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Pastor's Point - May 2024

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Dear Church Family,

On Sunday,  April 21st I shared with our church family three things that the Apostles did while at Jerusalem as they were waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Now I confessed on that Sunday that waiting is not my favorite thing to do in life. I like to get things done, I have trouble being idle, and in my flesh, I can struggle with being impatient. I am sure I am not alone in this. Maybe you feel the same way about seasons of waiting. But the reality of life is that we all find ourselves marking time in our lives by seasons of waiting.

The Apostles did three things in their waiting according to Acts 1:12-26. They prayed to God, they understood their lives considering the truth of Scripture, and they trusted in God because they knew He was in control. Praying, studying scripture, and trusting God are wonderful things to do while we wait. Actively waiting is so much more beneficial than passively waiting. When we busy ourselves with prayer, studying the Word, and a trusting attitude towards God will protect our hearts from the corrosive effects of passively waiting. When we become passive in our waiting, we tend to process our lives in our own wisdom which often encourages, distrust, bitterness, and anger towards God. These are great dangers to us as we live our lives.

You see while we are actively waiting by praying, reading scripture, and trusting God we have the benefit of hoping while we wait. Psalm 27:14 states… “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.” It is possible for hope to grow even while we wait. And while we hopefully wait, we can find that our faith will increase because we know we are waiting on our God who is sovereign over all.

But also waiting helps us to have a proper perspective in life. I was reading an article by Jeff Robinson about waiting and in it he writes… “When we bring urgent petitions before the Lord, we wait with expectation, and the city of man in which we live fades in importance as we begin to realize that the city of God is primary. As Jonathan Edwards prayed, “O Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs.” Waiting helps to do that. It prioritizes the eternal over the temporal in accord with 2 Corinthians 4:18: “as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” It can be hard to keep proper perspective in life as it relates to eternity in our seasons of waiting. We can become so consumed with our immediate circumstances that we lose focus in life as it relates to eternity.

Let’s make it our aim as we live our lives in seasons of waiting to pray, focus on God’s Word, and have a heart that trusts God. We will benefit greatly as these disciplines guard our hearts from bitterness, anger, and distrust. And as we live this way, God’s wisdom will encourage us to have a proper perspective in life. As Jonathon Edwards said… “O Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs.”

I love you and I love being your pastor!

Posted by Alan Scott with

Family Ministry Moments - May 2024

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A More Excellent Way

In 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, we discover the church in Corinth had been ranking Christians based on their spiritual gifts.  Spiritual gifts such as the gift of tongues and healing were thought to be better than other gifts.  People were separating themselves in a pseudo-class system based on the gifts they displayed.  Paul rebukes the church and reminds them that all these gifts come from the Holy Spirit.  Even though they are displayed differently each gift is an expression of the one Spirit.  Paul uses our physical bodies as an illustration.  Each body part is different, however all of them are important and useful.  The same is true for the distinct spiritual gifts.  The church needs all of them to function properly,  no one gift is better than another.

As you read through the passages you might notice there is a break in his discussion of this topic.  At the end of chapter 12, Paul tells the church that he will show them still a more excellent way.  There is something even greater than spiritual gifts, a way to more fully experience the Lord and express Him to those around us. That way is LOVE!

1 Corinthians 13 is thought of as the love chapter.  Often this passage is used in weddings to express the type of love we want to bestow on our mate, however this passage is not just good for weddings.  Paul was not thinking about marital love when he wrote this.  He was thinking about the love that Christians should have for one another.  Remember, Jesus spoke often about how we should love each other.  John 13:34-35; John 15:9-17; Matthew 5:43-48; and Matthew 22:37-39 are a few places where Jesus speaks about love.  He commands us to love everyone: fellow believers, neighbors, and even our enemies.  I cannot help but think that Paul had some of these words in mind as he wrote 1 Corinthians 13.  It is a great expression of how we are to love others.

First Paul says that we can do all kinds of works for the Lord but if we do not have love then we have nothing, this is a strong statement. Paul puts everyone on notice that how we do ministry is as important as the ministry we do.  He tells us that we can even give our life for Jesus but if our motivation is not love then we do it in vain.  This tracks with many other scriptures from Paul and the other apostles (1 John 2-4; 1 Peter 4:8; Colossians 3:14; Romans 13:8). They all make it clear that love is the primary attitude when it comes to living out our Christian faith.

Paul then shows us what love looks like.  The list in verses 4-7 are very convicting.  I can recall very vividly where I have failed to love people in this way.  I am extremely thankful that sanctification is an ongoing process.  Learning to love others in a Christlike way does not come to us naturally.  We must rely on the transformative power of the gospel.  Love is a fruit of the spirit so only those that are saved and submitting to the spirit will be able to live this way.

The challenge for our modern church is the same as it was for the church in Corinth– to stop looking for ways to puff ourselves up and make ourselves important.  Our charge is to love everyone as Christ has loved us.  Paul helps us by putting it on the “bottom shelf” so that we can understand what love looks like.  As a Christian, loving others with
Christlike love is the most important thing we can do.  None of what we do means anything unless we do it with love.  This is the more excellent way– the way of Christ.

Posted by Bryan Gotcher with

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