January 01, 2021 | Letters from the Lead Pastor by Brandon Lenhart
Three years ago, while away at a leadership retreat at Whitehall Camp and Conference Center, the ministry staff of North Main Street Church of God solidified a yearly theme sequence centered on the Fruit of the Spirit as found in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Church in Galatia (Galatians 5). In 2019 we focused on the theme of “Love,” the first fruit listed in verse 22. In 2020 we focused on the second fruit of the Spirit listed in Paul’s letter, the fruit of “Joy.” This year (2021) we move on to Paul’s third fruit of the Spirit, “Peace.” And how fitting that after the year we’ve just come through that our focus this coming year is on peace.
2020 brought a lot of impatience, frustration, and questioning, and it’s because of these things that many of us found ourselves in some dark and desperate places. For many, our year of “joy” turned into a nightmare. However, in spite of all of this, I do believe that God was working just as powerfully as He always does, to bring something beautiful from something seemingly so awful.
In 2020, we were reminded that joy isn’t relegated to circumstances and situations, but rather directly tied to our salvation and hope in God through Jesus Christ. Because of this, we learned that no matter what happens in life to the believer in Christ, there is a way of hope that leads to everlasting life devoid of sickness, death, pain, sorrow, sadness, and the like.
Amy Carmichael, missionary to India, wrote, “Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall enjoy much peace… If you refuse to be hurried and pressed, if you stay your soul on God, nothing can keep you from that clearness of spirit which is life and peace. In that stillness, you know what His will is.”
As we look toward 2021 and our theme of peace, we notice that peace is tied directly to patience. We live in an impatient society. We want what we want, and we want it right now. There is even a pot roast now that you can cook in a microwave in less than ten minutes—but it’s not as good as the real thing. When we refuse to wait on God and allow Him to work according to His schedule, when we take matters into our own hands, the result is always disaster.
Peace is found only in what you put your trust in. And, if what you put your trust in is anything other than God, then your peace will be fleeting at best. This year (2021) let’s determine to put our trust completely in God through faith in Jesus Christ, and experience the “peace” that passes understanding; the peace of God that gives rest to the weary soul.