Sally Coleman from “Eternal Echoes” suggested “a day of being positive” about the church. While I primarily write about the church on this blog, but otherwise – unless I have a specific question that I want to discuss with someone – I rarely talk about church practices or leadership or meetings outside of this blog. Instead, I try to live out many of the things that I’m learning about the church, sharing life with other believers and helping them determine how God is working in their lives. So, when I think about “positive” things that are going on in the church, I do not think primarily about organizational changes, or movements, or conferences, etc. Instead, I think about the work that I see God doing in and through the lives of the people that he’s brought into my life.
For example, as I mentioned recently in my wedding anniversary post “19 Years“, my most important discipling relationship is with my wife Margaret. I think the discipleship is working both ways between us. In her life, I’ve seen God use her to serve and care for people time and time again. I’ve seen her listen attentively to people who simply needed a listening ear. I’ve heard her speak wisdom and encouragement into situations, some involving me and some involving other people. In other words, I see God maturing her as we – hopefully – grow together.
I also think about MaÃ«l, a good friend of mine and fellow elder. While some people talk about being open and honest to other brothers and sisters in Christ, I have personally witnessed this from MaÃ«l. Not only has he talked with me and others about very personal things, he shares his struggles openly when we meet with the church. When he and his wife were given the opportunity to move to another state to continue his education, he openly shared this opportunity with the church, asking for prayer and advice in making this decision. I don’t know many elders who would discuss the possibility of moving more than a year before the possible move. He has been a great encouragement and example to me in this area.
When I think about positive things happening in the church, I also think about Theron. He and his wife Cheryl are in the middle of making decisions about their life. And, as they think through these decisions, they are trying to discern God’s will and how he has created them to serve others. They are not looking for the most comfortable path, or the easiest way. They want to know where God wants them to serve and how he wants to use them. I appreciate their openness to share this with others, to ask for help, and to wait patiently for the Lord.
I also think about Lew. As life changes for him and his wife Kati, he is excited about the possibilities. Instead of dwelling on what might be lost or what he might miss out on, he is looking forward to new opportunities that God will present to them. He is focused on getting to know people and to see God work through him to impact their life. He is also thinking about his family – how to best take care of his wife and to help her succeed. This is a great balance that is very challenging to me and my family.
These are just a few of the positive things about the church. God continually introduces me to his children who are learning and struggling and growing and failing and teaching and hoping and trying and waiting. Through all of them God teaches me and challenges me and encourages me. These are all positive things. I find these things in the lives of my brothers and sisters. I find real life – with all of its aches and pains and successes and failures – and I find God working to create abundant life. I find fellowship – fellowship with one another which is really fellowship with God.