“And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.” Matthew 4:19-20
A new year is here! And I wonder, what will make 2017 different from 2016? In matters of faith, we pray that the new year will bring a deepening and broadening of our love for Jesus the Christ. We know that each encounter with the “Holy” leaves us changed…if we allow it!
One of the things that came out of last September’s Cottage Meetings was the consistent message that you absolutely love Ocean View! You love our friendly and accepting atmosphere. You love our emphasis on prayer and the fact that we say ‘yes’ to the missional opportunities that come to us. Worship and music was highlighted by many.
But, there were challenges that were presented, and these are just a few of them—the need for more volunteers for a range of missional opportunities; the need to re-establish Stephens Ministry; the hope to pay off our mortgage and be financially stable; and the prayer to better support the youth and children ministry.
Most of the solutions to our challenges will be found in the call to ministry that Jesus offered to the first disciples Peter, Andrew, James and John. When they were called, they recognized in Jesus something that made them say ‘yes’ to following him. And their yes, was immediate. James and John just left their boat, their father and followed.
Ocean View needs to foster whatever it was in these disciples that made them say ‘yes’ in such a joyous and unhesitating way. We certainly do not want people to say yes out of obligation and duty. The goal is for us to say yes from a place of great joy and recognition that what we say ‘yes’ to is our special charge!
Rodger Y. Nishioka in “Feasting on the Word,” told about an episode he saw as a child of “The Mutual of Omaha’s ‘Wild Kingdom.’ The show was about a particular mother elephant seal and pup in Argentina. Soon after the baby seal was born, the mother abandons the pup on the shore so she could go feed in the rich waters off the coast. But after the mother has fed, she returns to a different part of the beach and begins to call for her baby. The problem was that other mother elephant seals had all done the same thing and were calling for their babies.
The camera followed the mother as she called for her pup…following each other’s voices and scents, the mother and pup were reunited. It was explained that from the moment of birth, the sound of the mother and the scent of her was imprinted in the mothers memory and the same had been imprinted in the pup’s memory.
This is what happens with our relationship with God. Nishioka says, “We are imprinted with a memory of God, and God is imprinted with a memory of us, and even if it takes a lifetime, we will find each other.” (Feasting on the Word, Year A, Volume 4, pp 285-286)
In order for this imprinting to happen, we must spend time with Jesus. That is why my vision for Ocean View includes many opportunities to learn more about God. I call this Intentional Faith Development! This includes all opportunities to grow in faith: Sunday School, short term and long term topical studies, Bible Studies, Walk to Emmaus/Kairos and an intentional small group ministry.
We are blessed to know that Pastor Rick will have the oversight of Adult Intentional Faith Development as part of his charge. Look for new class offerings being offered, new and old leaders facilitating and perhaps a new church-wide class offered in the fall. As we spend time with Christ, we grow closer to him, and when we grow closer to him, we grow closer to one another.
May we all allow ourselves to be imprinted with the memory of God! And may 2017 be joy-filled.
Love you all,