|A Place of Hope|
At New Vision, God has given us a church body with a strong core group of believers on which he will continue to build his church. He has given us the ability to understand what it really means to be family. And, he has given us the ability for our paths to cross with others in need. There are myriad opportunities that God will continue to give us to show love to those who are in need, and we will be tested. Can God, who has blessed us with much, continue to trust us to show love to those who have need?
As the pastor at New Vision, I am convinced that God will continue to bless us in many ways, including bringing more workers for the harvest and allowing our church to flourish. Our part in the equation is to continue responding in love to ALL, whether they be people with spiritual needs, emotional needs, or physical needs. However, we must consistently remind ourselves from where we have each come. Whenever we catch ourselves going down the path of judging others, we must make sure that we demonstrate the recognition of Christ’s love for us.
In John 8, we are told the story of a woman who was caught in adultery and a crowd that had gathered who were ready to stone her: “They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.” (John 8:6-8) When the crowd dispersed because there was no one without sin to throw the first stone, Jesus sent the woman away, forgiven, with the instruction to “go and sin no more.” Do you think she ever sinned again? Probably. Was she ever able to be forgiven again after this interchange with Jesus? Absolutely!
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught us: “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” Matthew 7:1-2
Are there any among us who are ready to cast the first stone? Are you ready to be judged by the same measure by which you judge? Does LOVE abide in your life and in your actions?
New Vision is a church where our faith meets action, where we love genuinely, and where we all recognize that we are part of the same race, because we are all part of the human race. Let’s demonstrate Jesus’ love for us to the world by the way we love one another, both those inside and outside the church. Sometimes we forget to see that the one reflected back to us in the mirror each day is no different than anyone else we see struggling through life. Sometimes the sins individuals fall into are very apparent and are worn on the outside, i.e. drug abuse, pregnancy out of wedlock, road rage, etc. Sometimes the sin individuals fall into are hidden from view, i.e. depression, self-loathing, gossip under the guise of shared prayer requests, etc. Yet, no one’s sin is able to be justified or reasoned away as not as bad as someone else’s. Let us not forget what we read in Roman 3:23: “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (NLT) Our process of growth in Christ is about progress, not perfection.
New Vision is a place where we cheer on those who know Jesus as their Lord and Savior in their consistent progress of becoming more like Jesus in their behavior, actions, and choices. New Vision is also a place where those who do not yet know Jesus’ love and forgiveness are loved, helped, forgiven, and encouraged with the kind of love, acceptance, forgiveness, and encouragement that Jesus offers to each one of us.
“God’s unconditional, unlimited forgiveness … comes first, but it is to be followed by an unconditional, unlimited forgiveness of others.” (How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth)