Four Truths to Anchor our Church in Uncertain Days

By Ryan Dawson 

What anchors you when the future seems uncertain?  This is an important question because we all experience seasons in life where we don’t have a clear sense of the next step.  Maybe we have experienced a significant life change or something unexpected that has made the future foggy or fraught with fear.  As a church in some regard, we are in a season like that.  A few weeks ago, we held a congregational vote to determine if we would move forward with a development project for the Impact Centre including two residential apartment buildings.  As a leadership team we set a required threshold of 80% affirmation to move forward with the project and we did not reach this threshold.  As a result, we will not be proceeding with this project.  

This outcome will create different reactions for different people, as some will be relieved and others will be sad, discouraged or even angry.  We will need to work through our feelings and take them to Jesus.  It is true that we don’t have a clear sense of the way forward for our land and building vision, as we made it clear that this was the only option on the table at present.  So, we will need to pray and discern God’s leading, but in the meantime, we must come back to what anchors us in these days.  

God is faithful in every season.
After Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians in 586BC it was a terrible time for the nation of Judah.  Many of the people were killed, tortured or carried into captivity.  The Temple and the Royal Palace was destroyed, and the walls were torn down.  It is in this season of extreme difficulty that the prophet Jeremiah pens these words…

Lamentations 3:19-26 (NLT)  “The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. 20 I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. 21 Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:  22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!  His mercies never cease.  23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. 24 I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!’  25 The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. 26 So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.”

This is amazing perspective that anchors us in every season, including seasons when the future is unclear.  God is faithful and His mercies are new every morning.  The Lord has been faithful to Sequoia for 25 years and He will continue to be faithful, leading us and providing for us as a people.  

Our mission remains unchanged.
There may be some things we don’t know as it relates to our church, but this is one thing we know for sure.  Our mandate from Jesus remains the same…

Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)   “Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

We are called to make multiplying disciples of Jesus and we need to be faithful to this commission from Christ.  By nature, the Church is a “sent people” as Jesus sends us into the world to help others find and follow Christ.  

John 17:18 (NLT) “Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world.”  

Land and buildings can be helpful tools to accelerate the mission God has given the Church, but they are not the end goal.  We have talked for many years about the Impact Centre being a “symbol and a source of blessing” which we take from the prophet Zechariah.  

Zechariah 8:13 (NLT)  “Among the other nations, Judah and Israel became symbols of a cursed nation. But no longer! Now I will rescue you and make you both a symbol and a source of blessing. So don’t be afraid. Be strong, and get on with rebuilding the Temple!”
But the Impact Centre is simply an extension of Sequoia as the Church, the people of God.  We as God’s people are the “symbol and source of blessing”, because we are the Temple of Jesus, set apart to display the goodness and grace of God to the world.  We can’t forget this, and we need to “get on with building the Temple”, which is the people of God as Sequoia Church.

Our unity as the Church is mission critical.  
In the Upper Room hours before his crucifixion and death, Jesus is sharing His last words with the disciples.  During this time, He prays to the Father for the Church, which includes you and me at Sequoia.  

John 17:20-23 (NLT)  “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.  22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.”

Do you see it?  Jesus is praying to the Father that the Church would reflect the perfect unity encompassed within the Trinity.  He is also stating that our ability in the Church to reflect the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, will determine our missional success.  “I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.”  

When we operate in unity and love towards one another in the Church we reveal God’s love to the world.  The world will know that God loves them when we choose to love one another across difference.  This is why it is mission critical to work to maintain unity as brothers and sisters in Christ.  Voting by nature is divisive because there are winners and losers and emotions run high when voting.  But we need to look past our differences and remember what binds us together – the love and grace of God and His redemptive mission.  We need to ensure that we extend love to one another in these days, prioritizing grace, forgiveness, and unity.

And lastly and most importantly…

It’s still all about Jesus!  
Jesus is the hero of the story, and He is the hero of every story connected to Sequoia.  We must remember to keep Christ first in all things.  The Apostle Paul helps us with this…

Colossians 1:15-23 (NLT) Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.  17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. 18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead.  So he is first in everything. 19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself.  He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.  21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. 23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.

It's all about Jesus so let’s ensure we put Jesus first in everything – our lives and our church.  When we do this, we will see God’s faithfulness, we will stay on mission & make disciples, we will experience unity as the Body, & we will experience vibrancy in our relationship with God.  This will anchor us in the days ahead as we trust God for our future as a Church.  

Blessings, Ryan

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