From District President Dan Gilbert
This month, as kids have returned to school and various activities begin, day to day schedule organization can be anything but simple. Add this onto the many other complex areas of our lives, stress can begin to creep in. The Lord is with us in this stress, however, encouragingly reminding us of the sanctity of simplicity.
The apostle Peter wrote 1 Peter with a simple message: no matter your circumstances, keep your hope fixed on the Lord and his promise of deliverance. Further, Peter writes, "like newborn infants, long for pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up in salvation - if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good." Just as a child does not stop drinking milk once they are able to consume solid foods, as we grow and are capable of more, it is important we not only remember but long for the unwavering, foundational blocks from which we have grown. This applies to our New Starts... New Believers.
It is said that people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. Foundational block? Relationships. Saying hello. Listening, taking interest, and then acting upon what we learn. As the Lord blesses our New Starts... New Believers and they experience growth, it is encouraging to see the fruit the Lord continues to produce from the simplest of interactions.
Pastor Walter Ramirez of Loving Arms, Oswego was playing basketball with some youth when another boy went by on his bike - twice. In a simple act, Ramirez stopped and talked to him, inviting him not only to play basketball but into a conversation as well. In this conversation, Ramirez was able to talk to him about Jesus. Additionally, he learned that the boy was living in a temporary home, which led Ramirez to visit the family taking care of him, building a relationship with them. The family now comes to church and are a part of a small group Bible study.
Pastor Ramirez's relationship was developed without too much time of uncertainty. Perhaps more commonly, however, this is not the case. For example, one pastor met a family at an event his congregation was hosting in a local park early in the summer. He said after meeting and chatting with the father he thought, "Oh, this guy's going to come to church every Sunday!" Then, Sundays came and went without the man arriving for service. The pastor didn't lose hope, however; he knows that development of trust takes relationship, and relationships take time. Four months later, the family arrived for their very first service. Praise be to God.
No matter how quick or slow growing, basic or extensive in planning, or what season a New Start is in, we are encouraged that there is sanctity in simplicity. We hold our hellos as holy, welcoming invitations into the start of a relationship that will lead to the sharing of the Gospel as we abide in confident hope of the fruit the Lord produces from the smallest of acts. Once these foundational, simple blocks are established, we are able to build, continually referring back to our foundation. Thank you for your part in celebrating the growth that comes through simplicity with your prayers, actions, and gifts.