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Originally written for Shepherd of the Ridge Lutheran Church, apply these ideas to your local context.
Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
When things don’t seem to go our way, whether in our jobs, our family, our finances, or our church, it’s easy to get discouraged. We try to get ahead, and so often, as we try to move forward, we find ourselves on a conveyor belt pulling us back. It’s all we can do just to remain stationary, and when we manage just to keep up, we can feel pretty good about ourselves.
In his book, Direct Hit, Paul Borden says, “Being content with an impotent, declining congregation that is ignored by the community is evil.”
Those are strong words, but they’re true. Right here in North Ridgeville, 20,000 people don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior, and many of those who do treat Him more like a casual acquaintance instead of the lover of our souls He really is. God has placed us here to reach out to them with His love to foster new and renewed relationships with Christ Himself and with His bride, the church.
But if we’re doing the best we can and still not moving forward, how do we change that? The answer is simple: get off the conveyor belt.
Have you ever, while driving, seen a bird in front of your car, and when trying to get away from the car, it flies straight ahead instead of going up or to the side? I just want to yell, “You’re a bird! You have wings! Go up!”
We’re the church! We have the Holy Spirit! Go up!
How do we do that? First of all, pray. Pray some more. Pray for God’s direction, for clarity of vision so we can see the path that lies before us. Pray for faith to walk down that path. No, pray for faith to run down that path. When God parted the sea for Israel to escape Egypt, it took faith to walk between those two walls of water, knowing at any moment, the wind could stop, and the walls would crash down on them. But really, that couldn’t happen. They were being held up by God, and God would never destroy His people as they walked by faith. Pray for the assurance that He will lay His path before us as well. And when He lays that path before us, pray that God give us swiftness and sureness of foot, that we move forward boldly, but all the while remain on His path, not our own.