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Two significant things happened in my life last month which caused me to ask 2 very serious questions.

First, I attended a United Prayer Meeting on Independence Day and the Lord asked me a question which really shook me. After 70 Years of Independence:

“Why have you not finished the task in Sri Lanka?”

Secondly, I was in a Pentecostal World Missions Committee meeting in Rome on February 21st when news came that Billy Graham was dead. The world’s greatest Evangelist is dead!

The second question was “Is Evangelism Dead in Churches in Sri Lanka?”

The answer to this second question will determine is the answer to the 1st question.

Think about this:
Sri Lanka is only a very small Island with every possible means to reach its 20 Million people. The Island is only 270 miles long and 150 miles wide and has 12,379 kms of motorable roads and other thousands of access roads to every one of the 33,000 villages in the country. There are no uncivilized tribes, high mountains, deserts or jungles where people are not accessible. There is opportunity in radio, TV, internet, print media and all the modern tools and ministries as 99% are literate. No lack of funds as Millions of rupees is spent every month on Christian ministries and activities. AG Churches alone spends over quarter of a billion rupees annually (apart from other millions spent on buildings and assets) on just maintaining our Churches, Pastors and programs!!!

There are no laws to prohibit preaching the Gospel (although we are praying fearfully against it and not doing anything when we have freedom). We have had 500 years of Christian history (100 years of AG) with thousands of Christians and Churches and Organizations ever busy doing something or other. 

WHY HAVE WE NOT FINISHED IT?
Although Billy Graham is known to have preached to millions, his greatest achievement was when in 1974 he called an International Congress of World Evangelization in Lausanne Switzerland to mobilize the “Whole Church to take the Whole Gospel to the Whole World”. His passion was not to preach the Gospel to the same people over and again, but to Finish the Task. The Lausanne covenant says that:

”The Goal of Evangelism should be, by all available means and at the earliest possible time, that every person will have the opportunity to hear, understand, and to receive the good news.”

WHY HAVE WE FAILED TO DO THIS IN SRI LANKA?
Are we not accountable before God for this? What is our excuse?
We have failed to use ‘all available means’ in ‘earliest possible time’ to give ‘every person an opportunity’!
There are around 300,000 Evangelical Christians in our nation and the ratio between Christians and Unevangelized is 1:70. District wise, it ranges between 1:200 to 1:600 in some districts.

The AG being the largest protestant denomination in Sri Lanka is greatly responsible for this failure. 95% of all Church work is focused on Maintenance of their believers, building and programs – not on Evangelism.

Can we go on maintaining our Churches and ministries without fulfilling the GREAT COMMISSION?
This is why we have presented to you the ‘GREAT MISSION’ which is based on the Great Commission.
Therefore, I want you to focus on the 5 aspects of the Mission in the coming 5 months.

This month, we want to focus on the first aspect of our GREAT Mission – Glorifying God.

What does it mean to Glorify God?
“For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.”
(Romans 11:36)

Paul gives us the Overall Purpose of our existence – ‘To Glorify God in ALL things’ –   including your life. The reason we have failed our Nation is that we have not considered this supreme priority in our lives.

There are 3 things we want you to do in the coming month:

  1. Study and meditate on this Scripture Romans 11:36 and see how your life is in God’s plan of Glorifying Himself through us. (There are 375 references to ‘Glory’ in the Bible.)
  2. Do a Personal Evaluation of your life by answering the Questionnaire prepared for this.
  3. Preach in your Church for 2-3 Sundays on messages on Glorifying God. We will provide an outline . Let me give brief summary of Romans 11:36.

a. First – All things are ‘From Him’. 

This means you are created by God – Yes, you came “From God” for the specific purpose of Glorifying God. You did not come from your parents but from God, and therefore your background and history does not matter. You must believe that God is able to use you for His purpose – only if you surrender to Him. Why not give yourself fresh to this purpose alone?

b. Secondly – All things are ‘Through Him’. For us humans, there is no other way than Obedience to declare God’s Glory.

If you came from God, He can work to fulfil His purposes ‘through Him’ in your life. You can allow everything that happens to turn for His Glory. However, it requires your obedience and faith for God to turn them for His glory.
Psalms 19:1 says “Heavens declare the Glory of God” because all creation obeys Him. For us humans, there is no other way than Obedience to declare God’s Glory.

c. Thirdly – All things are ‘For Him’

We own nothing in this life and must say like Job, ‘naked I came – naked I will return’.

Everything we have is on loan! All what happens in your life are intended “For HIM” – to bring Glory to Him. What can you take to Heaven from this earth? Your possessions or positions?
Jesus said in John 17:4: ‘I have brought glory to you on the earth by completing the work you gave me to do.”  Finishing the work God gave you is what brings God Glory.

The question is: are you doing the work God gave you? Or are you busy doing your ‘own’ work or what ‘others’ have asked you to do?

The AG Church in Sri Lanka is responsible to “Finish the Work” God has given us – to give the Gospel to every person in our Nation. If we fail to do this, we only bring Shame on God’s name.
I pray that God would give you a sense of Urgency and Responsibility to ‘finish the task in Sri Lanka.’

Ps. Michael & Debi

 

 

 

Together with the Executive Team we wish you a Wonderful Christmas and a Blessed G.R.E.A.T. Year.

As you go through this busy Christmas Season, I want to encourage you to prepare for the New Year and expect God’s favor and blessing in a fresh way in 2018!

MISSION & VISION.

In October this year, the Executive Team spent 2 days of prayer and planning to discuss the long-term plans for the AG. It was decided to clearly state our Mission and Vision to understand what we as an Organization should do and become.

By exploring all aspects of ministry and objectives, they developed this Mission and Vision Statement and subsequently a special meeting was held on November 1st, with all Regional and other key leaders to discuss and agree on this.

As an outcome of this meeting the following was decided:

Our Mission:

Assemblies of God of Ceylon exists to be a:

“God glorifying, Revived and Spirit filled Movement, Empowering and resourcing the whole Body to Advance Everywhere and Transforming nations.”

This Mission is expressed in the acronym of “GREAT” to make it easy remember, identify and express the tasks to the whole Church.

  • G. God glorifying,
  • R. Revived and Spirit filled Movement,
  • E. Empowering and Resourcing the whole Body,
  • A. Advancing Everywhere,
  • T. Transforming nations

The first and last points tells us why we do ministry: To bring Glory to God and Transform Nations. What is in-between expresses us how and what we should do!

The Mission of every Local Church:

The Assemblies of God gives each Local Church the freedom to function in different locations and contexts with different styles and methods. Yet, our final Mission is One. That is what Jesus intended us to do: To fulfil His Mission on earth!

Therefore, as a Movement, a common Mission Statement helps us to align ourselves and unify all our efforts to enlarge our influence.

2018 – Becoming G.R.E.A.T. for God.”

I believe the best way to experience God’s Blessing and Favor in the New Year is the prepare for it.

2018 can truly be a GREAT Year for you by committing yourself to fulfil the Mission of God in your Church.

Thank you for your partnership in the GREAT Mission!Blessings,

Ps. Michael & Debi.

 

 

 

The Assemblies of God primarily consists of Pastors, Churches and Members of each Congregation. We are a movement that gathers for fellowship, corporate worship, and passionate sharing of the gospel.  

The Executive Presbytery of the Assemblies of God in Sri Lanka desires to see every aspect of this movement developed and advanced in the coming year.

We call every Member and Church to partner in establishing God’s Kingdom by understanding the various functions and upholding the ministry of the Assemblies of God of Ceylon.

Pastors: Enrichment and Development

‘And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers…..  for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ’ Ephesians 4:11-13

Pastors and Leaders are the most vital part of our movement as they are called to serve in equipping every believer to fulfill Christ’s purpose on earth. The AG therefore plans to focus on Pastoral Enrichment, Leadership Development and Pastoral Care.

Churches:  Growth and Development

The Church is called to represent Christ on earth. Equipping the church to fulfill this divine mandate therefore becomes an important priority. Equipping the church for Evangelism and Discipleship is the mandate given to the church in the great commission. Churches must also focus on growth and development by seeking to upgrade their standards and widen their outreach.

Organization: Development

AG is a fellowship of all Churches who subscribe to the Biblical Fundamental truths.

We consider the Bible to be the Word of God, which is the only authority and the foundation for all faith and practice.

The council of the Assemblies of God of Ceylon comprises of all ministers of the local churches. The national leadership is known as the Executive Presbytery headed by the General Superintendent. Our ministries are further led by 12 geographical Regional Councils each headed by a Presbyter.

We seek to transform our communities and the nation with our spiritual and moral influence. This, we believe, is our mandate and reason for existence in this land.

Pastor Michael

CHURCH HEALTH

I want to focus on the health of the Church in the coming months to help us develop strong and healthy churches. Healthy Churches make a Healthy Organization.

However, the vital key for having Healthy Church is having a “Healthy Pastor”.

Some years back we had Pastor John Iluiano from Australia who spoke to us about Discipleship and shared some insights in to Pastor’s health which I want to share with you this month.

PASTOR’S HEALTH

A pastor’s health is directly related to the health of the church. If the pastor is not healthy it will always affect the church’s functioning and if a pastor is not operating at optimum potential then the church will suffer.  

Some of the signs of an unhealthy pastor are:

1. Running on empty – not taking enough time to replenish the physical, spiritual and emotional tanks.   Constantly overworked and under-rested.

2. Isolated – spending too much time with people who are draining and not enough time with people who are enriching.

3. Caught in a rut and not able to get out of it – continually doing the same thing with limited results.

4. Resentful – not dealing with past hurts, allowing them to build up.

5. Discouraged – not seeing dreams fulfilled.

Signs of Healthy Pastor:

On the other hand, a healthy pastor will exhibit:

1. High levels of energy, enthusiasm, strength and vision.

2. In this environment, people are easily motivated to volunteer and follow the vision.

3. Things get done because the healthy pastor is leading the way.

In order to be healthy every pastor needs to consider these areas

A.  LEARN TO READ YOUR GAUGES

Bill Hybels speaks about reading the gauges that govern our lives can assess a pastor’s health. Just as a car or a motorbike has gauges that monitor the various levels of fuel, temperature, oil pressure, water temperature, speed, etc, so too do we.

Hybels suggests the importance of reading at least three gauges. These gauges need to be read in such a way that declares whether they are full and healthy, low and needing a top up, or empty and drastic action needs to be taken for repairs.

 It is critical that we are not running on empty as serious long-term complications can occur.

Hybel’s three gauges include:

1. The Physical Gauge.

 This is an assessment of our physical body. It relates to our fitness, our weight, our eating habits, our sleeping habits, general well-being, our demeanor and the overall way we present ourselves. Every pastor needs to take a weekly day off and have regular annual leave.

2. The Spiritual Gauge.

 This is an assessment of how well we are doing spiritually. It relates to the spiritual disciplines of our devotional life, our prayer life, our faith life, our praise and worship, our walking in the Spirit and overcoming the works of the flesh. Every pastor should take time off and leave in order to refresh his/her spirit, gain vision and spiritual strength to take the church forward.

3. The Emotional Gauge.

This is an assessment of how well we are emotionally. It relates to our reserves of emotional energy in giving out to people and how well we bounce back after emotionally depleting situations. (in ministry there are many situations like that)

  • Are we keeping a sweet and positive spirit about the ministry? 
  • Are we getting angry quickly? Are we avoiding phone calls and people?
  • Are we isolating ourselves?

Find a sport, a hobby, something you enjoy doing that replenishes your emotional tank. The emotional tank, once empty, takes a long time to fill. My emotional tank gets full when I spent time with my grandchildren!

The big question to ask is: What do you do that REPLENISHES you?

Most Pastors have moral failure, internet porn and illicit relationships primarily due to lack of ‘emotional’ replenishing.

B. INVEST INTO RELATIONSHIPS
1. Relationship with Family.

The most critical relationship a pastor has is the relationship with his/her family. Invest into your spouse (if you are married) and invest into your children (if you have any). Without intentional investment into these relationships it is easy for the pressures of ministry to place enormous stress on family relationships. Every married couple needs to have regular nights alone and every family needs to have regular family nights.

2. Relationships with Others.

        Every pastor, in order to remain healthy, needs three levels of relationships.

a. People into whom we invest. This include your congregational members and everyone to whom you minister.

b. People who are our peers. We all need friends with whom we do the journey of life, especially friends who can relate to the challenges we face because they face the same challenges.

c. People to whom we make ourselves accountable.

We need someone in our lives with whom we can be totally honest and transparent. That someone needs to have enough wisdom and experience to help us on our journey. It’s a good thing to have a mentor or a father/mother in the faith who guide us around the pitfalls of ministry and help us navigate life.

One of the greatest dangers a pastor faces is to become isolated from accountability and transparency. The Bible tells us that this type of person “rages against all wise judgment.”  (Prov. 18:1) This type of person becomes an easy target for the enemy to pick off.

C. HAVE A PLAN FOR SELF IMPROVEMENT AND GROWTH

No pastor can afford to remain stagnant in this area. We must endeavour always seeking to learn and improve our skills.  Here are six suggestions that will help us to grow

a. Professional Development. Develop skills like computer, IT, writing, social media, or other skills.

b. Read books, journals, articles, papers, etc.

c. Attend conferences.

d. Listen to CDs, MP3s, podcasts, etc

e. Enroll into a degree or recognised course. Enroll for Bth, or Global University course.

f. Interview other ministers, especially those who are doing something a little different with some measure of success.

D. UNDERSTAND HOW TO SET BOUNDARIES

Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives:

a. Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances.

b. Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions.

c. Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others.

d. Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God’s will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator. Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations.

E. CLARIFY THE WIN

Very often pastors set their goals so high they struggle to reach them. The problem with this is that wins are infrequent and celebrations even less so. Without a win and a subsequent celebration, the pastor is subjected to a life of constant toiling.

1. Define what a win looks like in your setting.

In church settings we are called to care for people and see them fulfill their God-given destiny. Consequently if people are being cared for in our church, that is a win. If people are coming to Christ, that is a win. If people follow Christ through water baptism, that is a win. If families bring their children to church to be dedicated, that is a win. As you can see, there are many wins if we take time to clarify them.

2. Celebrate accomplishments.

Every win is an opportunity for celebration. Make sure there are many celebrations in the life of your church. What you celebrate you validate.

3. Set yourself up for success.

Set yourself up for success and also the people around you. Make sure that there are lots of wins on the journey. A journey without wins is an uphill climb that has the potential of breaking our spirit. There is a simple remedy to build encouragement and overcome discouragement. Clarify the win.

Pastor, How is Your Health?

Honestly evaluate your health again by reading this note again.

Once you determine your personal health, then you can start working on your Church Health.

Blessing

Pastor Michael & Debi.

January 2017

Posted: January 31, 2017 in Excerpt from Newsletters
md-chairman

Rev. Michael Dissanayeke, Chairman / General Superintendent

Restoring Honor
Building the ‘Kingdom Culture of Honor’

When Jesus promised to Build His Church in Matthew 16: 18-19, He also said that He has given us the ‘Keys of the Kingdom’ of Heaven. Just as keys are small objects which have the power to open great doors or start powerful vehicles, the “Kingdom culture of honor” can open great opportunities for you and your church. Jesus spoke more about the Kingdom of God (90 times) than the Church (twice), which implies that the Church should be having the Kingdom culture as it’s model.

 “Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10)

God in creation gave man the primary place of honor above all creation and it is said that God

“crowned him with glory and honor … made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands”. (Psalm 8:5-6)

However, sin caused man to ‘fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:2) and ever since humanity is greedy for honor, seeking it through fame and accomplishments. Since honor is reserved for few in society, many who are denied of honor suffers from poor self-esteem, brokenness and poverty. The church is given the ministry of restoring back this lost honor.

God’s plan to ‘Restore Honor’ was through Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. Instead of wearing a royal crown, Jesus wore a ‘crown of thorns’ which was intended to mock Him, which represented the ‘thorns’ of curse inherited by Adam in the garden. Jesus took ‘all’ shame and dishonor inherited by humanity to restore to you the ‘crown of glory and honor’.  

Therefore our culture should be different from the world’s culture of shame and guilt, instead we can restore honor and give value and Honor to our brothers and sisters above ourselves. God’s honor is not expendable; the more you give – the more you receive! 

The Church must develop this Kingdom Culture of honor, because God not only restores honor individually, but also to the whole Body of which you are a part. Today the Church represents that Kingdom inclusive of diversity of people churches, cultures and languages.

If we can unite in purpose together, there is so much God can do through every member and church in our nation. We should be giving “greater honor to that part which lacks it… that the members should have the same care for one another” (1 Corinthians 12:24-25).

Can you imagine if all our churches and believers will rise up together in ‘One Vision’ and “One Purpose” giving honor to one another, what God can achiever through such ‘Kingdom culture of Honor”?

It will heal the wounds of shame, brokenness, and poverty in our Nation, and will restore esteem and value to release God’s blessing over our Nation.

I urge you to commit yourself to living in this ‘Kingdom culture’ and be an example to the world we live in. To see this culture looks like, I encourage you to read Romans 12:9-21 every day for a month, and see the transforming effect of this Kingdom culture in your life and church.

We also encourage you to commit yourselves to fulfilling this “One Vision” by uniting, praying and engaging in this Kingdom Culture.

Article in Sinhala and Tamil available in the “Revival”

March 2016

Posted: March 31, 2016 in Excerpt from Newsletters
Rev Gerald Senn

Rev. Gerald Senn – General Tresurer

GOD’S UNFAILING ECONOMY

You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich. 2 Cor 8:9

Dear friend,

Two important factors that assists the progress of a family and a nation are :

A stable government

A stable economy

Focusing on the latter, we see much failure worldwide.  The much spoken about China is today struggling. 

God offers a challenge to the Christian to experience His unfailing provision much different to what the world system says.

World –  ‘save and you will have more’

God –  ‘Give and you will be given more’

Remember that God says, He is the source and he chooses whom he will use in the process of giving.

When the widow gave to the man of God, she really honoured God and as a result her blessings were plentiful and lifesaving. 

Though the practice of saving is good, the habit of giving is excellent.

The scriptures clearly encourage us in the area of giving. Luke 6:38

In saving, we keep part of what we had, but in giving to God, He gives back to us in full measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, from God’s resources and not from what we had.

Do not miss out on God’s unfailing economy! Giving is in God’s heart and He started the process, so we may be blessed abundantly. 2 Cor 8:9

In giving we become part of His plan to bless our families and our nation.

God actively interacts with us in the following two ways:

1. God rewards giving 

In Malachi Ch. 3, He challenges the giver to prove His faithfulness

He promises unlimited provision from heaven’s resources and assures abundance. Vs 10

Failure to give exposes man to be as a thief. Vs. 8

Ensure that you flow in God’s plan of blessing.

2. God commends our generosity

In Mark 12:41-44, the description of giving by various groups of people are highlighted and at times it makes us uncomfortable. Jesus does not condemn the poor widow for giving her all!  He measures giving not by the quantity (amount) given but rather in the proportion or percentage given.  Jesus carefully watched the giving by the various groups of people-rich, middle class, poor and taught His disciples the essence of giving.

God’s economy surpasses all other worldly systems.  Are you linked to God’s economy? If not get into it now.

November 2015

Posted: November 27, 2015 in Excerpt from Newsletters
SdeS-GenSec

Rev. Dr. Senaka de Silva, General Secretary

A Window of Opportunity

“I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” Revelation 3:8

Dear Friend

As we approach the end of yet another year and most of us are thinking of what God has in store for us in 2016 I appeal for us to be clearly focused on what the Spirit is saying. Numerous incidents in the past few months have repeatedly challenged us to see the opportunities God has placed before the church in Sri Lanka. If we are sensitive today we will realize this is an opportune moment divinely orchestrated.

Despite the circumstances in the past, spiritual renewal has revived our pastors and churches. They recognize the forces of darkness against the church and exercised their spiritual authority. They pressed on to fulfill the mandate of the church. However, the increasing obstacles or the regional spiritual atmosphere, for too long has made us to only blame the darkness. Sadly, some of us are still living in that same mentality. The light has already dawned on us and a new window of opportunity is before us. Let us be reminded that the purpose of our existence as a movement is for the sole purpose of being Christ’s witnesses and touch our communities with the A Window of Opportunity Power and Love of God. We may choose to do so in our own little way, but the time has come for us to accelerate all our efforts. Let us be careful to not let anything hinder us that would divert our attention elsewhere and toward other petty issues. There should be no barriers caused by us the church to reach the perishing world. We must support and be involved in every possible way to make Christ known. At times this may result in us having to do things that are uncomfortable. But let us commit to deal with such things, because the world that is perishing cannot wait.

 The words of Jesus to the church in Philadelphia were a call to action. It is a call to engage, to see, to move and take hold of the divine opportunities created for the church. However, some may choose to take those same words only as an encouragement and fold their hands with expectation for God to accomplish His purposes. Jesus also warned the church in the same passage to hold on tight to the things that the church has received. He warns of being complacent and losing out on what Christ has granted when He says ‘hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown’ (3:11). In the past we have stumbled over many things but today we cannot afford to. Instead when God opens the door we must be sensitive enough to seize the moment and do what He prompts us to do. Some of us have been sensitive to the voice of the Spirit and stepped out in faith to reach the lost. Some have employed innovative strategies as prompted by the Spirit. It is those who touch heaven that can change earth.

Let us also commit to pray and seek His face, be in His presence and receive divine guidance. With the goal of fulfilling the divine mandate before us we must also unite and build our relationship amongst the breatheran that alone will bring God’s favour and propel us towards achieving our objectives. We have a window of opportunity to join our hands, pray on our knees and commit to serve the communities in need as Jesus promises us to give us His favor, His anointing and His continual presence. 

July 2015

Posted: September 15, 2015 in Excerpt from Newsletters
Rev. Dishan Wickramaratne, Chairman / General Superintendent

Rev. Dishan Wickramaratne, Chairman / General Superintendent

The world we live in today is increasingly loosing their faith in the future and the desperation of the end times is leading people to look for a illusive solution. As we watch events unfold right before our eyes what is our response.

I am reminded of the Lord’s words “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor?” So, it is important that we, as a Pentecostal church with a hundred years of maturity behind us, do influence our nation effectively.

We live in rapidly changing times. Our nation is experiencing change and the wider Christian community is also experiencing change. We can see clearly a move of God in an end time context. There is a new and refreshing breeze of the Spirit over our land and we must be sensitive to what God is doing. As Paul says in Galatians “since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Many of our churches are refocusing on the work of the Spirit, and it is my deep desire to see a return to the first century patterns, with the free flow of the gifts in our services. We have taken meaningful steps in this direction as a body. We held the Senior Pastors’ Encounter camp in April, with a focus on the prophetic ministry, and the next Encounter camp would be in September at Pamunugama and conducted in the Tamil language.

In keeping with the spirit of evangelism I am happy to see that over the past few years our churches have been encouraged to develop a congregation that is involved in witnessing. Pastors need to keep this constantly before their people. We need to be involved in both personal and mass evangelism. We should be working on this in cooperation with other churches too – the world in which we live is desperately in need of the gospel. In this context the work of Rev. Roy Isaac with a vision for a mass witness to the nation conducting successful mass rallies in Colombo, Kandy, and Batticaloa, working together with the wider church community is commendable. At Batticaloa the President of the country accepted his invitation to be present, and made a very positive speech assuring Christians of his commitment to ensuring that all enjoy the freedom they are entitled to.

His presence gave additional recognition to the mission to bless the nation.

Our influence must reach the whole community, and ultimately the nation. I encourage you to be an agent of change in what God is doing in our land in these crucial days.

You are constantly in my remembrance and prayers.

Your friend and brother,

March 2015

Posted: March 19, 2015 in Excerpt from Newsletters
Rev. Dishan Wickramaratne, Chairman / General Superintendent

Rev. Dishan Wickramaratne, Chairman / General Superintendent

I thank God for the team He has given us as we step out with new confidence, knowledge and vision as we move forward in building His Kingdom. I also thank God for the Regional Presbyters and the Credentials Committee, that in their capable hands our organisation will continue to grow from strength to strength. The year 2014 has been a landmark year for the Assemblies of God of Ceylon. We commemorated ‘A Century of Blessing’-100 years of AG in Sri Lanka – with a grand celebration at the Havelock Sports Club and overflowing to the adjacent Colts Cricket Club Grounds in Colombo together with 23,000+ believers from across the country. This milestone served to validate the legacy of our forefathers; to demonstrate in a vibrant way that this is not a mere mushroom denomination, but an enduring and growing body of believers. It was indeed a wonderful occasion to see worshippers from all corners of Sri Lanka gathered in one place praising God, and ushering in the next century together in prayer.

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.