reflections from an elder - january 20th
Pastor Will’s second message is going to focus on the theme of Hope, and that got me to thinking about how casually we sometimes use that word. “I hope it doesn’t rain today.” Or, “I sure hope that test isn’t too hard.” Or maybe, “I hope the sermon doesn’t go too long this morning.” But the word hope means a whole lot more.
When the word cancer becomes a part of a family’s life, they do a lot of hoping. At times, it may be a real struggle not to lose hope. For some families, maybe the trial is something different, a struggling relationship, losing a job, the death of a close friend, but the hoping and praying that occurs is still very real. The greatest comfort in these kinds of earthly trials is knowing that our real hope, our ultimate hope, is not found within ourselves, but in the Lord. “The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” (Ps. 147:11) And, Hebrews 6:19 tells us that this kind of hope is “an anchor for the soul.” Believe me, in the stormy waves of our world, we need that anchor.
However, our hope in the Lord doesn’t necessarily make the trial go away, but it should give us a greater strength to endure it. The familiar line from Isaiah 40 reminds us that “those who have hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles.”
So, as you lift up your prayers to our heavenly Father, lift them up with that kind of hope, a hope that trusts in a God who truly loves us, who sent his Son into this broken world to bear all of our burdens, to save us from all of our sins, and to give us an eternal hope, for now in this life, but also with Him in Glory. Don’t lose hope!
My Last Update...
Sooo, yeah… my last update as your interim pastor. What do I say?
I am going to share my Grace highlights this weekend, so I hope you can make it. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and want to look you in the eye as I share about the ways you have inspired and blessed me over these last 18 months.
If for some reason you can make the service, please consider joining us for the pot luck after the service. For those who may be out of town over the weekend, I will be in the office for my last day on Monday January 7. I will be moving the final boxes out of the office, but I plan on making some time available in the middle of the day from 11:00-2:00, should you want to say a personal good-bye.
I will leave you with a prayer that will be on my heart with every remembrance of you…
Dearest Lord Jesus, I thank you for the people of Grace Fellowship. They were birthed out of a passion to reach those whom others would not have been able (willing?) to reach. They have been called to the ‘bleeding edge’ of evangelistic creativity.
Although that has always been their aspiration, these last seasons have taken their toll on the full expression of that vision. But it has not been lost in their hearts. It still lives as a fire within them. Bring it to full fruition Lord. May the hopes and dreams of living ‘out there’ stir their hearts with great regularity. Energize their gifts and give them a courageous responsiveness to your Spirit. May they not walk in fear. May they not be distracted by petty things but be in unity about all that matters.
Grant Pastor Chris your anointing and favor in this community. Establish his leadership in a way that allows him great liberty to be used mightily by you for the sake of your kingdom’s expansion in this city. Bless him and his family, and may they know many fruitful years in this place.
In the powerful name of Jesus!
With great joy and love for you all…