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Pastor's Column 7/30/2023

PASTOR’S COLUMN


“When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles…” Acts 9:26-27a, NIV

"Putting Faith Over Fear!”


In his helpful book, Anatomy Of A Revived Church, pastor and author, Thom Rainer says one of the impediments to growing a healthy church is not merely demographic changes; or a national decline in church membership. He correctly asserts, we fail to reach people because of our fear of others who are different than we; or who don’t share our zeal for the brand of church culture we embrace. If there ever was a need to put our faith above our fears, it is in our understanding of the true mission of the church. We are called to go beyond our comfort zones and embrace people with the unconditional love of Jesus Christ. While missions involve feeding, clothing, helping and housing; it includes fundamental acceptance of people where they are. When Jesus said go into “all the world,” He meant more than geographical environs. The word world in the Greek text, literally meant “among all people groups.” In ancient times, as now, some of those people are on our doorsteps. We think of Paul as a great missionary, which he certainly was. But, as a new convert to the Christian faith, Saul, as he was then known, needed acceptance and love from other Christians to affirm his place in the Body of Christ; and to support him in the mission to which he was called. While some believers were afraid to embrace Saul, because of his previous background; Barnabas took him in, and shepherded him among the other Christians. We soon read, Saul began to preach and teach the Gospel with power and effectiveness, reaching others. Missions, for any of us as Christians, is not for the indifferent; or faint of heart. We must be willing to lean into our faith, without bias or apprehension. We must be willing to both go into the environments of people; and to receive people, who knock on our doors. There is no more urgent time than now, to be the Christ-people, Jesus has called. Our fragile world needs our witness; one, the world-systems cannot give. God’s love removes all fear and doubt!

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