Each year as I pray and think about what God is doing in and through WME, I seek God for a theme for the upcoming year. Sometime in November, I believe, in a time of reading the Word in the presence of the Lord, I began to get the impression that the theme had to do with the Lord’s Favor for 2019. Then a few weeks later, in our Monday morning staff prayer meeting, I shared that with the people there. One of the people there, our INSTAR Unreached People Groups Director, suddenly began to flip through the pages of his notebook. He read the words “The Year of UnMeasurable Favor”. He said that a few weeks before as he and I had discussed plans for the new year, the Lord had spoken that to him, and he was waiting for me to announce the theme.
Wow! What a Confirmation.
We certainly have seen the blessing of God on the work in the INSTAR project this year, as well as in the other projects and ministries of WME. In the INSTAR project in Latin America, we have begun to focus on the Unreached People Groups of the Western Hemisphere, as well as the general populations. This year the number of Groups and Churches have grown from over 7,500 to nearly 11,000 (the final reports for the year are not in yet). Thousands have made professions of faith to follow Jesus and have been baptized. The movement is at 22 generations. New tribes have been targeted for outreach.
Yet at the same time, there has been incredible spiritual warfare. Several people who are a part of WME, or their family members, have been attacked by sickness. One beloved member of the family went to be with the Lord. The attacks have been upon people who are key to the work that is going on, especially in Argentina and Honduras. Some of the national leaders have faced serious illness or other kinds of intense warfare.
In this kind of ministry as the Kingdom goes forward, it truly does advance through warfare. Sometimes in the midst of storms like these, we may question a word about Favor.
But as we look at scripture, especially the book of Acts, we see that it is through the Favor of the Lord that we move forward through storms and warfare. These things go hand in hand. (Remember that the words Grace and Favor are the same word in Greek). Notice just a few things with me:
1. UnMerited Favor-Favor at the Birth of the Church: Acts 2: 47 God’s Favor produces Favor with People…the common people, the ones that will respond to the Gospel…The Lord adds to the church daily.
Counter Attack: Acts 3-4: After a miraculous healing Peter and John are threatened by the officials.
2. UnLimited Favor-Favor that Goes through Problems: Acts 4:23-31, 32-35 God’s Favor covers the church as they pray for Boldness in spite of persecution. The place is shaken. They speak the word with boldness. Then a spirit of new generosity comes over them. In Chapter 3 verse 6 Peter says, “I have no silver and gold”. But now in Acts 4:33 “Great Grace (Favor) was on them”. In verse 34-35 people generously lay possessions at the Apostles Feet. Now It is possible to minister to material needs!
Counter Attack: Acts 6-9, Lethal attacks. Stephen is stoned to death. Saul persecutes the church. The church is scattered.
3. UnMeasurable Favor-Favor that breaks through missionally to New People Groups: Acts 10-11
Peter receives the revelation to take the gospel to the gentiles. The Household of Cornelius is saved!
Acts 11: 19-26- The Church is founded at Antioch and Gentiles are being saved and added to the church!
Counter Attack: Acts 12- The Apostle James is killed. The Apostle Peter is arrested and condemned to death. The Church Responds with Constant Prayer! God delivers Peter. God judges the persecutor Herod by striking him dead.
The Result of this pattern of Favor/Attack: Acts 12:24- The word of God spread and increased!
Then Missions shift to high gear: Acts 13:1-3 Paul is sent as a missionary…..And the rest, as they say, is History!
Dear Friends fear not. Go Forward Boldly. During Storms, pray relentlessly. And expect the UnMeasurable Favor of the Lord in this New Year!!!