Wondering What the Journey Will Look Like

I am now eight months into my assignment at the North Philadelphia SDA Church. The Lord is blessing us. Yet I sense that we are nowhere near where I perceive we are going to be. I'm not exactly sure what it's going to look like, but it's much more significant than most can imagine.

I'm not talking about preaching four services in a weekend. I really don't want to do that. I'd much rather plant other churches with our spiritual DNA than to kill myself trying to convince everybody that they need to hear the gospel according to Keith Goodman.

But I believe that North is going to be a pace-setting church. Yes, within the denomination. SDA's have a lot to offer. But we have to think beyond ministering to one another. I visited a very nice congregation this past Saturday. They were great people with great fellowship. But as I sat through the service I was reminded of how so few of our churches are designed to reach OUT.

The children's story was told by a very nice man. But what I found interesting is that he made a statement: "Real men don't cry." We talked afterward. He was only joking. And it was a joke that everybody who knew him got (because they KNEW that he was joking as he is often the very first one to get emotional over something). But that's what we do all the time. We speak TO OURSELVES instead of to EVERYBODY.

Even I feel I make too many references to the SDA culture. We need to learn how to preach the good stuff we have to offer in language that EVERYBODY understands.

My vision is that the church would come to the point where we're not only pacesetters within the denomination, but that we are recognized as a church that offers something substantive and different than so much of the "thin" theology offered by many of the popular religious broadcasts people catch on television.

I spoke at the memorial service of Brother Jeffrey Reese on Sunday night at the church and noted that Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says there's a time for everything. These popular preachers on the Word Network would convince us that we aren't supposed to have rain or experience sickness or suffer any loss. But the Word says that there's a time to gain and a time to lose. We need a church that preaches faith. And that teaches that faith is exhibited by obedience because faith (trust) must believe God enough to do what He tells you to do.

It's gonna be challenging. But by the grace of the God who calls, it's gonna be good.


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