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hope for churches in stress


In 1953 anesthesiologist Virginia Apgar proposed a simple checklist to measure the health of newborns. This checklist has dramatically reduced infant mortality around the world.

Like the Apgar scale for newborns, there are key markers of spiritual health.

Peace. When we ask God for forgiveness and embrace salvation as a gift, not something we can earn, a sure outcome is “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 2:4-9; Romans 5:1). When this peace is disrupted, we need to do some troubleshooting (1 John 1:7-9).

Power. With the intention to please God, we discover the “immeasurable greatness of his power” (Ephesians 1:19; 3:16, 20; 6:10; Colossians 1:29) and are increasingly able to “walk in a manner worthy of [our] calling” (Ephesians 5:2; 1:19; 4:1).

Presence. Though not without lapses (Psalm 13), we live with a reassuring awareness of the personal presence of the Holy Spirit, the Living Christ within (Psalm 51:11; John 10:3-4,14; Romans 8:15-16; Revelation 3:20).

Purpose. An unfolding aspect of our life in Christ is a sense of purpose. We come to see the ways that “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

As we mature in Christ, we experience setbacks and triumphs. In times of uncertainty, we can assess our spiritual health by four basic checkpoints: peace, power, presence, and purpose.

Also see previous blog post, "Backwards."

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