[Written by Dr. Chris Peters]
For all of us older than age 25 or 30, I’m sure the next week will bring up poignant memories of one of the saddest days in contemporary American life – September 11, 2001. We all remember where we were when we heard the news and saw the images of human destruction, pain and loss. Some of us even lost friends, family or business associates. As we rightly acknowledge the sobering anniversary of that national event, we are also reminded about the kingdom of God. In the midst of sadness and reflection, we can also take joy that the gates of hell shall not prevail against God’s kingdom, and that God is on the move globally and locally.
One of the primary ways God is active in the world is through His church, the body of Christ. At least for me, it is comforting and motivating to realize that by pursuing God’s kingdom on a daily basis, I am participating in God’s redeeming work in this world. Just as nations face opposition and attacks, the kingdom of God does as well, from the Evil One, but Jesus says he is the Strongest Man who has bound up that strong man.
For me this means that engaging in our church vision – Glorifying God, by Inviting All, Into God’s Grace – through the strategies of Growing in Truth, Living in Community and Serving in the Kingdom – is a vital daily endeavor. The recent decision of our church to purchase the land and building we have been meeting in for 3 years is just one part of pursuing that vision. In reality, this is a good moment to revisit our core mission – so that the edifice we prepare to own is something we use for the Lord’s work – a help to our mission in this community and even around the world – not a distraction from that.
Moments of national reflection and moments of church development are great chances for all of us, including me as Pastor, to ask some key questions:
- How is God’s grace shaping my life in fresh ways?
- What ways can I renew my pursuit to glorify God in all I do?
- Who is God calling me to invite into his Kingdom and into His church?
- Have I stagnated in pursuing God’s truth in His Word? How can I put myself in the way of truth?
- Where have I opened myself up to the blessing of a committed local church community where I am known and know others? Where am I resistant to or hiding from that?
- What new ways might the Lord want me to serve – whether through the ministry of our church, or the local organizations we partner with, or in our schools or kid’s activities or business arena?
If our hearts and minds are propelled by God’s redeeming work in our lives to engage deeply with these core questions of the Christian walk, then whether buildings fall or buildings are bought, we will be living as the adopted Children of God we are, and God will be using us to advance his joyful, powerful, transformational kingdom.