[Column] Church with Blessing of Mercy

Church with Blessing of Mercy

Written By Rev.Dr. Joshua Hong

Senior Pastor of Full Gospel Church of Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.

 

One of the things I have come to terms with from my research on church growth is that the church on which God looks upon with mercy is blessed and grows. To receive God’s blessing of mercy, we must not turn to our own wisdom or strength. We must come before the Father, acknowledge our helplessness on our knees, and turn to God through prayers.

In St Paul’s Epistles, we discover one interesting thing. Customarily, St Paul extends his greetings saying, “With grace and peace.” Ironically to Timothy he says, “Grace, mercy and peace.” At the time, Timothy was a young pastor in his 30’s in harsh circumstances for ministry. For this reason, Paul implored God’s mercy on his spiritual son Timothy. He knew that without putting on the power of God’s absolute mercy Timothy could not engage in ministry. The church leaders whom God uses come to realization of the principle of invoking God’s mercy by undergoing the “school” of suffering and hardship. Through suffering, they learn to depend on and to obey God. Thus they confess, “God is infinite and great. I am small and worthless.”

Saddleback Church is one of the largest churches in the U.S. The pastor of this church Rick Warren has a “thorn” in his flesh. Due to some neurological disorder, his brain lacked proper function to process adrenaline. His college studies were interrupted as a result. He even lost consciousness while driving. When adrenaline attacked his nervous system, his vision became blurry, his fever and headache started, and an extreme anxiety attack came. He experienced these symptoms even on the pulpit. It is said that he once grew ill and rested for two days after leading a huge service. Why did God allow the thorn in the flesh called adrenaline shock in Rick Warren who creates profound impact on numerous people and delivers inspiring sermons? That is because He wants to reveal God’s mercy and grace through the weak and vulnerable.

Vineyard Church, planted by John Wimber, grew and prospered rapidly. Wimber’s healing ministry healed countless people and gave them the taste of divine grace. However, Wimber died some years ago of brain hemorrhage. Why did such a powerful minister of healing die helplessly from a disease he couldn’t heal? This demonstrates God’s sovereignty in church growth. We may plant and water but the growth of church is made possible only by God. Therefore, we must perform ministry by depending on God’s mercy and help.

In the history of Christianity, there is a prayer called Jesus Prayer. It recites as follows: “Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Have mercy on me a sinner.” Our countless forefathers of faith repeated this prayer without ceasing because they knew that they could not live without God’s mercy. The leaders and members of church receive spiritual blessings when they desire God’s mercy and grace rather than depend on their wisdom and strength. A healthy, growing church always entails God’s comfort and mercy.

 

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