From Pastor Rick
Twenty-five years ago in a visioning meeting in the first church I served, as we visioned for that church of 31 attendees, one of the dear older saints piped up and said, “This isn’t going to make a difference anyways, we’re just a small church.” Maybe it was the brashness of my youth talking, but, more than likely, it was the Holy Spirit, when I looked that gentleman in the eye and said, “In ourselves, as a small church, we can’t do anything. But I know a God who lives in each of us through the presence of the Holy Spirit. That Spirit is the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead and if he can turn the world upside down in just a few short years with just 120 people, just imagine what He can do with 31 people. Perhaps, a quarter of the world . . . or more will be turned upside down for Jesus?” All objections stopped and they stopped looking at what they couldn’t do and started focusing on what God could do through them. There are parts of that vision that they are still working to live into all these years later and other parts that have been lived into and redefined. Living into God’s preferred future can happen instantaneously, but usually happens over a period of time.
On August 7th, Facebook reminded me of something that I posted seven years ago in 2010. That was the year that I was placed in an induced coma and on a ventilator for two weeks in late February and early March as I was paralyzed from the neck down with Guillain-Barre Syndrome and was also fighting MRSA pneumonia. On March 7, 2010, I pulled my own vent and was breathing on my own at 97% oxygen. On August 7th, five months later, I posted, “[I] was excited
to see the wheelchair leave today without [me] in it! I also sent the walker home this week. I also notice that I'm getting more of my body back slowly-a fingertip here-a place on the lower leg there. Praise God for the progress. Still need prayer particularly for my right side which is returning slower than my left. My right side seemed to be hit the hardest but I'm trusting it will
return fully.” The recovery was slow. But healing and rebuilding a body decimated by disease doesn’t occur overnight, if at all. It requires patience. It requires prayer. It requires hard work. It requires not easily giving up. It took me over a year of rehab and continuing exercises since to make and maintain progress.
To work with God in revitalizing and rebuilding a church like New Zion, barring miraculous intervention, it is going to take hard work and patience—patience at the slower than expected progress and patience with each other. It is going take working together instead of pointing an accusatory finger toward another brother or sister in Christ and proclaiming that they don’t care.
It is going to take encouraging one another to not lose hope or not to give up easily. It is going to take celebrating the littlest of change and improvement. It is going to take prayer. Prayer not just for God to bless our plans, but earnest prayer for what God wants us to do next. To truly pray, “What’s next, Papa?” and expect an answer and to not give up praying until we hear where God is calling us.
“Dear brothers and sisters,
I close my letter with these last words:
Grow to maturity.
Encourage each other.
Live in harmony and peace.
Then the God of love and peace
will be with you.”
--2 Corinthians 13:11
Grace and peace,