While we seek a new pastor and perhaps a new direction, many of us think we know what our church needs. I have been listening to many people’s ideas and have a few of my own. However, in searching publications, blogs, and sermons I find a recurring theme which I wish to share from various sources.
First, the church needs conviction. Conviction is standing on the truth. The church is in the position to uphold the truth (cf. 1 Timothy 3:15; Proverbs 23:23). If the world is to be saved, we must have the conviction that what we believe in is true. If we are to stand against sin and every false way, strong healthy convictions are needed to do so.
Second, the church needs courage. One can have convictions about truth; however, we may not let them be known. For example, in John 12:42, we are told, “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” This is very telling. This proves that a belief in Jesus is not sufficient if we are not willing to confess Him with mouth and in life. Jesus said, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say” (Luke 6:46)? Courage is the act to voice one’s convictions whether in word or in deed. There are many who have the courage to voice their opinions. But it takes courage to stand for something and against something. Jesus is described as the Lion of the tribe of Judah because He had courage. You will never see our Lord shrinking from responsible duty. The church must muster the courage to stand for what is right and oppose all that is wrong.
Third, the church needs compassion. Often compassion has been redefined as tolerance. There is a sense in which we should be tolerant of one another. But our tolerance has limitations when it comes to sin. Nowhere will we ever read or see our Lord tolerant on sin. Jesus confronted sin as the evil it is. However, He had compassion on the sinner. He was not out to destroy the sinner, but to purge the sin from the sinner. It was this feeling that the father had for his wayward son who had come back home (Luke 15: 20). The text informs us that the father had compassion on him. This is the feeling of sympathy or pity. What follows is the father, “ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.” We must remember this in opposing sinful behavior, "People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care." This is the disposition we should have for one another. And it is this compassion the church needs.
Instead of seeking new tools and leaving behind our convictions, we should go back to what the Word of God commands and do things His way. A praying church will be a powerful church. And while there is an important place for corporate prayer, it is also true that a praying church is characterized primarily by having praying members. In our individual time alone with God, we must seek His power and resources for the church to accomplish His work.
Your prayers for the work of our church are important. The Bible warns us that the enemy is seeking to devour us, and prayer provides a shield against his attacks. I encourage you today to spend time praying for the power and protection of our pastor (interim and future) and our church.
The world is extremely divided right now. Politics and recent events have given room for people to argue and fight. But the church needs to be the place that stands as a beacon of unity in a world of dissent. We can be sure that in the cross we have the truths that unite all of us, no matter our politics or beliefs.
Now more than ever people need to know there’s hope in Jesus Christ. The world seems darker at the moment, but that only means the light of the cross will be that much brighter. Whatever is happening at our church, continue to share the good news of Jesus Christ. We can’t afford not to strengthen this truth through our sermons, programming, and outreaches.
Praying for our church, our community, and myself; back on the inside,