God With Us - A New Season (By Elder Chris Wu)

Last week I journeyed down to SoCal as a delegate for our church at the 2023 General Assembly (GA) for the churches in the OMS Holiness Church of North America, our church conference. It was held at the Orange County Christian Church and hosted by both the Orange County Christian Church and the South Bay Holiness Church.  

The main theme of this year’s General Assembly was “God with Us – A New Season” with the Bible verse, “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” Job 23:10. The theme and verse reflect the pandemic years and the shifts that are happening or are about to happen within the churches and the overall conference. While the GA agenda included worship, budgets, group reports, conference propositions votes, installation of the Holiness Shepherd Council, pastor commissioning and Holy Communion; time was spent in small groups and assembly time to talk about “A New Season” for the churches in our conference.

So, I ask you, with all that has happened during the Covid-19 pandemic, how has that called for the church to begin “A New Season” for the faithful and all of the conference churches? What do you see as the shifts and what do you think the new season should look like? How should our churches and congregations move forward now? That was the question that we were asked and discussed in our small groups and I ask you to consider.

King David announces that God’s brilliance, creativity, goodness, and holiness are endlessly put on display in every facet of creation. Math, literature, science, music: the world around us isn’t some stoic mystery to be solved, but a loud, living broadcast that beckons us to see and enjoy God’s glory at every turn. That invites us to be constant learners and endlessly curious in response. Going to school, going to work, starting a new book, learning a new skill, taking on a project, training to face a new challenge…these all are not ends in themselves. I don’t learn to learn. I don’t work to work. I learn and I work as a means to align my heart, my whole self, with the true Reality of the universe. To see what’s Real. I enjoy it and look forward to it because, in some way, I’m about to discover anew how the heavens are declaring the glory of God.

Maybe if I told my 15 year-old self that truth, I still wouldn’t have appreciated school. Too often I don’t appreciate it now. But I’m learning to pray for the truth of Psalm 19 to overshadow all that my kids and I do. Instead of the pressure of progress and production, David points me to worship and rest. Instead of the frustration of a class or project that I don’t understand, the Holy Spirit opens my eyes to how big, mighty, and utterly ingenious God is. I don’t have to go back to school anymore. But I welcome being called back to reality.

By His Grace,
Chris Wu