Have you been asking yourself this question lately? Do things just feel different for some reason? As I reflect back on the last year it seems surreal to me that more than 12 months have passed since we were severely traumatized at the loss of our beloved Pastor, Rick Shoemaker. There are times that I still find myself incredulous at his passing. Maybe it is middle age that causes me to be nostalgic, but it really doesn’t seem that long ago that I was 14 years old and wondering what the next pastor would be like. How could I ever have imagined how my life would be forever affected some 35 years later by a man and his family? Many of us could say the same thing which makes it even more difficult to imagine what the next chapter will be like. Rest assured, however, that there will be a next chapter and God is completely aware of our hurts and struggles as well as the course of our future. That being said, I believe there are a few things that we must remember even in the midst of our difficulties.
No matter what we are going through, we know Who holds the future. We can rest in the knowledge that our Creator loves us (He’s proven that many times). He knows us and He knows what is in our best interest. It may be easy for us to complain, it always is, but imagine yourself in the very throne room of Heaven. Would it be so easy then, bowing down before the One we call Lord? Don’t get me wrong. God is big enough to hear our complaints but at some point we just need to realize that He is in control and that He works for our good. I am reminded of God’s response in Habbakuk 2:20 as the prophet complained about the injustice in the world. “But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” (KJV)
He sent His Son to this earth not only to die for us but also to live for and with us. Jesus is “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3) He knows loss, pain, discomfort, and most anything else we can think of that is a part of the human experience. Hebrews 2:17 says that He is a merciful and faithful high priest since He was made like us. Trust me that no one understands us like Him. Not only does He empathize, He pleads our case before the Father. (Romans 8:34) Our task is to allow Him to do His good work on our behalf in His time.
That’s right, I went there. If most of us were to be honest, much of our time is spent trying to be more comfortable. When our “zone” is violated in some way, we squirm, complain, and go to most any length to return to our placid state of repose. It becomes easy to point the finger of blame in any direction but our own when things don’t go our way. We let personal conflict lead us off course or allow us to walk away rather than strive to lean in and work it out. We tend to think ours is the best solution rather than come together in one accord through prayer to find the answer. We all know in our minds that we should be supportive and encouraging to one another but our hearts tend to forget. Just whom are we serving here? Whose church is it anyway?
Church family, it may feel like we’ve fallen on hard times, but God has not forgotten about us. He has provided us with all that we need to grow during this time. He has given us a transitional pastor with a wonderful heart toward Jesus and our community. He has given us each other and all the things He has brought us through together. I can look back on my life and see all the times that I needed my church family to be there for me and all the times that they were there for me. Folks, First Baptist needs you and me more than ever. Now is the time to come together and do what God has called us to do, not complain and disengage. If you think we need change (and we do), then be the change.
First Baptist Church of New Carlisle, Ohio has a rich and unique history in our community. Since 1955 we've been establishing ourselves as a lighthouse for Jesus Christ in our hometown of New Carlisle, Ohio.
We have Bible Study at 9:15 am and Worship Service at 10:30 am every Sunday. Childcare/nursery provided for all services. Wednesdays we have Prayer Meeting at 7:00 pm and Revive Student Ministries for youth at 7:00 pm