February 2023: In the right light

February 2023: In the right light

The Bible is the foundation of our faith. That is why it is important that we know its content and realise that reading it is a fundamental component of our life of faith. But how do we use the Bible?

The scribes at the time of Jesus saw the Bible primarily as a collection of rules to be followed to please God. Jesus told them what really mattered: the fact that the Bible announces His coming and His work (John 5: 39). Even today the Scriptures are often read in a false light. Some see it as a book that explains heaven and earth and competes with science, forgetting that the texts of the Bible are also influenced by the knowledge of the time they were written in. Others make important decisions in their life on the basis of a Bible passage often taken out of context, but they could just as easily find a Bible passage that would justify doing exactly the opposite. If you put your mind to it, you can justify just about anything with a passage from the Bible.

But the Bible should not be read like a novel or a textbook. What was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit must also be read under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Read in the light of the Holy Spirit, it is a source of comfort, strength, and wisdom, and it leads us to Jesus Christ, to whom it bears witness. An old saying states: “The Bible does not tell us about heaven and earth, it rather tells us how to live on earth to get into heaven.”

Serving and reigning with Christ

Serving and reigning with Christ

The motto given to us by the Chief Apostle for 2023 is “Serving and reigning with Christ”. Each district around the globe is invited to create a logo for the year, and our members in Japan have provided the inspiration for a logo to be used in the Western Pacific district. Further explanation of these features has been provided:

The Japanese influence is represented by the fan, a traditional cultural element in that country. The Japanese character for “king” is represented by the orange symbol on the right of the fan. The upper horizontal line represents heaven, the lower horizontal line represents earth, the middle horizontal line is mankind, and the vertical line governs all.

The Chief Apostle has provided an explanation of this motto, “Serving and reigning with Christ”.

January 2023: Serving and reigning with Christ

January 2023: Serving and reigning with Christ

Dear brothers and sisters,

We look back on an eventful year in which we experienced the nearness and guidance of our Lord in one way or another. One thing is certainly true, also in 2022 God con­tinued to pursue His plan of redemption and led us closer to our goal: the participation in the first resurrection to serve Christ as priests and reign with Him in the kingdom of peace. This is what we read in Revelation 20: 6.

Those who have been endowed with the authority of Christ in the kingdom of peace can serve and carry out their mission unhindered. Their service will consist of preaching the gospel to human beings and leading them to God. Reigning has nothing to do with ruling the world, but to be a witness to the supremacy of Christ by embodying the love and ­mercy of God.

Jesus has already called us today to serve and reign in His spirit. Hence our motto for 2023: Serving and reigning with Christ.

We serve Him today already by leaving our daily lives behind and coming to church in order to worship God together. We also serve Jesus by putting His gospel into practice in our daily lives. And it is our service to others to love them as Christ loves us.

We have also been called to rule with Christ in 2023. This does not mean that we exercise power over our neighbour, but that we rule over our own thoughts and ­actions with the help of Christ:  

His love does not divide, but unites.

His grace picks us up when we fall.

His wisdom helps us to learn from our mistakes.

We are not helplessly exposed to temptation either, but can rule over the sin that lies at the door to our hearts. The best way to remain in control of our own destiny is to let Christ reign in our hearts.

Together with all the Apostles, I wish you a blessed and fulfilling year 2023!  

Heartfelt greetings

Jean-Luc Schneider

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