Discipleship

Looking Back to Look Ahead

The first Sunday of the year is probably my favorite as Reservoir Church gathers. We sing of Jesus, encourage each other from the word, and take turns recounting the ways God has been faithful in previous year. It is a special time that serves as a reminder to me and a spur on to what lies ahead in the year to come.

For sure 2020 was no poster child of good years. All of humanity has lamented the year given the pandemic. Pairing that with social and political upheaval and economic uncertainty, it was a hard year to see the forest for the trees. But God was faithful.

People shared how small group life was an anchor for them not just as a comfort but as a place of refinement as groups already committed to each other delved into difficult issues to pursue biblical truth. There were stories of relational reconciliation, the kingdom going forth across the globe, and God’s sustaining empowerment for the work he has called us to and placed us in. I shared how the congregation was a great encouragement to me for the way they have remained unified to our mission and each other even while being broadly diverse in opinions of the pandemic and politics. There were plenty of stressors in previous year but it is still a joy to pursue Jesus with these people.

From these reminders of God’s faithfulness we move forward, into what might be better than normal. All for his glory.

Uncategorized

The Settled Hope of Christmas Eve

The anticipation has led us here. To the day before. Even in the wake of a trying year we know tomorrow will come.

We grieve for those who can’t say that and do so with the fixed and firm hope that this day brings.

Like shepherds tending our flocks, there is still work to be done. But we will have the opportunity to look up and hear the announcement of a child.

This side of the first Christmas Eve we know the ramifications. The redemption that will be worked. The new life that is to be found in the child born king. It is then with this knowledge we breathe in the peace that this promise holds.

Jesus has come and he is coming again. Both truths anchor us and give us a settled hope. May our day before be rich in reminder, and his real presence with us.

Discipleship

Proud to Our Destruction

The movie poster was stirring and has always stuck with me. “He fought for freedom and settled for power.” The movie was telling the story of Castro, but the tag line seems to apply to so many in places of influence and leadership.

It is dangerous. When we succeed or move to the next level, the temptation to worship self runs deep. I wonder if a solution is to pray that the Lord would keep us “small,” dependent on him and content in little things.

Uzziah missed that type of prayer. Made king at 16 he did what was right and followed the law of the Lord. God made him to prosper because of it. Things were looking up. Then, he settled.

“But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction…” 2 Chronicles 26:16 (ESV)

The more he had military and economic success the more reckless he became. He turned from devotion to God to devotion to himself. To his destruction.

God will make those that are faithful to prosper. He will even elevate men and women to prominent places. But we must always labor to keep pride at bay or destruction is bound to come.

May we have the wisdom, and community, to keep us humble for the glory of Christ.