Since the Elevator construction began this past summer I would come out to the site to see how it was going. I remember one day seeing them digging out the ground deeply, and next they brought the mixer and poured the concrete into the ground. They laid a strong foundation upon which they would build an elevator structure. Seeing that gave me an inspiration to ponder on the solid spiritual foundation of the church. Where do we discover the foundation of the church and how has God worked to renew His church throughout history, and how have people responded to it?
We read Acts 1-2 to discover the foundation of the church. After his resurrection, Jesus asked his disciples not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for the gift that God promised. And they were tarrying together in prayer for the promise. On the day of Pentecost, God empowered them by the Holy Spirit, and they were transformed. They began to witness the resurrection of Jesus and his lordship to other people. The dynamics of church life are expressed in Acts 2:42-46 --- worship, praying, teaching, devotion, fellowship, and ministry, by the power of the Holy Spirit. And God added to their number those who were being saved. The presence and the work of the Holy Spirit is the foundation of the church. Waiting on the Word of God and prayer are our response to see to it that God leads and renews his church.
The year of 2017 is the 500th anniversary of The Reformation, a church renewal movement in 17th century AD, which gave birth to the Protestant church. There were three principles of the Reformation: Sola scriptura (by Scripture alone), Sola fide (by faith alone), Sola gratia (by grace alone). The primary source of church renewal that the reformers found was the Bible, the Word of God, and they claimed to return to the basics of faith.
God has always led the church, in various ways according to his purpose and will. Our church, St. Paul, is facing changes inside and outside. We are called to diligently seek God’s will and purpose that God wants to accomplish through us, St Paul church. How do we respond to that calling together? We can learn from the early church in the book of Acts and from the Reformers in the 17th century: return to the basics-- waiting on God in prayer and on the power of the Holy Spirit, return to the Word of God.
As we are coming to the new year, 2018, we invite the whole congregation to join in seeking the will of God for our church, St. Paul, asking “what does God want to accomplish through us. To help you in joining in this discernment process, we offer three practices this coming year.
“Tarrying together in prayer” ---- we pray throughout the year, individually and communally, seeking the will of God, in public worship, small groups, Sunday school, and prayer meetings.
“Bible Reading plan 2018.” ---- this is an individual daily bible reading plan. Read four chapters a day and you are able to read through all books of the Bible in a year. The focus of this bible reading is to know God, God’s will and God’s purpose. Pick your favorite version and stick with reading it. You can pick up the Bible Reading Plan 2018 booklet at the church. They are located at both entrances of the church. Additionally we have uploaded it to the church website, www.stpaulvaumc.org.
“Roadmap to renewal,” ---- this is a leadership group process, following a suggested timeline. The focus of this leadership process is to discover the vision of St Paul church, through Bible reading and through surveying both the congregation and the community, in order to create a ministry action plan.
The new year is going be an exciting year in that God continues to lead us, and we live alive in God. May God bless you and our church richly.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Moonsup “Paul” Song Pastor