Growing Pains

When I was a little girl I would wake with leg cramps at night.  I would call out to my Mom and she would come check on me.  She would rub my legs, tell me it was growing pains, and I would settle back down. Instead of thinking about the pain I would think about getting taller.  Growing pains were something we just had to accept - just a part of life. I think Pine Valley United Methodist Church is experiencing growing pains!

The blessing is that at a time when so many churches are struggling and church memberships are down, we are growing!   We have a wonderful problem!  We have more people wanting to come worship Jesus Christ than we have seats!  The Holy Spirit is alive and well at PVUMC!  We are a growing church and with this good news comes some inconveniences.  We may not do things the way things have always been done.  I like Anais Nin’s quote, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  We may find more changes coming in order to blossom!  With the water intrusion issue in Building B, God may be telling us that we have some decisions to make.  And we are to be wise stewards of our money as we make the decisions. Let’s pray for wisdom and clarity for the team that studies and prays over our next steps. 

While this may be “your” church, it is, first and foremost, God’s church!  We are His disciples.  Luke 9:23, “Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.’”  In other words, we may have to deny our wants and trust God with some of the decisions.  When we do this others will notice.  John 13:35, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  What we see as a problem may be an opportunity for God to work on us and our church. Some of us have constant anticipation with change.  As we go through these times of struggle, joy, pain, growth, rest, etc., our hearts change.  This is what God wants in our lives so we can push forward and be more like Jesus. Malachi 3:6, “I the Lord do not change…” Amongst all the change around us, there is one thing that cannot change and that is God!  And this includes His love for us!  

Think about the twelve disciples.  Talk about growing pains!  They went from a small gathering of 12 disciples to thousands.  Acts 6:1, “Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying..”  Jesus multiplied and multiplied in a very quick time!  And I am sure it did not grow smoothly as it grew rapidly.  Apostles were being imprisoned for teaching about Jesus.  The government was being bought not to tell more people about Jesus.

The apostles made a tough leadership decision that affected lots of people.  I am sure some people responded positively and others negatively.  But they knew without a drastic change, the Gospel would not go as far as fast.  Acts 6:7, “So the word of God spread.  The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.”

Luke 5:10-11, “Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.’   So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.” This was a commission for Simon to fish for men.  Later Jesus told Peter, “If you love me, feed my lambs.” Peter is given a new commission. Not replacing the old commission but extending the commission.  He tells him to be a keeper of the doctrine and to teach the new to come to church.  John 21:17, “The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’  Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’  He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’  Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.’”  

The message is still the same.  Jesus tells us to feed His sheep.  That means we are to be teaching, we are to be fishers of men, we are to evangelize.  We are to welcome the new to church!  Imagine what can happen in our church when we are willing to make the changes necessary to see more and more people hear the Gospel.  At PVUMC we are connecting hearts to Christ and one another!  Let’s keep the main thing the main thing and God will direct our next steps!