2021 was a good year for Manistique Bible Church. A relatively large number of visitor came to the church during the year and many of them decided to make the church their home. Giving increased and the church was able to invest substantial sums of money into furthering our outreach. More importantly the church grew in knowledge of the Word of God and believers grew in obedience and service. The church retained its unity and we worked together with harmony. I believe Manistique Bible Church grew in holiness, edification and evangelism. I believe Manistique Bible Church glorified God in 2021.
Many people deserve thanks for this success. Faithful servants labored in the work of the ministry. Loving Christians exhorted and encouraged others. Believers made intentional efforts to evangelize their neighbors and co-workers. I am thankful for everyone and their service.
Any success seen at Manistique Bible Church is entirely due to the power and grace of God at work in us through Jesus. Jesus said, “Without me ye can do nothiing.” (John 15:5) Jesus is the all-powerful God who created the universe and holds it all together. (Colossians 1:16-17) He is the all-powerful vine who makes the Christian fruitful. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit:” The Christian’s privilege is to rely fully on Jesus in all life and ministry. The Christian’s confidence is in Jesus, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13) The Christian’s obligation is to depend fully on Jesus alone.
A branch which has been cut off one tree and grafted into another severs all ties with its former host. The grafted branch does not send out little rootlets to its former tree. The branch does not attempt to draw nourishment from old tree and the new. A branch grafted into a vine does not bend down to the ground for itself, to send its roots into the soil and draw up its own resources. The branch is completely dependent on one vine.
The Christian must severe all dependence on fleshly and worldly methods to rely exclusively upon Jesus. He must cling to Christ and Christ alone. A moment’s consideration will show the necessity of relying only on Jesus. Can a great preacher, even the greatest alive today, give eternal life to someone? Can the world’s greatest Christian author change a heart? Can the largest church in America save a soul? Can a Christian draw the heart of an unbeliever to genuine confession and true repentance of sin? Can a skilled marketing executive develop an advertising campaign that will produce saving faith? The Christian must explain the gospel, tell the need of salvation and attempt to convince of the truth of the gospel, but can any Christian change even one heart? Can a Christian make another person righteous? Can a Christian produce sacrificial love in a new believer or give peace beyond understanding to a trouble soul? Can you give anyone joy or humility or gentleness or patience? Every single Christian is called to produce these fruits in his own life and to lead others to do the same. Because we are commanded to do that which is impossible for us, we are utterly dependent upon Jesus and only Jesus.
Jesus must be the only source of power for the church and Christian. We have nothing else we can rely upon. If Jesus does not bless and strengthen our ministry, we will fail. If Jesus does not make us fruitful, we will be barren. We have no plan b. We have no fall back position. We have no alternative means. The Christian life and ministry is all Jesus or nothing.
“Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”