Sunday, May 29, 2016

05/29/2016 | Apostles of the Lord

Elder McCreary
This has been an incredible week. Sounds like everyone back at home had fun with their graduation ceremonies. Congrats to all of the new grads of 2016. I wish you all luck as you move onto different
avenues in your lives. #ClassOf2k14wasthebest  

Well let me start off by telling you, if you didn't know, We had a special visit this week from Several General Authorities including, Elder Gong of the Presidency of the 70, Elder Stevenson of the Quorum of the 12, and Elder Cook also of the Quorum of the 12. They were coming up for some sort of check on the area or something. They were also joined by all 3 members of the Area Presidency.
Elder Cook's talk is where I'll put my main focus. 

Elder Cook talked to us about a lot of different things, but the main highlights I would like to share are 2. First of all if you didn't know, Elder Cook was one of the main authors of Preach My Gospel (PMG [missionary teaching book]). He was in the 70 at the time, and was part of the missionary department of the church, so along with Elder Ballard, and others, He wrote the PMG. Therefor, he knows it like the back of his hand. He decided, he wanted to point out 4 "Neon Signs" that he wanted us all to know about. In thinking about these, just as PMG doesn't only apply to missionaries, but members as well, These "Neon Signs" can apply to members as well.

1. "You are branch and ward builders" 
We have all been assigned a Unit. Specifically a Branch or a Ward. We need to help it to grow, now just numbers wise, but spiritually. Obviously having Baptisms helps, but there are so many other things we can do.

2. "You succeed when you invite"
Pg. 10 of PMG talks about this, but as long as we are inviting people to act, we are being successful missionaries. After that, it's their choice, and just as the scripture point out several times, "People
harden their hearts." This of course makes us sad, but it doesn't mean that we've failed.

3. "You are the message"
This is probably the one that can be applied to Member Missionary work the most. (though the previous one is also really good) In 2 Corinthians, Paul talks about this

2 Corinthians 3:2-3
Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:
Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

We are the Epistle of Christ. We need to remember that we are always being watched. At baptism we talk a promise upon ourselves to "be willing to take upon [us] the name of [Gods] son" We are all
representatives of Jesus Christ. Whether or not we have the Badge with the name "etched in the table of stone" We all have his name in our Heart.

4. Focus spiritual power on teaching, planning, and purpose.
This one is more focused towards full time missionaries, but can still be used. When we teach, it is not our words, it is not our message, and it is not our teaching that converts people. It is The Spirit.

D&C 50:13-22
13 Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this question--unto what were ye ordained?
14 To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth.
15 And then received ye spirits which ye could not understand, and received them to be of God; and in this are ye justified?
16 Behold ye shall answer this question yourselves; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto you; he that is weak among you hereafter shall be made strong.
17 Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
18 And if it be by some other way it is not of God.
19 And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
20 If it be some other way it is not of God.
21 Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth?
22 Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.

Basically, If we aren't working by The Spirit, we aren't working correctly. We need to do everything by The Spirit. That is why obedience is important, is so that we can have The Spirit.

The Second thing that I wanted to mention was his testimony that he gave to us at the end. HE started by talking to us about Spiritual Experiences, and how there are some experiences, just like our
Patriarchal blessings that we don't share all of the details about. Then he proceeded to tell us that the Leaders of the Church still receive such experiences today. Then he says "Without going into any
detail, I know the Lord. I know his voice, I know his face. I know that he lives. I know that he loves us." I don't necessarily know what he was trying to elude to, and my mind can go to all sorts of different ideas, but his was an apostolic witness. It strengthened my testimony, and I hope it might strengthen yours. 

I will add my testimony to his. I may not know his face, or his voice, but I don't need to. I know that he lives. I know that he loves us. I know that he cares about us, and knows each of us BY NAME. He worries about us, he wants to help, and comfort us. He knows that we need experiences, and trials, and oppositions, but his mercy, and his grace, and his charity, are overflowing towards us. This is his
church. He leads us today through his Prophets.

Well I think I will leave it at that for this week. Hope you all have a wonderful week. All you 2016 grads be careful, and don't break anything at all of your parties 😜

Elder Eliot