Top 10 Texts

Saturday, 10:35a.m. As I prepare mentally and spiritually to proclaim the good news at church in the morning, I receive the following text from a church member:

imsg

“You should see our Lord at work at my home. God is so good.”

I can’t think of many texts I would wish to receive more as a pastor! Then I got to thinking. In our age of typographical communication, what texts would I love to receive as a pastor? Or as a son of God, follower of Christ, husband, father? Below are some in no particular order that I’ve come up with for my eventual Top 10. This is a working list off the top of my head and heart. As a devotional exercise I found it spiritually enriching. It took way more time to think than type.

I would love to hear some of yours! Given the roles you play in life and the things that help form your identity, what are some text messages that would be on your Top 10 list?

  • “JESUS IS BACK!!! GET OUT HERE!”
  • “I love you. -Liz”
  • “God told me to tell you He’s proud of you…and He called you son.”
  • “You should see our Lord at work at my home. God is so good.”
  • “Revival happening. Come.”
  • “Prayer answered.”
  • “Noah’s doing that thing you do again.”
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The Artist

A definition of “artist” occurred to me tonight: someone who sees something which is “so obviously there” but which others will spend their whole lives trying to discover. Or perhaps once they discover…appreciate. In this light, the artist can be found in many contexts, trades, careers, and roles. When considered in spiritual terms, this seems quite parallel to discernment and faith. Perhaps that is why some of the most powerful crossroads in the human experience are where spirituality is expressed through art and the two merge in an explosion of worship through the senses. I would love to know if you have ever been surprised at finding yourself fitting the description of “artist,” and also how you have experienced the divine through artistic expression. I can give an example from tonight that led me to my definition. I was listening to Jon Foreman on earbuds while folding laundry as my wife fell asleep. His lyrics led me to see something otherwise unapparent to me. And I worshipped God.

How Did Jesus Plug In?

As a new pastor, I already struggle with how to feel like my ministry is “100%” in terms of faithfulness and fruitfulness. Perhaps if you are in a ministry career, or even just a disciple of Christ trying to fulfill His commission, you do too. I feel the need to plug into the power source of God because, after all, it’s His ministry. I just can’t seem to access the divine power plant. Then, I remember something the Holy Spirit spoke to me once. Jesus’ ministry was not 100% because He was “plugged in” to the divine power of God. It was because He “only did what He saw the Father doing” (John 5:19). This was the guarantee for success! All the sudden, ministry and mission seem not limited to just the objective power of God, but the very heart and will of God that we are to abide in. Jesus did not say we have to understand why the Father is doing a certain thing, just that our goal must be to discern what the Father is doing and then commit to that end. Imagine how the power of God’s Holy Spirit would be unleashed upon this world if only the Church, a minority of the global population, did that – focused all our spiritual energy only on looking for what the Father is doing and then joining that work, following that voice. This is how the Kingdom is breaking in and how it will be “on earth as it is in heaven.”

Beacon Article on Covenant

Greetings church family,

As the new year is well underway, I am experiencing anew that life’s pace is rarely a respecter of the calendar. There are a few times a year society’s pace slows or quickens, but circumstances have not given us a celebratory break to acknowledge the successful completion of 2011. In ministry this takes shape in the form of weddings, funerals, crises, births, jubilant praises and desperate cries for divine help. The needs of our community and our own needs for spiritual sustenance continue in full force. But as I experience these things as a still relatively new pastor, I’m reminded of something else that is unaffected by circumstances.

This past week in our Disciple I Bible Study class, our theme was COVENANT. We read 35 chapters of scripture that all had the common thread of God’s covenant with humanity. We learned that covenants are not like contracts, which often have loopholes or an escape clause. Ancient near eastern covenants were made with blood and sacrifices. And they typically required at least one person’s life for restitution if broken. All through the Bible we see God as a Covenant-Maker and Covenant-Keeper. In April we will celebrate the ultimate expression of covenant faithfulness as we remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, whose life was given in order to fulfill the covenant between God and humanity that we have been breaking repeatedly since our first days.

I encourage you this week as you prepare to enter Lent (which begins on Wednesday, Feb. 22) to open your Bible and pray – read about, praise, give thanks, and cry out to the only One who has never broken covenant and never will. And know that because of His faithfulness, our unpredictable circumstances and ever-changing lives have an infinitely reliable and constant opponent. And He wins.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Jonathan

Below are the lyrics to a song we sometimes sing in our contemporary services called “Your Grace Is Enough” by Matt Maher. He writes about God’s covenant and that God’s grace is sufficient for us because He keeps His covenant. Feel free to read it this week (or sing it!) as a reminder of who God is and why we praise Him.

Your Grace Is Enough
Great is Your faithfulness O God
You wrestle with the sinner’s restless heart
You lead us by still waters into mercy
And nothing can keep us apart
So remember Your people
Remember Your children
Remember Your promise O God
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me
Great is Your love and justice God of Jacob
You use the weak to lead the strong
You lead us in the song of Your salvation
And all Your people sing along
Yeah Your grace is enough
Heaven reaches out to us
Your grace is enough for me
God I sing Your grace is enough
I’m covered in Your love
Your grace is enough for me for me
CCLI Song No. 4477026
© 2003 spiritandsong.com | Thankyou Music | (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)
Matt Maher
For use solely with the SongSelect Terms of Use. All rights Reserved. http://www.ccli.com
CCLI License No. 975213