These six months have seen the disciples really pushing in, striving to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 3:18). This has meant for all of us more death to the flesh and further reliance on His strength (grace), and obedience to His Word (knowledge – according to 1 Jn 2:4). Interestingly the “atmosphere” around these disciples is noticeably joyful.
The Trainee Pastor mentioned in the previous blog has now been promoted to overseeing the new church on Auckland’s North Shore. And another disciple, who returned after a backslide, has now gone on to show much fruit of repentance and maturity.
Taking the Gospel to the lost, and making disciples remains our focus. We are now a familiar presence in the market area of Otara.
Because the management of the mall area changes quite often, we do not have a steady relationship with them. However, recently the Ambassadors (local low-level policing personnel) have been urging us to bring the Word, especially to be open-air preaching.
Although most people we meet call themselves Christian, many even declaring they love Jesus, the reception of the Gospel is still poor. It is common for them to smile and say “you are doing a great job; keep up the good work” and then walk off to continue their sinner lifestyle. One young fellow once declared to a disciple how Jesus was “first thing in my life”. The disciple pointed to the T-shirt the fellow was wearing which had large letters FBI, and then the small print “female body inspector”. The fellow blushed, and for a moment truth caught hold of him.
Many of the older folk are steeped in religion and are offended when younger disciples approach them with the Gospel. Often they despise the youth (1 Tim 4:12) AND the Gospel. But the disciples show patience and the other fruits of the Spirit, and occasionally we see hearts soften and folk receive the ministry .
We are now back holding our meetings in the room at the Leisure Centre where we first held services. And, as previously, we are holding our weekly services on Saturday evenings. This gives a great opportunity for all the Auckland Churches to combine for that service, and then the Otara Church gets to go to either the Manurewa or the North Shore Church on Sunday mornings. And, as before, every week there are people who check us out as they walk to and from the Leisure Centre. Our service grabs their attention, and they often linger and hear some of the Word. One time 5 or 6 came in all at once.
This month we celebrated our 3rd birthday. It was three years ago that Jesus placed the candlestick (Rev 1:20) AHKC-Otara here, and has kept Otara lit up with the light of the Gospel since. The candles have changed from time to time, but the ministry of the Word has remained the same, on the streets, and in our meetings. The Light of the world which is convicting of sin, is overcoming the dark, and showing the Way of righteousness.
Also this month we were blessed with a visit from a disciple from MCC Australia. She preached at the Otara Church, and then a week later at our Manurewa Church, as well as joining us at a home-group meeting.
Bless you blog-readers, in Jesus’ Name!