"Stretching For Jesus" - Pastor Mark's May Newsletter

Isaiah 54:2-3 – Enlarge your house; build an addition. Spread out your home, and spare no expense! For you will soon be bursting at the seams

  Zechariah 4:6 – “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, Says the Lord of hosts.”

 II Corinthians 2:14-15 – But thanks be to God! For through what Christ has done, he has triumphed over us so that now wherever we go he uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Gospel like a sweet perfume.  As far as God is concerned there is a sweet, wholesome fragrance in our lives. It is the fragrance of Christ within us, an aroma to both the saved and the unsaved all around us.

 1 Chronicles 4:10And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!”  So God granted him what he requested.

 Mark 2:22And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts thewineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined.  But new wine must be put into new wineskins.

      God wants to expand our influence for His purpose.  It’s not based on our ability.  It is the Spirit that dwells in us…all of the fullness of God that He wants to let loose through our life, and into the lives of others.  It’s not our ability that counts the most; it’s our stretch-ability. God needs and uses elastic vessels that are able to change and grow with what He is doing. The Church (that’s all of us) must be willing to be stretched beyond our norm. Our talents, gifts and personalities are different by the blueprint of God; however, we will not realize our greatest potential, or fully know who we are, or reach our maximum effectiveness unless we are stretched. Still, most of us avoid stretching, reaching and extending. Why?  For many it’s Fear! For others it’s not wanting to leave their comfort zone or maybe even their power base.

     Change is never comfortable, but God calls us to be in a continual state of change for His use. As we grow numerically, for some that isn’t comfortable. The Holy Spirit convicts each of us to continue growing spiritually, and this is always uncomfortable. Like clay in the Potter’s hands, we must be pliable and submit to Him so He can mold us into something usable for His kingdom. We all want to have the best that God has to give; yet it’s in our nature to resist being stretched.  Don’t let your unwillingness of being stretched keep you from all that God has for you. Far too many people are satisfied with praise and worship and little or no work in the Kingdom. God has plenty of work for us all. I’m humbled that He even wants to not only have a personal relationship with each of us, but entrusts His work to us! Now that’s an overwhelming thought!

Romans 12:1 – And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.

     Look for opportunities to serve the Lord. Be an encourager and a blessing both in church and outside. Share the love of Christ everywhere you go! Pray that God will continue to enlarge our territory and use us to make an eternal difference in the lives of others! Pray – “Lord stretch me for You!”