The Hard Choice
Pastor Josh shares his thoughts on how making the hard choices now will have a significant impact on the future of our church family. Pursuing Christ's invitation to enter through the narrow gate together is what will strengthen theHeart for years to come.
By Josh Anderson, Pastor
As you know we’ve spent a lot of time talking about the future of our church family. And we spent some time right after our gathering on Sunday, August 22, sharing ideas and thoughts of what that might look like for us. You can watch our Church Family Meeting below.
I’m excited about the prospects of what we’ve already discovered about ourselves and what we feel called to pursue.
Still, I feel like I need to share with you the conviction I feel at this moment.
Pursuing the "Narrow Gate"
I recently taught on Matthew 7:13-14, in which Jesus invites us to "Enter through the narrow gate." You can watch our Mobile Church video below. Preparing for this message got me thinking about how this transformational parable relates to our future.
More than strong teaching, good music, friendly faces, warm smiles, efficient ministries, and everything else that we want to create, I see our church family pursuing the narrow gate together.
I see us as a group of people who are making the hard choices in utter dependence on and total surrender to our Messiah Jesus.
But truly being the church is not a spectator sport. The only way we can do this is if we commit ourselves to doing it together. Being for one another in every way.
If we can do that, then I believe we will reclaim something that has been lost along the way. By us and by so many churches.
We have spent too much time bristling over masks, wrestling over vaccines, and fearing that our rights have been infringed upon. As a result I feel like we have lost sight of our purpose—Jesus' call for us to be the salt and light in this world.
Committing Ourselves to "The Jesus Way"
Our calling as a body of believers is to give glory to God in everything we do. And the way we live our lives is meant to reflect the true nature of who Christ is to all of us.
Have you done that well? Have you done that consistently? I know I haven’t.
In John’s Gospel account, Jesus has this to say,
"...very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep...I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.” (John 10: 7,9)
Jesus is the gate. And we are invited to come in and go out, and find pasture.
If we are to be Christ’s loving embrace to all people who are in desperate need of hope and healing, then we need to reclaim our place as the sheep who go in and out, and find pasture. We need to stop thinking of ourselves as the gatekeepers.
An Open Invitation of Hope and Healing
The Gospel is meant to be an open invitation for anyone and everyone to enter. No one is disqualified, no matter how divergent our beliefs, choices, or politics might be.
We are not here to fight culture wars or thumb our nose at authority. We are called to something greater than ourselves—to partner with God and his redemptive plan for the world.
Jesus began his Sermon on the Mount with these words
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matthew 5:3-12)
It’s the harder way, but it is the way we are called to if we truly follow Jesus.