Last Monday evening we had a very energetic Session meeting, filled with good ideas and decisions. One of those decisions was to adopt "The Five Practices of Faithful Congregations" as our church-wide themes for now through Spring of 2018. These "Five Practices" are Radical Hospitality, Extravagant Generosity, Risk-Taking Mission and Service, Intentional Faith Development, and Passionate Worship. Our plan is to focus on each of these themes for part of the year in the hope that we will discover ways to live these out. I have already begun a new series of messages for the season of Lent leading up to Easter called "Radical Hospitality." Each Sunday we will look at a different Bible story to help us imagine what this looks like. This Fall we will focus on "Extravagant Generosity."
For our recent Session Retreat, we started going deeper into each one of these five practices and how they might begin to shape what we do here at JCPC. Some of our Ministry Teams are already beginning to explore new ways to engage these practices. As our current Long-range Plan comes to an end with the completion of our final goal - the building of the new multipurpose building - it is time for us to renew our focus for the coming years. Please be in prayer for our church as we seek to be faithful in doing what God would have us do.
This is a challenging time for all churches - but we will make it through as we pull together and move forward into God's future. One thing is for sure - following Jesus is never boring! On our Session Retreat, I shared the Bible story about the time Jesus is asleep in the boat with the disciples during a storm. Jesus seems unfazed by what is going on -- but the disciples are panicked! Jesus calms the storm, and then they move on. I believe it is always safer in the boat with Jesus - even when there is a storm! God's faithful promise is that the One who can calm the storm will never leave us and will always see us through.
Prayer for Today
Gracious God, in the storms of life we often feel anxious and afraid. In the same way that Jesus calmed the storm, calm our fears. Help us to trust you that, in the end, it will be okay and it will be good! We pray this in the strong name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.