The following reflections were shared with a Learning Team at Valley Springs Presbyterian in Roseville, CA where I'm serving in an extended role of coaching, preaching, and teaching. The team is in the process of discovering and appreciating the story and strengths of the church and prayerfully considering the kinds of servant leaders that are needed to fulfill its calling in the coming seasons of its life.
We see the world as it is, but also as it will be. Because we believe in the God “who gives life to the dead and calls the things that are not as though they were” we have a true hope, are called to bold faith, and to selfless love by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In contrast to the strictly "positive" approach to organizational and individual development or the "deficit" model that concentrates on what is broken and assembles resources to fix it, we have both a realistic view of the world, and a true hope. It is realistic, therefore we are never surprised that brokenness is present and at work in the world and will continue to be until the Restoration. It is realistic because we know that there is a true, healing remedy for sin and its consequences in the gospel, and that things would be much worse than they are were it not for the fact that God actively restrains evil.
The gospel also gives us a wonderfully hopeful, and unparalleled view, because in Christ we have the living hope of the resurrection and the restoration of the whole Creation. Unlike groundless optimism, our hope has been promised and secured by Christ’s sacrifice of himself, and he personally assures us that he has gone before us to prepare a place that will be beyond our wildest dreams…when he makes all things new!
Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “…we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
What might God be pleased to help us to imagine, discover, plan, and pray toward, and delight in as he unfolds the works that he has prepared for us to walk in together?
“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” … “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11–12; 2:16–17