Monday, July 27, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
I have big dreams for our church. I’m pretty sure all of us do. We want our church to grow in size and maturity. We want to see God impacting our town in tremendous ways through us. We long to see vibrant ministries for all ages and to encounter story after story of transformed lives. We want God to do amazing things with us and through us. And it is good for us to want that. If we didn’t want God to do an incredible work through us, then something would be wrong. We should be a church with big dreams for the future since we serve a God who can do immeasurably more than all we can ask or even imagine.
As I’ve thought about some of these big dreams lately, it seems that God keeps reminding me that we must first be faithful in the small things. We can’t get so caught up in all that we hope God will do through us in the future that we miss what he is doing through us and in us right now. While we want our church to grow and impact our community for Christ, we can’t forget that our impact begins with the people right next to us. Reaching out to our community is not something that is going to suddenly happen all at once through a giant event or crusade. It begins with taking that visitor at our church out to lunch or faithfully discipling the children in your Sunday School class or starting up a friendly conversation with that neighbor or co-worker.
At the ordination service at our district assembly, Dr. J.K. Warrick spoke from John 6 where Jesus uses one little boy’s meager lunch of just a few loaves of bread and a few fish to feed a crowd of thousands. Of course, what this little boy had wasn’t enough to feed the crowd. Nevertheless, he was faithful and trusted Jesus with the little that he did have and because he placed all he had in the hands of Jesus it was enough. God isn’t asking us to do anything extraordinary. He’s just asking us to give all that we have. He is asking us to be faithful with the small things and watch what he can do when we put it in his hands. At the end of the day, living out the gospel is still ultimately about loving those around us with the love of Jesus. It is about doing the small things well. May we be a church that has big dreams about what God can do when we are truly faithful in the small things of everyday life.
“A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling his disciples to him, he said to them ‘Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.’”
“His master said to him ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’”
“In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”
Thursday, July 23, 2009
13. We believe that [entire] sanctification is [that] the [act] work of God[, subsequent to regeneration, by] which transforms believers into the likeness of Christ. It is wrought by God’s grace through the Holy Spirit in initial sanctification, or regeneration (simultaneous with justification), entire sanctification, and the continued perfecting of the Holy Spirit culminating in glorification. In glorification we are fully conformed to the image of the Son.
We believe that entire sanctification is that act of God, subsequent to regeneration, by which believers are made free from original sin, or depravity, and brought into a state of entire devotement to God, and the holy obedience of love made perfect.
It is wrought by the baptism with or infilling of the Holy Spirit, and comprehends in one experience the cleansing of the heart from sin and the abiding, indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, empowering the believer for life and service.
Entire sanctification is provided by the blood of Jesus, is wrought instantaneously by grace through faith, preceded by entire consecration; and to this work and state of grace the Holy Spirit bears witness.
This experience is also known by various terms representing its different phases, such as “Christian perfection,” “perfect love,” “heart purity,” “the baptism with the Holy Spirit,” “the fullness of the blessing,” and “Christian holiness.”
14. We believe that there is a marked distinction between a pure heart and a mature character. The former is obtained in an instant, the result of entire sanctification; the latter is the result of growth in grace.
We believe that the grace of entire sanctification includes the divine impulse to grow in grace as a Christlike disciple. However, this impulse must be consciously nurtured, and careful attention given to the requisites and processes of spiritual development and improvement in Christlikeness of character and personality. Without such purposeful endeavor, one’s witness may be impaired and the grace itself frustrated and ultimately lost.
Participating in the means of grace, especially the fellowship, disciplines, and sacraments of the Church, believers grow in grace and in wholehearted love of God and neighbor.