Africa – I am making everything new, January 4, 2019
At this time of the year, we are usually inundated with this greeting from family, friends and many times, even strangers: “Happy New Year” and it is given with joy and hope for everyone that we share it with.
Our day to day conversation is normally baptized with the use of the word: new car, new clothes, new diet, new restaurant, new book, new TV show, new celebrity, new church family, new musical group, new song, new hobby, new best friend, new pastor, etc….
Jesus associates Himself with the word “new” throughout His Word.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor 5:17)
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.” (Rev 2:17)
“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!....’” (Rev 21:5)
We just received the testimonies from Pr. Evariste, our coordinator in Burundi. He worked in December with other pastors and leaders and coordinated 8 outreaches in 8 different communities over 16 days where they witnessed 387 new believers accept Jesus and begin their journey in the newness of Christ Jesus. With Jesus, it’s not about a new year, a new month, a new week or a new day. It is about being born again.
“I tell you the truth, whoever hears My Word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24)
Our experience has been, that in these small outreaches, the local leaders and believers pray and fast in advance for those in their community that don’t know how much God loves them. When they finally witness the Holy Spirit leading these people to the Father through faith in Jesus Christ, they rejoice and immediately take on the responsibility of discipling them through a local church family. During these outreaches, 280 believers were baptized and publicly proclaimed their new identity in Christ to everyone, including others that had not initially accepted Jesus. It is not unusual for the immediate growth in the local church families, including any new church plants, to far exceed the original number of new believers that accepted Jesus at the actual outreach, because the faith of the new believers through baptism opens even the hearts of those that didn’t respond to the original invitation to the truth and they in turn respond to the gospel. We are blessed that Pr. Evariste shares with us the numbers of people that initially accept Jesus when they make use of the sound and video equipment that we are privileged to provide, but as beautiful and encouraging as that is – it doesn’t even compare to the multiplicity that God uses to transform an entire community.