It’s hard to believe that another year has gone by—-the way the Western world counts years–and we are now in 2014. 2013 has been an interesting year for the Church and for us individually. We have moved forward in growth in attendance, mainly in the German-speaking areas, but growth in numbers is only of relevance and importance if we also grow spiritually.
Some may look at us as insignificant because we are relatively small. But bear in mind how many followers Jesus Christ had at the time of His death and resurrection. After three and a half years of miracles, signs and wonders, healing and raising the dead, walking on water and feeding thousands with a few fish and bread on more than one occasion, only one hundred and twenty disciples had remained.
Acts 1:12-15 tells us: “Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty)…”
Delia and I had the privilege of attending the first Feast in Germany in 2013, and we noticed a great spirit. We experienced enthusiasm just like in the 60’s, when the Church was growing at a good rate. And we are growing too. We continue to produce our weekly Updates and our English and German sermons and Internet programs, write and print more booklets, enlarge our radio presence in the US, and while we have begun to broadcast our Sabbath services live via video in the US, Brian Gale and I are recording short programs on YouTube for the audience in the UK and Canada. These programs are called StandingWatch Talking Points and direct viewers to the StandingWatch program and promote some of our booklets.
There can be no doubt that a lot of seed is being planted through our broadcasts, sermons and literature, and when God is ready and it is His Will, then new members will be added who have been predestined to be called for salvation in this day and age.
We will face more challenges in 2014, and we should prepare ourselves individually by remaining close to God and ready to be useful instruments in His Work, according to His divine Will. Now is not the time to slack off; but rather, to push forward with zeal to accomplish as much as we can in witnessing to the world prior to the Tribulation which lies ahead of us.
We will face trials. Some will face health issues, persecution and problems with their work in regard to the Sabbath. What we go through is not anything new for true Christians, so let’s remember to pray for one another and also for the ministry and the commission of the Church, so we can move forward to finish this great Work of God in which we are privileged to be involved.