alternative for getting upset at people. Instead of allowing your blood to boil, give them the reason for why we celebrate Christmas—the coming of our Savior! Isaiah 9:6 reminds us of the purpose of Jesus’ coming as it reads, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

My friends, without Jesus there is no reason to wish anyone a “Merry Christmas.” It is only through a relationship with Jesus that your Christmas can be merry.

Share Christ. Share His Hope. Share His Love. Share His Gospel. This is the greatest Christmas present anyone can give or receive.

Pastor Adam K. Sellen, Lead Pastor

Connect with Christ

“Can you sum up the entire Bible in one sentence?”  This question has been asked of me before and I’ve also posed it to others.  I’ve heard many interesting answers, such as “God’s instructions to us so that we can live,” or “God’s plan for the redemption of mankind from their sins.”  These are some of the better answers that I’ve been given—some weren’t thought out very well, so I won’t share those.  I want to give you an opportunity to answer this question before you continue to read this article.  Can you sum up the entire Bible in one sentence?

So what was your answer?  When I answer this question, I see the Bible revealing the heart of God to connect with His people.  When we start in Genesis, we notice that God created Adam and Eve in order to have a relationship with them.  Even after the fall, God continues to give people opportunities to connect with Him, and even paying the price Himself for this connection to take place.  God longs to connect with you!

We spent time in the month of June dealing with the steps that are necessary to take in order to accomplish our vision of “Living for God: Loving His People.”  We need to understand that our greatest purpose as a church is to make sure that people connect with Jesus.  While this is a simple phrase, we need to understand what this looks like, and how we plan to connect people with Jesus.

First of all, we connect people with Jesus through the message of the gospel.  A.B. Simpson, the founder of The Alliance, spent incredible amounts of time reaching for the disenfranchised and outcasts of society on the boat docks of New York City.  We need to be a people who are doing the same things. 

We are working with our ministries to develop strategies to equip people to talk about Jesus.  We also realize that connecting people with the message involves getting the message to the masses.  We do this through personal relationships (talking about Jesus with your friend or coworker).  We also use the benefits of technology to share the truth of Christ with our community, and even the world!

We also connect with Jesus through our worship services.  We are working hard to make sure that the music, Scripture passages, preaching, technology, and other creative outlets are leading people into the presence of our Lord Jesus and helping them connect with the Savior!

Jesus longs for a deep relationship with the people He created.  Some know Him, some do not.  My friends, we need to be in the business of seeing people connect with Jesus in deep, meaningful ways.    

A Trust Exercise

Originally Posted January 29, 2015 By Pastor Adam

We had a unique opportunity to participate in something that, I would imagine, was quite difficult for the people of Circle Drive Alliance.  But before I let you all know what went on, let me take you back to 4 weeks ago and the challenge that I laid out before the congregation during our worship on that brisk January morning.

The morning worship service began as many of them do–a great time of worship through singing and then proceeding into a time of prayer.  As I was heading to the stage and preparing my heart to lead the congregation in a time of prayer, I felt led to offer the congregation an opportunity to ask the Lord Jesus over the next 3 weeks to pray and ask the question, “How do you want me to participate in sharing the hope of Jesus?”

I left it to the congregation to pray and I’ve heard some great stories of how God was leading them through this time of prayer.  Then we came to this past Sunday and I challenged the congregation to write on an index card the answers that God had given them of how each one can participate in sharing the hope of Jesus.  “Does He want me to pray for workers or pray for the lost?”  Then write that down.  “Does He want me to be faithful in giving of my finances?”  Then write down a number or percentage that He’s calling you to trust Him with.  “Does He want you to go, whether here in our community or to another culture?”  Then take the next steps to find out where to go and what to do.  This exercise stretched me and I know others into really hearing what God has for me and for us.

Now that the exercise is over, I’m now in the position to ask this question of myself–do I really trust God to provide and lead me in these areas?  Do I trust Him with my finances?  Do I trust Him to equip me to serve in ministries or even as the one who shovels the snow?  I know that I don’t have all of the answers on this, but I’m reminded that our God is faithful to do all that He has promised to do.  My encouragement to you and also to myself is this–if God has called us to do something, let’s trust Him and do it!  He will never let you down.  What a great trust exercise this has been and continues to be!

A Quick Thought

Originally Posted December 29, 2014 By Pastor Adam

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is over.  We’ve been discussing the Advent season and Christmas ministries among our office staff since September!  I know that I was so blessed by the ministries and services this year, and I’ve heard from many others that the same could be said of them as well.  God really showed up in a big way in the lives of our church, and I pray that He will continue to do so in the lives of the everyone who’s checking out this blog today and for those who are really, honestly, and passionately seeking the Lord Jesus on a daily basis.

Since we put so much time and effort into the Christmas ministries, as a pastor I need a break.  I packed up my car on Christmas day and headed out for some much-needed R&R.  My family and I have been having a wonderful time of just having some fun with each other.  I always bring a book for the down time that I have and pray that the Lord would renew my spirit and allow me to rest.  I would not normally post to my blog while on vacation, but there was such a great lesson that came to me yesterday that I had to take some time to remind us all about it, especially as we look with anticipation for the coming of 2015.

I chose the book “The Fourfold Gospel” by A.B. Simpson to read this week.  If you’re not familiar with this book, A.B. Simpson was the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the denomination that I pastor in (check outwww.cmalliance.org for more information on who we are and what we do and how to get involved).  This book outlines something that he called the Fourfold Gospel–that we see Jesus as our Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King.  Because of my background with The Alliance, these terms are not new to me.  But, in the middle of the section on Christ as Savior, a very simple yet profound thought came to me.  I realized how often we as human beings attempt to forge past the basics and feast on the deep truths, and yet forget that the basics are the deepest of truths.  As I was reading through the pages, there weren’t any new great truths revealed, no greater and deeper instruction into theological principles, just an unwavering commitment to fully understand the basics of my own salvation, which led me to a very wonderful time of praise.

Everyone, we live in a world that it constantly tempted to press on for that which is new, when we might in fact find the new in what we would consider the very basics.  As we go through 2015, my prayer for you and for me is that we would settle down and listen to God as He continues to minister to us these very basics that, to be quite frank, many of us still struggle to understand.  Oh what a blessing awaits when we fully grasp who Christ is in our lives.  May God richly bless you in this upcoming year!