God loves us deeply. He is full of mercy. So he gave us new life because of what Christ has done. -Ephesians 2:4
Yesterday our congregation did something very brave, and wonderful, and hard. Yesterday our congregation made the decision to sell our current buildings to First Baptist Church, our next door neighbor for a century. We also made the decision to buy a former medical building 4.5 miles northeast of us to renovate it and make it our new launching pad for worship and mission! We believe we can more effectively reach people with the radical hospitality of Jesus from this new location. So much trusting in God’s provision has happened over our two year process. Many expressed how amazing it was that on the same day, we were able to vote to both buy and sell. Surely the Lord is with us! Were not our hearts burning within? (Luke 24:32)
Something that made the day even more beautiful and meaningful was that we celebrated two baptisms in worship. We had a visual picture of what we are doing as a congregation: leaning back, dying to ourselves, saying goodbye to the past, and trusting the everlasting arms to bring us back up out of the water, sputtering and sopping wet, ready for new life to come. This is how growth happens in our spiritual lives: daily death and resurrection. And sometimes, on days like yesterday, new life seems to happen all at once, like a big growth spurt of newness.
Author Richard Rohr puts it this way: “Loss and renewal is the divine pattern. Each time you allow the surrender, each time you can trust the dying, you will experience a new quality of life within you: ‘How we do not know; of its own accord, the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear’ (Mark 4:27-28). Paul calls this ‘the hidden wisdom of God . . . predestined to be for our glory before the ages began’ (1 Corinthians 2:7).”
Now, church, we’ve only just begun. God has opened a new chapter in the story of God’s faithfulness to us. Keep doing what is brave, and wonderful, and hard. Daily, surrender, and be raised up by God who loves us so much we are constantly receiving the gift of new life. Let’s see what else God can do with lives overflowing with the waters of grace. Hallelujah!