Our tall white steeple and red doors call out to the community that all are welcome to come and feel the love of Christ and the love of our church family. Our worship services are on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. with adult Sunday School at 9:30 a.m. For our youth, we have #OAKZ. Our mission statements are Extending God’s Call – Empowering God’s People – Easing Human Need. We are located at 1576 Chantilly Lane, and our telephone number is 713-682-2556.
It is not too late to participate in this reading/mentoring program at Black Middle School. Plans have now been finalized, and here they are. The program will take place on Wednesdays after school and last about an hour. Here are the dates for the school year:
Bell choir practice resumes in November. If you can count to 4, come and ring with us. Bell choir practice is held on Wednesdays from 5:45 – 6:45 pm.
Our adult choir practice also meets on Wednesday from 7 to 8 pm. Come ring and/or sing with us!!!
As I wrote in the January newsletter, Noelie’s Notion for 2014 is focusing on our spiritual health. Each month I will be using one of the questions posed by Donald S. Whitney in his book Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health. Our question for November deals with our desire for being in heaven with Jesus. I must admit I have tweaked Mr. Whitney’s last question. In his book he actually asks, “Do you yearn for heaven and to be with Jesus?” As Christians, we all desire to be in heaven and see the face of God. Yet, what does this question mean for us now while we are still on earth? Mr. Whitney writes, “Growing Christians groan for holiness.” Pastor Jonathan Edwards puts it this way: “But neither a longing to be in Heaven, nor longing to die, are in any measure so distinguishing marks of true saints, as longing after a more holy heart.” Eight times in the Bible God says to God’s people, “Be holy, for I am holy.” Friends, this is not a suggestion from God but rather a command from God. Being holy is not an option!! Have you ever thought of personal holiness – meaning having a likeness to Jesus Christ – as the most important thing in the world?
In God’s kingdom, holiness is not a luxury; it is a necessity. “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord,” says Hebrews 12:14. The word pursue suggests two thoughts. First, diligence and effort are required for holiness. Second, holiness is a lifelong task. No one can attain any degree of holiness without effort on his/her own part. God has made it possible for us to walk in holiness, but God has given to us the responsibility of doing the walking. God does not do that for us. First Peter 1:15, 16, states, “Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy (Lev. 19:2)’”
Now you might be thinking, “Well, holiness is not for me. I am nowhere near being perfect or like Jesus.” So, what does holiness mean? Holiness comes from the Greek word hagios, which means “set apart.” Holiness can mean being set apart for the use of God’s purposes. When I looked up “holiness” in Donald McKim’s Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, this is what I found. “In Christian spirituality, holiness is the devotion and purity of life associated with Christian discipleship, in which one lives according to God’s will and exhibits that commitment in all areas of behavior.” Well, it almost sounds like being perfect. To be set apart for God’s purposes means our lives must be lived in obedience to God’s will. As Christians, this is something that we should all strive to do. The nice thing is we are not alone in this endeavor. God has given each of us the Holy Spirit to help us in our daily walk as Christians.
So, how serious are you about holiness? God desires each of us to be serious about leading a holy life. God does not require a sinless life, which is a good thing because none of us fits that criterion. That is why Jesus died for us. God, however, does require us to be holy. Each of us is called to live a life wholly pleasing to God. As I have just said, the Holy Spirit abides in each of us to help us in this endeavor; but it is up to each one of us to make that conscious effort of pursuing a life that is pleasing to God. What kind of life is pleasing to God? A life that is lived more and more like Christ’s. We are to follow Christ’s example. In 1 Peter 2:21, Peter tells us that Christ left an example for us to follow in His steps. In all of our thoughts, all of our actions, in every part of our character, the ruling principle that motivates and guides us should be the desire to follow Christ in doing the will of the Father. This is the high road we must follow in the pursuit of holiness.
God puts the responsibility for living a holy life squarely on us. We are to do something. The first thing one must do is to will oneself to live a holy life. To will means to desire and to resolve. Only one who has a strong desire to be holy will ever persevere in this pursuit. This desire, however, does not come from us but from the Holy Spirit who abides in each of us, but we must be willing to listen to the Spirit. The second thing one must do is immerse oneself on a consistent basis in Scripture. One needs to feed his/her mind with God’s truth. The third thing one must do is to pray for holiness. Look at the letters Paul writes to the Ephesians, the Colossians, and the Thessalonians. Paul prayed for the working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of these Christians, and so we must make that same prayer for us. Our reliance on the Holy Spirit is not intended to foster an attitude of “I can’t do it,” but one of “I can do it through God who strengthens me.” Only as we accept our responsibility and appropriate God’s provisions will we make any progress in our pursuit of holiness. Holiness is not about pointless and impossible perfectionism. Holiness is about becoming the person God intended for each of us to be – conforming to the character of Jesus.
God has called every Christian to a holy life. God does not require a perfect, sinless life; God does require that we be serious about holiness, that we grieve over sin in our lives instead of justifying it, and that we earnestly pursue holiness as a way of life. Everyone, then who professes to be a Christian should ask himself/herself these questions: Is there evidence of practical holiness in my life? Do I desire and strive after holiness? Do I grieve over my lack of it and earnestly seek the help of God to be holy? If you answered “No” to any of these questions, it is not too late to turn them into a “Yes.” It is not those who profess to know Christ who will enter heaven, but those whose lives are holy. In the book of Matthew, Jesus says to us, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he/she who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons, and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers.’” Holiness is not an option.
Something to think about and pray about.
In God’s love and joy,