Following God is always hard. Jesus called the way to salvation the steep and narrow path. Paul spoke of his journey in obedience as one of trials. I believe this to be true for us today. It is easy to be satisfied and say where we are as a church is “good enough”. There is also a temptation for us to want things the way they were in the past. The past may not have been perfect but it is familiar. At least we understood it. When the People of Israel saw the Promised Land for the first time they knew that it was great. They knew that it was better than what they had in Egypt. But what they feared was the journey to take it. That is why ten of the twelve spies recommended to not fight for it. In Numbers 14 the congregation cried out to Moses, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword?” They could not see the destination because of the obstacles in their way.
We are in an interesting place as a church. Our Worship Center feels full most Sundays. We are not doing great financially but good enough to keep bills paid and not have to cut any ministries. We are comfortable with what we are doing and the risk of doing something new or different seems to risk more than it could gain. However, not moving forward as a church means we rely on our own strength and power and not have to step forward in faith and experience the power of God that shows up during our obedience. The People of Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness because of their disobedience. It was 40 years that should have been spent in the Promised Land. God brought up a new generation who would be willing to trust him and move forward. They saw the same fortified cities and the same giants yet they were willing to step out in faith to fight the battle so they could experience something so much greater.
The church has commissioned the Ministry Leadership Team with the task of updating our Long-Range Plan. We will be addressing issues that are obstacles in our growth. What sacrifices are we willing to make to reach people in Bartlesville and the WORLD with the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Pray for us as we seek God’s direction. Pray we will not look for the easy way and instead be ready to lead our church to take the next step of faith. God’s way is hard, but it is worth it!