Dear fellow workers and missionaries Brothers and Sisters.
Grace and Peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
My warmest personal greetings to you all.
Over the past weeks I have been thinking of you all quite a lot, during which time I have wanted to write but there has been no time until now. I have felt myself longingto be with you all and just have some simple fellowship together. How beautiful it is that our heavenly father has given us such a wonderful thing called “fellowship“.
Just a few days ago I was feeling very heavy and burdened without knowing what it was all about. My thoughts raced from one thing to another, which only served to make me feel worse. I wondered if there was some intercession on me because as I also had each one of you on my heart.
I went to the Lord in prayer and shared with him just how I felt and this helped a lot; however it was not until later in the day when I was able to have some fellowship with two or three fellow Pastors that I was really helped. I was reminded again of the preciousness of ‘fellowship of the brethren’.
I do encourage you to also make every effort to have fellowship with someone near to you. Maybe you are feeling the need for someone to be with you, then why not YOU speak or visit or phone someone else. It will make a great difference to yourself as well as helping someone else.
My Wife and I are finally are on a house boat on the river Murray in South Australia, and we are enjoying God’s creation [the bush] and of course enjoying being together without others around us. It sounds a little selfish but we felt that this was what the Lord was wanting for us at this time. You cannot take relationships for granted even when you have been married for many years. There has to be a time when you and your wife have some time together to show your love and appreciation to one another. We both lead a very busy life and sometimes it takes us in separate directions and many of our years are like that.
This is also true of those who are around you and close every day, your fellow workers, helpers and missionaries, including your leaders.
Don’t take them for granted and don’t think that they do not need fellowship. Make it your goal to give yourself to fellowship.
There have been times in the ministry where we have sorely tested – i.e. loss of life and our plane crashed, the loss at sea of our boat for evangelism, the near death of our senior pastor through car accident, the total destruction and loss of all buildings, vehicles and equipment through volcanic eruptions in one of our centre’s, the burning down of our main church and all equipment, by persecutors, but God has been causing us to triumph in Christ through it all.
I have personally been blessed with how the Lord has kept me from all those negatives of anger, of questioning God’s why and the feelings of remorse at the loss of things. I have had some moments where the Evil one tempts me to dwell on those things that ii personally lost which were dear to me.
It has been like the loss of those things has not touched my spirit and affected me in a negative way. Instead God has given me a sense of hope and expectancy that something positive and beautiful is coming forth out of it all. The resulting move of the Holy Spirit amongst you all is worth more than what we have lost. Truly God wants to lifts each one of us up above the devilish forces that seek to destroy and discourage us.
Thanks be to God for all the prayers, letters and phone calls that were sent at that time encouraging all of us reminding us that there is the “Body of Christ” with members who care.
God through the Spirit initiates the prayers to be prayed for the members of the Body (saints-believers) in all different places and at different times.
Resulting in being strengthened, delivered, encouraged and given hope life and liberty.
The comfort of ‘ Fellowship’ is still needed
In spite of all the help that we might have received from the Lord personally do not forget that there is still the need of fellowship with the other members (brethren) of the Body especially those who are around us in our immediate proximity.
Don’t forget to fellowship others by visiting one another and thus show your appreciation of them.
Because I (we) are separated by distance and busy with overseas ministry there are many times when I have agreat longing to be alongside [near] to you all and be a strength and encouragement to you, but am unable to.
This makes it difficult for both of us, for if we were “free” we would have come; but there is the need for us to share ourselves with others.
However I am always encouraged by the Spirit to remember that the God of all comfort is with you all and that He must have the preeminence [be first] in everything including the one to whom we look for fellowship and comfort.
I am reminded that each of us must ‘learn’ how to trust and rely on God, and that friends and co-workers do not replace him.
But while this is a truth clearly given us in Scripture, so too is the truth of fellowship with one another.
I encourage each one of you to seek out someone else who may need your fellowship so as to be strengthened and encouraged in some way. As you seek to “fellowship another” then God ministers to you also.
As I read the following Scriptures they reminded me again of the importance of the fellowship of the brethren; I hope they do the same for you.
We are called into fellowship with our Lord!
1 Cor 1:9 NASB God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Committed to fellowship. Christians should be devoted to “fellowshipping” each other!
(Acts 2:42-43 NASB) And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.
Fellowshipping others also carries with itresponsibilities, to love, show genuine care and give encouragement!
(2 Cor 8:4-7 NASB) begging us with much entreaty for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, – and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. – Consequently we urged Titus that as he hadpreviously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this gracious work as well. – But justas you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also.
Fellowship, which empowers and propels people into missionary service and venture.
The ‘right hand of fellowship’ that was given to Paul and Barnabas empowered them with that much-needed encouragement which propelled them both to continue with their proposed missionary venture of reaching the Gentiles and with the Gospel of our Lord.
(Gal 2:9 -10 NASB) and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we might go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. – They only asked us to remember the poor– the very thing I also was eager to do.
# Fellowship can have a very positive effect on our brothers and sisters, inspiring them to go forth and to do those things which they believe is God’s task for them.
#Fellowship gives the sense of endorsement and often much needed support for stepping out to do God’s will.
# Fellowship gives the sense of security arising from the fact that others care for you and what you are doing for God.
Do not let underestimate the powerful force that fellowship can bring to God’s servants and people.
Therefore Let us do it regularly – (Heb 10:25 NIV) Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
God bless you and take heart in the fact that GOD IS WITH YOU; and others are also thinking and praying for you.
(2 Cor 12:14 -15 NIV) Now I am ready to visit you for the third[?] time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. – So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less?
Pastor Barry Silverback.