The disciples were troubled. Peter and John had just been released from jail and warned not to preach or heal in Jesus’ name. So shaken, discouraged, even angry, they prayed together. They read scripture which addressed their circumstances, and they said, “And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
In the very next verse, Acts reports: that “place…was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.” God answered their prayer, and the rest of Acts shows what the Holy Spirit accomplished through their boldness.
What about our boldness? we wondered together at the Acts retreat on July 14. Not just individually, but also together as All Saints, What has God given us to do with all boldness? Setting aside all the things we could do with lukewarm passion or while divided over its importance… What one thing belongs uniquely to All Saints to do with all boldness? What is of utmost importance? Why is All Saints here?
Probably, you have some ideas about that, because you’ve stuck it out through some hard times. You’ve seen some glimpses of God’s will here. Chances are, we’re already doing it. But we’ve yet to name it. We haven’t talked about it together, so we can’t form a consensus around it. We can’t celebrate it. We can’t change our minds. We can’t make decisions based on it. We can’t evaluate all we do and spend according to it.
On Saturday, September 15, from 9a to 1p, we will begin to name it at a Purpose Writing Retreat, hosted by the New Vision Team. Everyone who comes will have a voice. Together we’ll read scripture and pray, and then we will put pen to paper and, in 12 words or fewer, say what we are here to do with all boldness. We’ll call it All Saints’ Purpose Statement, and we’ll keep working it until its right. And as we do it—using that Purpose along with a Core Value Statement (which will come later)—God’s vision for All Saints will emerge.
Mark your calendar—Saturday, September 15. Then, pray this prayer. If you can’t pray it three times a day, pray it once a day: “God, as you unified your Son’s first disciples, unify All Saints in your will. With the loving power of your Holy Spirit, fill us and draw us together, so that, with one voice, we might claim boldly your Christ-centered purpose for your congregation. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.” The Spirit will shake this place too, and we will find renewed courage, direction, and unity to do God’s will in the Quad Cities.
Thanks be to God.
Pastor Clark Olson-Smith
P.S. Curious what Good Soil groups will be reading next? Click here for a Fall 2012 schedule.