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I Believe In You

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I believe in you. I believe the Holy Spirit can and will do incredible things through you for the glory of God. I cannot wait to see how your story unfolds.

We need to say these words of encouragement more often. Encouragement gives courage in an ever-increasingly discouraging society.

Recently I’ve been contemplating the powerful emotion of belief. We believe in Jesus. We believe life is ours through the cross and empty tomb. Yet, we also believe the Holy Spirit lives within us through our baptism. We believe that the Holy Spirit is leading us to do “even greater things” than Jesus did during His earthly ministry (John 14:12).  As the baptized people of God, we have collectively been sent into every corner of society to proclaim and display the kingdom of God. As the church, we are going on the offensive to “storm the gates of hell” in the name of the risen Jesus (Matthew 16:18).

The kingdom is advancing through you and through us. We are privileged to take part in what God is already doing all around us. My mind and heart swells with joy at the thought.

Sinner though you be, you have been made a saint by the blood of Jesus. Therefore, I believe in you. If that makes you theologically uncomfortable, how about this - I believe in the Holy Spirit who lives with you. I believe the Holy Spirit has kingdom-expanding opportunities all around you waiting to be realized. Encourage one another consistently with “I believe in…” statements.

I have been blessed to worship in other congregations over the past month (though nothing compares to my home at CGLCS). This past Sunday the Gospel reading at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Orange, CA was from Mark 4:30-32, “The Parable of the Mustard Seed.”

And Jesus said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

As I heard the reading my mind and heart started to race with this realization - CGLCS is a growing mustard plant. The Holy Spirit is leading us to intentionally discover, develop and deploy many servant-leaders who are the branches. The branches of these servant-leaders are providing shade and shelter for the least, lost and lonely. The branches of these servant-leaders are multiplying other branches, shooting off to provide shade and shelter for different marginalized pockets of our society. What started as a small tree is growing and will scatter the seeds of future trees throughout the city, region, country and world, as the seeds are carried by the birds of the air.

I pray you get the point. I believe the legacy of CGLCS will be intentional servant-leadership development that far exceeds what can be accomplished at 425 N. Greenfield Rd. in Gilbert, AZ. Multiply the seeds; multiply the mission of God; multiply multiplying disciples of Jesus. That’s a lot of multiplication...all for the renown of the risen Jesus!

I miss you. I miss our paid and non-paid servant-leaders. I missed VBS this year. I know many lives were changed. I miss our worship. I miss the joy of getting to worship in two distinct styles of worship, though both distinctly Lutheran in their liturgy. I miss CGLCS.

I love you, seriously, in a passionate pastoral way. I believe Jesus is shaping His story in our midst to be a blessing to the wider body of Christ. I can’t wait to be back with you in August to share more of our vision and strategy for intentional servant-leadership development at CGLCS. 

I am recharged. Family time has been marvelous. My research and writing is going well. I am currently working with Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) leadership in St. Louis to survey active LCMS pastors around the topic of church collaboration in mission. No comprehensive study of this nature has been conducted in our church body. I am hopeful this research will highlight our “gaps” and “gifts” as a church body, and offer kingdom-expanding suggestions for our pastors and churches.

A special word of thanks goes out to Dr. Trey Cox. He is my first reader for my research. His guidance has been invaluable. I believe the Holy Spirit has, and will continue to do great things through Dr. Trey Cox.

I believe in Jesus. Because I believe in Jesus, I believe in Jesus doing marvelous things through you. Let’s go. The world needs Jesus.