Dear Church Family,
Over the sixteen years of my ministry here at Oakhill we have seen God do many things and there have been many necessary changes along the way. We have adjusted
our worship services, constitution, church polity, church schedule, budget, and ministry structure just to name a few. But one thing that has never changed and never will is that the focus of our Sunday worship gatherings is God’s Word being preached. I am so thankful for God’s Word. I love preaching it. It is the truth that changes our lives and directs us as we live for Jesus in our world.
A few Sundays ago, I was reminded once again of how impactful and rich God’s Word is. I love preaching through books of the bible for several reasons. 1. It encourages biblical literacy for the church. 2. It keeps pastors honest to have to deal with all the truths in scripture. Even the passages that are difficult to understand and those that are hard to hear. 3. It helps to protect against the pastor’s opinion as we seek to know what God’s Word says and not what the preacher thinks. There are many reasons I believe preaching through books of the bible are so helpful. But sometimes I find that if I try to preach through a sizable portion of scripture in one sermon, there are times when I have more truth to unpack than is possible in the allotted time. That happened a few Sundays ago.
The Apostle Paul had left Athens and had made his way to Corinth. These were two very hard ministry contexts to serve the Lord in. One was eaten up with human philosophies and the other was immersed on sexual immorality. Paul was having a challenging time in ministry and so the Lord comes to Paul in a vision to encourage him to remain faithful and fearless in the ministry as he lived for Jesus. And I believe the commands and promises with this vision were not just helpful for Paul, but they are helpful for us all as we make it our goal to live for Jesus as well. So let me just encourage you as you are “Living for Jesus” to remember these commands and promises from the Lord found in Acts 18:9-11.
- Do not be afraid.
- Stay on your mission.
- I am with you.
- You will not be harmed.
- Many more people need to hear the Gospel.
As we take these commands and promises to heart, I believe that they will help strengthen us to remain faithful and fearless. After Paul received this vision, he stayed in Corinth for another year and a half. In our lives we need to hear from the Lord and trust his Word. And as we do it encourages and inspires us to persevere in our faith and remain faithful and fearless as well. This is why it is so important that we make sure that each week as we gather to worship that we focus our worship on the proclamation and study of God’s Word. We need his truth if we are going to truly “live for Jesus” faithfully.
I love you and I love being your pastor!