Breathe In. Breathe Out.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves to perform this basic function.
It feels a bit that way for me as we move through the final steps of leaving the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and entering ECO – A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. Breathe in. Breathe out. And let that be a prayer: breathe in – “Jesus;” breathe out – “Lord.”
As this adventure in the Lord continues, we have new tasks emerging before us. New bylaws and articles of incorporation for the congregation. Formal acceptance of our congregation and pastors into ECO. Moving the Hope staff into ECO’s benefits plan. Learning the dynamics of a new presbytery (ECO’s Presbytery of the West) and denomination. And raising $1.3 million dollars for the settlement. Breathe in. Breathe out. And let that be a prayer.
Let’s remember that we are moving to ECO because the Hope session believes this to be a call from God. There is much that attracts us.
- We look forward to being in a denomination whose mission is to help congregations flourish.
- We are inspired by the spirit of innovation that permeates ECO.
- We anticipate being challenged by ECO to participate in church planting and formation of new worshipping communities.
- We are deeply drawn to the excellent and eloquent statement of Essential Tenets that we will “receive, adopt, and be bound by” (we will preach and teach through the Essential Tenets June 29 – August 31 in a series entitled “Faith Essentials.” You can read the Essential Tenets at http://3fq58h366khe2vdo571ox0phstu.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/ECO-Essential-Tenets-Confessions.pdf).
Let’s remember that what we are doing is stretching our muscles of faith and hope. We are taking enormous risks, and this requires enormous trust in God. Sustaining strong levels of giving for our usual ministry. Raising an additional $1.3 million. Can we do this? Yes! But not without leaning into God and trusting perhaps as we never have before. The words of Psalm 91:2 must become alive for us: “I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Let’s remember that some people we love and cherish find themselves unable to make this journey with us. With sadness we say goodbye to them and in the Lord we hope and pray the best for them.
Let’s remember to finish as we began, with determination to live by the values of Romans 12:9-18. “Outdo one another in showing honor” (v. 10). “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all” (v. 17). Honor others in the Lord – we will never regret that!
Let’s remember how proud the pastor is of the people of Hope Church.
Pastor David Lenz