A message to the Anchorage Moravian Church, by Bishop William Nicholson October 22, 2023, which he felt God wanted him to share online, today, October 30, 2023. Message based on
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
There are jobs that one can take that are complex. There are many that don’t feel qualified to do the job. The job is too complex. You may not feel qualified, but because of honesty, and because you are known for hard work and are dependable, and can learn, you can be hired and indeed able to accomplish the goals and objectives of the employment.
Heading up a church can feel this way since one must deal with a lot of people with different issues and problems. Being a church leader can be very challenging.
This appears to be the situation in Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians.
Paul wrote to a tiny little Christian community, almost brand-new. These believers were on a major highway in ancient Greece. The town was a mixing pot with all kinds of people who passed through Thessalonica: sailors and merchants, Romans and Egyptians and others from all over the Mediterranean world. There was worship of Greek gods, and Roman gods-including the Emperor-and Egyptian gods. There was a Jewish community. And as I already said, there was a small group of Christians. Earlier, the gospel had been brought there by Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, who weren’t there for very long before the Jewish religious opponents ran them out of town.
This small group of Christians were struggling to be a meaning influence in their town, like our churches today. How can we make a difference for Christ. For the Thessalonians, they were around people that didn’t care for them; some of them were even hostile for bringing in new teachings.
Today through UIMM, we should be encouraging the churches and its people. Here in our lesson for today, Paul and his companions wrote the Thessalonians a letter. And in that letter, we read about God’s attitude toward those struggling Christians. We find here that those early Christians are critical; they are important and what they did is important to God. Why are they important. And I ask the question of our own Anchorage Moravian Church, which has a small congregation. Why are we important? We do we matter to God and our existence and purpose is crucial to God! Why? Well, Paul reminds them, it’s because “God…has chosen you.”
God had chosen the Thessalonians! And do you think it could be possible that God has also chosen us?
Hundreds of people drive past our AncMC building each day. In spite of the fact that we’re not a wealthy and prominent church made up of well to do citizens. In spite of the fact that only a few people go to our church in a city that has almost 300,000 people. Yet In spite of all that – even though our church is small, and we have a small budget and cannot even salary your pastor, and get volunteers to work and get our Sunday School going again; there are many things lacking, but there is something good to think about today – God has chosen US!
Like the Thessalonians, we’ve been chosen by the message of good news centered in Jesus Christ. We’ve been chosen by God. We’ve been chosen to do the work of faith-that is, to live as faithful people live, serving God and others. We’ve been chosen to do the labor of love-that is, to keep on loving God and others, even when we don’t feel like it, as Christ has first loved us. And we’ve been chosen to live in steadfast hope-holding firm, even when we don’t have what we need to finish our building or grow our church. We have the promises of God made real in Christ. We’ve been chosen to live in the power of Christ’s death and resurrection, and in anticipation of his final return, when we and all the dead in Christ will be joined to Christ forever.
We’ve been chosen for that; isn’t it amazing!
We’ve been chosen to live in God’s love and forgiveness, and to announce and share that love and forgiveness day after day after day!
We’ve been chosen, as Paul reminded the Thessalonians, to live as an example. We’ve been chosen to speak God’s Word and live God’s Word in our life together, and in our daily lives, in our community and to the ends of the earth.
This weekend we celebrate God’s choice, and our response to it. We are an awakened Church. We are celebrating potlucks and different Christian speakers in our pulpit. People are being bless. We see tangible signs of our faith in God, our trust in God’s promises and purposes, and our commitment to the mission of God as we strive to live it out at the Anchorage Moravian Church.
Earlier all of you were invited to give your tithes and offering for this week. At the same time, you have heard we need to have our entry way done. We need $7500 dollars minimum before it freezes up. We do have financial commitments to raise at least $40,000 to tear off our entry way roof, put in new electrical, insulation, new exist door which needs to be done within two years. The city finally awarded us a permit for two years. With these offerings, worship and commitments we make, we express what God means to us in a real and tangible way-by being faithful in Church attendance and for support of God’s mission to the world. Since 2008, we have worked hard to make this possible.
Do you remember when we purchased this church back in 2006. Do you remember when we had guests from the Moravian Church in America and from the Unitas Fratrum. Do you remember that $30,000 which we received out of nowhere to finish the new water line for the parsonage next door. Do you remember the speakers we have had over the years; even a bishop from Honduras coming several times. Do you know that we helped to fund a used vehicle for our Bishop in Honduras and helped to purchase land and raise up new churches, not only in Central America, but in Africa and also in Cuba, and now soon a number of us will go to Florida to develop relationships with three churches that are interested in a spiritual covering.
Now, why do we do such things as what I’ve mentioned. It’s because God has chosen us! We are an end day Moravian Revival Church movement of the Holy Ghost and no man can stop it! God has chosen US! God has chosen us to serve God and serve God’s world, to spread the news by word and example that God has chosen all people, and God desires the love and trust of all people, through the marvelous work God has done in Christ.
What good news that is! What good news it is, to know that God has chosen us! Thanks be to God that we’ve been chosen! And thanks be to God when we respond with faith and generosity!