United Church of God

Personal From the President: December 9, 2021

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Personal From the President

December 9, 2021

Living Not By Might, But by the Spirit of God

We have just finished a series of meetings with the Council of Elders and our Administration here in Cincinnati. We regularly prepare extensive reports to present and discuss during these meetings.

When we review recent and future plans to advance our mission as a Church and fulfill the commission given to us, we often see plans moving forward, new advances being called into existence.

It is both humbling and exciting!

In my report to the Council, I referenced the tremendous source for how we advance our mission and vision as a church. It comes from Zechariah 4, particularly verse 6: “This is the word of the LORD . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts” (English Standard Version, emphasis added throughout).

As you may well remember, Zechariah spoke of the laying of the foundation for the temple, the very structure that would be visited and used as a physical platform by Jesus Christ Himself in His human ministry. As the little pieces started coming together in the time of Zechariah, God Himself put things in perspective: “whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice” (verse 10, ESV).

Zechariah also prophetically connected the events of those ancient days to an incredibly important future time in human history. Speaking of two olive branches, Zechariah makes their meaning plain: “These are the two anointed ones who stand by the Lord of the whole earth” (verse 14, ESV). This of course clearly is a reference to the two witnesses of Revelation 11!

As I relayed to the Council, Zerubbabel, as we know, had a rough go of it about 520 B.C. As noted above, God revealed key facts for us today.

Like then, we live today in a time of facing daunting odds, threats and overwhelming problems.

Yet we today, as did the ancient Jews in Zerubbabel’s time, hold an unbreakable promise of energy from God to finish the Work that He has given us to do.

We further know from Psalm 127:1 that “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”

I personally believe that we are living in this time of prophecy today. It is reflected and in the process of being fulfilled through the achievement of our twin mission and vision statements. We are indeed actively preaching the gospel and preparing a people to receive this marvelous incomprehensible blessing God has prepared for us (1 Corinthians 2:9). We are also firmly moving forward daily according to our vision: “A Church led by God’s Holy Spirit, joined and knit together by what every member supplies, with all doing their share and growing in love to fulfill God’s purpose for humanity to bring many children to glory” (Ephesians 4:16; Hebrews 2:20).

Sometimes when we are close to events it can be a challenge to see how things are truly advancing, especially if we are in a challenge or trial. We may only see what can be regarded as “little things.” But as the Bible shows, they can all be building blocks to great things.

During our meetings I was able to cover much of this. From our continuing Ambassador Bible College program—where future leaders are being trained—to the fact that despite lockdowns and various severe challenges related to COVID-19, we still experience good success in conducting youth camps and the Feast of Tabernacles, continue progress in international areas, and continue to conduct weekly Sabbath services. Not all organizations have been this fortunate.

Also, during these times of testing and trial, some have not perhaps fully understood how many church-related buildings have been constructed in Africa through contributions made to the Church’s Good Works program and through LifeNets contributions (both from Australia and the United States). We now have the incredible blessings of nearly a dozen all-new buildings or improved facilities for brethren in Africa.

We are also advancing steadily toward a new technology-rich and capable website for ucg.org, a project that involves literally thousands of pages. It will incorporate the latest in communication technology, enabling us to personalize our message and leverage both existing and new content in an exciting manner. It’s a complex process, but it is coming along. Your prayers for its success will be appreciated.

I emphasized this to the Council, and I will emphasize it to you personally: I appreciate your positive faith, support and encouragement in the times wherein we live. I thank all of our faithful ministers and employees who are selflessly embracing our vision and working through our mission. I thank all of our members, families and supporters who—marvelously reflecting our vision statement—are “led by God’s Holy Spirit, joined and knit together by what every member supplies, with all doing their share and growing in love to fulfill God’s purpose for humanity.” That includes you reading this column!

I thank all those who actively look to our God for help and success in doing His Work and those who look to the true living Leader of this church: Jesus Christ.

I thank those who have placed the living Jesus Christ before them and have not taken their eyes off of Him. I am confident that one day we will be surprised to see that many—if not most—of us were actually able to “walk on water” in our daily lives, and to see how we became overcomers—even conquerors (Revelation 3:12)—in our quest to receive “the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Jesus never fails us and always helps us find the way through our challenges. I believe and know that to be a fact. May God help us all to so trust in Him.

We serve an invisible but powerful God. Let us live our lives not by might, not by power, but by His Spirit!

“To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever! Amen” (1 Timothy 1:17, ESV).