Future, Forward, Faith is Happening

Future, Forward, Faith is happening!  You will notice on the back page of your bulletin this morning a couple of notes introducing two new members to our congregation. Using the bulletin to introduce new members to the church is one of the ways that Future, Forward, Faith calls us to strengthening the unity of our church.

Another way that Future, Forward, Faith is happening is that Mike Bridges has agreed to serve as our coordinator for local home construction and repair.  In this role, Mike will set up work days for us to be able to help housing ministries as they seek to provide safe and affordable housing to those in our community who have need of it.  Focusing more on local missions is one of our Future, Forward, Faith priorities along with Unity, Outreach and Spiritual Formation/Bible Study.  Mike’s efforts will give us another local mission opportunity.  Additionally, I know that Brian extended an invitation to all of us to join the youth this past Wednesday to feed the homeless under the bridge with Lost Sheep Ministries.  I am not sure if anyone accepted that invitation.  It represents another way that we are trying to expand local mission opportunities and strengthen the unity of our church.

One of the things that I appreciate so much about our Future, Forward, Faith experience is that it allowed so many of us to participate in so many ways to select our priorities for the next three years, and to plan toward them.  Another strength of the plan that resulted from the process is that it provides a multitude of ways that each of us can join in and participate in making our planning come to life.  Look and listen in the days ahead for ways that join with others as we move Forward by Faith into the Future God has for us.

Let us be clear, though, about one thing.  We did not plan for the sake of planning. Our Future, Forward, Faith plan will serve to give us direction, and it will let us know if we have accomplished what we said we wanted to do.  However, the plan itself is not the end.  The plan was made and will be useful only to the extent that it leads, guides and helps us to be more Christ-like and to live more Christ-shaped lives for the sake of others.  The real measure of this plan’s success or failure has little to do with whether or not we complete each component, but whether or not completing all or some of the components of it causes us to look, live and act more like Jesus, as we Share the Love of Christ with the world and with each other.

Harry Emerson Fosdick wrote the hymn, “God of Grace and God of Glory” over 80 years ago.

Cure Thy children’s warring madness
Bend our pride to Thy control
Shame our wanton selfish gladness
Rich in things and poor in soul
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage
Lest we miss Thy kingdom’s goal
Lest we miss Thy kingdom’s goal

His words still provide a sobering reminder for us that our own pride and selfishness can leave us with impoverished souls, missing the goal that Christ calls us toward.  Our goal is not merely to work a plan, but to let the plan that we worked on and prayed over help us toward that goal which is, as Fanny Crosby so eloquently put it, to be…

More like Jesus when I pray,

more like Jesus day by day,
May I rest me by His side,

where the tranquil waters glide.
Born of Him through grace renewed,

by His love my will subdued,
Rich in faith I still would be—

let my Savior dwell in me.

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