The Joy of Confidence

And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? – Matthew 6:27

 

            There is plenty to worry about these days.  We can worry about jobs, bank account balances, if we have enough followers on Instagram, whether our children care about us, etc.  The list could go on for pages.  Worry and anxiety are prevailing emotions in today society. 

            We in the church are certainly not immune from these emotions.  They often dictate our decisions and perceptions of situations and events.  The Knabe family certainly has been wrestling with worry a great deal the past few months.  For any folks that haven’t heard, Lindsay has experienced a call to Seminary and will be spending the next two years in the Twin Cities attending Underground Seminary.  Additionally, I will be completing a Doctorate of Ministry simultaneously while continuing my role here at First Presbyterian Church.  We are both excited about this new season as we both feel the training we receive will be a great benefit to this congregation.  For Lindsay, she is excited to develop her skills and knowledge as she continues disciple the children of our congregation.  A Doctorate of Ministry is a degree done by pastors actively serving congregations and the congregation itself is the primary focus of study.  As we approach our 150th anniversary next June, I’m excited take focused time to discern and lead this congregation into the next 150 years of ministry.

            So as exciting as that all sounds, worry has been knocking at our door consistently.  These are big changes for our family and for the congregation.  Our boys are nervous about starting a new school where they don’t know anyone.  Lindsay has some apprehension about beginning school again after a 14-year break.  I’m not looking forward to being apart from my family several days each week.  I know folks in the congregation also have some worries.  Is this an excite strategy for the Knabe’s?  Who will I call if I need a pastor?  Will our congregation even be open in two years? 

            To all these questions, Jesus responds in the Sermon on the Mount by saying, “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”  The way Christ calls us to walk through worry is to trust him this day.  We wake up trusting Christ, we trust Christ through our waking hours, then we lay down at night trusting Christ.  When we do this, really do this, scripture promises that this worry will gradually be replaced with something far more life giving, confidence.  Christ calls us to have confidence in his care and love for us. 

            We will always have plenty to worry about.  That worry will always be attempting to push its way into our lives and consume us.  That is why our faith is not a one-time event that we can check off.  It is an ongoing relationship with our good shepherd.     

At our town hall gathering after Church on July 29th, where we talked about the next season of First Presbyterian Church, I saw what real confidence in Christ looks like.  One person asked an important question, “Do you believe in your heart of hearts this congregation will even be here in two years?”  They asked the question of me and also each of the Elders.  It just so happened the the Elders were sitting around the outside edge of the those who had gathered for the meeting, surrounding those Christ has called them to shepherd.  One by one, they each spoke to the question and did so with a bold confidence in Christ’s care and presence among us.  Their words stamped out any worry I had that day.  May we each take that role in each others lives.  May we each be witnesses of Christ’s love, care, and protection in our lives so that others can find confidence in Christ as well.  As we do that, worry and anxiety will be replaced in our lives and in our congregation with joy and life.  And that sounds like a church with a bright future!

In Christ’s Service,

Pastor Jeremiah

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