Pastor’s Devotion #107


“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10


Finally, Tuesday, November 3rd, Election Day has arrived. When the election results are finally tallied and announced, half of our country will be elated, while the other half will be throttled with concern.  What to do? Some people will be worried that our country will go backward, others will believe we will go sideways, still others will be concerned that we will be snapping at our tail, as we run in circles.

Even before the election reports begin to roll in, I want to challenge you to lay down your worry and concern. Rather than despair and/or disappointment, I want you to dream. No matter who becomes our elected President or our elected state officials or which petitions are passed.  We have a good work to do! The Apostle Paul, declares in Ephesians 2:8-9, with trumpet blast, that we are saved by God’s grace through simple, child-like abandoned faith in Jesus Christ. We are safe and secure for eternity through the sacrificial death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Additionally, Paul continues on, in verse 10, to declare that through of this gift of grace, we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do. Tonight, I want you to focus upon your Savior, Jesus Christ. I want you to focus upon your church and the community in which we live. God has placed us in this place, at this time, to do a good work for His glory. God’s Spirit has been moving in, with, and through the hearts and lives of our people. It is the same kind of energy and life I experienced when God resurrected our tiny, fledging mission church in the foothills of the Sierra mountains. No one gave us a chance to survive. We had little to offer except for a faith in a mighty God. God turned that tiny church on fire and flames of His glory were felt throughout the community.

Have you felt the spiritual flames burning in your heart and have you recognized them smoldering under your nose? It is happening in your church, right now, in spite of a global pandemic and divisive presidential election. The question is; what good works has God been preparing for us, in such a time as this. And more personally, what part does God want you to play? Where will you participate? Who can you join and encourage? Your presence and participation are crucial in the spreading of God’s Spirit.

What is interesting about mission church dynamics is that – everyone is keenly aware that EVERYONE is invaluable to the effort at the beginning. EVERYONE is needed for the church to grow – spiritually, physically, numerically, emotionally and into the community. But once the church experiences a certain level of growth – people begin to back off and act as if their presence isn’t really that necessary. Which cannot be further from the truth. You are irreplaceable in the work of God!

The Sprit of God moves in, with and through His people. St. Paul declares that our very bodies are the very temple of God. God’s presence explodes when God’s people gather together – there is an exponential component to his movement.

Rather than worry about where our nation is going – dream about where God is going. Where is He moving our congregation? More personally, where, how, and when is God moving YOU. Each one of us is indispensable to the good work that God wants to do among us. I know that many people are worried about our conducting worship inside our new fellowship hall. If the governor tells us to back down, we will follow orders. We are committed to safety and not taking undue risks. We are taking it one week at a time and ready to make adjustments as needed. On the other hand, to feel the energy in the room, and also in the parking lot with cars honking for Matthew Mendez confirming his faith in Jesus Christ. It was a special moment – experienced by all who were engaged. Where you there? If not, you missed out on a Spirit filled day. Don’t worry – THERE IS MORE TO COME! Maybe you do not feel safe coming to church – I completely respect and understand that. But if it’s simply the inconvenience that you do not like sitting in your car – you are missing out and we are missing out on the spirit of God that you bring. Consider the difference between having 5 cars in the parking lot verses 15 cars, 50 cars, 100 cars, or 200 for that matter. The presence of God’s people coming together against the odds (not to mention rain or snow) and the excitement it brings becomes palpable. Consider the difference between 5 people inside for church verses 15, 50, 100 or 200. I guarantee you, your presence matters! The joy of the Lord was present as we held our first worship service in our newly remodeled fellowship hall last Sunday. It was a mission church mindset in a 145-year old church. Only God does work like that!

If we want to do a good work which God has prepared in advance for us to do – and if we want to bring God’s power to a divided community and nation – we must be together, united and understanding how vital each individual role is. If you are unable to participate in any church activities – that’s ok – but can God lead you to reach out with phone calls, letters, email or texts to family, friends, neighbors, or church members to demonstrate Christian love in such difficult times as these? Perhaps a meal or a listening ear, or offering a prayer? We might not be clear on the particulars, but without a doubt, God wants to take our church and faith more personal and more public!

This Sunday, for those who come, you are going to hear a very personal faith testimony – that will  bless your public ears and continue fanning the flame of the Spirit among us.

Can you hear and feel my rallying cry in this devotion? I hope so. I am pumped up and fired up because I can feel and see a missional spirit in our congregation being lit and becoming more fully alive in Him. This is the fun stuff. The excitement, commitment, enthusiasm, energy, and generosity are popping up in many and various ways. This is what makes faith compelling to those who do not know Him yet. Yes, we have challenges ahead of us – and we MUST be concerned with exposures and undue risks. But let us cradle and protect and thrive and release the Holy Spirit to move among us with greater freedom, power and transformation. The reality is that God’s Spirit seems to spring forward most often in desperate, trying times – and we all know we are living in trying times. But when God’s people are crying out for more of his saving grace, historically, the church of Jesus Christ has done its greatest work during society’s most difficult days.

Know this, the most important election has already taken place! God has elected you into his family! St. Paul states, “Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” 2 Timothy 2:10

God Bless You All!  We have a wonderful, Spirit led, work ahead of us!

Pastor Mark


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