|By Rudy Rubio
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.
I am pastoring a brand new church plant, less than five months old and in one of the most urban areas of Los Angeles. We’re living in a post-Christian context, where the community has gotten numb to the gospel. This can be very disheartening. Imagine trying to get someone to fall in love with a person they’ve forgotten about. And yet, here we are, trying to do just that. God be with us!
When we first felt the Lord calling us to plant a church, we wondered, “Who are we, Lord? Why us? Why are you picking us to go into these rough streets and plant a church?”
Like Mary, when the angel Gabriel spoke to her on behalf of God, we weren’t sure how to discern the calling. And also as with Mary, God has sensed our fears and our anxiety and has comforted us time and again. Like Mary, we have also asked, “How could this be?” We weren’t prepared and had no experience in planting a church. Still, God opened not one door but many doors, and folks have reached out to encourage, pray for, partner with, and spur us on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).
Friends, be encouraged that when God chooses you to co-labor with him for specific assignments, he will provide. God used Mary to bring Christ into this world, and he’s using a mixed group of broken misfits to plant a church in an area that most people are trying to get away from. The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you (v. 35). Rest assured that as God was faithful to Mary, he will be faithful to you.
Prayer: Lord, we are grateful for opportunities to partner with you in bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to this world. Help us to not question why we’ve been chosen by you to carry out certain kingdom tasks. Instead, strengthen us to be obedient to your calling and clear-headed enough to recognize your Spirit. In Jesus’s name, amen!
Rudy Rubio is a seminary student and pastor, currently planting Reformed Church of Los Angeles in Lynwood, California.