The Faith Gap

Last year I was speaking with a former member of Highway who lives far away. During our conversation, she said she would be sending a financial gift to the church. The check didn’t come the next day or even the next week, but…it did come. I had no doubt it would come because she is a person of character and keeps her promises. If we can count on people of character, how much more can we trust the character of God! God doesn’t make mistakes, and He is never late or negligent. However, we must be prepared for divine delay. God’s timing and our timing are usually not the same. Ask Abraham! “When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, ‘I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.’ And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised” (Hebrews 6:13-15). What if every time God promised something, it was sent FedEx the same day!? That’s not the real world, or the way God’s Kingdom works. We sometimes get discouraged because we don’t see the answers to our prayers right away. But, God does answer us…with His promises! While you are waiting, remember: God’s promise is God’s answer. Since God’s character is perfect, His promise is as good as done. We just have to trust and wait (combined with faithful obedience). What are you waiting for? Abraham and Sarah waited in faith and received what God promised. He won’t let you down. Hold to His promise while you live in the gap between promise and fulfillment. It’s our “faith gap.”

Pastor Mark Boucher

Reaching Out

“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). These words from the Apostle Paul to the believers at Corinth warned the people not to elevate personalities, but to exalt God. The Lord Himself is the source of blessing and growth. We are privileged to work in His Kingdom by planting “seeds” of faith and watering them with prayer and follow-up ministry. However, all lasting fruitfulness comes from the miraculous power of God. This past weekend, we hosted a special event, “Fall Friendship Weekend.” I thank God for those who donated, planned, and worked hard to make it happen! God blessed us on Saturday as we served about 200 hamburgers and hotdogs to the people of our community. We also had a special service on Sunday with worship, special music, and testimony—ending with a delicious meal. Our prayer and goal for this event was to spread the gospel by serving and connecting with the people of our community. Let me tell you about some of the connections and conversations opened to me through this event. First, a number of people shared heartfelt thankfulness that we, as a church, would give our time and effort to demonstrate tangible community appreciation. We brought the church to them, and they felt the Lord’s peace and presence through our love and kindness. It would have been nice to see more visitors in service on Sunday, but we know that seeds don’t always sprout right away. For me personally, the process was as important as the event itself. I worked with the leaders at Clemente Park, who welcomed us with open arms. I was able to find favor with two of the leaders from the Community Association in Fairmount. One of them came to the cookout and expressed how pleased he was with our event. We were given a generator to use by the Garden Association, and I met the contact person twice. He was pleased about our event and expressed appreciation for the people of Highway. When I brought the generator back, he said we could use it anytime. Also, the principal and teachers at Waring School met with me on several occasions; they opened the parking lot to us and advertised the event. We are currently helping Waring by painting their “School Store” room. All these people, leaders in our community, witnessed the people of Highway demonstrating the love of Jesus! This is a big win-win for all of us. We entrust the eternal results with our Lord…and may His Kingdom grow!

Pastor Mark Boucher

The Gift of Friends

The Bible reveals to us not only how to connect with God, but also how to have loving relationships with one another. We all experience times of heaviness that life brings our way, but blessed is the person who knows how to cultivate friendships with others. When I think of friendships in the Bible, my mind goes first to Jonathan and David in the Old Testament. As you recall, Jonathan was the son of Saul, the first king of Israel. Saul squandered his opportunity to lead through his pride and deceit. As a result of Saul’s rejection, the prophet Samuel anointed David as the next king while Saul was still holding on to power. For over a decade, David had to run for his life because of Saul’s insane jealousy. But, David had a special friend in Jonathan! The Bible says, “Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself…and Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself” (1 Samuel 18:1b, 3a). Jonathan’s friendship with David was remarkable, considering that Jonathan, Saul’s son, was next in line to become king. Yet, he set his own agenda aside and helped David because Jonathan knew David was God’s choice to be the next king. From their relationship, the Bible reveals special insights into the nature of true friendship. Friendships are built on trust and shared experiences. When Jonathan and David made a covenant, they were committing themselves to a sacred promise—to protect one another and to be there for each other. Jonathan vowed to help David, no matter the cost and in spite of his insane father. By his love and actions, Jonathan reveals the spirit of the Savior to come, Jesus Christ, the descendant of King David. Jesus loved us—even while we were His enemies—and sacrificed everything so that we might experience God’s will. His selfless love enables us to be reconciled to God the Father—both now and eternally! Jonathan, the friend of David, becomes a mirror, reflecting Jesus, the Friend of sinners. May the Lord be your closest friend and bless you with special friends like Jonathan to journey through life with you.

Pastor Mark Boucher

Creation Chaos

I was talking to someone today from upstate New York and discovered he grew up in an area that I traveled through many times on my way to New England. We both reminisced about the beauty of the river, mountains, and landscape of the upper Hudson River valley. Our conclusion was that our God is an amazing Creator! He made the world as a type of “billboard,” clearly advertising His wisdom, knowledge, and power. But some would ask, “If God created nature, why does nature sometimes spin out of control—even killing people?” As I am writing this, I am wondering about the path of hurricane Irma. We just finished experiencing the wrath of hurricane Harvey, and now another one! Why does creation seem to be our enemy at times instead of our friend? In the Book of Romans, the Holy Spirit reveals the devastating effects of sin for the whole world. Sin not only affects (and infects) the whole human race (“All have sinned,” Romans 3:23), but it also powerfully impacts creation itself. Paul wrote, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (Romans 8:22). Even the natural world experiences the effects of sin, and waits for the day of complete freedom when the Lord Jesus will judge all sin and make all things new. “But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13). The “baby” is on the way, but there are pains first! In God’s glorious future, you can be sure there will be no “natural disasters.” Until that time, we patiently wait on the Lord and persevere during times of trouble. As believers in Jesus, we are not exempt from the difficulties of earthly trials. In fact, through them, we get to show the world how we overcome with Jesus and how we help others who suffer.

Pastor Mark Boucher