From the Desk of the Diocesan:
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ abide with each of you.
I am delighted to greet you during this time of progressive transition. I've recently made several visits within District 23. The level of commitment to and support of the ministry at local assemblies have left a favorable impression. It's my observation that our pastors are inspiring congregations to growth in the word and work of the Lord.
A major hindrance to the strengthening of the body is the collective cares of life. This does not reference sinfulness per se, but rather the normal distractions of daily responsibility. It speaks to the financial obligations, family responsibilities, community concerns, the business of the church, etc. that each of us is confronted with on a daily basis. It addresses the cares and concerns that naturally accompany living. If not held in proper perspective, these cares will serve as ambushments and way lay our spiritual promotion. The body of Christ must not be weakened by the lack of nourishment. Stay in the Word...live it; love it; lap it up.
A most powerful component of our faith, as taught to us by Bishop Samuel J. Grimes (and continued by Bishops B. T. Jones and Aaron H. Redd), is the conviction that Jesus is Messiah. He endured the cross knowing that it was but a temporary discomfort. He surrendered his life, but rose from the powerless grave in order to deliver us from the vindictive imprisonment of death. In Him rests all power!
The challenge before you and me is that we not become so distracted by life, and what we see around us, that we dilute the message that Jesus is the only way to salvation. We have The Truth. Others seek to know The Truth. In all of our efforts to progress; in all of our determination to maintain appeal to a contemporary society; in all of our emulation of the modern church, let's not fail to promote Jesus.
Let's remember that He suffered the cross and sacrificed precious blood in order to drive the messages home. The empty cross remains a symbol of humiliation to Satan, but a symbol of victorious suffering to the saints of God.
The cross challenges the church to rise above the constant barrage of attacks designed to discredit and defame. It challenges us to confidently endure adversarial ridicule. It challenges us to surrender to the divine will of God and gain the ultimate victory that is assured to those who will not compromise.
Let us commit to "Embrace the Challenge of the Cross".