Life, death, and the Church!

A short time ago Rh0nda and I were at Bishops week in Kansas City.  On our way home we stopped in Springfield, Missouri where I had attended and graduated from Central Bible College, we attended Church at Eastside, and our first two children were born.  We wanted to visit those places and reminisce after so many years. That’s not how it turned out.  Eastside had been sold to a nondenominational group and was no longer Eastside.  CBC had closed completely, and the hospital had changed dramatically, no longer small and user friendly. The apartments we had lived in had been torn down. At first we were kind of sad.  Then we begin to look at it in a different way.

CBC had blended with Evangel college and become Evangel University, that still did training for ministers but included a seminary and a liberal arts college.  We then remembered that while we were at Eastside the Church purchased 40 acres, (we voted at the kickoff meeting for the purchase and made a small “I am in college with no money pledge.”)  The Church had since relocated and what had been a very small congregation was now one of the largest in the city. The hospital had grown dramatically and now served the entire county.The apartments we lived in had been torn down and that simply needed to happen. There is now new buildings on that site that don’t have a thousand mice living in the walls.

Its not really change we don’t like, its loss, although we sometimes get the two mixed up.  When change adds something, we often like it.  When it takes something away we instinctively don’t like it, even if its better.  Who likes loss?

We often don’t like change in the Church, changes in our favorite worship service, changes in staff, pastor’s and leadership, location, music, even what the bulletin or website looks like. Its typically because we are losing what’s familiar, someone we connect to, or simply the comfort of a place.  I still miss the recliner that finally wore out a few years ago and there is some sadness Eastside and CBC no longer exist even though the life of both now exists in an even greater way in two new institutions.

No, we can’t stop loss, summer turns into fall, fall into winter, and winter into spring, and even the very weather that defines us for a season now changes.  It’s how life rolls.

What does the Bible say?

To live is Christ, to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

Your life is hid in Christ in God.  Colossians 3:3

Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth nor rust doth corrupt and where thieves do not break in and steal, for where your treasure is there will your heart be also.  Matthew 6:20

Very truly I tell you,  unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.  But if it dies, it produces much fruit.  John 12:24

I know who I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. 2 Timothy 1:12

No one can pluck you from my hands for my heavenly Father has given you to me.  John 10:28

I will come and take you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also.  John 14:3

God knows how we are wired, that on this earth we are going to struggle with change and feelings of loss.  But the truth is, its not what is dying, it is what is being born.  In this God gives us a new direction, a new focus, and new center in Christ, living in Christ, walking with Christ, trusting Christ, accepting grace, hoping for tomorrow in the light of God’s kingdom and not the illusion of security in things we hope won’t change.  These verses tell it well.  Why should I worry about small losses when I have so much to gain?  Ho do I manage big losses? I do it with faith and trust in God that promises a what’s next that is 100% in the hands of a God who has proved His love for us again and again.

Change and loss is going to happen.  But the cross of Christ and the Resurrection that followed has already happened.  It is upon this the future is being born.

Mike Ramsdell

 

 

1 thought on “Life, death, and the Church!”

  1. This is so true! I sometimes find security in the familiar things in my life. I believe you taught me a valuable life changing truth on this very idea as our church was in one of our growing stages. How grateful I am that I can see change as growth rather than focusing on loss of what was familiar.

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