I’m sure there are many of you who have had this unfortunate circumstance happen to you at one time or another. You are talking on your cell phone with a close friend, using FaceTime or Skype to catch up with a family member, surfing the Internet for a tasty recipe or research for a school paper, and then it happens. At the most inopportune and inconvenient time, you see the words, “Connection Lost” and the screen goes blank. Now, your train of thought is interrupted, the story you were telling cut short, the previous work you did to get to your current point has almost been for naught. This lost connection can leave you frustrated, confused, and even a bit angry with the technology responsible for this snafu.
Losing connection is never good, especially when the connection is lost between two things that really go together. Both on their own might be fine and decent, but the true joy and treasure is found when the two are brought together (think peanut butter and jelly, ketchup and mustard, potato chips and chocolate as some examples.)
Here at Oak Hill Church, our Vision Statement is “Connecting Lives in Grace and Truth.” Hopefully, you have heard this phrase spoken often or seen it displayed regularly…take a look at our sign if you need. This statement holds a powerful key to how we see ourselves and how we identify with each other and those around us. We are to connect with one another in ways that mirror the transforming and enlightening work of God’s grace and truth in our lives as a congregation and then take that grace and truth out to our family, friends, co-workers, classmates, and people we run into wherever we go. We are a walking billboard for the Ultimate Connection that we each have with our Savior and our desire should be to share that hope with the people in our lives.
So far this summer, we have been unpacking the Apostle Paul’s epistle to the Galatian church. We are looking at what it means to live in the middle of two worlds, as one who has been and continues to be rescued and restored by Christ. What does it mean and look like to live as a follower of Jesus Christ in a world that has always been hostile to His message and His ways? It is in the book of Galatians where Paul reminds the Galatians, and us today, that because we have been rescued by Christ, we are to bring His rescue to those around us that need it. Because we have been restored by Christ, we are to bring that restoration to others in our lives too. There is a direct connection between the two. While both on their own are encouraging and beneficial, the real treat comes when they are joined together as one force.
In the coming weeks, we will be looking at some practical ways to bring this rescue and restoration to our day-to-day lives as we encounter and connect with a variety of individuals who need the love, grace, and truth of Jesus Christ to be real in their own lives. We are going to be specifically looking at doing this through our Congregational Values. We are going to see how we can help in restoring God’s Truth through how we relate to other “truths” that are out there and respond when that Truth is compromised. We will also look at how we can help in restoring Relationships in how we interact with others and our community. We will see how our world’s definition of power and authority clash with how Jesus calls us to operate as Servant Leaders. Finally, we will see how we can restore evangelism; the actual Going of the Gospel that teaches and reminds us all of our need for a Savior.
It should be a fun and engaging time as we each seek to see how the rescue and restoration that we have been given is meant not just for us to experience, but also for our neighbor both near and far.
Pastor Ben Bigaouette