Discipleship

The Grace of Reading the Bible with Committed Friends

The pandemic closed our preferred meeting location (a local Starbucks – suburbia has few great coffee choices.) As you can imagine then we missed a couple of months of our early morning meetings. We were forced to get creative and meet in the parking lot instead.

It has been a great way to affirm guidelines for social distancing and continue studying Scripture together.

Today we read an imprecatory psalm and thought through how we pray for those opposed to us in light of Christ. It was a rich conversation on trusting in the Lord’s care and purpose and we set out for the day with renewed determination to trust and pray.

I am thankful for these committed friends. We need them. You need them. Do what you can to find them. Open the book, and read.

Discipleship

Face to Face

I am thankful for the letters of the Apostle John in the Bible. To me they serve as permission to be brief but weighty in communication. But in the wake of this pandemic, John’s concluding line in his second letter laid bare my heart.

Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.” 2 John 12 (ESV)

I have much to say to those I pastor, and man have I tried using the paper and ink of our day. But I long for face to face. It is what we were meant for. Without a doubt. And thank God we are in the beginning stages of gathering as the church again.

Even with this desire, the hunger for the complete joy we find in community, I don’t think John would encourage us to be reckless about it. As a whole I don’t think Scripture would either. So I won’t infringe on the conscience of others with my claim of my own rights, I will be patient as we get toward the day we can see smiles without masks again, I will attempt to humbly remind and be reminded that every path is an experiment as we don’t have all the answers.

I hope to be face to face soon, and that hope will carry us through… We are people of hope, now we get to live like it.

Grace

Fulfilled in 2020

As we enter into a new year, we have begun a new reading plan to journey through the Bible. This morning in the first installment one word and theme jumped out to me. Fulfilled.

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing…” Ezra 1:1 (ESV)

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet…” Matthew 1:22 (ESV)

Brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David…” Acts 1:16 (ESV)

God is in the business of fulfilling his promise, his word. This is how the Old Testament enriches us. We know that his word does not return empty but is accomplished. Ultimately the promise of Immanuel is fulfilled making all the other promises part of the the anticipation for a Savior. Jesus has come and he has fulfilled the law for us that by grace we would be children of God. All of God’s promises are yes and amen in Christ.

In light then of the New Testament we live boldly knowing that what God has declared will be fulfilled. He is bringing us all the way home.

As I reflected on this the Spirit brought to mind prophetic promises the Lord has given me and here on the first day of the new year the reminder of his faithfulness to fulfill.

What is it that you are anticipating being fulfilled in Jesus this year? Is it confidence in your identity in him? Restoration of relationships that have been broken? Comfort or the ruling peace of Christ in every corner of life? Ask the Lord to give you an awareness of how he is working fulfillment, rest in the grace of Christ and live. God fulfills.