This is the text of the remarks Rose Marie brought to us in Sunday morning worship on December 29, 2013. We wanted to make these available to everyone to read over again slowly. – Marc Davis
Your elders have asked me to say a few words perhaps to help us understand how the church moves forward at a time like this. So thank you for this opportunity.
It was a shock to all of us when we heard that God took Terry to be with Him: the perishable put on the imperishable, and the mortal put on immortality but we felt the sting of death didn’t we?
It was much the same for the church, the mission, and my family when God took Jack 17 years ago. We were devastated and were left wondering about God’s will, His ways, and His purpose. It just didn’t seem to fit.
Terry was excited about his new career in charge of church planting in the PCA for development and recruiting —a position he looked forward to doing. The fact that so many people came to the memorial service was a testimony to his passion to help young men to move out and bring the gospel to their communities.
Yes, our lives are shaken by death. But that which cannot be shaken remains: God’s kingdom. The writer to the Hebrews reminds us to be grateful for a kingdom that cannot be shaken and therefore let us offer to God acceptable worship, reverence and fear for our God is a consuming fire.
For all of us there is a world outside these walls that is fearful, anxious, needy, broken that need to hear that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
New Life Church did not die when Jack died. Next year you will be celebrating forty years of God’s faithfulness. In 1973, this church started first in our home at 415 Walnut St. At the beginning there were many broken people living in our home and became part of the new church plant. When I attended the service right after Terry’s death many people shared who had broken lives that were healed because of Terry’s love for them. He left that legacy. Several people came to me after the service and also the Thanksgiving service and asked why didn’t I share. I needed to just sit and listen to what God had done for people who had nowhere to turn but to Jesus.
We realized after the first meeting of New Life in our home it was too small, so we moved to the Jenkintown library. We finally outgrew that space and moved to Abington Y—the smaller gym, and eventually to the larger gym. From there we went to Abington Friends School again meeting in an old gym. The church continued to grow. When Abington Friends refused to renew our lease this building became available.
World Harvest Mission started from this church. The seed was planted when refugees came from Uganda and worshipped with us. In 1979, Jack and I and four young men went to Uganda. In 1983 World Harvest Mission was established. From those early beginnings we are now in 16 countries with over 200 missionaries.
There were many events in both the church and the mission that shook us to the core, but the Spirit never left. He promised that He would never leave us or forsake us. You are here today because God has kept His promise. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Elders and congregation I would encourage you to consider what the Spirit desires for this church now. I know you are looking for a pastor, but you are the church so move out into your communities, move out into the world. Be what the Spirit is making you to be salt and light to a tasteless and dark world.
Twenty-two years ago you sent out one of your elders and his family—the Heppes to plant a church among the Indians of Southall and Harrow London. It was a slow start, but a church has been planted and from those small beginnings, three church plants have been birthed. Out of the first charity shop (Asha) four more have come. Numerous trips to India were planned and now two families have gone forth to live in very difficult places. New Life Masih Gahr Church is now in the process of sending out its first Indian missionary. My grandson Ethan is going with her. To me this is exciting. It is not about “affording” it, it is about being so captured by the mandate of Jesus to go and disciple the nations that we go forward.
I know you are a praying church. The Kingdom of God moves forward through the prayers of God’s people.
You need to keep praying when the unexpected comes.
About a month ago early in the morning, I received a call from one of the leaders in our study of Love Walked Among us. I was also getting ready to go to the U.S. for a new visa. She said, “I can’t teach today will you take my place. Just pick a Psalm. I had been meditating on Psalm 42, about the deer panting for flowing streams, and I thirsting for God. It is a song of lament. But there is an astonishing verse in the middle, Deep calls to Deep. Eugene Peterson writes, “God came in the depths sharing what is most eternal in Himself and what is most needful in us.”
Reading this quieted my heart and the Psalm made sense, and because it was meaningful to me the Spirit spoke to the women.
You need to keep praying when the days are long,
A few days before returning to the U.S. I took a cab to Southall. The driver was the same man from Afghanistan that I had talked with before. The conversation continued where we left off. Arriving in Southall, I met with a young Indian mother who was eager to hear more of God’s Word. We spent about 2 hours starting with Genesis leaping from chapter to chapter to get a sense of what God is doing. In my honor because I was leaving for the U.S. they served a delicious meal of butter chicken with all the Indian trimmings.
But the day was just getting started. In the afternoon I met Saroj a good friend, and we went into London to see the Nutcracker on Ice. It was beautiful. Then in the evening there was a church prayer meeting. By this time I was tired, but asked the Spirit for a heart to pray. He gave it. Left home at 9 a.m. came back at 10 p.m. You prayed.
You need to keep praying when I ride in mini-cabs.
Many times I take mini-cabs mostly driven by men from Afghanistan. It is not long before we are talking about the person of Jesus. One man said to me, “I am obligated to teach you Islam, and I said, “I am obligated to teach you about the death and resurrection of Jesus. Three different times I had the same driver, so we just continue where we left off. I often come away thinking, “Do I really love this man, or do I just want to make a point. This is why I need your prayers.
You need to keep praying when I am disappointed and grieved.
One of the women who works in our Asha Charity Shop has serious emotional and physical problems. She wanted to read my book, but couldn’t concentrate so I agreed to go to the shop and read a small portion when there were no customers. But when there were customers we invited them to listen—which they did. But even this was too much for my Indian friend. In her depression she distances herself from church and from Bible study. She needs your prayers.
You need to pray for a Visa to return to London.
You have supported my family in London, and when I joined the team you are my biggest supporting church. I know you pray. I am deeply grateful and thankful.
What is my call? What is your call?
Peter tells us. “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Rose Marie Miller, December 29, 2014