"12I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, 13even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. 14Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus. 15This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. 16But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. 17All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen." (1 Timothy 3:12-17 NLT)
I was asked the other day why people so aggressively, rudely, and even violently rebuke Christianity and those who follow Christ Jesus. The answer, in its essence, is rather simple; for if the above passage is true, then those who do not believe are living a lie and destined for eternal damnation. Strong words, but true - and the greatest love that we can have for our fellow humans is to speak that truth to them boldly. That does not mean aggressively, rudely, or violently - it means boldly. Human beings love darkness, love their sin, and love the world that teases them daily with the promise of dominion that is simply not reality. The Light came into the world and overcame the darkness. Do you belive this?
5That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. 6If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, 7even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. 8Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Here's a tough question: What sin are you hiding? What is the "thorn in your flesh" that keeps you humble? An even better question would be: Do you allow it to humble you? Or do you gloss over it? Hide it? Try to ignore it? I say try because I know - just as you know - that you really can't ignore it. We are imperfect. We are weak in many ways, and as Paul teaches us - this may actually be a part of gift from God. At least we can take our weakness, OWN IT, and ALLOW it to keep our eyes on the cross and our selves on our knees. That takes an intentional act of will. It takes some tools also like scripture and prayer and supplication and humility. turn to your creator right now, expose your soul to him and allow yourself to be led.
The Churchtown Weekly December 1
“7So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. 8God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.” This scripture from Philippians Chapter 1 (NIV) takes my mind and my spirit back to last Sunday morning and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit that we all felt as we gathered together in prayer. Our fellowship as a congregation is an intimate fellowship and I believe that is a direct reflection of our intimate personal relationship with Jesus Christ by the power of The Holy Spirit.
Our congregation is not much like any others. We have walked with one-another through some very wonderful and very difficult times. As a result, we do not shy away from talking about such times with each other and asking for help through such times from each other. Yes, this can be uncomfortable for someone visiting us for the first time, but I truly believe that church cannot be conducted any other way. I also believe that if someone is invited into our midst by the Holy Spirit, it is for a reason and I always pray that the person opens their heart and receives the fellowship that is offered. As I was once told by a very wise man – If we can’t do this for one-another then what’s the purpose of being together? I agree. Like Paul, you all have special places in my heart and I love you very much.
Pastor Brian is the senior pastor of Churchtown Church of God and regularly shares his thoughts & insight here - he invites you to join in the discussion of life & faith!