Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3: 18
Joy in Christ: this is the motto for the year 2015 which Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider has addressed to the global congregation of all New Apostolic Christians. His intent here is to point to the strength and power that Christians can derive from their intimate relationship with the Son of God. Although no one—including the Chief Apostle—knows what the coming year will bring, we can nevertheless already set priorities now.
The New Year’s Day divine service with the church leader was eagerly anticipated in the District Church of North Rhine-Westphalia. Chief Apostle Schneider visited the congregation of Herne-Wanne-Eickel, where the large church building of the New Apostolic Church boasts seating for 1,000 people.
There he emphasised the importance of inner joy and referred to several specific examples to illustrate the point, for example, the joy in the congregations. Such joy can even be felt in a congregation that is small or in a congregation where the members have very different characters. “Let us be aware that God has brought us together in order to lead us into the kingdom of God together,” emphasised the Church leader.
However, the congregation is not merely to be a collection of consumers or clients, but rather a working community that depends upon each and every individual. Appreciating others, accepting them as disciples of Christ, helping along in the work of the congregation, these are just some ways in which we can increase our joy, explained the Chief Apostle.
“It is also something special for a congregation when a child is baptised,” he noted. “Jesus already stated that there is joy in heaven over one sinner who turns back to God in repentance. This same joy can also be felt by the congregation!”
“I am well aware that such a motto might seem somewhat removed from reality, given the prognoses for the future and the situations that prevail in various congregations,” said Chief Apostle Schneider, “but if that is how the conditions are, then they have been permitted by God! That is my firm belief.
“From time to time, I get the impression that it is easier to mourn together than to rejoice together. We human beings at times feel envious when someone else rejoices, but through the love of God we can all rejoice unconditionally with our neighbour. Just give it a try sometime,” challenged the Chief Apostle.
And everything is to revolve around the Lord. He has promised to come—this is and remains the goal of faith for New Apostolic Christians. He grants us grace, responds to our prayers, and gives us strength in our battle against sin.
Joy in daily life
The Chief Apostle also wished the believers much joy in their daily lives. “In consideration of the various daily circumstances, this is not always easy, but God will grant the necessary gifts and strength to do so,” he stated with great certainty.
“The coming year will not only bring tests and trials, but also many good things, like the help of God,” he encouraged the congregation. “We can likewise rejoice over our health and a bit more money,” said the Chief Apostle, “but the important thing is to make good use of that which God provides in the sense of the gospel.” He went on to add, “And if our neighbour rejoices, then we can rejoice right along with him!”
For the coming year, the Chief Apostle issued a new motto, Joy in Christ. The new internet magazine nac.today discusses the new annual motto and features Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider’s New Year’s address.