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Honest to God

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I love children’s books. That may surprise you, but if you know me very well it probably won’t. One of my favorite authors is Roald Dahl. Now, if you’re unfamiliar with his work, you’ve undoubtedly seen some of the movies based on his work: James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Chitty Chitty Bang-Bang, The BFG and (my favorite) Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. In the 1971 movie featuring Willy Wonka, Grandpa Joe and Charlie Buckets, comes the climactic scene near the end of the movie--Charlie is literally the last child standing after Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, Augustus Gloop and Mike Tevee had all lost any semblance of self-control.  You can see what happens here:

Now, I’d like to think I’m a good communicator. We probably all do. But I’ve learned this about myself in my 49⅝ trips around the sun on planet Earth...I struggle to tell the truth.  Now, I’m not saying that I have a lying tongue. That’s far from the truth. But I’ve realized that I have learned a terrible habit: I struggle to speak honestly about who I am and what really matters to me.  Not everyone has this problem...some have no issue letting you know exactly where they stand and what they think, but that’s not always me.

One of the deep challenges of growing deeper with God is the ability to see yourself as you really are.  And this is HARD WORK! My experience has led me to believe that it’s through the mirror of God’s Word, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the counsel of godly people that we are able to acknowledge who it is that we are and how we’ve gotten there.  Many of us don’t really want to go there because we may not like what we see. At least that’s been true in my own experience.

My particular “situation” over the years has been avoidance. Avoid confrontation. Avoid that difficult conversation. Avoid speaking up for myself just to keep the peace...avoid, Avoid, AVOID!!!

How’d that work out?  It took me more than 20 years to deal with a situation that’s gone from bad to worse.  20 years. 20 YEARS!!! Can you imagine the damage done because I couldn’t be honest with myself?  Let alone, being honest with God, asking for His help and allowing Him to influence my heart to a more godly and honest posture.  So I’m working hard on being more honest with myself and with my God. But what I’m realizing that it’s not in my own’s the work He’s doing inside of me.

Charlie Buckett had that kind of moment. A moment of honesty. A moment in which he decided to do the right thing. Did you hear what Willy Wonka says when Charlie leaves the Everlasting Gobstopper on his desk? “So shines a good deed in a weary world.” I’m not sure we ever quite get how being obedient in little things “shines in a weary world.” We live in a world that is dying for Christians to be honest...a world where Christians living in fear seem to propagate anything in order protect our values and lifestyle.

Novel idea:  Let’s live honestly acknowledging our faults and being honest with both God and men. In that way Jesus’ words in 1 Peter 2:12a come true in our lives, “Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices.” Honest to God, that’s what I aspire to...

Your Missionary Support Letter

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The famous preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, “Every Christian here is either a missionary or an impostor.”

These are powerful and strong words.  Are we really missionaries, regardless of profession, skill, time or depth as a Christian?  What does the Bible say?

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8) 

The “you” is you – the church are his witnesses.  In other words, you are either a missionary or an imposter…like Spurgeon said.  That is the very simple version, but this has massive implications for us as individuals and as a church.  It changes how we see everything.  Maybe a helpful way to think about it is this way: what would be in my support letter if I had to write one?  What could I share?  Of all the things I have learned in helping launch WRCC-Hamilton North, one of the greatest insights is the benefit and blessing that comes by thinking about oneself as a missionary.  In a real way, those who were sent by WRCC to launch our Hamilton North location have that experience, and it has not come and gone without challenges.  God has worked and used this group to do some amazing things. 

In this spirit, I thought I would write a “support letter” to everyone at WRCC, so you can hear what God is doing if you do not already know.  What would make us even more excited is that if everyone, regardless of their location at WRCC would think like a missionary every day.


 Dear ministry partners,

Thank you for your continued support in connecting every life to Jesus.  We care deeply about all people: those in Noblesville, northern Hamilton County and to the ends of the earth.  God has been up to some amazing things since we have launched the Hamilton North location in September 2017.  Here are some highlights:

  • 10 baptisms
  • 13 small groups with 130 members (adult, young adult, men, women, or youth)
  • On an average Sunday, 55 are serving in a ministry role
  • We engage about 200 each weekend at our 9:30am Sunday service at HHHS

These are just numbers.  What is more important are the many, many stories of lives changed or deepened due to the commitment of our church to multiply beyond the walls in Noblesville.  I can think of dozens of people who were previously not connected to any church that now are because of our presence.  I can think of at least three adult men who have been Christians for decades but are just now serving in the church for the very first time.  God is working as we have sent people and released resources to further connect people to Jesus.  Would you continue to pray for wisdom as we seek to be missionaries in northern Hamilton County in our daily lives?


In His Grace,

Andrew Smiley

Hamilton North Pastor

In no way am I the poster-child missionary or the greatest campus pastor.  I hope to highlight what God is doing through His people and this church.  There are so many who have had a hand in the good work, and many who have faithfully and sacrificially worked to play a role in this (unloading trailers, playing guitar, teaching children, praying faithfully, hosting a group, welcoming guests, or making coffee).  May God continue to multiply his church in his timing!

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