GROWTH in Humility

 
 

“I am the least of the apostles…” 1 Corinthians 15:9
Paul 55 AD
“I am less than the least of all God’s people…” Ephesians 3:8
Paul 61 AD
“I am the worst of sinners…” 1 Timothy 1:15
Paul 63 AD

Pride is the broad road to Hell; humility is the narrow path to Heaven. The above three statements, made over an eight year period, reveal a growing sense of humility by Paul. In 55 AD in Paul’s own words, he was “the least of the apostles;” in 61 AD, he was “less than the least of God’s people;” and in 63 AD, he was “the worst of sinners!” While writing to the Corinthian Church, Paul confesses that “conceit” (pride) was such a temptation, that God refused to remove his “thorn in the flesh” from Satan. Through this extremely difficult situation, God taught Paul that “His grace is sufficient.. [as] His power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

PRAY FOR THE INAUGURAL SERVICE OF THE CHENNAI INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH ON SEPTEMBER 21, 2014!

Interestingly, the contexts of the Scriptures in all three of Paul’s expressions of humility have grace as their theme. In 1 Corinthians 15:9-10 Paul pens, “For I AM THE LEAST OF THE APOSTLES and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” Paul shares a very challenging truth; when Paul writes that he works “harder than all of them,” the “them” refers to the Twelve Apostles! This was not an idle boast, but the truth to help the Corinthian disciples understand that one’s hard work for God is directly proportional to one’s appreciation of God’s grace. Hard work in winning souls will not earn us Heaven… no deed will. Yet where there is no hard work, few baptisms, there is little or no appreciation of the grace of God. Paul’s preaching “disturbed the comfortable and comforted the disturbed!”

ALMOST 2,000 DISCIPLES GATHERED FOR THE SUNDAY MORNING SERVICE OF THE 2014 GLC WHOSE INSPIRATIONAL THEME WAS ZION’S DREAMERS!

In Ephesians 3:7-11 Paul shares, “I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of His power. Although I AM LESS THAN THE LEAST OF ALL GOD’S PEOPLE, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, and according to His eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Paul believed because of the grace of God, his role was to reveal the mystery of the gospel that all Gentiles would be given the chance to be saved and be numbered among God’s people. In fact, the eternal purpose of the church is to “make known the manifold wisdom of God” to both Jews and Gentiles – the entire world! A while back at a Bible Talk Leaders Meeting, I shared that at the region I had attended on Sunday morning, a few disciples did not sing or even open their Bibles. I challenged the Bible Talk Leaders that if the church is to “make known the manifold wisdom of God,” we must be an “Acts 2 Church” where we help and call everyone to be “devoted… to the apostles teaching, the fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer… [And] everyone [is] filled with awe!” The ideal of Scripture must be the standard!

ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE 2014 GLC WAS THE INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD SECTOR LEADERS TO THE DISCIPLES OF THE SOLDOUT MOVEMENT!

For us to build an “Acts 2 Church,” the key is obedience to the Word of God motivated by grace. The pulpit must call disciples to obey the Word of God. (2 Timothy 4:1-2) However, equally essential is that each disciple makes disciples “teaching them to obey everything [Jesus] commanded.” (Matthew 28:20) We must expect our fellow Christians to obey God! Critics call this “control,” but the true disciple appreciates this level of involvement, concern and love. As Hebrews 3:12-13 teaches, “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Churches where disciples are multiplying have both the pulpit and every member expecting every disciple to strive to make the ideals of Scripture the standard. True, we all fall short, but this is another reason to be all the more thankful for grace! Let us all exhort each other to participate fervently in the worship of God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.” (Mark 12:30)

THE CITY OF ANGELS CHURCH ANNUAL LABOR DAY FUN DAY AND PICNIC WAS OUTSTANDINGLY DIRECTED BY LUKE & BRANDYN SPECKMAN (BLUE SHIRTS)! BLAISE FEUMBA (YELLOW SHIRT) GAVE A FIERY OPENING PRAYER!

In 1 Timothy 1:13-16, Paul urges Timothy, “Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I AM THE WORST. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, THE WORST OF SINNERS, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life.” Paul wholeheartedly believed Christ’s purpose was “to save sinners.” Now in the latter years of his life, Paul saw himself as the “worst of sinners.” He was making every effort to persuade Timothy that since he received salvation through God’s “unlimited patience,” there was hope for anyone and everyone to be saved! Biblical humility does not manifest itself in “quiet piety” but in a selfless proclamation of God’s grace. The more we grow in humility, the bolder our proclamation of Jesus. To be fruitful to glorify God, we must crucify self-doubt, self-centeredness and self-indulgence, the very sins that stop us from sharing our faith.

DAMON JAMES ELEVATES THE SCORECARD THAT SHOWED THE ORANGE COUNTY REGION NARROWLY DEFEATING THE CENTRAL/AV AND IE REGIONS TO WIN THE SPORTS COMPETITION!

Another test of our humility comes through our relationships in the body of Christ. Interestingly, there are at least seven Greek words for the English word “love:” Agape – a self-sacrificing love; Phileo – a deep friendship and comradery; Storge – the love between parents and children; Eros – sexual passion; Ludus – a playful love between children; Pragma – a mature love which develops between long-married couples who learn to make compromises through patience and tolerance; and Philautia – the positive love of self which enhances our ability to love others. In the Scriptures, only the first three appear: Agape (106 times), Phileo (27 times) and Storge (one time – which is written in a compound form in Romans 12:10 as “philostorgos”). In John 13:34-35, Jesus teaches that we “must love (agape) one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love (agape) one another.” Though all of us have experienced “friction” with other disciples often called “personality conflicts,” the key to truly having an “agape” and “phileo” love for each other is humility. Personality conflicts are understandable, but absolutely not acceptable! Unresolved personality conflicts are a lack of “agape!” Unsettled personality conflicts are sin!

THE GRILLMASTERS – MARTIN ZEPEDA, SAMEER FRENZLEY AND GINO ARIZMENDI – PREPARING A “KINGDOM FEAST” FOR THE VICTORIOUS OC REGION!

In the most well-known passage on love (agape) in 1 Corinthians 13, every quality of love requires humility, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) This is why Paul can then conclude, “Love (agape) never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:8) We must each ask ourselves a question, “Am I failing to ‘agape’ any disciple that I know – my leaders, my disciplers, my disciples, my Bible Talk, my roommates, and/or my physical family?” I have found that when I have conflict with another disciple, even if it is my beloved wife, when I choose to humble myself by making an apology or extending mercy and forgiveness, the relationship is immediately restored!

AT THE GLC, THE ICCM FACULTY AND THE BOARD OF REGENTS (ABOVE) AWARDED 58 BA DEGREES, FOUR MASTERS DEGREES, AND ONE DOCTORATE DEGREE IN MINISTRY!

In conclusion, as your Evangelist, I would like to commend all the disciples in the City of Angels Church. In January, our membership was 734 disciples. In the first eight months of the year, the Spirit has sent out from our congregation to plant churches and strengthen sister congregations 106 disciples! So amazingly in the 243 days of 2014, God has added to our number 360 disciples: 247 baptisms, 43 restorations, and 70 place memberships – several of whom have come from our former fellowships seeking revival! By witnessing so many miracles happening through God’s grace at work within us – “the lowly and despised,” this is producing a growing sense of humility in our congregation. (1 Corinthians 1:27-29)

TIRELESS WORKERS FOR THE LORD, SAL & PATRICIA VELASCO REJOICE AS THEY BAPTIZE THEIR DAUGHTER PRISCILLA AT THE GLC!

At the 2014 Global Leadership Conference just four weeks ago, we witnessed ten baptisms to conclude the Sunday morning service! Though each of these was equally exciting to God, I was personally touched by two of them. The first was the baptism of April Jones’ mom – Lita, whose husband (April’s father) tragically died just three weeks before which caused Lita to start seeking God! And the second was the baptism of Priscilla, the daughter of our dear friends and partners in the gospel, Sal & Patricia Velasco. Prayerfully these miracles will give all of us the encouragement to persevere to convert our families. Remember everyone is someone’s father, mother, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, son or daughter! Let us determine to grow in our humility to increase our passion to proclaim Christ, as well as to increase our love for one another which is the ultimate sign to a very lost world that we are true disciples of Jesus Christ! And to God be all the glory!

Dr. Kip McKean

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