By Pastor Tim White When they are to the other side, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I can do for you before I am taken away.” And Elisha replied, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit and become your successor.” "You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah replied. “If you see me when I am taken from you, then you will get your request. But if not, then you won’t.” 2 Kings 2:9-10
Last June the Washington Cathedral staff met for a week retreat to begin the prayer, brain-storming and planning for the 2017-18 year for this incredible brigade of grace-filled Christians we call our local church family.
We came out of those meetings with the main focus of our church this year being “Love First”. We did that after going through a process from Natural Church Development (a church consulting organization) who have studied more churches statistically than any other church consulting organization in the world. Christian Schwarz, who is based in Germany, has made his research internationally focused on a high level of statistical analysis. All of that is to say, it was a very deliberate process that God used to lead us to the focus of “Love First” this year. Of course, it is well known that this is a basic theme of the life of Christ and of the Bible, but we knew that, after all we had gone through in the adventure of establishing Washington Cathedral, this was the focus we needed. A focus that would lead us to the next level of healing, empowering, re-engineering, and the breakthrough that God intended for our church family. We defined it carefully with three words: 1) Experiencing (transformation); 2) Empowering (change); and 3) Engaging (in community). There is a lot more to every one of those aspects.
When it comes to “Experiencing (transformation)” we asked how in 2017-2018 we could raise the bar on discipleship in our church family. We have a lot of amazing knights-in-shining armor, as I like to call them. Now, how can we pour our lives into the next generation as Elijah did with Elisha. That is a tall order because it includes us pouring our lives into our children, and our children pouring their lives into their children. And all of us pouring the love and power of Christ into our friends. Dr. Henry Cloud wrote a fascinating book which I had the chance to re-read on vacation. It is a summary of a lot of research taking place in modern science and among church leaders. It is called “The Power of The Other.”
I am so excited to share this life-changing message with you this weekend. Yes, I expect the resolutions that God is helping to make in my life to change my life. But we all want to change the world.
We are all praying for those impacted by the recent act of terrorism in New York. Sadly - we have had so many tragedies lately, and our world can use all the prayer we can raise up to our living, loving Lord.
I can’t think of a time in my life when a message - a theme - a battle plan, has been more relevant than “Love First” is today for Washington Cathedral.