Ships! I have been thinking about ships lately. My boys and I just took a cruise on what by today’s standard is a small cruise ship…it “only” had about 3,000 passengers on board for our week long cruise! It was great! We had a blast and saw new things. It was Eli’s first cruise and that was exciting for me as I got to see everything in a brand new perspective…almost as though I was a first time cruiser again but only better! Visit me on Facebook and you can learn more about our trip and see a few pictures too.
The ship always makes me feel safe. It isn’t just the professional crew who always has a handle on things as they project an air of well-earned confidence, it’s the ship too. I know that it is over engineered. I can relax and enjoy not only the gentle undulations of the ocean, but even the times when the seas are rough and the floor heaves and hoes in a way that makes some people queasy.
The ship is designed for far more than we are ever likely to encounter on our voyages. While safe in the harbor, the ship is designed for the sea. Each ship is engineered to ride the waves. While passengers like calm seas, smooth seas do not make skillful sailors. The crew is trained for all kinds of seas and the crew manifest brags about the vast experience of all the key crew members. With the help of a skillful crew, we are gaining experience at sea and in ports far from home. There is something about the call of the sea. It is why I choose cruise vacations.
You and I are designed for more too. God created us for life and life abundant. The thing is, abundant life can’t be fully realized until we encounter rough seas. Just as the ship has to leave the harbor to fulfill her potential, we too have to step out in faith to be all God calls us to be. In some ways it is a risk. Trust always comes with risk and the potential for unintended outcomes. Just as the rough seas help create skillful sailors, the untended outcomes give us a chance to lean more on Our Father and grow into Christ’s image.
I invite you to come into the safe harbor called Asbury Church. It is here that we equip ourselves for our life’s journey. We develop strong relationships that become critical resources for our journey. I treasure our times in worship and in study. I enjoy our meetings where we strategize mission and ministry. Asbury Church is an exciting place and our connection to God and other disciples through Asbury Church is more valuable than words can ever express.
I also challenge you to leave our safe harbor for the open seas around us. God calls us into the mission field. For some of us it may mean a trip to Haiti. For others it will mean multiple trips to Lynn Road Elementary School. For all of us it will mean living out our faith in the chaos of the world around us. It will mean being faithful to God in the presence of people who have not yet had an encounter with Jesus. It will mean we take risks and offer hope, new possibilities and genuine love to people who may never repay us or even thank us. We are designed by God for this kind of living that requires holy boldness and a connection with Our Father. I want to be a faithful disciple and in order to do that, I have to leave the safety of our harbor. I have to head out to sea to be tested, tried and given the opportunity to return to port bearing saved souls and changed lives. What about you?
Submitted by Pastor Tom Newman, Lead Pastor at Asbury Church