Dear Church Family Near and Far,
Summer is coming. Years ago, JoAnna and I met a couple on our honeymoon in the Appalachian mountains. The husband explained how he had it all – independence, successful career, and a comfortable high-level beachfront condo. Alone and free: the dream of many young men. Yet it wasn’t what he thought. One day, sitting many floors up, he saw a family on the ground below. It was a simple scene: They were playing. But God used that moment to reveal a void in him, a void for a greater purpose than his ‘successful’ life of individual freedom. That void drove him to Jesus, and later, to a spouse and family and serving God in mission trips to foreign countries.
All men and women were made with a void for God. Sometimes God is gracious to allow us to feel an almost painful longing inside, so that we turn to him. But what has God called us to do and be? He calls us to die twice. First, to die to self in salvation – rejecting self-effort to find rest and freedom in the finished work of Christ. Second, to die to self in serving Him.
But it makes sense to ask how. How has God called us to live for him? What has he called us to do and be? For that we need the whole Bible and not just Matthew 28.
I’ve had a plan for some time. It was intentional that we spent great time in Galatians for months. This is because we cannot lose God’s gospel in Christ for daily living. We lose the gospel when we believe salvation and acceptance come chiefly by human effort. We must always go back to Jesus, repenting. Believing. Resting again in him. Remembering we remain sinners in need of the savior’s grace. Some stay there, though. And that is not what God intended.
In June we have some crucial wrap-up of Galatians. Then in July we will begin a series on the Mission of God. It will walk through the Bible, spending extensive time in the Old Testament, to show how God’s mission for mankind began long before Jesus our savior appeared. The problems the series tackles is one of placelessness (Why am I here?) and purposelessness (What am I here to do and be?). Consider bringing friends or neighbors who are wondering what they were meant to do with their lives. My hope is that we see God’s holistic mission from the whole Bible. And that western Beaver County around us will be blessed and transformed as we apply our instructions, reforming self, surroundings, workplaces, and communities with the holistic gospel of Jesus Christ, focused especially on His redemption of people. Yet, while always resting in the finished work of Christ. God’s grace and peace be yours today in Christ.