I received two emails and one phone call yesterday afternoon from great friends who know me very well, asking me if everything was OK. They were concerned about my well-being after reading yesterday’s post, “Slugging It Out With The Preacher.” I was initially surprised. It was a passage from Paul and two quotes from great theologians on the great role of the preacher within God’s Church. I was trying to convey, to other preachers maybe, as an encouragement, the great honor it is to be a preacher of God’s Holy Word. The great responsibility. The great burden. The high calling.
It was a poor post. I should have written some other comments around it, setting it up or explaining it or something. But the three quotes, I thought, stand alone as eloquent reminders of the great privilege of preaching.
To answer the question, I’m fine. In fact, the past two months in my ministry here at Legacy — all of March and April — have been more than wonderful. God has shown me not just little glimpses, but huge blaring, glaring, high-definition proofs of his working with and among and in his people here. I’m greatly encouraged by what I see. More baptisms. More families jumping in to join us. More sacrifice. More service. More giving. More love. More joy. More openness to study. More conversation between generations. More trust. More willingness to grow. More answered prayer. More understanding.
Legacy seems to be alive with the love of our God, the grace of his Son, and the power of his Spirit.
Terry Rush, the king of encouragers, the Barnabas of blogs, says there are two kinds of churches: congregations that reach in and congregations that reach out. Quoting from his blog post, Churches: Sharp or Dull, from last week:
A church is sharp when it reaches out. It is dull when it focuses inwardly. Churches possessing a mission to keep everyone in the herd corrected become top-heavy with pseudo-truth. Such a church falls into the same trap as the religious leaders of Jesus’ day when he wouldn’t do church stuff the way they saw it.
What was it he did so glaringly errant in their sight? He disregarded religious law for the benefit of healing non-religious people. He loved the injured more than he feared the threats of the church.
I see a big difference in churches when one of the other of dispositions is present: reaching in or reaching out. One is sharp. One is dull. One is alive. One is dead. One is praising. The other is complaining. One is daring. The other cowers in fear. One is saved. One is afraid it isn’t. One is grateful for grace. The other is aggravated at those grateful for grace.
Legacy is celebrating its 50th anniversary this Sunday. Seems like a great time for reflection. What kind of a church are we? I see us, by the grace of our God, moving toward him in the right direction. Being much more concerned about the lost than the saved. Considering others more important than ourselves. Less of self and more of Thee.
Am I OK? Oh, yeah!
Thanks for asking.
Glad to know you are ok. Yesterday’s post was a little unusual without some type of commentary.
On today’s point – only two kinds of churches? Glad to know there is no room for blending. I fully see his point as he uses a two by four – perhaps the full post has something about how to balance the two. I will always lean towards an outward focus if for no other reason than it shakes people up (my admittedly immature, arsonist side) yet the tenor of these comments is just as divisive (sic). Who wouldn’t want to be alive and grateful and saved and praising?
I’m kinda with Rob’s Dad’s sarcasm. It has to take a healthy blend of inward and outward reaching. Jesus says he didn’t come to help the healthy, but to help the sick. That’s why he didn’t hang out with the Pharisees but went to the lost – the tax collectors, prostitutes, etc. However, he does make a point to correct his rabbinic peers (the Pharisees) on numerous occasions, because making sure the healthy stay healthy is also a priority.