A Word from Pastor Oren - August 2014
When you are not quite sure where you are going, but you know you should be going somewhere, isn’t it a blessing to have someone guiding you to your destination? I find it so comforting to have someone who “knows the territory” so they can show me the way. But we do not need someone to just tell us where to go; we need them to lead us there. The truth is that we are all going somewhere in this life. Every one of our lives has a direction, and ultimately a destination. Our lives are usually headed in 1 of 2 directions: Either we are moving toward God, by faith in Jesus and dependence upon the Holy Spirit, OR we are headed away from God and his will (Matthew 7:13-14). Very rarely will you find a person of faith in a state of spiritual neutrality; neither growing in the LORD nor growing away from Him. And the same is true for churches. Either we are seeking God’s will and purpose corporately by faith, or we are stagnant and drifting away from God’s plan for the sake of our own plans. I DO NOT desire to be drifting away from the LORD’s will, nor do I want to fulfill my own plans. As your pastor, my desire for the FBC family is to walk alongside Kingdom-minded people who are seeking the LORD and his will so that we are collectively and in one accord pursuing God’s purpose for our church in the city of Baton Rouge. This is why I find Isaiah 30:18-21 so helpful:
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. 19 For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you.20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. 21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Isaiah 30:18-21
This passage is filled with promises for the people of God. If God waits to be gracious to us (v.18), then that means that God really wants to be gracious to us. He wants to extend mercy to his people. And if God is waiting to bless us, then he has a very good reason to wait, so we must wait for his timing by faith (v.18). He hears us when we cry to him for mercy, blessing, and direction (v.19).Sometimes our waiting for God comes with affliction and adversity (v.20), but it is not without a purpose. In fact, the troubles we face, individually and corporately, are leading us closer to Christ Jesus who is our Teacher (v.20), who does not hide from us but reveals himself in grace, love, and blessing (John 14:26).
What I want you to consider deeply is verse 21. Our Teacher (Jesus) is speaking to us saying “This is the way, walk in it.” How Amazing! Jesus is guiding us in the way we should go, because he is gracious, merciful, and loving. The desire of Christ is for our obedience and faithfulness to God the Father, and Jesus is actively showing us the way (John 14:6). As we seek to move forward as a church family, I pray that these words resonate in your heart and mind. The question we have to ask is “are we listening to our Teacher, Jesus?” Do we want to hear what Jesus has to say to us about the ways we can honor him by our obedience or do we only want go our own way? This is a question we must ask and answer.
On August 17th, we will gather together as a church family for our annual Vision Night. As always, we (your staff) will share with you the visions and Vision that God has given us for FBC and our various ministries. I find this to always be an uplifting time as we look ahead toward greater challenges, blessings, and faithfulness as a church family. I am asking you to pray for Vision Night. We have a lot to talk about and I am excited to share with you what God has put on my heart for FBC and our direction moving forward. I firmly believe he has placed us here at this time and in this location for truly great things. We must be faithful to trust Him, to do as he has commanded in his Word (1 John 2:4-6), and to listen closely as he says to us “this is MY way, walk in it.” Are we ready and willing to walk by faith in the way of Christ? I certainly am and I look forward to celebrating with you on August 17th all that God is doing and will do in us and through us for the glory of his name.
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