Staff Actions: January 2022

Our Conversation

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We have a lot of things planned for 2022 here at AOS. Today we kick off Staff Actions, a video series aimed at bringing a different staff member in each month to share a little bit of their vision, or deliver a timely thought for the day.

I’d like to start the series off with a brief conversation about… well, about conversation. As Communications Director at AOS, I’m hoping this year to implement some changes expected to improve our ability to communicate here at the church – as well as outside our walls.

Have you ever read what the Bible says about our conversation – particularly in the Epistles? It’s easy to think those scriptures are informing us how we should talk, but in truth, that guidance goes far deeper than just minding our words.

The word, “conversation” in scripture refers instead to our conduct – our complete expression to those around us. So, the question is, how does your conversation really stack up in regards to this? What does your behavior – as you charge through the grocery store, as you navigate a tense situation in traffic – what message does that send to those around you with regards to your Christian walk? Paul writes in Ephesians 2:3 that “we all had our conversation in times past…” The Apostle Paul includes himself in this discussion – and we all should likewise reflect on our behavior daily.

We need to be vigilant over our conduct, and see it as the precious commodity that it is. It’s often spoken of: how important first impressions are. I’d like to add that continued impressions are crucial as well. People can quickly conclude what we are about, what’s important to us, simply by observing us. Even in those times when we go through parts of our day without actually conversing with anyone, we are continuously broadcasting our intentions, our focus, and our attitude.

Moreover, this idea of conversation as conduct extends further, covering the times when we are alone with our thoughts. In those times, we are having this “conversation” solely with God Himself – a sobering thought.

This is the month of prayer at the Apostolics of Salem, so it’s fitting to stop and contemplate how that “conversation” – our prayer life, that daily, ongoing discussion with God – is key to ensuring our “conversation” – our conduct and behavior – is in line with God’s will and plan for our lives. This year, as I consider the ways I can best help others on the church staff or in the church body with the communications regarding AOS, I want to be ever mindful of what I myself am communicating to all those around me – with or without words.

We are excited for what 2022 holds here at AOS, and are looking forward to hearing from God throughout the year. We are looking for ministries to increase in scope, and for new ministries to get started. We are looking for God to assemble the puzzle pieces that the past few years have left us with. Most of all, we’re looking for His will to be done – in us, around us, and through us.

We’re also looking for you! If you don’t have a church home, we would love to have you join us Wednesdays and Sundays for worship. If you’re not nearby the Salem area, feel free to view our worship services and other content online.

God bless you and yours in 2022,
– pHil Rittenhouse
   Director of Communications

Pastor’s Corner: January 2022

A Call to Prayer

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As you all are well aware, 2022 has arrived and it seems like yesterday the past year began. Time is marching so swiftly! Surely our time here on this earth is racing to a close. It is with this awareness that we begin the new year.

In a war or battle, plans must be made. Soldiers do not just go around everywhere shooting at anything. There must be the coordination of the strength of the force and a unified effort to defeat the enemy. The same is true in prayer and warring in the Spirit. There must be a strategy.

Beginning January 2022, we will be having 30 Days of Prayer at AOS. This will be a time of focused prayer for the entire church. I encourage each of you and each family to be a part of this prayer focus.

Serious prayer is not a special gift, not even primarily a responsibility. Prayer is a practical privilege. Can we even fathom that the God of heaven and earth, the first and the last, invites us to communicate with Him? What an amazing privilege! Prayer is an invitation to speak to the Creator of the universe. There is nothing more useful in giving our everyday lives more weight and direction.

The command to pray is one of the few truly central and radical things God has called us to do in this spiritual battle in which we are engaged. Prayer plays a pivotal role in our putting on the whole armor of God, getting dressed for this fight. A.J. Gordon said, “You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you can never do more than pray until you have prayed.” The apostles of the early church realized the important role prayer played in the battle. When they got so busy with the daily necessities of the growing church, prayer and study of the Word began to suffer. They had to restructure to preserve prayer! Prayer plays a pivotal role in what God’s people are called to accomplish for the Kingdom.

To pray is to engage in radical warfare. Merely human action touches only surface things. Prayer gets past the appearances to the root of the matter.

We also pray because the work of the church is God’s work, not ours. When Peter received a revelation concerning the identity of Jesus Christ, Jesus let Peter know he had not figured this out on his own or with his own wisdom. Jesus said, “Flesh and blood hath not revealed this to you, but my Father.” Peter did not figure this out by listening to Jesus’ sermons or seeing great miracles. It required a supernatural event, a divine revelation.

There are things you are dealing with right now that require a divine revelation, a supernatural event. Churches can run without prayer. Entire denominations can run without prayer. The question is, is what they’re doing worth doing if they can do it without prayer?

Jesus said He would build His church, and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. Evil and darkness are as entrenched as they were in the 1st Century. Do we really believe programs, committees and doctrinal pronouncements are going to change this? I am not advocating these things do not matter, I am only stressing these things are powerless without prayer.

This leads me to my last thought. Have you ever wondered how prayer is seen in heaven? We have a description in God’s Word. Angels stand before God holding golden censers. Fire from the altar is put into the censer. The burning incense in the censor is mixed with the prayers of the saints and the smoke from these censers goes up before God. The censer is then hurled back down to the earth, and there is thunder, flashes of lightning and earthquakes.

Now think about the saints of God huddled in their prayer meeting. Sometimes it seems that prayer is not even making it out of the building. The prayer meeting sometimes doesn’t bring with it the sensation of cosmic powers being unleashed, but that is exactly what is happening! When you get down to pray, know that mountains are about to move. This is why we ought to pray in hope. Something is about to happen!

Our enemy knows the power that is unleashed when God’s people pray. I heard it said, “There is never a knock at Heaven’s gate but that it sounds in Hell, and devils come out to silence it.” Let us, as a body of believers, storm the gates of Hell that Jesus said could not prevail against us in 2022.

– Pastor Calvin Jean