Thursday, November 21, 2013

Encourage One Another With These Words

150 years ago this week President Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg address. People didn’t regard it very highly at the time. Yet it’s endured over time as one of the finest, most frequently quoted speeches in American history. Set against the dark landscape of the Civil War, Lincoln’s words gave people something to hold onto. A vision of freedom. Words of hope to outlive the deaths of all the soldiers who died.

Interestingly it’s only about 270 words long. Takes about 2 minutes to read out loud. That makes it only a little longer than the words of the sermon text from the Bible that I’ll be preaching on Sunday!  (I’m also aware today that Lincoln’s speech is significantly shorter yet infinitely more memorable than any of my blog posts.)

Yet the words that God has to share with us this coming Sunday will outlive President Lincoln’s speech. In fact they will outlive our nation’s government of the people, by the people, and for the people. They will outlive every blogger’s musings. They will outlive the internet. They will outlive even the grave. They are words that will never perish. They are words that give us the sure and certain hope that we too will outlive death through faith in Jesus Christ.

Therefore encourage one another with these words, says the Apostle Paul.

That’s what I intend to do Sunday as we learn together and celebrate our hope that outlives death, all because of Jesus. Don’t let yourself miss out. In fact go ahead and read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 in advance of Sunday. Whet your attitude for some hope!

  • How about that crazy weather last Sunday!? I’ve asked a number of veteran pastors and no one I’ve talked to can ever recall experiencing a storm like that with tornado sirens going off during a church service, much less during a service about the end of the world, much less during a prayer asking Jesus to help us be ready for his return even if today is the day. I just wish all my sermon applications could be that effective! I actually had the thought while I was praying that if this was how God wanted to call me home—while praying as a church family…that wouldn’t be a bad way to go.
  • Again thanks for all your words of encouragement and prayers concerning my call to Goodview Trinity in Goodview/Winona, MN. It’s amazing how actually holding a call to another church helps a person to zoom out a little bit and remember that the church of Jesus Christ is so much bigger than any one particular gathering or place. It’s a good reminder too how blessed we all are to be a part of the Church through faith in Christ. And how privileged we are to have opportunities wherever we are to share the gospel with others because there are opportunities everywhere.

    So at this point there are still a few conversations I’d like to have. I think I’ve mostly got my mind wrapped around the situation. I continue to feel humbled and blessed throughout this process. I feel spiritually healthy and happy. So my process right now is to hopefully make a decision for myself by this Sunday, write out my thoughts, then live with them for a week and hopefully God confirms them for me. Then I will announce my decision in church on December 1.
  • I’m looking forward to our Thanksgiving Meal this coming Sunday at the Oak Creek Community Center. If you’d still like to come but haven’t registered yet I believe Sammi said that there are 4 adult seats and 3 child seats still available. Contact Sammi if you’d like to reserve any of those seats.
  • Mark your calendars...this year’s Operation Jesus Cares’ Christmas project with Christ-St. Peters will be held on Thursday, December 19th. There will be a sign up sheet at church Sunday on the OJC table for volunteering for the 19th. Please write your name and email address on the form, and Ryan Solie will send out more detailed emails as the event approaches. There will also be a donation box at the OJC table that you can make donations in.
  • Sermon audio podcast from Sunday.
  • Recorded service video from Sunday.
Sharing Christ’s Victory,

Pastor Ben

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