Acts 4:23 (KJV)
“And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.”
I have read this verse many times and have always been captured by the indirect message contained here.
Great emphasis is placed on being connected to the Body of Christ and recognizing His Church in its totality. I am the first to agree on the necessity of this and rejoice in the progress that has been achieved.
Having said this, however, I believe there is something we tend to miss, namely our uniqueness, and it's not to be taken lightly. Each functioning part of the Body of Christ has a purpose; to forget that is to cease to function by God’s design.
The long list of Christian groups and various denominations aren’t the expression of their founder’s desire to form something of which they could be the head. Sometimes we are made to think in that manner, but it just isn’t so.
I contend it has something to do with company. It’s an expression of a truth or a revelation, or maybe a neglected segment of mankind. It’s something God Himself wants to reveal to the world or do for the people He loves.
It reflects the progression of truth, line upon line, precept upon precept. If you carefully examine the multiplicity of Christian ministries this will become evident. My Pastor taught me if a new revelation destroys a previous truth, it’s a heresy.
We are all in the same body, but we aren’t all in the same company. We are all part of the human race, but not all in the same family. God has placed us in the body as it has pleased Him. This placement includes the Christian group we are a part of, it’s our company. It’s not just a place to get ordination so we can function with proper recognition with our government.
It’s the place where we are connected, the place where what God has called us to do is understood. It’s the place we can go and tell our story and receive strength to continue.
In the verse we are examining, Peter and John had just been seriously threatened for preaching and healing the lame man in the name of Jesus. They had some second thoughts about proceeding so what did they do? They went to their own company and told their story. There among those who understood their mission and message, they were strengthened and received great Grace, wisdom, and continued lacking nothing. Had they sought advise outside their company their mission may have been understood, but the message may still have been questioned.
From its inception, FCF has been a ministry with a mandate. The Harrison’s weren’t looking for something to be the leader of. They were fulfilling a mandate. In obedience they birthed God’s desire, a family Church, a charismatic teaching centre, reaching the world. Many years later our company encompasses fifty two nations, thousands of believers, and a host of Churches who call it family.
Why am I writing this? First, to catch your attention and focus you on the fact you are important to us and loved by us.
Secondly, you have been placed here by God and we recognize that placement as God’s gift to our company. Because of this you will always be treated as family no matter the circumstance you find yourself in. You can always come to your own company and receive love, strength, and empowerment.
This brings me to my final reason for writing this. Family Church Conference will be in Ajax from November 13th-14th. For those who can stay, our guest speaker will be at Faith Family Church Sunday 10:30 am on the 15th. This is the annual gathering of your company.
Under God’s direction we are going to be blessed by the ministry of Jeremy and Sarah Pearsons. They will bring a message that is relevant to what God wants for us now. We will share what God has done nationally and internationally as we have fulfilled His will and walked in our purpose together.
Pastors, this isn’t just another ministers’ conference. It’s a Family Church Conference. I am asking you to promote FCC to your Church and bring as many as can come. They need to see the big picture and enjoy what you are a part of. You may have to put some of your local Church activities on hold that week and free up some time so they can attend. This is what families do when creating family functions.
Put up the posters, promote it in your meetings, and we will all gather at the Ajax Convention Centre.
See you at the family reunion!
Pastor Bill Annis, President, FCF Canada
‘Time flies’ has become more than just a saying. I can hardly imagine that 2014 has come and gone, but it has.
I can truly say that it was one of the best years ever, personally and for FCF as well.
I have had the opportunity to visit many of you and have been blessed by the impact of your ministries in Canada and around the world. Together we have accomplished great things. On the National level we have seen a large increase in our membership. New Churches have been planted in Montreal, Quebec, and Ft McMurray, Alberta.
In New Brunswick, it was a joy to receive my personal friend, Pastor Terry Messer, from life Tabernacle, Fredericton, to FCF. Pastor Dale and June Shaw from Florenceville were also an added blessing to the local FCF family.
On the international scene, ten Churches have been constructed in Northern India. Evangelist Prem Singh reports many converts among the Hindus.
Sherine and Dileepa report that the work of the Holy Spirit among the Buddhists of Sri Lanka is reaching an all-°©‐time high.
Faith Christian Fellowship is a wonderful group of people brought together in a very unique manner. We come from classical Pentecostal, Word of Faith, and Charismatic backgrounds. We have been shaped by various moves of the Holy Spirit and reflect a panorama of the rich blessings of God and His Story (history), the story of His Church in Canada.
To visit the ministers that make up our fellowship is to walk upon the road of unfolding revelation. It’s a journey with an ever moving God who is making Himself known in ever increasing ways, but yet stays true to His unchangeableness.
This ability to receive what He is revealing, and to accept each other wherever we are at the moment in the progression, sets us apart.
It sets us apart from the religious systems that we all escaped. It’s what makes us a fellowship versus a denomination. It’s what allows us to be Spirit-°©‐led rather than religiously conformed.
This uniqueness is what allows the story to continue rather than be confined to a historical past. It keeps us in the flow of the Holy Spirit rather than worshiping at the shrine of the high water marks of a spiritual yesterday.
As I travel among you I have come to appreciate our differences and to celebrate our connecting points. My desire for 2015 is that we will stay strong where we are joined and not allow our differences to divide.
Matt 13:47 “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea.”
A net is made up of string or twine running in four directions. The strings left alone are useless as a fishing instrument. In order to be of value, they must connect with each other and these connecting points give them value.
God allows us to have differences but He connects us for effectiveness in His service.
I personally have a marvellous life, as do you. I am amazed where I have been, what I get to do, the people I know, the things I have seen, and the joys I have experienced. As I reflect on it, I am very much aware that it’s the connections God blessed me with, YOU, that makes this life and ministry possible. All of us are connecting at different points, each adding value to the other. FCF has become a net cast into the sea of changing Canadian culture. Together we have become fishers of mankind. Collectively we are reaching Canada and the World.
This is the DNA of FCF! From many we have become one body with Christ-°©‐like uniqueness.
We are living in the moment of the greatest revelation of Jesus the world has ever seen. Great revelation always precedes great manifestation!
John 14:21 “…. he who loves me will be loved by my Father and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
The word manifest means to cause to shine, come to view, reveal, exhibit, and make visible.
My prayer for all of us is that when we are viewed by those who come among us in the future, they will see the revelation and manifestation of Jesus among us.
May we truly be the continuing story of God among His people in this Nation and around the World.
Next month we will continue with the attitude of God toward those at varying levels of revelation. Don’t miss it!
-Pastor Bill Annis
John 14: 21 “In that day ye shall know that I am in the father, you are in me, and I am in you.”
I have been arrested by this great union between God and man. The incarnation of Jesus, God in flesh, has dignified humanity giving us union with the Godhead. No longer are we mere humans, something to be disdained, but rather we are one with Him and one with each other.
The spirit of Christ enlightens our minds with wisdom, and empowers our hearts with courage to be one with Christ everywhere. We have a tendency to hug our joys and sorrows to ourselves. We reserve the right to be human about certain issues of life. But the fact is that we are one with God, we are in Him, He is in us. We are complete in Him. The reality of this is that the trivial problems of life lose their ability to upset and unnerve us.
The transparent Christian has one response to life, Jesus. We have become love filled and motivated by compassion in all we think, say and do.
This is what Paul means when he speaks 164 times of life in Christ. Our lives, yours and mine, can be played out on this high note of love, because within us is the power, maybe lying dormant, to make every thought, feeling, passion, and emotion a full expression of our life in Christ. This is life according to Paul. This is the magnetism of the believer according to Jesus: “and I if I be lifted up I will draw all men unto me.”
The bottom line is everything we have and are form but one personality, Jesus living and loving in us.
This is ultimate victory, the greatest manifestation of Jesus the world has ever seen. And it’s happening now.
-Pastor Bill Annis, FCF Canada
John 14:20 “At that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.”
He is closer to us than we are to ourselves and that is why many are looking for Him, and do not notice Him. Many continue to seek Him in all the wrong places.
"I am in you, like I am in my Father, you are in Me" is not something we make true; it is the truth we come to know as a reality in the spirit.
The real reality is Jesus in His Father, and us in Jesus, and Jesus in us. “This is the mystery hidden in past ages but now revealed in Jesus: Christ in you the hope of Glory." 1 Cor. 2:7
The prime purpose of the incarnation is to lift us into a life of communion, of participation in the very life of God. God’s purpose from the beginning was to live in us and us in Him. His great desire always has been that we might share the love, joy, freedom and light, that we might be in face to face relationship. From the moment Jesus began His public ministry, He began to demonstrate His desire for a shared life with us.
Have you ever wondered why at His first miracle when He turned water into wine He didn't just fill the pots with wine? If He was able to create wine why did He need anyone to fill pots with water? The fact is He didn't need anyone to do anything! Jesus doesn't do things alone; He will not be God without us! We get to participate in all He is doing. Why? Because we are in Him and He is in us. The servants got to be part of His life.
This will help us refocus the activity of our lives. Now, see yourself not doing something to trigger a response from God. When you understand the blessings of the shared life with Jesus you participate in all He is involved in.
Let’s look at financial giving. Many times we get caught up in how we do it rather than what we are involved in. Let’s look at one of our most loved and oft quoted verses: “Let each one [give] as he has made up his own mind and purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or sorrowfully or under compulsion, for God loves (He takes pleasure in, prizes above other things, and is unwilling to abandon or to do without) a cheerful (joyous, "prompt to do it") giver [whose heart is in his giving]”. [Prov. 22:9.] (2 Corinthians 9:7 AMP).
Note what is said about not giving under compulsion. Why? Because God is unwilling to be God without us. He takes pleasure in and prizes above other things and is unwilling to abandon or do without a cheerful giver. This attitude is evidence the giver has understanding of his oneness with God. He is participating in his Father’s life. The joyous giver has the honour of distributing the blessings that come from his relationship. The joyous giver also demonstrates he understands inheritance.
Luke 15:31 “ And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine”.
These are the words the Father spoke to a son who didn't understand his oneness with his Father.
Cheerfulness is the evidence that the giver understands his oneness with God. Joy is the fruit of participating in the life of Jesus. When we understand this relationship with our Father it brings joy to every aspect of life. This applies to our health, our relationships with each other, and most of all our oneness convinces the world and causes them to believe.
John 17:21 “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me”.
When we live the shared life, the in Him life, the blessed life, the life of oneness with the Godhead the world is drawn to Jesus. This is how we lift Him up and this is why all men are drawn to Him.
-Pastor Bill Annis, President, FCF Canada