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Recent Overseers Message

February 26, 2016

Dear fellow labourers in Gods vineyard:

Greetings to you all, on this cold and snowy day in Transfer. I trust that my letter finds you all experiencing the blessings of God in your respective fields of labor. I am blessed to report that in spite of a few physical challenges recently in my life, the ministry continues to be fruitful. It has been just over a month now since Connie and I returned from our annual vacation in South Africa. It was a great blessing to have spent Christmas and New Years with our family in South Africa. While we were there, the country was experiencing both a drought and a heat wave. Needless to say, the heat was almost unbearable. Fortunately, the sea and a swimming pool were close at hand and we made good use of both.

We arrived back in the states in the Boston area the week of the 17th of January. After ministering in Boston on the 17th, we travelled back to Transfer on the 19th of January and have been pretty busy ever since. What a joy it has been witnessing the great things that God is accomplishing in so many of our churches. Let me take this opportunity to thank you all for the regular invitations you give us and to remind you that Connie and I are always available to serve you in any way possible. We were privileged just recently to attend the NWD credential holders retreat. What a joy it was to receive input and ministry on the receiving end for a change, we really enjoyed ourselves.

We will be ministering in Montreal over the Easter weekend and afterwards, we will drive to Boston to put our home there on the market for sale. Yes, we are proud to report that our house is finished with the renovations and ready for the market. It has been ready since the beginning of February, but the timing was not right to try to sell; we were advised to wait for the spring to have the best opportunity. Please continue to pray that the Lord will provide us with the buyer that will be best suited to benefit both us and them. Thanks so much for all the prayer support you have given us thus far; we do appreciate it so very much.

As I get ready to close this letter to you, I want to remind each of you that we have been called by God to deliver His message to the people to whom He sends us. God calls and enables His servants to serve Him without fear. Looking at the life of Ezekiel, we are confronted with a great example of this truth. In fact, the first three chapters of Ezekiel are devoted to his calling and the events surrounding it. Ezekiel, whose name means “God will strengthen”, was among the captives taken to Babylon. Like the faithful among the captives, Ezekiel held on to his beliefs and his faith in the Lord. Although he was of the priestly order, he was called of God to serve the captives as a prophet of God. His calling is one of the most colorful and interesting of any of the prophets, as one clearly sees in chapters one through three. A rather intriguing facet of Ezekiel’s ministry was the fact that he himself was among the exiled who had been deported from Israel to inhabit a foreign land where they were captives. The calling and ministry of this great prophet in that strange land emphasizes the intent of the Lord to reach out to people even when they are suffering the consequences of their own actions. God remains faithful to His people no matter where they may be.

In chapter 2:1-7, we see Ezekiel being instructed to be courageous. There just is not any room for timidity in the ministry of a prophet. Often, the message the prophet is to deliver is one of impending judgment or a call to repentance. Fearfulness has no place in God’s message to His people. We are called to serve the Lord with courage and confidence. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are enabled to speak the truth without fear of retaliation from the world or Satan. Here we see how Ezekiel was chosen to be a prophet, spiritually endowed, and delegated by God to minister to captive Israel. God’s anger toward Israel is clearly expressed in the text and the unrepentant state that brought about their captivity continues. Even in their defeat, Israel did not become repentant. God was the only one who could redeem them yet they held on to their rebellion. It was to these irrational and rebellious people that Ezekiel was sent. It seems to me that these are the same kind of attitudes that we are encountering in America today. The Lord was telling Ezekiel that he was going to bring the truth to these unbelieving people that he had lived amongst and accompanied into captivity. Ezekiel was given an open door into God’s presence which did not depend upon Israel’s acceptance or belief in him as a prophet.

Ezekiel is encouraged to be fearless in Chapters 2:5-7. There is just something about the power and ministry of a man of God that leaves little doubt in anyone’s mind regarding their authenticity. God’s encouragement to His servant was that whether Israel accepted his message or rejected it, they would all acknowledge that he was indeed a prophet of God. This encouragement also seems to bear the promise of fulfillment of the words and prophecies spoken by Ezekiel. A further encouragement given to him was God’s assurance that he would have nothing to fear from those who would believe his message; he would be able to sleep in peace. Ezekiel was commissioned, as many of us have been, to deliver God’s Word 2:8-3:9. There are many people who have entered the ministry as a career choice in some denomination or another. Many may choose to enter the ministry in such a fashion, but only the one who is “called and anointed” – the person who is “sent” – will be the one to deliver the life-changing Word of God effectively. In 2:8-10, we see that there are three steps that need to be fulfilled to carry out the directive from God to preach. They are to listen, never rebel and to ingest what God gives one to deliver. The called of God must listen intently to God’s instructions and to the messages with which He inspires us. As a messenger, we do not originate the message, we simply make the delivery. Secondly, we must never rebel against the message that is given. We do not have the right to tamper with, transpose or interpret God’s message. Thirdly, we must devour the Word of God. We need to savor every word. By making God’s Word part of our being, we will be enabled to deliver it with fervor and urgency.

When we get to Chapter 3, we see God instructing Ezekiel to eat the scroll that he had been handed. God’s intention was for him to eat the entire scroll and leave nothing behind. As he obeyed, he noted that it tasted as sweet as honey; the taste of God’s Word is always sweet in the mouth of His people. If God calls for repentance, His message is sweetened by His abundant Grace. If He calls for judgment, His message is sweetened by His mercy and loving kindness. In all things, sweetness tempers every word proclaimed to those who love Him. The words that Ezekiel was to deliver were hard words for Israel 3:4-9. Had he been sent to people of a different tongue, they would have been more accepting of his message than those with whom he grew up. So, seeing that the people would not respect him nor receive his message, God granted him a special demeanor and tenacity for the purpose of delivering His Word. God gave him an aura and a countenance that was as tough as stone against the people of God; nevertheless, he would still carry a deep love for them.

When we are inspired by God to declare a difficult message of reprimand or rebuke, it will be necessary for God to enable us to speak those words with anointed authority and yet in love. The ultimate success of any Word sent from God through a human vessel depends entirely upon the anointing of both the messenger and the message by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is this anointing that separates between the prophet and the orator, between the preacher and the commentator. Those who have been called into the ministry of God’s Word are never to proceed in their own authority, because human authority will never bring conviction to the rebellious and lost. Only the anointing of the Holy Spirit will convict and persuade the sinful, rebellious heart to turn from wickedness to righteousness through a relationship with the Lord. May God continue to call and enable as many of us as possible to deliver His message to a world living in darkness by the power of His Holy Spirit.

Well folks, that’s all I have for now. I trust that we will have the opportunity to see each other as we continue making our rounds in the districts. Thank you one and all for your faithfulness to Jesus and the call God has placed upon each of your lives. Please continue to pray for us, as we do the same for you.

Yours in His Service,

Michael F. Player

General Overseer

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