Gratitude, once again, is my main motivation for writing this post. Assuming you have read the previous 2 parts of this open letter, you should remember me mentioning that I am thankful to Heart of God Church and its people because they have shown me what it means to belong, believe and become.
But at this point, I want to also thank you. If you have read to this point, I am grateful for your time and attention. Thanks for even considering reading all my personal thoughts about church, especially for the many of you who don’t personally know me. I hope that the remaining parts of this letter will be worth your minutes, and that you will find positive things you are searching for.
I’ve shared with you some of my experiences being a part of Heart of God Church for close to 8 years, and the lessons it has taught me about belonging. Now, let me talk about what the church has taught me about believing. When it comes to this topic, I have only two main aspects I want to focus on – believing in God and believing in people.
What it means to Believe
Believing in God is an unavoidable subject when it comes to Christianity because it forms the basis of a Christian’s relationship with Christ. It is a decision one must make on their own; and it is one I personally made with no regrets to this day. But believing that God is real and that I can know Him is only the start. Continually having that same faith and trust in God in every situation and season of my life is what I need to always work on.
Life has its ups and downs, after all. And as a Christian, going through it is a journey of faith. But what is faith? Faith is not just believing, but believing even when things we are believing for have yet to come to pass.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)
I have never, for example, physically seen or touched God. Yet I have faith that He is real and loves me, and I will meet Him face-to-face one day in Heaven. This is because I see the miracles & lives changed in church every weekend (evidence), and I can feel His love, peace and joy in my heart every day (substance). It is almost like wind – we can’t see it, but we can hear it, feel it and see the effects of it. That’s how we know it exists.
Also, I cannot see nor travel forward physically to my future. But I can have faith as I imagine it and look forward in life. According to the Bible, my faith is what will allow my dreams to physically take form (substance). My faith is the evidence that these dreams (that are not seen in reality yet) will come to pass. That is why faith is so important. It is not believing in myself; it is believing in God – that He can move mountains in every area of my life. When I believe in Him, I can have faith for breakthroughs in my studies, family, church and relationships.
However, our faith “leaks” from time to time. While it is definitely possible to “top up” and build up my faith at home while I am praying and reading the Bible alone (and I do it all the time) – being a part of Heart of God Church, hearing weekly sermons by our pastors and being surrounded by a group of faith-filled people helps a lot too. Trust me, it is very difficult to be negative about life or to doubt God’s ability to work in your life when you are constantly found in an environment and atmosphere like this.
When we have faith, God can do anything He wills for our lives.
“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”Matthew 17:20 (NLT)
That begs the question – how do we know if we have faith? By our actions. People can tell that a person has faith not just because he/she believes in God, but in the way they worship Him, pray, speak about life and act. Real faith always brings about action, character change and good works.
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.James 2:26 (NKJV)
That is why being part of a church is essential in every Christian’s life. That is why I am so glad to have Heart of God Church as my home. I have to quote a verse I shared previously again because it perfectly describes why without church, my pastors, leaders and friends, I would never have progressed this far in my faith in God. Once again, remember that faith always brings about good works.
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.Hebrews 10:24-25 (NKJV)
Because I have so many role models in church, I am constantly inspired to give my best and have faith in whatever I do – be it volunteering in different ministries or loving people. Speaking about loving others, allow me now to share how being in Heart of God Church has taught me to believe in people.
It is not exactly the easiest thing to believe in people and invest time and energy in them so that they can grow to their maximum potential. This is especially true when it comes to young people. I mean, think about it. What do most young people have to offer? They have limited knowledge, resources and even freedom. Furthermore, what is there to gain from believing and investing in youths… except the pure joy one can receive from seeing them step into their destinies?
That is exactly how my pastors are like. This is why our senior pastors, affectionately known as Pastor How and Pastor Lia, started Heart of God Church – a youth church. They believed and still believe that young people can do great things for God. “What youths lack in experience, they can make up for with exposure. Youths are not just leaders of tomorrow, they are leaders of today.” Those are words that every HOGC member would have heard countless times from the pulpit and memorized by heart. Because that is our DNA.
So how do I know what it means to believe in people?
Remember I mentioned in the first part of this open letter that I came to church at the age of 15?
I learned to believe in people because I was first believed in.
I am just one of hundreds, if not thousands of young people who were believed and invested in, not because I had anything to offer, but because my church and my pastors just love and believe in youths. They have faith that young people can change the world.
To be continued…