Dear Church Family and Friends,
The Summer is almost over! Next week our children return to school! The seasons are about to change. The days will begin to shorten, the heat will subside and the colors of fall will begin to replace the green leaves on the trees. Some of us (I am included) are looking forward to cooler temperatures and routine of fall. The change of season is a welcome change. Of course there are some die hard summer fans but the change of seasons is necessary. Just like the seasons of the year are necessary there are also seasons in our life with God. There are seasons of life and seasons in our life in God. During the summer seasons of our life in God we experience extraordinary prosperity and purpose. During these times there is momentum and little effort is needed to move ahead spiritually. We experience a high level of prosperity and peace. During these times we are full of gratitude and worship is easy. There are other times in our lives where it becomes more difficult. During other seasons we experience a change in the spiritual climate. Things that used to be easy may become more difficult. The blessings and purposes of God are still present, but it just seems that we need more encouragement and insight from God to make our way forward. It is also during these periods that great growth and transformation occur. Jesus described the Christian life using illustrations drawn from nature. He said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener…If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit… every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15:1,5,2) In this verse and many others we discern that difficulty in our lives is not always caused by the Devil. It appears that God Himself does some pruning, not to destroy us, but so that we will become more mature and fruitful. During these time of pruning the bible proposes the powerful discipline of perseverance. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4) According to this passage “trials of many kinds” is not an alarming condition calling for spiritual warfare but a season of life that God has designed to bring us into maturity and fruitfulness. Perseverance is defined as, “Continuing to do what God has called you to do until he calls you to do something else.” A sense of success may or may not be included in the process of perseverance. Often it is not. I believe God is calling us to persevere in the call of God. As we move forward together into a season of deepening relationship with God and reaching out in love to others I believe that success in this process will require perseverance. We sense the calling of God during this season for outreach and mutual care in our home groups. Participation in a home group will be enjoyable but it also will require perseverance. We also will be offering our “Deeper with God” course which is the next in the series after Hearing God’s Voice. This class will meet every Thursday for eight weeks starting September 13th. The location for this class is C-HOP at 115 10th St. N.W. Charlottesville. Please register for this class using the sign up sheet in the entry area. At this point in time we are still looking for some basic leadership for our church. We need a keyboard player for the worship team, an administrative assistant, a children’s ministry assistant and a worship leader intern. These are just the basic leadership needs that we require to continue to function as a congregation. Please pray and discern if God is calling you to serve in one of these ways. Experience and skill is optional! God will enable who He calls. He also will provide the time and energy in obedience to His direction. We will be postponing the announcements of our home groups until next Sunday. The process of equipping and unifying home group leadership is still in process. I apologize for the delay. As someone who has been leading small groups for the past 31 years I have discovered that obtaining unity of purpose and direction among leadership is key to success. At this point, we are still in a the process of working this out. Hopefully we will be able to announce our home groups and leaders next Sunday. See you Sunday!