An October Message from Pastor Ron

Greetings Pine Grove/Friendship Family,

The writing of an article forces me to stop, get off of the train and reflect on what God is doing and wants me to say to you in this time. We know this is a liminal time in which we are challenged as limits come faster than we can keep up. Certainty seems to be a thing of the past. Uncertainty and chaos seem to be the rule.

I want to offer us hope and encouragement in this time. Instead of considering this as hard time or confusing time, I challenge you to see this time as “Our Time”. As modern American we seem to reduce everything to our understanding. We forget that there have been others in history who have faced liminal times. Others in history have experienced times that were just as bad as what we are facing now, even worse.

I will not spend time elaborating on these though it would be interesting to compare. What I will do is ask you to look at Earnest Shackleton marooned on an Antarctic ice floe; Abraham Lincoln on the verge of seeing the Union collapse; escaped slave Frederick Douglass facing possible capture; Dietrich Bonhoeffer agonizing over how to counter absolute evil with faith; Rachel Carson racing against the cancer ravaging her in a bid to save the planet. Look at the prophets of scripture. What all had in common was a North Star. Central focuses that centered them and brought hope where there was none.

As Christians I want to remind you who our North Star is. God is to be the clear originator of all that has been, all that is and all that will be. Through Jesus Christ His son our Lord and Savior He made a way into the beautiful future He alone holds. A way powered by the Holy Spirit. He is the one in whom all of our hope is rooted.

Augustine reminds us that “our hearts are restless until they rest in God.” Are you restless? Connect to God and to one another. Depend on Him not on what you know or what the world tells you. Rest in God.

This is our time within God’s time. God has provided before and God will provide now. We must look to Him as the North Star that will guide us through this and bring us to blessing. This will transform us. It is my hope that we are transformed into the who and what God wants us to be.

We can rest in God’s word as he  gives us hope in John 3:16, one of the best loved and most often memorized scriptures: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”—John 3:16

It is not just me or even pastor or religious types who acknowledge this hope and power.  Here are a few quotes from well-known Christians about John 3:16:

“John 3:16 is the North Star of the Bible. If you align your life with it, you can find your way home.”–Anne Graham Lotz

“John 3:16 is the very foundation of my faith.”—CeCe Winans

“There it is in black and white. As simple and gentle as one plus one equals two.”—Delilah

“John 3:16 is the foundation of my faith.”—Ernie Johnson Jr.

“This is the promise that bears hope for the hopeless. When we finally realize ‘I can’t do this on my own’ this is the Father responding, ‘I know, so I’ve done it for you.’”—Jeff Foxworthy

What do you have to say about John 3:16?

God gave us hope by pouring Himself into us through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our natural response should be to pour ourselves into others to provide hope and salvation where there is none. Bring hope to those around you by telling stories of how God has brought you and others through difficult time. Find the stories in the Bible that bring you hope and share them as story.

Maybe if we re-center our lives on God we can harness this adversity to bring change and transform our world in imaginative ways. Let’s acknowledge the pain of this time. Rebuild our community with unlikely friends in unfamiliar ways. Let us be God’s people who use “Our Time” within God’s time to bring others into His story using our story.

This will take courage and imagination as well as commitment to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to power you to live into “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”—John 3:16. As sons and daughters, this is for us.

With you, on the Way.

Pastor Ron