Thursday, August 11, 2022

What Does God Want? For Us? For God's Church?

 The health of a church depends on a clear vision. That is some more advice from the Center for Healthy Churches. I found our church vision from 2000. It is a highly detailed plan of what possibilities exist for the future of the church. I leave it to those reading to consider what the results have been in these last twenty odd years.

What does God want? That seems the obvious question to begin any search for a vision for a person or a group of people in Christ. What do we know? We know God loves us. We know Christ died for us, to open the way of salvation for us all. We know the Holy Spirit exists among us as Jesus with us (according to John).

So what does God want? Most definitely something to do with love. That’s the legal mandate, loving God and neighbor. That is a pretty broad mandate. We know also that God knows us by name, responds to our prayers as individuals, invites us into the throne room of grace by prayer. So there is a step to get at the specifics of what God wants.

Dreaming about the future is a way of listening to how God responds to our prayers. All the possibilities are open. Where do we see things moving? What do we see God seeing in us? How do we spiritually decorate our neighborhood in the Kingdom of God?

That is the first piece of the vision. Reaching out to the Lord, dreaming in the Lord, discerning in the Lord, tackling the question of ‘so what does God want’ by opening communication with our God. We shall go then from there.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Why Dreaming With Our God?

There is a book of essays from the Center for Healthy Churches that detail the methods, the opportunities, the points of focus for churches that are seeking to be healthy. It is called, straightforwardly enough “Just What Is A Healthy Church?”

One of the essays that touched my heart is one that liberated my heart from the mandatory thoughts of obedience. To God. We are called to Obey. In fact, we sang the hymn “Trust and Obey” a couple Sundays ago, for there is, and I agree, no other way. What is it that we obey? We obey the law, God’s law as given in the Bible. And we put ourselves under the authority of the Bible.

But just what is the law? The Torah, the five books of Moses, is the benchmark in the time of Jesus. But then Jesus reset that benchmark. It was like he was asked to recite the law and he said, “No, it will take too long, I will sum up.” Love God and love Neighbor. It is not just an action but an attitude.

Do for others out of love for them. It is not enough to ‘obey’ because God said so. In God’s love, all things are possible. The future of our church, our lives, our nation, all in God’s hands, in God’s love. We can dream about the possibilities of the future.

And that is what we are planning to do, in Jesus.