January 1, 2019
“Jesus Christ, in His infinite love, has become what we are, in order that He may make us entirely what He is.” St Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
I am grateful to you for your support and prayers and for your partnership with me in the ministry of the gospel in our Diocese. It has been a blessing and a joy working with you all this past year.
The year 2019 has begun. As we step into this new year I ask you to re-commit yourself to Christ, to your family, to the Church, to pointing sinners to Christ, to our Diocesan Mission & Core Values, and to working amicably with me as your Bishop. It is true that without God it is impossible for me lead, but it is also true that without your commitment, prayers and support, I cannot fulfill my ministry effectively among you.
I ask you to commit yourself and your congregation to preaching and sharing the gospel of grace and to living a life of personal holiness. We need to be intentional in our own pursuit of holiness and in encouraging one another to do so. As Dr J. I. Packer righty noted, “In reality, holiness is the goal of our redemption. As Christ died in order that we may be justified, so we are justified in order that we may be sanctified and made holy.” Unfortunately this goal has been a gaping hole in much of our own lives, our families, our preaching and ministry in many churches in the Anglican Communion. The result of doing so has enervated the life, mission and image of the the church. Alistair Begg noted that “One of the key reasons for the flabbiness of our spiritual lives is that a generation of Christians is growing up with little awareness of the necessity of dealing with sin. There are sins to be rejected. We must learn where our personal weaknesses lie—and once they are identified, we must be ruthless in dealing with them. Earlier generations called this the “mortification of the flesh”—that is, pronouncing the death sentence upon sin and putting that sentence into daily effect by killing all that sets itself against God’s purpose in our lives.” Reformed teacher and pastor Kevin DeYoung explains the reason for this, “There is a gap between our love for the gospel and our love for godliness. This must change. It’s not pietism, legalism, or fundamentalism to take holiness seriously. It’s the way of all those who have been called to a holy calling by a holy God.” So let us stir up and encourage one another to deal with sin in our lives, in our churches, in our marriages, and in our relationships this year.
Are you willing to commit yourself to doing these things? Pat Riley once said that, “There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either in or out. There’s no such thing as life in-between.”
In this new year, join me and let us pray that the Lord our God will grant us all –
More faith and more faithfulness;
More patience and more kindness;
More humility and more obedience;
More strength and more wisdom;
More grace and more anointing;
More revelation and more guidance;
More mercy and more power;
More health and more favor;
More breakthroughs and more testimonies;
More provision and more joy;
More peace and more protection;
More love and godliness;
More blessings and more of all God has in store for you, your family and your Ministry.
The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; The LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
I wish you a Happy and blessed New Year!
The Rt. Rev’d Dr. Felix Orji, OSB
Anglican Diocese of the West