Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Balanced View of the Election...

Depending on what Christians you talk to about the election, you might get one of two responses:

  1. I'm doing all kinds of research on who I should vote for in the election. I'm just really afraid that the person I don't like will get into office. He's just so bad, and I really fear for our country if he gets elected. I might even move to Canada if he gets elected.
  2. God is sovereign over it all. So, frankly, I'm not worried. Whoever God wants to get in office will get into office, so I'm trusting Him. I try to stay away from looking at politics too much, because it only makes me trust God less and fear the situation more.
Which of these responses is correct? Or is it neither? I would argue that a good response lies somewhere in between. We should absolutely trust God that He is sovereign over it all, and we will get the president that He purposes for us to have. But some people can take this view of the situation too far by saying that they won't even vote, or that they won't take the time to be well educated about the candidates before they go to the polls. The truth is, we live in a country where we've been given a voice...we can cast a vote to give our opinion about who should be in office...and we should use that voice! Is God ultimately sovereign over all those votes and who he purposes to get into office will get into office? Absolutely...but God is sovereign over who votes, and how those votes of each individual person will add up. So, we should pray, and we should vote.

In this situation we see the intersection of God's sovereignty and man's responsibility. God is sovereign over who will get into office...but we have a responsibility to cast a vote, and to be well educated about the candidates so that we can make an informed decision.

But we also should not let fear drive us. Are their people who are running who are scary? Yes. Can these scary people potentially get into office? Yes. But God is in control. We can trust Him that whoever gets into office, got into office because it was God's sovereign will that he/she get into office. We can and should rest in His sovereignty in this.

So, to summarize...let's trust in God's sovereignty in this election and not fear the outcome, but let's still vote and be informed voters by really doing research to discern which person we think would be the best person to run our country.

That is all...

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Desperately Wicked

The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV)
Do you ever have those moments in your life where God shows you once again just how wicked your heart is? I had one of those moments today. I don't want to go into detail...but I was stewing in anger about something that happened to me...and I was stewing on it all morning. Do you know what I mean by "stewing" in this context? I mean, I was really thinking about the thing that made me angry...and thinking about it so much, that I was letting myself get angrier and angrier. Have you ever noticed how we as sinful people seem to relish getting angry? We love the feeling it gives us...but at the same time, I also find myself hating it. Am I the only person who finds himself feeling this way? I hate it because I know it's wrong...I know I shouldn't be letting myself dwell on my anger...but my flesh wants it so badly, that it clings so strongly to it.

This was the war that was going on in my mind this morning. I kept praying, asking God to help me move on...I tried to redirect my thoughts toward other things...but my flesh kept going right back to it. Eventually, after a few hours of this war going on in my mind...God just broke me. And though no audible voice spoke to me...God showed me in that moment that He was using this struggle to remind me just how desperately wicked my heart is. And while this realization hurt like crazy...and I wanted to cry...I was so happy that God reminded me of this.

I am so thankful that God is in the business of growing believers. I'm reminded of this verse:
...we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10 
My whole life as a believer in Jesus is a life of growing in sanctification. Each day God is working in me to grow me. It's a cooperative effort, though. He works in me, but I also seek growth through the Word, prayer, church, etc.

But, today I was reminded once again of just how thankful I am that God works in me to grow me. He doesn't leave me on my own...but He's constantly pursuing me...and His pursuit of me reminds me that I am His child. And I'm going to end this post with a text that points to this truth...of God pursuing His children...and of the fact that this process if painful...but it is so good:
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.  In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:3-11

Sunday, February 7, 2016

LBC Resignation

This morning I read this letter to my church after the sermon I preached:

Dear Lakeview Bible Church Family and Deacon Board,

Four years ago I first began coming to Lakeview when I was Freshman at Northland. After attending services at several other churches, it became clear that God was directing me to come back to Lakeview. On my first Sunday coming back, Brenda Womer came right up to me, remembered my name, and gave me a big hug. I felt immediately welcome. Over the next few months God made it clear that Lakeview was where He wanted me, and so I chose to make it the church I would go to during my time as a student at Northland.

During my 3rd year of attending church here, Pastor Dick asked me if I would take up the position of “Student Pastor.” After seeking godly counsel, and praying a lot, I decided I would take the position. The church voted, and I took up the position in February of 2014. In November of that same year, Pastor Dick decided he would resign from the pastorate at Lakeview on January 1st of 2015, and so I was the natural consideration to take up the position of pastor at Lakeview. That summer I had already prayed a lot about this potential position, and had decided I would take it if the opportunity presented itself, and the church voted me in.  In December of 2014, the church voted me in as Pastor of Lakeview, and in January 2015 I officially took on the duties associated with that office.

It has been a challenging year for me in this position. Challenges that I often had no idea how I would handle. I have felt very ill-equipped to be the pastor of this small church. When I first took up the position of pastor here, it was with the understanding that Northland would be close by, so I could go and continue to be discipled and trained by the staff and faculty there. But as you all know, Northland closed, and so that support has not been available to me.

As situations have come up at Lakeview, I have so often had no idea how I would deal with them. Even with technology that has enabled me to call or email mentors, I have felt the need to have closer mentorship and training with an experienced pastoral staff.

So, it is for this reason, that I have decided to resign from being pastor of Lakeview Bible Church effective March 27, 2016. God has opened doors for me to be able to go down to Grand Haven, MI, where Rachel is from and be discipled by the pastoral staff at her church. My plan right now is to work full time in a secular job, while serving in the local church, and working on an M.Div. on the side online.

In the mean time, between now and March 27th, I will be continuing to preach most Sundays, while preparing to move. I will also be helping the church in whatever way I can to find a new pastor. I do not want to, nor do I plan to slack off in any way my responsibilities at this church in the time I have left. I will seek to love and minister to this church in whatever ways I can before I leave.

The plan right now, should the deacons & this body affirm, would be for Clayton to stay on as Interim Pastor at least until June. At that time, depending on whether the church has found a new pastor, Clayton will decide what is best for him and LBC.

I did not make this decision lightly, and it is with a heavy heart that I made the final decision. It was an extremely hard decision to make, especially because I have grown to love this church so much. I sought out counsel from many godly men, and prayed a lot, and genuinely believe that God has led me to the decision I have made.

Between now, and when I leave, I would like every Wednesday Night Bible Study to be dedicated mostly to praying fervently for the church to find a new pastor. So, if you would like to come out to that, I know it is very important for this church to be seeking the Lord in that matter.

And now, I want to close this with the words of Paul in Romans 11:33-36:
            "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! 
             How unsearchable are
his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. 
Amen."

All Glory Be to God Alone,
Pastor Jason Hunsicker