There has been a flurry of excitement and activity the last few weeks here in the beautiful town of Buckhannon, WV, getting ready for the magnificent Strawberry Festival. Sidewalks were being completed or fixed to be wheelchair-friendly at the crosswalks. Roads were being repaved and their bright yellow and white lines were repainted to show all of us (especially those who are as old as I) the edges of the pavement. Then carnival equipment, stands, trailers and all those rides for which the kids look forward were maneuvered into every nook and cranny at Jawbone Park and the Main Street area. Also, most homes and businesses, lawns and flower beds were being groomed and mowed, weeded, and decorated with strawberry and other bright ornaments and flags to welcome the expected crowds. The beauty salons were busy helping all the participants look their best from head to toe with pedicures, manicures, facials, haircuts and styles. Whewwww! Excitement was in the air!
This morning in church a young man was heard to say how much he and his daughters have enjoyed the activities. He loved the chance to step away from the daily routine and join in all the festival fun and activities. Yet, suddenly, (it is almost a shock and let-down to see), as I type this Chat, the folding chairs that have lined Main Street, so people could watch the many parades, along with all the trailers, carnival rides and equipment are being broken down, ready to move out to their next assignment and leave our streets lonesome, sadly empty. But it was beautiful and fun, and I am so thankful it seemed to conclude without some tragedy. Praise the Lord.
To conclude the rest of the 28 fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, I am going to summarize them down to a paragraph or two and I ask that anyone out there who has questions, just send me an email ([email protected]) and I will try to find an answer for you. Or if you want me to send you the whole article, I will do that.
Here is Number 11 of the Fundamental Beliefs of our church:
GROWING IN CHRIST
Growth is the principle of life. Anything that does not grow ends up dying. This principle is vital, not only for our physical life but for our spiritual life as well. The new birth is produced in us when we give ourselves to Christ and come up out of the baptismal waters (John 3:3). A new birth assumes a death to the old self (Romans 6:4). Thus, Paul could declare, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). God calls the Christian to a new life that has Jesus as the center of its focus.
Growth must be continual, the person maturing spiritually till he attains to “the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). The growth is not spontaneous. We must continually struggle, not only against our old self (Ephesians 4:13), but “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). The good news is that the victory has already been won! During His earthly ministry, Jesus demonstrated that it is possible to break the power of demonic forces. His death on the cross conquered these evil forces once for all. Thus we do not struggle in our own strength. We grow in Christ and appropriate His divine merit.
Aids to growth are Bible study and prayer. Study is the nourishment and prayer is the bond that keeps us united with heaven. These together bring nourishment. Christian companionship with love and unity with others, those who have been born again, this new community, the church together helps them grow in His grace. It is an essential part of our growth in Christ.
Sharing with others God’s love, witnessing for Christ is a basic part of our spiritual growth. This will always manifest itself in an increasing service to others (Matthew 20:25 – 28).
Apart from the Holy Spirit dwelling is us, we cannot grow. It is the Spirit who regenerates us (John3:3). He is our Guide into all truth (John 16:13). As He helps us to understand the Bible, we grow in our conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:7, 8). His power transforms us into sons and daughters of God. It is through the Spirit that Christ dwells in us (1 John 3:24). Finally, the fruits of the Spirit give evidence that we have grown into the fullness of Christ, as we manifest “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22,23).