2012 Bible Study

Rev. Dr. James Victor of Arlington, Virginia

Rev. Dr. James Victor,
Pastor, Mount Olive Baptist Church, Arlington, Virginia, USA

Link to Rev. Victor’s church,
Mount Olive Baptist Church.

Live in Unity; it is not an option
Rev. James Victor tells United Methodists in Liberia
The Rev. Dr. James Victor admonished hundreds of United Methodists who gathered in Gbarnga City, Bong County for the 179th Annual Conference since Monday, February 6, 2012 that there is a need to recognize their diversity in unity. Speaking during the Thursday morning devotion, Rev. Victor said, “the UMC in Liberia must work harder towards loving each other.” Rev. Dr. James Victor who is a Baptist Minister from Arlington, Virginia told his audience that for love and unity to grow in the Church members need to affirm each other and recognize the gift of service.
The Baptist Clergyman said, the victimizers and the victims must work for their unity through love, just as the oppressors must recognize the need to unite with the oppressed through love. “It is God’s grace that allows you (the church) to empower others and recognize their gifts.” “Demonstrate your love through unity”, he added. Meanwhile, Rev. Victor is expected to talk more about unity and love using the theme of the 179th Annual Session: “Maintaining the Unity of the Church.”

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Liberia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
Thursday, February 09, 2012 Bible Study led by Rev. Dr. James Victor
Theme: “Unity of the Church” Text: Ephesians 4:1-7

Rev. Dr. James Victor, pastor of Mount Olive Baptist Church in Arlington, Virginia, led the conference in a stirring and convicting study of Ephesians 4:1-7 based on the theme “Unity of the Church.” Through the study, Dr. Victor reminded those present:

Rev. Victor makes a strong point

  • Since the beginning of the Church, division has plagued the Church. We have spent too much of our history splitting the Church apart based on denomination, theological views, nationality, race, and social preference.
  • In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we are being called back, as the Church, to our ONE calling in Jesus Christ.
  • An African American folklore tale reminds us that Jesus has built his Church on the ONE Rock that cannot be broken and divided.
  • We are called to be the ONE Body through the ONE Spirit in the ONE Hope of our calling sharing our ONE Faith in Jesus Christ
  • Our ONE baptism affirms that Jesus is the ONE and only way to the Father.
  • Unity is NOT the same as uniformity! Uniformity, or all being the same, is not a biblical calling. Instead, scripture calls us to UNITY in our diversity (or differences).
  • Paul begs us to live a life worthy of our calling, which is to:
    • Live in unity, where unity is NOT optional.
    • Bear with one another in LOVE, demonstrating humility, gentleness, and patience with one another,
    • Work at unity constantly, “making every effort” to maintain the unity among us.

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Liberia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
Friday, February 10, 2012 Bible Study led by Rev. Dr. James Victor
Theme: “Diversity in Our Unity” Text: Genesis 1:24-28

Rev. Dr. James Victor, pastor of Mount Olive Baptist Church in Arlington, Virginia, continued his study with the conference on “Unity in the Church” by focusing on the theme: “Diversity in Our Unity.” To illustrate God’s original design and plan for us to find unity in our diversity, Dr. Victor turned to the text of Genesis 1:24-28. Through the study, Dr. Victor reminded those present:

Bishop Alsted of Denmark and Bishop Bledsoe of Texas listen to Rev. Victor

  • Unity is NOT uniformity. Diversity, when in unity, is essential for balance and order in creation.
  • In Creation, we see unity in diversity demonstrated through each part of creation being established to perform its distinct function in the fullness of Creation.
  • In Creation, each aspect and creature was distinct and designed to give praise and honor to God.
  • Our human tendency is to see differences as deficiencies instead of embracing the created purpose of diversity.
  • Sin is when we act in ways that are incompatible and inconsistent with who God created us to be and what God created us to do.
  • As a result of sin (or acting inconsistently with our created purpose), division resulted.
  • The Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) demonstrated unity in diversity in the work of Creation and through the continued work of the Trinity (Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer) in our lives today.
  • To find unity in our diversity, we must:
    • Know ourselves and understand what we each contribute
    • Know and exercise our divine (spiritual) gifts given to each of us
    • Know the power of our power and our God-given ability to change things. (The model of unity in diversity is when we give away the power that we have been given by sharing that influence with others).
    • Know the Redeemer’s Spirit. The Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) each became humble with each other so that in the unity of their diversity, their function was full in creation… “And it was good!”

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Liberia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Bible Study led by Rev. Dr. James Victor
Theme: “Unity in the One Body of Christ”
Text: 1 Corinthians 12
(“Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:27)

In continuation of the three days devotion series, Rev. Dr. James Victor calls on United Methodists in Liberia to be a living example of Jesus Christ in the world. He said, the Church is a special community and its people are special people.” The Baptist Preacher informed his congregation that the Church is a special community because of the work of the Holy Spirit. “The Holy Spirit is what makes the Church a special community” Rev. Victor said.

 According to Rev. Victor, “the Holy Spirit works in the most difficult places and the church is one of those places.” He said, because of our lust, vices, and corruption, the Church has become the most difficult place for the Holy Spirit to work.” Vices compromised the virtues of any group of people, the Baptist Clergyman told the close to one thousand United Methodists who gathered in Gbarnga City, Bong County for the 179th Annual Session of the LAC/UMC. The Church will be a dangerous place to be if we are not different from the people outside of the Church.

Rev. Victor said, “United Methodists in Liberia need to work inter-dependently in spite of the independent nature as individuals in the church.” “As a people of the Church we cannot escape our dependency”, he said. Amidst thunderous applause, Rev. Victor said “it is better to be in the Church than to be in the world.”

Through the study, Dr. Victor reminded those present:

  • We give and sacrifice to the Church because it is a special community made up of a body of people brought together by the work of the Holy Spirit.
  • The Holy Spirit is the special aspect of the Trinity that brings the people together to be the Church for the witness and work of God in the world.
  • One of the most challenging places for the Holy Spirit to work is within the Church, just as it was in the church in Corinth.
  • The corruption outside the walls of the church in Corinth entered into and likewise corrupted and compromised the church.
  • The Holy Spirit had a hard time working in the church in Corinth because the church did not honor the work of the Holy Spirit.
  • To address this compromised and “cracked up” congregation, Paul provided an image to help correct them: “You are the body of Christ.”
    • Each individual part is distinct with a distinct and independent function, and yet all the parts are interdependent on each other.
    • All the individual parts function together as systems.
    • When one part malfunctions or becomes ill or injured, the whole body is affected. As a result, there is a resulting dependence of the injured part on the rest of the body for healing and restoration of function.
    • None of the individual parts or systems are able to function unless they are connected to the head.
    • Jesus Christ is the Head of the Body of Christ on which the Church must be connected and depend.
    • As the Body of Christ, we need Jesus and we need each other to function for the fulfillment of God’s will in our world.
    • We cannot function in isolation from Jesus or from one another, or we will cease to be the Church.
  • Understanding how a body functions is essential to our understanding how God has called us to function as the Church:

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