Americans like to dream big. When we are kids, people ask us "what do you want to be when you grow up?" and we are expected to say things like Doctor or Lawyer or Astronaut or even President. As adults, we are told to try and get ahead and seek that promotion or achieve more in our professional life. There is constantly competition to win or score or be recognized.
Even in ministry this is true. Pastors are often, sadly, judged by the size of their churches. If you have a large church you must be good. If you have a small church you must be bad or even that you don't have the blessing of God. This way of thinking has hurt me over the years and driven me to seek after numbers rather than just to be faithful in my work as a minister of the gospel.
In 1 Thessalonians 4 Paul gives people this advice "make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that you may win the respect of outsiders."
As I have gotten older, I have changed my goal in life and in ministry. My goal is now to be faithful. Am I loving? Am I kind? Am I serving? Am I giving? I don't expect results but thank God if they do come.
What is your ambition? My advice is to seek the Lord and seek to be faithful...that's it. Everything else is just gravy.
come and see
In the first chapter of the gospel of John, Jesus is starting to gather his disciples and finds a man named Phillip and called him to be his follower. Phillip agrees and then immediately wants to share this opportunity with his brother, Nathanael. So he goes to Nathanael and tells him that he has "found the one Moses wrote about" and encourages his brother to "come and see."
Phillip didn't keep the good news of Jesus to himself. And he didn't just try to explain Jesus as an idea. He invited his brother to come and see for himself, to experience what he had experienced. He hoped and prayed that when Nathanael experienced the same love and grace and truth that he had seen...he would also be changed.
In a few weeks (September 11), we are challenging our whole church family (including you) to invite someone to "come and see" what a church service is like here at Six Points. We want them to experience what you experience. To sing, to read scripture, to be welcomed and to hear the name of Jesus proclaimed. Will you, like Phillip, go the extra mile and share the good news with someone you love and invite them to join you? Don't you want them to see for themselves?
Take the challenge! Invite a friend to "come and see" on Sunday, September 11 on our Invite a Friend Sunday.
surely god is with us
Psalm 46:1 says "God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help IN trouble"
I capitalize the word IN above because I want to clarify that God is not only in control when things go well for us. It might be easy for us to believe that God is only sovereign when all is well or when all our needs or wants or desires are met...but God is ALWAYS in control.
Here, and many other places in scripture, we see that God is our help in times of trouble, distress, pain, suffering and other less than ideal situations. We would, of course, prefer to avoid these situations...but that's just not how life works. Life involves difficulty. Life involves loss. Life involves grief. Being a person of faith does not mean we escape pain, but that God is with us IN the pain. God is with us IN times of trouble.
You are never alone. In your hurt, in your pain...God is with you. So when you find yourself in the valley, know that God is there. He is with you. You are not alone.
in our own image
In Genesis 1:27, we are told that God made man special. He made us in His own image. There is debate, of course, of what exactly this means, but we know that it means we are different than anything else in creation. The world, the animals, the birds and the fish are all called "good" but only man is called "very good" because we alone are made in the very image of God.
And yet, it seems to me, that since that moment we have attempted to return the favor. We seek to remake God in our own image. We of course don't have the power to change the actual nature of God; but we pretend that we do. We pretend that God is like us.
We like to think that God thinks like us, acts like us, loves like us and even hates like us. We pretend that God hates the people we hate and loves the people we love. We pretend that God cares about what we care about and only those things.
We do not control God any more than we control a hurricane. We cannot make God any more than we can make a mountain. God is God. He is who He is. He does not change. His goodness cannot be undone by our will or desires. Our fallen nature does not tarnish Him.
So let us remember our place. He is on the throne; and we are not. We are made in His image, not He in ours. We seek to be like Him, not the other way around. God is God and God is good. Let us worship Him accordingly.