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!
This Sunday We Will Be Welcoming...
This Sunday we will be welcoming five new members into Grace Fellowship. I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about it – and I want to tell you why.
Taking in new members is a wonderful thing, because it means that people are identifying with our mission and feeling connected to our congregation. It also serves as a reminder that our mission matters and loving people makes a difference. The simple “yeses” we will hear on Sunday is packed with all that richness!
But, in this case, it is also more than that.
One of the things I remember hearing early in my tenure at Grace was related to the families that are part of the Wednesday kid’s ministry. The church was able to reach the kids, but the rest of the family was a bit harder to reach. I remember many prayers being prayed for the parents of these kids. I also remember watching the way parents were treated whenever they came to the church – wonderfully loved and embraced. It regularly moved me.
Point being that sometimes it takes time to see fruit from seeds planted. It requires faithful service when there are no immediate returns. God honors faithfulness. I am absolutely delighted that I get to witness these years of investment paying off. Several of those becoming members are a direct product of our Wednesday ministry to kids.
So, as these new families join our church this weekend, I hope everyone who has volunteered to teach a class, serve a meal, clean up the kitchen, pray for the ministry and/or put an offering in the basket on Sunday – remembers that each of you are an integral part of their spiritual journey. Without your willingness to serve and give (often sacrificially), we would not be seeing what we are seeing this weekend.
Thank-you for your faithfulness.
You did not become weary and well-doing. Therefore, the time for harvesting has come, because you did not give up. Well done good and faithful servants.