Whether we like it or not, every New Year that comes our way brings challenges and changes. As individual’s we attempt to face these new challenges and changes both positively and negatively. How we cope with these new challenges and new changes will depend on our attitude.
If our attitude is positive, we tend to find the determination to forge ahead. If it is negative, we tend to make excuse and just give up or, in some cases, we don’t even try. That’s why New Year’s resolutions are always getting mixed results. It takes time and commitment to make changes and form new patterns or habits. This is especially if the new habit is replacing an older habit.
Like individuals, churches, face new challenges and changes too. Churches, like individuals, are resistant to change. We tend to like our church “habits” and don’t like it when our behavior patterns are changed. Again, like individuals, the way we face changes and challenges will depend on our attitudes.
Change just for the sake of change is not a reason to change. At the same token, resistance to change should not be the reason for not changing or at least trying something new.
In the book of Acts, we see the church going through constant change. Much of this change was due to outside forces, mainly the scattering of the Jewish believer’s throughout the Roman Empire due to persecution. Once these Jewish believer’s were settled into their new cities and towns, they would engage others in this “new way” of faith: believing that Jesus died for our sins, according to the scriptures, and is now alive as the resurrected Christ.
Once the news spread, a new group of people began to believe in this way. They were god-fearers and Gentiles. What a huge challenge and change to the church, now everyone can believe. The Jerusalem church sent Barnabas to Syria to find out what was going on and to seek out Saul, the persecutor of the church, who was reported to be a believer now.
Barnabas finds Saul, who later become known as Paul, and brought him to the capital city of Syria called Antioch. Together they assembled with the Antioch church for worship. They also taught many groups of people. They did this for a whole year. As a result, the disciples or followers of the Way in Antioch became known as Christians for the first time. The term meant they were acting like “little Christ’s” and was meant to be derogatory. Turns out, for the believer to be called a Christian became a compliment.
Beginning on Sunday, February 4, 2018, we are changing the times for our Sunday Worship Service and Life Groups (Sunday School). We will begin with our Worship Services at 9:45 AM. This will be followed by our Life Groups meeting at 11 AM.
The purpose for this change is threefold. We want to enhance our worship experience by beginning with worship. From Worship, we will emphasize our Life Groups and invite people to be a part of a group that very day. And thirdly, we want to encourage discipleship and what it means to be called a “Christian” as we apply the message and the lesson from Life Groups to our daily life.
Please help us with these changes by praying for us as leaders and as a church, by supporting the worship services and by getting involved in a Life Group. Finally, have the right attitude: be positive about what God is doing in and through His Church at Rose of Sharon. It is my prayer that we will be a church full of disciples called Christians like those in Antioch.
I love you and it’s a privilege to be your pastor.