Dear Men –
Happy New Year! It is hard to believe that we are now four months into our 13th year of gathering at the Lodge and other venues in our city.
As we start the New Year, I wanted to share some reflections on how the Lord has blessed our gatherings and positioned us for service in His Kingdom. I hope this will encourage us to give thanks for the relational network we have been given and be intentional about “ordering our ways before the Lord” in the coming year.
I often ask myself what is the purpose to our just showing up at our weekly gatherings? I believe it is to gain strength and courage for the cities of our God (1 Chr 19:13), to be a faithful presence impacting our spheres of influence and the cities to which God has called us.
This begs the question of how do we gain strength, courage, wisdom and knowledge to be a faithful presence. It seems that scripture provides much insight into this. It includes many passages but some of my favorites include the following:
By ordering our ways before the Lord (2 Chr 27:6) - intentionality
Leading “mighty warriors” (2 Chr 26:11) - partnership
“Blowing the trumpets” for the men we serve (2 Chr 13:14) - boldness
Appointing “leaders, commanders, and officers” (1 Chr 29:6) – leadership
Increasingly we observe that our “just showing up” is evolving into “going out” which brings with it a missional or service component. I see it in the context of discipleship. Flourishing requires stepping into the life about which Jesus spoke, the abundant life, and “missional living” is a tested pathway toward that life.
Scripture reminds us that our role may include that of being “Gatekeepers” in the city where God has planted us (1 Chr 25:13). We will do well if we follow what is recorded in 2 Chr 6:31:
Fear God (knowledge and humility)
Walk in His ways (character, values, true heart)
All the days given (endurance and strength)
In the land given (location and calling)
What fruit should we observe if we are showing up and going out and embracing missional living in the context of a relational community with true hearts united for the Lord (2 Chr 16:9; 2 Chr 30:12)?
I like to think of this fruit by the term Elisha used when speaking with King Joash, “the Lord’s arrow of victory” (2 Kings 13:17). I believe the Lord provides us with “arrows of victory” or blessings which we can return to him as an offeri
ng of obedience and courage in His service.
Isn’t it interesting that our NCS logo has an archer with the bow pointed eastward just as Elisha instructed King Joash! Do we have the strength and discipline, unity and friendship, and clarity of purpose to strike the floor 5 or 6 times before shooting?
Therefore as we begin 2018, I would like to share my prayer for the men in our Winston Salem Chapter of NCS and the relational network with whom we partner in Jesus’ Kingdom:
“May we be men of valour (Judges 6:12) with true hearts (2 Chr 16:9) united for the Lord (2 Chr 30:12) and may we order our ways before the Lord (2 Chr 27:6) and man the gates in the cities to which he has called us (1 Chr 25:13), both at home and abroad.”