December 2013

Posted: December 19, 2013 in Excerpt from Newsletters
Rev. Dishan Wickramaratne, Chairman / General Superintendent

Rev. Dishan Wickramaratne, Chairman / General Superintendent

We have had a fine Annual Conference in August and are looking forward to a wonderful 2014 as we commemorate 100 years of the Assemblies of God of Ceylon. This is truly a significant period for us all. I want to thank all who made the conference a blessed time and those who are working together to make the Centenary year a success too. Let us look to the Lord as He guides us through a time which is also significant in our nation.

Ordination

The six candidates for ordination and their spouses being prayed for by the leadership and their spouses.

Ours is a nation emerging from a military conflict that engulfed us for so many decades. While we strive for justice and reconciliation a new wave of religious conflict has appeared on the horizon. It is now no longer only attacks on Churches; attacks on mosques and businesses owned by Muslims have been on the rise. We have to carry out the mission of the Church (Mathew 28:16-20) – to go, to make disciples, baptize and teach them to obey in the midst of this.

Christ was the embodiment of good tidings of great joy (Luke 2:10). He went about healing the sick, giving rest to the weary and salvation to those who were lost. He was the good news. But one day as the disciples were following him Jesus said to them “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children…. he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26–27). A second dimension of the gospel became evident. Following Christ would not be easy. Persecution, personal sacrifice and even losing one’s family awaited those serving God.

Today the majority will prefer the comfort of Christ rather than the humiliation of following Christ at great personal cost. The temptation to us shepherds of the flock is to preach a gospel of comfort rather than a gospel of challenge. The risk of losing the crowd can keep us from preaching the whole message. It is only the disciple who has been birthed in the Gospel of Challenge that will be able to withstand the wave of persecution.

The early Church in Acts 4 was

  • A Praying and a Spirit-filled Church. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (vs.31); a Church with the Lord’s favour and a holy Church •
  • A Witnessing Church. “And (they) spoke the word of God boldly” (vs.31)
  • A United Church. “All the believers were one in heart and mind” (vs.32)
  • A Sharing Church. “No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had” (vs.32)
  • A Powerful Church. “With great power the Apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” (vs. 33)
  • A Favoured Church. “… and much grace was upon them all” (vs. 33)

I am indebted particularly to those of you who have been insulted and suffered physical and psychological abuse during the past few months. Dearest partner in the Gospel, it may look like a long night but the morning will dawn. Sri Lanka is the land of our birth. God, who placed us here, has called us to plead on behalf of our countrymen for salvation and healing. Let us continue to discharge our God ordained responsibility irrespective of the cost. You are constantly in my remembrance and prayers.

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