There are numerous passages in the Bible about doubt. James 1:6 is my favorite: “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
My fellow ministers were talking to me today regarding Harvest Sunday. A couple of them told me that it was apparent that there was some worry in my mind concerning Harvest Sunday. Like most, I had not really recognized this for what it was. Concern can also lead to doubt which becomes a “faith issue”.
I want to thank you all for taking time last Sunday to participate in our Congregational Survey. I spent a good bit of time this week reading all that you said and taking notes. I have sent copies to all of the elders and ministers. And Ron Hasty is going to analyze what you all said and summarize it for everyone. I look forward to sharing some of the insights and and themes that have emerged.
I hope that this is going to be only the beginning of an ongoing dialogue of the church with its leaders as we seek to discern God’s will.
One thing that came across strongly was a positive conviction that God’s will is now being done and is going to be done as we move forward in faith.
At Singing Oaks right now we are studying the book of Acts and it has got me thinking a lot about “Church”. In this day and age being a member of a local church family is not the norm. In fact being a “committed to this church family no matter what” member is so far from your norm that it makes talking to others about faith, God, and His will for His church next to impossible. So many of my friends over the years have left my church family to go and connect with a new one. Many of them still haven’t landed and are being tossed to and fro so much that they will likely give up on being a part of a faith community all together. And most leave for so many consumeristic reasons that it is almost disheartening to strive for the Kingdom and Unity that Jesus prayed so diligently to become realized. Has church become a product? Yes! and No!
The apostle Paul had a close relationship with the Christians in Philippi. He loved to visit them and hear from them. Even in jail he was sure he would be released to visit them again for their “progress and joy in the faith.” I have a lot of friends in Africa, and in many cases, I was at their baptism and helped teach them. I receive joy in my heart when I see them and try my best to return joy and to help them grow in their faith. This is the stuff of relationships. Really, it’s about relationships. This is why I go back.
I could mention other days but on one day alone on this trip I saw four leaders that warmed my heart.
As our faith family continues to be “Empowered” through the study of the Acts of the Apostles, now is a good time to not only be present in the life of our church, but to also evaluate our daily practices of living into the power of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:43-47 is a glimpse into the life of early believers. Their daily lives were consumed by spiritual disciplines. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” NRSV