Going Deeper with the Message:
by: Andrew Archer
On Sunday Pastor Tim kicked off a new series titled “Relevant.” In this series we are asking the question, “Is the church still relevant?” In other words, “Does the church have something to offer the world?” Throughout this series we will be making the case that the church is not only relevant, but essential. The first, and perhaps most important, way in which the church is relevant is that the church has a message that can change the world one life at a time.
The message that we have is that:
”[The Father] has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves. We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, in Him” – Colossians 1:13-14
While we, the church, have this message and it’s our responsibility as ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:18-20) to bring this message to the world; it can be hard to do.
In our current cultural climate, talking about faith can often be taboo. Many people respect what others believe, even if it’s different from what they believe; however, they don’t want anyone to talk about their beliefs to them. Not only does that create an obstacle for sharing the Gospel but I also think many people, including some of us in the church, misunderstand the Gospel as well and that perhaps presents an even bigger hurdle. When I talk with people about faith they often think that Christianity is all about following rules and getting in trouble when we don’t. When we view Christianity as such, it is natural to be reluctant about sharing that with someone else—what awful news that would be!
However, I believe that if we truly understand the Gospel message—how it is not one of condemnation but rather of great hope—then sharing it with the world should excite us! Jesus put it this way right after he spoke the most famous verse in the Bible:
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” – John 3:17
Jesus’ mission wasn’t condemnation—it was rescue! Most people agree that we live in a broken world, it’s challenging to argue otherwise. We get the great privilege of sharing about the One who came to save us from our brokenness!
This week, make a list of three people that you want to share the Gospel with. Write their names on an index card, in the notes app on your phone, or somewhere else easily accessible. Pray for them every day. Pray that God would soften their hearts to receive the Gospel. Pray that God would give you opportunities to share the Gospel with them. And don’t simply share the Gospel with words, live it out as well. Love these people in the way that Christ loved us—by laying His life down for us.
Living out the Message:
Yet Will I Trust Him
By Barb Barnhart
This week, Andrew shared with us about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These three men can be seen as the epitome of trust. No matter which way the results from being thrown into the fiery furnace went, they would still trust God. Their response to King Nebuchadnezzar was:
“But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” –Daniel 3:1
Job was another person in scripture that demonstrated trust in the midst of adversity.
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him” –Job 13:15 (KJV)
Two years ago, my brother was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. I got the call on Valentine’s Day of 2019. This was my fiery furnace! I watched my brother, who was physically fit, go from a strong 190 pounds down to a weak 130 pounds in less than five months. All the while, I prayed that God would heal him. His family needed him. I needed him. He was so very sick, unable to eat or do any of the things he had loved. Yet he trusted God. He knew that no matter what happened, He would be with Jesus one day.
This is part of my journey where the statement, “yet will I trust Him” became a question. Yet will I trust Him? My trust was very small and seemingly insignificant. Yet I will trust Him. When my brother passed away in July of 2019, my trust was at a very low point, hanging by a thread. I was angry and sad! My brother needed to be here to see his youngest son, who is on the Autism spectrum, go to Life College at Coastal Carolina University. He was supposed to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding. Right now, he should be holding his brand new baby granddaughter. Moment by moment I hold tightly to God’s promises, though I don’t understand. Yet will I trust Him!
This trust I have in my Savior is one that grows as I purposefully believe that He is at work in my life. I cry. I read His Word. I sing His songs of praise. I pray.
I know that everyone has had or will have a fiery furnace time in their lives. We each must decide how to hold onto the trust we have in Jesus. It is a blessing to know that as we walk through the furnace of our despair, we are not alone. God is with us. Caring for us. Protecting us. Loving us. You can decide…
YET WILL I TRUST HIM!