Happy New Year! If you are reading this maybe you are working on one of your New Year’s resolutions- to become more involved with First Baptist Church of Westfield (FBCW).
I’ve been coming to FBCW for about 15 years now and became an official member a few years ago. My involvement with the church over the years has ranged from chairing our Missions Committee, organizing a blood drive, planning our Church Gathered Church Scattered bi-annual days of service and FBCW’s blog.
How will you get involved in 2020? For the January blog, I’ve asked our very own Pastor Mayra Castañeda what her vision is for FBCW in 2020 and how the congregation can help FBCW meet its 2020 vision: 20/20 In Focus with God!
Vision and Vision Path – Pastor Mayra Castañeda
When my son was in his teenage years he asked me why hindsight was 20/20. I explained to him that when you look back and analyze success and failures you are able to see clearly what contributed to each. We cannot know what we don’t know as we go through life and we only learn as we experience the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”
The Bible, however, gives us a vision path to follow so that the defeats are lessened and the victories are maximized. From Matthew 6:33 we find Jesus’ words as quoted from the Message translation of the Bible – “Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”
In other words, focus on God and follow a Christ-centered path, and God will guide us and meet our needs.
To this end, the vision path of “steeping in God-reality or focusing on God” is to:
- Commit to attending Sunday worship as a norm and not as an option
- Equip yourself in knowledge of what Scripture says by attending a small group
- Foment a life of prayer and meditation by joining the prayer team
- Live servantly by getting involved in our ministries which lead to serving in the community
- Practice gratefulness for all of God’s creation: recycle, conserve water, and grow a garden.
With many in the USA saying that they are “spiritual” but not “religious” they have let go of a vital factor of what has held groups of people together-shared and practiced faith in God. Religion comes from the Latin ligare which means “to bind”; the term ligaments comes from the same root word! Just like our ligaments hold us together so religion holds us together as a people to belong, to be nurtured, to serve and to, in togetherness, make a real difference in our place in the world. When people have let go of religion, nothing holds them and nothing binds them to others. Focusing on God should bring all to “Blessing the Tie that Binds us Together—God!