Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: WEATHER (07/19/18)
TITLE: Atmospheric Pressures
By Cassandra Leighton
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Occasionally, the barometer will sink, as a cold front of grumblers push their opinions on a range of issues. For some, it’s a criticism for the length of the sermons, or the hymns need updating, while others might argue against expensive renovations to the church hall. Our congregations need to consider Ephesians 2:14 (NIV) “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” Prayerful giving can certainly take the worry from our financial concerns, as we see in Malachi 3:10 (NIV) “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. ‘Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough for it.’”
Thankfully, not many of us will have to suffer through category five cyclones that tear the spiritual fabric of the church apart, where power is misused and trust abused. However, our churches may still experience seasons where the wind chill factor hits hard, especially if any members are struggling with a judgemental attitude, pride or lack of forgiveness. Frequent reminders of Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV) can help moderate any extremes of temperature: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.” If we are angry or holding a grudge, it is our job to forgive the other person, not wait until they make the first move (indeed, they may never make a move). We all need that gentle reminder that Jesus didn’t wait until we ‘got our act together’ before forgiving us: Romans 5:8 (NIV) “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Good leadership in your church will help to ensure there are not too many upper atmospheric disturbances. With humble pastors who model Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness and turning the other cheek, the damaging hail and gale force winds of discontent can be more easily deflected. Meditating on Galatians 3:28 (NIV) can help moderate any fluctuations appearing on your synoptic chart: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
When churches run smoothly, however, we need to be aware of avoiding the greenhouse effect: while it’s warm and cozy within the church, we need to spread that warmth out into the community. It’s the one instance where we need to push for global warming, where people of all nations are given the opportunity to experience the warmth of God’s love and mercy through the sacrifice of His precious Son. We must heed the Great Commission of Matthew 28, making the Good News known within our own small spheres of influence, as our talents and circumstances allow.
Sometimes we may need to commit to more consistent prayer so the Holy Spirit may thaw the frost of complacency. Note Proverbs 1:32b (NIV) “…the complacency of fools will destroy them.” Backsliding and indifference to those around us can just as easily bring on drought conditions, where the church struggles to maintain membership or achieve its mission goals.
Whatever the atmospheric conditions we experience, let us ensure we do not fall into the overcast state of the Church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:15-16 (NIV) – neither warm nor cold. “Lukewarm” is not an ideal forecast for any of us.
Finally, if visibility is low, we should prayerfully ask the Lord to clear our vision. One day we will meet our Lord, face to face, and then we will truly grasp the meaning of 1 Corinthians 13:12 (The Message translation): “We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!”
Praise the Lord!
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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