Philippians 2:14-16a - Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the Word of life
Word of Life Free Methodist Church had it's first official service in our new building with our new name today. It's exciting to mark this new chapter in the life of what once was "The Church at Whitewater" and "Fayette Community Church". I've spent nearly the last nine years calling this body of believers my church family. It's been an amazing, and sometimes interesting, ride. I've learned so much about myself, who I am in Christ, what it means to be part of a church family, and what it means to be in ministry. At times, it's been a hard fought battle to choose obedience, but I would not trade any of it when I look back over the road I've traveled.
I'm excited about what the future holds for our church body. In the last several months, I have seen the conversation shift from where we "do church" to what it means to actually be the hands and feet of Jesus in our community. We're at the beginning of this new chapter, but I'm thrilled at the prospects that lie before us. I've seen the Lord working in the hearts of His people and very much in my own heart. I thought I was going to miss the theater, but it's not too bad. I love the new building and the hearts of the people who gather there.
I LOVE the image of the verse in which our new name is highlighted: "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the Word of life"
We talked last week about being strangers and aliens in this world. And, this morning, as I was wrestling with my own perfectionist tendencies and frustrations before the service, tired from an emotional week, and feeling disrespected, this passage came to mind:
"If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,but made himself nothing,taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
What a way the Lord has of putting us back into the right frame of mind and gently nudging us back into His path. I'm blessed to have a pastor who hears my emotional outbursts and gently reminds me Who deserves my focus. He was able to share from his heart and help me realign my focus. It was in God's perfect timing that the prayer team walked in as I was reaching my breaking point and I was able to share with them my need for heavenly intervention in order to fulfill my morning responsibilities. They prayed, sweetly, over the situation and reminded me again of the purpose of our gathering. Then, the Lord brought the above verses to mind and completed the process of humbling my spirit.
What a journey this is, following the Lord and learning to walk in His ways. I have SO far to go, but I treasure each step. I pray that I will shine like the stars in the universe and really hold out The Word of Life to everyone I encounter. Pray that I will continue chasing after obedience. It's all I want...to faithfully serve the One who has called me according to His purpose.