As most pastors and church members are keenly aware, the holidays and January brought so much illness to our people. This season in particular has stretched and challenged us in ways we haven’t ever experienced, and I don’t say that on my own testimony alone as a young pastor, but by testimony of pastors who have been at this much longer than I have! It seems easier and more likely to grow discouraged, but my prayer for others and for our church is that we would live lives in full submission to Jesus.
At the end of Jesus’s sermon, Matthew records in chapter 7 that the crowds were astonished by the teaching of Jesus, because he was teaching with authority and not in the way that their leaders had taught. I challenged our church on Sunday, that while it took the whole sermon of Jesus for the crowds to come to this realization, it is a realization and conviction we must come to today. It is right for us to say yes to Jesus(or surrender ourselves to him), even before we hear and understand all of the things he commands of us. I’ve heard one person say that we are to “put our yes on the table”. If Jesus truly is the king and the authority, we don’t get to judge whether or not his words are worth following, we simply submit to him, and understand that “wherever he leads, I’ll go.”
This is uniquely challenging for many right now. We are prone to allowing other things to lead us, and direct us. But we must follow Jesus at all costs. We are holding a “Family Meeting”(aka Business Meeting) this coming Sunday with all of our members and regular attendees to share with them about what it looks like for us as a church plant to be moving towards coming off of outside support, and how this is an exciting thing for a church to be doing. If I am honest, it brings some uncertainty. But more so it brings an opportunity to trust God and not be anxious. Our church is really seeing growth and it seems that each month, we are adding to our number of folks visiting and staying with us. Yesterday we had a neighbor who lives in our community visit our church who is not a believer. He is from India and really seems to be seeking and open to the Gospel. After church, he attended one of our home groups and spoke so highly of the way he felt welcomed. We are praying for him and are sharing the Gospel with him!