One of the nice things about Jon's small group is that we meet on Sundays at 3pm, which means that folks are free to help out with teens fellowships on Friday nights or AWANA on Saturday nights. This afternoon we had our Bible study out in the park under the dappled shade of pine trees. The weather was just perfect for a lovely stroll around the park. Our topic these past few weeks has been "tests to see if you're a true Christian", from a chapter in John MacArthur's book, "Saved Without a Doubt". Our discussions are always intense! But we had a good interaction today, I think; pretty much everyone contributed something to the conversation.
I can't quite put my finger on why, but I'm feeling more upbeat today after church, even though I still see many of the same issues that plague our church. Mo often bewails the watered-down gospel that is so often preached in our church -- if we don't preach the wrath of God or the depravity of man, then the grace of God is meaningless. To me, the central problem that stands out is one of heart-attitude -- attitude towards ministry, attitude towards people, attitude towards God. To top it off, in recent weeks we've had letters of resignation from our children's pastor and music director, and the congregations are getting smaller.
But for some reason, I'm upbeat! I think it's because in the trials and "pruning" of our church, I'm seeing more communication and introspection, and an awareness that our current status quo is simply not tenable. Change needs to happen, and we need to be on our knees broken before God, crying out for His redemption of His bride. I'm looking forward to it!