This month I will defer in my role as pastor to those who stand for confirmation and full membership in our congregation. Read these statements of faith and then I have an assignment for you since the Book of Order says we should all with integrity examine our own faith—write your own statement of faith and if you are bold enough, share it.

I pray that the eyes of your hearts may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which God has called you, the riches of God’s glorious inheritance in the saints, and God’s incomprehensible power for us who believe. That power is like the working of God’s mighty strength which God exerted in Christ when God raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at the right hand of the throne… — Ephesians 1: 18-20a

He is Risen! Alleluia! Happy Easter! Easter is not one day, but a celebration of the 40 days that the Risen Lord was on the earth (Acts 1:3) before his ascension into the clouds. How will you shine and witness to the truth in your life that in the resurrection Christ has remade you in the Spirit, kindled real hope in your heart, and claimed you as His own son or daughter? Paul wanted the church to know this truth. How do you make sense of Paul’s words above? He claims three specific promises or outcomes of the resurrection in a Christian’s life.

“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all...I want you to stress these things about Christ and our call in renewal by the Holy Spirit so that those who trust God may be careful to devote themselves to doing good. These things are profitable for everyone. Avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about how to interpret the law, because these things are unprofitable and useless.” - Titus 3: 1-2, 8-9

So, it’s Lent. A time to reflect and be honest and undertake our duty as members to examine the quality of our own membership (G-1.0304) and our discipleship under Christ. How’s it going? You might take the approach that all is well and you have nothing to change. You might take the approach of anxiety and worry about being perfect. You might take the approach of foolishness and defensiveness and ask why the church thinks it can butt into your own affairs. But consider Paul’s advice to Titus—stay focused on Christ and our commonality in Jesus and avoid quarrels and controversies. Many have been saying they are tired of all the politics and craziness, the name calling and the sound bites, not just on the national level but in our community, family, and church. We are called to do something about that you know. Avoid silly controversies, quarrels about how things should be done, disagreements over who and why as well as how. Rise above that secular sin of thinking you are right and the most important and be the church who makes Christ the most important—working to support each other, to equip each other, to both rebuke and receive rebuke (it is a two way street unless you really are Jesus).

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