God is up to something!

The Presbytery of New Hope gathers for worship

The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, her Lord;
she is his new creation by water and the Word.
From heaven he came and sought her to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her, and for her life he died.


I want to anchor my thoughts this morning in a comment Rebekah made at yesterday’s meeting of the Presbytery of New Hope. The sanctuary was completely packed with enthusiastic Presbyterians. Report after report had detailed creative, passionate, disciple-making ministries. The space was electric, energetic, and charged with the Spirit from a time of worship that left the rafters still ringing with praise to God.

That was the atmosphere in the room when Rebekah stepped to the front to offer her report as chair of CPM – the team that facilitates, encourages, and supervises candidates in the process of preparing for ordained ministry. She said a lot of good things, but this is the testimony I want to pass on in this post:

“When I went to seminary (in 1978) I was told that the church was dying. People said, ‘Good luck ever getting a church… especially as you’re a woman.’ But here in this Presbytery today we have almost 50 candidates heading into gospel ministry, mostly young people, excited about the future. I’ve got to tell you, God is up to something in the PC(USA)…” – Rebekah Maul

img_7958She is so right. You could feel it. The buzz of excitement about ministry; the stories about what God is doing; the authenticity in worship; the deep love people have for Jesus; the sense that this is a church living forward into promise.

We were there to encourage one another; pastors and elders representing more than one hundred churches. This morning they will be leading their congregations in worship, some with just a handful of people, others with 500 in attendance and multiple services. But we all have this unifying story to tell – it’s a love story; the story of God’s ongoing faithfulness, God’s unrelenting mercy, and God’s overwhelming grace.

we have this unifying story to tell – it’s a love story; the story of God’s ongoing faithfulness, God’s unrelenting mercy, and God’s overwhelming grace.

We all know this story – it’s why we gather together to hear it again, and again. It’s why we are a connectional church. It’s why I am completely confident that God has not only commissioned this church to share his story with the world, but will continue to equip us for the task ahead – so that no one will miss the simple, compelling, reconciling, invitational, all-are-welcome-at-the-table, beautiful message of the Gospel of Love.

God is up to something in the PC(USA) – DEREK

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