I am sharing this story and my musings on it because it is a sign of great hope to me: for each of us individually, for our churches, for the world –
A layperson wrote me last year; she told me how unhappy she was with her church, our denomination, and her pastor. She didn’t know about me but was evidently willing to make some guesses. To her great credit, this lady invited me to call her; I did; we talked, and I asked her to try to engage the very folks she was so unhappy with. She did. She wrote me recently to say that she had changed her mind. She doesn’t like everything going on at her church, but she says she will not participate in gossip or destructive things that will harm her church and its witness. Instead, she wants to work for good and to be upfront with people when she disagrees with them. I’ve asked her what happened (assuming it wasn’t all from our conversation!). Her answer was that she went back to Bible study at her church and started living by what she heard! She is especially drawn to Ephesians 4:13 – she wants to grow to the “full stature of Christ.”
I want to thank her for her openness and for her testimony about the power of the Word and the Holy Spirit.
More, I marvel at how the resources we need to grow into the full stature of Christ are already with us. (Even when we are angry or disheartened.). We already have all the gifts we need within the Church (the Body of Christ) to grow as Christians, to draw closer to Christ, and to be the community of hope our despairing world cries to meet. Within us is Jesus’ response to hate, prideful arguments. Within us is Jesus love for the world.
No one can say that Jesus is Lord unless the Holy Spirit is within them. [I Corinthians 12:3]. So if you have professed Christ, the Holy Spirit is in you, God’s gift, calling you to be Jesus’ Body for the world.
It is a huge joy that this friend’s renewal took place in one of our district’s local churches. That work goes on daily. I thank God for the opportunity to share in it with you.
And I thank God that we are called to grow up – into the fullness of Christ.
Grace and peace!
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Hello from Harvey – Growing Up
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