It was some time last summer where I felt an overwhelming sense that, as Christians, we are losing our perspective. Well, not really losing our perspective but allowing other things to dilute Jesus’s perspective.
I shared this in a recent sermon this month as we kicked off our series called Vantage Point, but I believe it’s worth sharing here, too. This past summer I took one of my sons on a retreat in Montana. One day the retreat leader took the group on a hike along a mountain stream. We stayed close to the water the entire time enjoying the rushing sound
and the cool mist spraying in our faces. At one point we stopped along the water and looked up at a tall peak above and marveled at the heights. Later, we took a second hike. This time it was to a much higher view of the Bitter Root mountains thousands of feet about sea level. Down below us was what appeared to be a tiny white ribbon among the trees. It was the stream which just days ago was rushing past us just a few steps away.
This is comparable to our viewpoint versus that of God’s. Our perspective is so limited. God’s is infinitely bigger, better, fuller, and complete. I’ve struggled and grieved as I’ve watched friends and neighbors and hear stories of Christian artists or leaders deconstructing their faith. This is a common thing, now. To deconstruct one’s faith is exactly what it sounds like. As some consider God’s Word and eternal truth and put it up against the narrative of culture and media, we find things don’t often seem to line up. As some consider their own unanswered questions and points of pain, they struggle to make heads or tails of God’s love and presence in their lives juxtaposed with those things. And so, faith is de-constructed. Piece by piece, truth by unraveled truth… doubt, hurt, and influence of culture lead to dismantled faith in Jesus and his promise of abundantly full life. It boils down to this: God has a perspective we don’t have. And we don’t like that very much.
In August of 2021 I sat down with our team at White Oak who was praying over and planning for our sermon series for 2022. I shared with them this burden I was feeling and the things I had experienced over the summer. I felt a strong urge to press into a critical point in our teaching at White Oak for the New Year: God is sovereign. He is in control. He has supreme authority. He is not moved by outside influence. I am overwhelmed by the things that I am hearing and experiencing, and I bet you are, too. What are followers of Jesus to think about and do with issues pertaining to sexuality, gender, race, personal freedoms, and more? How are we to form opinions, approach controversy, and love the people around us?
From our own perspective and left to our own understanding, Proverbs 14:12 says this:
There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.
But, I love the song of Zechariah recorded by Luke in reference to Jesus’s birth… Luke 1:78-79
…because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
I want to challenge our church family at White Oak to do re-construct this year. This will be our focus in 2022! To seek out others who will read the Bible with us and challenge one another with what the Word is asking us to know, think, and do. Gather in groups and share life, questions, and struggles with one another. Think deeply and prayerfully consider where our opinions, culture, and media don’t line up with what we see in God’s Word. As you and I consider re-constructing our faith we will find comfort, peace, truth, consistency, and an overwhelming sense of love for people through Jesus. We'll find this not in our complete understanding of God but in our trust of his unfailing love for us.
Re-constructing with you in 2022,
Lead Pastor, White Oak Christian Church