SDB Chicago

Planted by God

Living in Rogers Park I have been regularly reminded that Christians often speak a different language then the world around them. If you didn’t grow up in the church or aren’t familiar with the analogies, then conversations about certain topics can become surreal. I had one such conversation with a guy who came to visit my downstairs neighbor. I told him that I was church planting and he got a really confused look on his face. “What does that mean?” Until then I hadn’t realized that the term planting is not something that just anyone would know. I explained to him that it meant we were here to start a church and that we hoped it would grow like a plant. “That’s a really good analogy for what your doing.”

With the above in mind we felt that it would be good to explain what we mean when we declare that we are Planted by God. The Old Testament Psalms and prophets are full of analogies to the people of God being plants. Sometimes they are watered and grown by God. Sometimes they turn from God and are cut down by Him. Jesus uses this same language in many of His parables. He talks about plants growing on good and poor soil. He talks about vines that do not bear fruit being cut down. In every case the good plants are those that trust and put their faith in God. The bad plants are those that turn from God.

For us being planted by God means that we put our faith in Jesus. We draw from Psalm 1 and Jeremiah 17. If we put our trust in God then we can be assured that He will provide for us. But it means more to us than that. Being planted by God means that we do not chose where or how we grow. I have stated elsewhere how we made plans to move to Chicago before we even had jobs or a place to live. We did this because we knew that God was calling us here. We had faith that he would provided for us. Time and time again God has provided for us. 

Being planted by God also means that we do not get to chose when we move. God has placed us in this place and at this time for a reason. While we are here we will seek Him and grow where He has planted us. In the last few years we have come to understand better why God chose us for this time and this place.

To have a church that is planted by God means that it is not our church. The church belongs to God. We are simply stewards of it. This means that we seek God’s will in all aspects of it. The relationships that we have built here in Rogers Park are directed by Him. We did not chose where to live, He did. We have not chosen how fast or large His church will grow. What we are doing is being obedient to His call.

May you come to trust in God who has planted you. May you be a like a tree planted by clear waters. May your faith sustain you during struggles. And may God produce in you good fruit.

 Amen

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Pastor Phil

Philip Lawton received a Masters of Divinity from North Park Theological Seminary. He is an ordained minster in the Seventh Day Baptist Church. He is currently working on a church plant in Chicago.

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