Last week I wrote about holding on to faith in Christ even when we don’t understand what’s happening in our lives or can’t explain what is going on around us. To be sure, that doesn’t mean we should just shrug our shoulders when we encounter difficult things or not attempt to understand how painful experiences may shape us. In fact, when we encounter difficulties or pain, it’s important to ask how such experiences might form us and help us grow. The Apostle James, the brother of Jesus, began his general epistle with these words, “My brothers and sisters, think of the various tests you encounter as occasions for joy. After all, you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. Let this endurance complete its work so that you may be fully mature, complete, and lacking in nothing.” James seems to suggest that one way we grow in faith is through having our faith tested. That doesn’t mean that every difficulty we encounter is a test of faith or that God tests us by bringing painful things into our lives. It means that when pain, disappointment or suffering come upon us that we should consider how such experiences might be teaching us something new—how they may help us grow if we’re willing to leave behind beliefs and practices that have hindered us and embrace what newness God may reveal. I think this is what Paul meant when he wrote to the Philippians, “I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me.” The goal Paul said he pursued was “the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3.13-14). An “upward call” might imply several different things, but one possibility is that Paul saw the life of faith as one that continually changes, grows, and matures through our willingness to cast off certain habits, beliefs or practices and reach for what God gives us. So the next time you encounter something difficult, consider it a possibility for growth and change that might lead you into a more faithful relationship to God.
Our staff along with our Clerk, Matt Wilber (and Sara too) will host anyone who signs up for a simple lunch after worship on September 26. We’d love to have you in our homes for an hour or so with no agenda but to get to know you better. You can sign up here.
Michelle Hancock’s father, Ray Barrett, recently passed away. Our prayers are with Ray’s wife Marilyn and Michelle and her family. A private service is scheduled for later this month.
The Missions Team will hold their annual BBQ Luncheon on Sunday, October 3rd. Tickets will be sold before and after worship in the Coffee Cafe, the next two Sundays. You can also purchase tickets online. All meals will be served “to-go” style, so you will have the option to stay and eat at church, or to take your meal to-go. Meal tickets cost $15 each, and will include enough food for children to split a box if you would like to do so.
The Missions Team will also hold a raffle for a quilt made by the Bee Pieceful Quilters, and a silent auction for a bench handmade by Roy Skeeter. You can purchase your quilt raffle ticket for $10 at the same time as your BBQ ticket. The bench will be available for silent auction at the ticket table as well as during the Luncheon on October 3rd.
Ladies’ Bible Study will begin on Wednesday, October 6th at 9:30 am. The study for this fall will be based on the book Elijah by Priscilla Shirer. Nursery care is available by reservation – please contact the church office at 281-482-7821 if you need childcare.
Our next host week for Family Promise will take place October 10-17. Volunteers are needed to provide meals each night, to help with set up and tear down, to provide childcare on Tuesday evening, or to spend one night at the church. For more information or to sign up to volunteer, please contact Desiree Trevino or Beth Skeeter.
Registration is now open for our Fall Retreat, which will take place November 12-14 in Galveston. This is open to individuals or families of all ages. For more information or to register, click here.
May the love of God, the peace of Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you this week.