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.

Grace

He Could Have Kept the Temple

This morning as I was reading of the finishing work of Solomon’s temple, the overlaying of the gold and bronze, it struck me that God could have kept the temple.

Here is the House of the Lord David dreamed of. Extravagant, covered in splendor and meaning, holy. It would be the place God’s people would make offerings to him, worship him. It would also be the center of all of life in Jerusalem. But for all of its glory and place in redemptive history, it would not last.

Due to the rebellion of the faithless, the disobedience of those made a people it would be stripped of its finery. It would be ruined. There would be rebuilding projects but the Temple would never again match the early majesty. And eventually it would be gone forever, burned to the ground.

God could have kept it though. In his sovereignty he could have maintained its foundations regardless of the unfaithfulness of the people he called his own. It could still remain today as the center of life, where we communed with God, a place of pilgrimage, of power. But he did not keep it.

There was something better to come, many temples made of hearts and flesh. A complete sacrifice that discontinued the need for bulls and lambs. The opportunity to commune with our Creator where we are through Jesus.

God could have kept the Temple but it is glorious news for us that he didn’t. Grace was coming another way. Those that waited longed not for the Temple but for God himself. In Advent we long for the same thing. Having tasted of salvation we desire completion. The return of our King, that he would be the center of all life, the radiance of our days.

Today be reminded of God’s care for you. That his plan brought us here, to longing and hope. And his plan will see us through. He could have kept the Temple, but he chose you.

Discipleship

Holy Fear and Revival

We have been talking about the elements of renewal or revival in some corners of the church and one dear saint sensed a calling to pray for a holy fear of God to permeate the church. While our modern first response might be hesitancy (who wants to endorse fear), when we have a biblical context for what it means to have an abiding reverence for God, then the environment shifts and the soil is prepared for revival.

To this end, this Saint shared her thinking on what the fear of the Lord looks like in a climate of revival.

“A Climate for Revival

“Holy Fear Outside the Church:
Understanding one’s position ->Holy Fear (horror, anguish, woe) coupled w/
hope->Redemption and Salvation

“Holy Fear Inside the Church:
Understanding One’s position->Holy Fear
(humility, awe, wonder) coupled with hope->Revival and Further Sanctification”

May we inside the church understand our position, made righteous by Christ, and live in humility, wonder, and awe with a defining hope for more.