January 2020

The Calling to Witness

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).

As the Apostles stood with Jesus on the Mount of Olives, less than a mile outside of Jerusalem, it wouldn’t have been the first time they had gathered with Him near that spot, but it would be the last. They anticipated that this was an important moment. Jesus had risen from the grave, after all, and they knew everything had changed. “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” It was a fair question. The prophets had promised that the Messiah would establish an eternal Kingdom. But they had a different idea of Kingdom than Jesus had. “You will be my witnesses. . . .” Jesus’ kingdom would be one that advances not by expanding borders but by winning hearts and minds all over the world. He even presents their mission in terms of concentric circles. Jerusalem was the epicenter, but Judea was the surrounding region and Samaria the neighboring region. But even that would not be enough. “To the ends of the earth” went the call. But they would not be laboring under their own power. The Holy Spirit would empower and equip them.

The same calling the Apostles received on the Mount of Olives just moments before Jesus’ ascension into Heaven is our responsibility. At HBC, we are active supporting mission work to the ends of the earth through our Cooperative Program support and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. We have even sent mission teams that have evangelized in South America. We are active in our Judea and Samaria through various mission projects, the support of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board and the Augusta Baptist Association. But we cannot let ourselves grow comfortable in our Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit has empowered us to witness right here. Who do you know that needs the good news of Jesus? This year you will be challenged and equipped to invite them to worship and share the message of Jesus. Let’s reach our Jerusalem together!

In the love of Jesus,

Pastor Michael Wren