Sunday, November 30, 2008

Practial Ecclesiology 6 - Uncertainty

The following post is the text of a an email sent by Frank Harrison, a friend and fellow traveler at Concord Covenant Church. I have always valued Franks insight, and his ability to cut through clutter to determine the biblical heart of an issue. I believe the Holy Spirit has often used Frank to speak to me and so I value his comments highly. This is his response to some of the discussion taking place in our church about future direction. Frank hits squarely one of the points I have in mind to pick up at a future time, and he says it so well I got his permission to simply reproduce it here.

When we discuss church matters and "new direction", it can be intimidating for many because it leads to general uncertainty.  We don't know what is going to happen in the future (near or far), which is important to admit, yet unsettling at many levels (emotionally, financially, etc.)

We are uncomfortable (even terrified) with uncertain times because we have clear direction from the Lord to be confident in His plan.  However, listen to Paul's thought on this matter...

"I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all God's people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory." (Ephesians 3: 7-12)
Note that Paul, as a church leader and missionary, was facing a rather uncertain future, yet he responded to this uncertainty by denying any worldly interpretation or response and claimed the peace of Christ and was not discouraged.  We also need to claim that Jesus Christ is the head of our church and that He is VERY interested in managing our affairs and providing new direction and fresh understanding of our role in his service.  Why would Jesus keep his purposes for our church a secret? 

Jesus said: "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." (John 14:26)

So, know that Christ is our CEO, our leader, our head, our counsellor, and we can come to him in confidence that He will lead us in the right direction.  We must pray and be patient to see and hear what He is doing among us, so that we may join Him in his work.  We may experience a Crisis in Belief that will require Major Adjustments, but this is according to God's plan to bring us One Step Closer into fellowship with Him and each other.
"For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way." (Ephesians 1:15-23)

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