I am always on the lookout for clever, creative, and simple ways to talk about God’s work in Jesus. The Christian faith is amazingly complex, to say nothing of trying to understand God. It is tempting to get lost in the mysteries of the universe, and yet, still struggle to find ways to live our faith in everyday life. Several years ago I came across a quote that continues to shape my understanding of faith. “John Wesley likens the process of salvation to a house. Prevenient grace serves as the porch, justification as the door, and sanctification or holiness as the rooms of the house wherein we are called to dwell” (Theodore Runyon, The New Creation, 27).
Many of you have said that Tomoka means “family.” You visited, and stayed because you felt like you were finally home. You can’t fake that kind of welcome. Church is to be about more than an institution, its a family. I want to invite you to think back to the first time you walked through our front doors. Maybe you first walked into Tomoka Elementary that served as our place of worship in the 1970s. Maybe you first entered the doors of Bleekman Hall for worship. Most of our first entrance was the familiar doors we pass through each week. God’s grace brought you that day, and something about God’s people helped you to stay. We connect our lives to the life of God’s church and we make ourselves at home. Over time, we look back and find that God is making His home in our lives. It usually happens, because someone else reached out to us, inviting us into God’s house.
As a church, we have a responsibility to grow as followers of Jesus. Our goal, is Christ-likeness. Yeah, that is pretty easy (note the sarcasm). How do we get there? The journey of faith is accomplished one step at a time. The idea of a front porch, door, and rooms of the house can help as we interact with others during the week. In prayer, we can ask God, where is this person in relation to the goal of making our home in God’s home? Do they need a warm welcome into the church? Do they need to open the door of faith by welcome Jesus into their heart and life? Are they looking for a church to grow in? As God helps us answer this question, we can better minister to those God places in our lives.
I love being your pastor, and I can’t wait to see God’s continued work at Tomoka, and in Ormond Beach!