Hebrews 6:19a – We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. (NIV)
In the winter, the cold and snow cause the attendance at our small church to dwindle to a handful, but in the summer, when the "snowbirds" return, so does our attendance. Nevertheless, our Congregational Life Committee has been searching for a way to attract the unchurched in our area. Thus, when our presbytery offered a conference on church growth, a carload attended. The following Sunday morning, the minister announced that on the next Sunday, they would present what had been learned about how technology could enhance our worship. Eagerly, we awaited the promised PowerPoint® presentation.
During the week, the team planned meticulously. On Saturday, they ran through every detail of the service and checked all the equipment. Everything worked. They were ready. Thus they confidently approached the next day hoping and praying for a good service.
On Sunday morning, as the worship service began, a huge sizzling pop reverberated through the sanctuary. Our aging electrical system failed. A new hymn that was to have been projected could not be sung. One of our dear saints called out, "Let's sing number 379." The pianist knew it and began to play. As the congregation sang out with great gusto, the words of a well-loved hymn filled the air:
- My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
- – Edward Mote
Truer words were never sung. Indeed, our hope is in Jesus' blood and righteousness. Likewise, the hope of the church rests there and nowhere else. When we cease to trust in Jesus and turn instead to our own efforts, the latest theories, or technological gimmicks, God snaps our focus back to where it belongs: on Him.
1 Peter 1:21 – Through [Jesus] you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. (NIV)
Our hope is well placed when it is in God — and not technology. Wonderful though it may be when technology works, it is the Holy Spirit who grows His church. God's grace grants the increase and nothing else. By the way, the presentation provided us with many things to think and pray about — by using the old technology of ink, paper, and the human voice.
Prayer: Lord God, grow our faith, hope, and trust in You. Also, grow our churches when we reach out to others with the message of salvation and give You the glory, for Jesus' sake. Amen.