Wow! What a service we had yesterday. The Holy Spirit sure invested in guiding us throughout the morning. He is always with us, especially when we gather for worship. But sometimes the manifestation of His presence is overwhelming. That was the case yesterday.

 

It is such a joy to serve the Lord in a church that so many people are well connected with the Lord. I am not just speaking about salvation but also about growth in our relationship with Him. This leads to committed service to Him and the people around us as well.

 

I know that yesterday as we worked through 1 John 1:5-10, I was speaking to many who have already understood and adopted that teaching into their own lives. I am aware that so many in this congregation have vital and growing spiritual walks with the Lord. But I know from my own experience that it is easy to allow what we know to be true to become intellectual alone with little practice of the truth.

 

I believe that God in His infinite wisdom brought us all a reminder of truth yesterday. I believe that many, including myself, needed to understand just how important our intimacy with Christ truly is both to us and to Him. And He showed us that even the simplest of sin in our life that is not dealt with puts us on a path away from Him.

 

I count it a joy to walk this path with all of you this week. I started my day praying the very things I encouraged you to pray. I then prayed that each of us would recognize the significance of this commitment. I prayed that we would all experience a fuller and more complete walk with the Lord this week. I prayed that each of you would have an ever-deepening desire for intimacy with the Lord. I believe that He will answer these prayers.

 

Do something special this week. Remember the challenge to memorize 1 John 1:9. Also, be encouraged to spend that 10 minutes. But do one more thing. As you see what God is doing through this in your life, write it down. Celebrate how God is specifically working in your life by immortalizing it in the written word. Then share it with others. Encourage one another by sharing what God is doing in your life. Even share it with those who don’t know Christ. It may be just what they need to move a step closer to receiving the Lord.

 

I know that God is working. I want to hear the specifics about how he is working on your life.

 

May God richly bless you today and throughout this week.

 

May 17, 2022

As many of you know, I am currently away for a couple of days on a personal prayer retreat. This past Thursday I was able to attend an EFCA District meeting with the Executive Director of Theology and Credentialling. He spoke about the Gospel and the influence of the world on the Gospel.

We covered tremendous ground in a short period of time. Part of my time away is structured around seeking God’s direction for me, our congregation and more specifically the teaching and preaching that God is calling me/us to in the coming months.

Little did I know that the conference this past Thursday brought about some greater understanding for me related to some of the reading and studying I have been doing in recent months. It is still a work in progress as I continue to pray over what God is teaching me. I covet your prayers over this as I am sure that the culmination of this season will inform many messages preached, studies taught and counseling sessions held.

In light of that, I want to ask you to spend some time with the Lord asking him to show you what the Gospel really is and how it should impact our daily walk with Christ. One thing I have been reminded of in this time is that Scriptures tells us to “work out our salvation.” Many, knowingly or unknowingly, think the Gospel is for the unsaved. It is what brings them to salvation, but then it is up to us to strive to live a life pleasing to God. While these things are important, there is something far greater in the living out of the Gospel.

You are invited to take a journey with me as we walk through these truths in the coming weeks and months. How should the Gospel inform our world and our living of life? I close with a quote from Thursday that has me in deep contemplation.

Greg Strand said, “The primary purpose of the church is not to transform society. It is to be an outpost of Heaven.” Think about that. I want to hear what you think about that quote. Is it correct? How do we do that if it is correct? What should we stop doing if we believe the quote? What should we start doing?

Be Blessed!

 

~~Pastor Gary