These turbulent days remind me of the New Testament story about Peter on the Sea of Galilee. Peter saw Jesus walking on the water toward his boat; jumped out of the boat, fixed his eyes upon Jesus and walked on water. Then…Peter’s eyes shifted to the waves and with that shift in focus, he plunged into the sea.
I am fascinated that Jesus, the boat and sea all remained constants in this story. The variable was Peter or more specially, Peter’s eyes. What we are looking at makes all the difference!
I am disturbed by the manic nature of this present age. I know many of you are troubled as well. Clearly if all things eventually end up “where they are headed,” things can look most bleak if we focus on the mania that encapsulates us.
I have so many questions:
Will a collective sense of right and wrong be restored in our country or are such notions lost forever?
Will the Bible be held up as the “Book of Books” or will it be culturally downgraded to a “book among books?”
Will our denomination right itself after decades of decline and in the face of present challenges?
What kind of world will we hand down to our children and grandchildren?
Will the American church be a powerful force in shaping the future or just an anachronistic relic of the past?
I have discovered that, like Peter, when my gaze is fixed upon the waves I begin to sink but when my eyes are focused upon Jesus, I begin to walk in miraculous hope! I believe the best hope for our region, our state, our nation and our world rests in the church being the church! And for the church to exert influence in our manic culture, we must get our eyes focused upon our savior, our mission, and our future!
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by him. –John 14:6
We exist to connect people to Jesus Christ.
None of us have “20/20 Vision” into the future but here is what I know concerning Christ Church:
We will connect people to Jesus Christ
We will shape our children and students
We will address our debt
We will stand for the authority of Scripture
I am committed to being your pastor
Our denomination faces challenges
Our best days are ahead of us
A key part to our future is the adoption of a sound financial strategy. Nothing will be possible without it. With the successful completion of the Raise the Roof campaign in May, we needed to do something to cover the remaining mortgage on the three major building projects we have completed in the last decade. Rather than have another capital campaign that simply addressed debt, we prayed for new dreams and new visions concerning funding.
Let me introduce Vision 2020! Your Administrative Council has voted to engage in a two year initiative this fall that will address all our financial needs in a One Fund approach. The One Fund approach is an accelerated giving opportunity designed to fund operating and capital needs in one simple but compelling, “ask.” Our operating AND capital needs, which includes loan repayments, etc. are aggregated into one number, which we will present to the Christ Church family. Our goal is that 100% of our active members will be motivated to make a commitment to fully fund the needed finances to carry out our mission.
Peter’s story reminds us that regardless of the cultural sea swirling about us, we can walk on water when we keep our eyes on Jesus! And keeping our eyes on Jesus is precisely what we are going to do! Your two year pledge to the Vision 2020 will put Christ Church in position to keep on connecting people with Jesus Christ for decades to come!
God is good!
Rev. Shane L. Bishop, Senior Pastor