Greetings to each attendee of the 2021 Annual FLECD State Assembly,
Collectively, we write to each of you in the unity of the faith and the continued grace, mercies and love of the Almighty God. We are grateful that God has allowed us an opportunity to come together that we may give His name the glory and witness miracles, signs and wonders.
Over the last fifteen months, we have experienced a pandemic that has caused the world to halt multiple events and moreover, suffer a tremendous amount of loss. This loss has affected every stage of life worldwide and yet we can still see the glorious hand of God in the midst of these tumultuous times. This is because many unified themselves, through love and compassion for one another. We are strengthened by the words of Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:58, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." No matter how dark the days may be, due to the Covid-19 virus and its variants or how heavy the weights of life may be, we can always stand on the promises written within the Word of God. Is it not written, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Hebrews 13:5. The love of God has never left us and we must continue to embark on sharing that love, through uniting our gifts to continue to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It may appear to be challenging to accept God’s love until you experience human love. When someone shows you love by treating you with kindness and compassion, it begins to click—this is what love feels like. Let’s be honest—we rarely take the time to enter into someone else’s troubles and triumphs. It costs time and energy to truly, deeply care for others. Yet, we all long to know someone authentically cares for us.
Genuine love for others cannot be faked or fabricated. It comes from an inward transformation facilitated by God’s love. The influence of God’s love produces a shift in our attention, moving it from ourselves to others. Through God’s Word, we learn what it means to deny ourselves for the sake of another person. The gospel is the story of a King who loves His people so much that He makes the greatest sacrifice imaginable: In order to redeem them and give them eternal life, He gives the gift of His own Son. We are all God’s people. We have been given the gift of Jesus, an everlasting inheritance, and an even greater gift—fellowship with the King. How can we begin to communicate this great gospel message? It begins with a reversal of focus. The needs of others must take priority over our own needs.
Additionally, look for ways to communicate the love of God through tangible means. Listen when others talk: Your kids, your co-workers, the cashier at the grocery store; make eye contact, move beyond small talk and enter into true conversation. Give the gift of time. This can be as simple as stopping to greet your neighbor or as intimate as sitting with someone who feels alone. Meet a physical need: Take your spouse lunch or offer to babysit for that new mom. This assignment can get complicated as it requires time, effort, and money, but it is a powerful way to demonstrate the love of Christ. Enter into relationships without judgment. It takes a special kind of intimacy and relationship to speak the hard truth to someone. Jesus listened and offered his time. He met needs. He extended compassion instead of judgment. People followed him and listened to his words. Jesus demonstrated the gospel through his loving kindness before he became the gospel on the cross.
People want to know we love them before they care why we love them. Consider God’s loving kindness toward you, then go and share that love with someone else.
However, before you reach out to share God’s love with others, take a minute to consider His extravagant love for you. It is only through the power of God’s love that we can show others genuine love. Be on the lookout for someone in need of hope today.
Our united prayer is: "Loving Father, we thank You for Your unconditional love. Our hearts are full of gratitude for the matchless grace you showed us through your Son, Jesus. Open our eyes to those around us who need to experience the message of the gospel through our kindness. Grant us an extra measure of your love to share with them. Amen."
As we prepare to experience the continued love and power of God through each session, let us remember to, "not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth." 1 John 3:18.
We are praying for you, your family and the body of Christ.
United for the cause of Christ,
Bishop Clary K. Butler, Sr., Chief Overseer | Senior Bishop | State Bishop
Bishop Charlene M. Jamison, Assistant State Bishop
State Elder Victor Carter, State Elder