Ancestors and Ever-Afters

Throughout my childhood I was exposed to the imaginative work of Walt Disney through fairytales that chronicled the budding love between a man and woman and the magical moments that took place as they grew in their love for one another. Have you ever read the story of Snow White, or Cinderella? Or perhaps you watched movies like Sleeping Beauty or The Little Mermaid? Each of these stories introduce us to characters who struggle with discontentment in their singleness and eventually experience a fuller happiness when they find their “Prince Charming” and a life happily ever after.

One of the most beautiful things that the church gets to participate in is the wedding of two believers, created in God’s own image, justified by Christ, becoming one new entity. Those wedding days are great times of celebration where all who are in attendance reflect on the love of God and on the love that the bride and groom have for one another. There is often good food and dancing to be enjoyed, and generally a good time had by all. There are months of planning that normally precede these events and lots of money invested to make this a beautiful and memorable occasion.

And then, in a flash, the sun sets, the festivities wrap up, and everyone goes home. Just like that, its all over. And the bride and groom may be left to ask, “now what?”

In those Disney fairytales that I experienced as a child, the stories focused on everything leading up to the wedding, but the author or producer would summarize all that took place in the years to follow by saying (or suggesting) “and they lived happily ever after.” But our own life experience and a large pool of consistently disappointing statistics point to the fact that life and marriage aren’t always happy after the wedding.

I find that many times couples still take a similar approach; they invest in the wedding more than they are prepared to invest in their marriage.

The wedding day is just one day that passes you by in a blur. The marriage to follow is designed by God to be a lifelong commitment to gospel oneness, for so long as you both shall live.

At the Art of Marriage weekender that we recently hosted, I was struck by the final session titled “Love Always: Leaving a Lasting Legacy”. Though I had been through the entire weekend event once before and had listened to several of the segments additional times, I was given some powerful reminders for what a statement my marriage makes about the gospel and for generations to come.

As my kids get older I become more aware of what an impact my marriage to Erin has on them. I realize that one day they will start their ever-after and raise their own families, Lord willing. And I realize that their children will have children and that pretty soon there will be generations of grandkids that I’ll never know because I’m dead and gone. The Art of Marriage reminded me of the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his Letters and Papers from Prison:

“Marriage…has a higher dignity and power, for it is God’s holy institution through which God wishes to preserve humanity until the end of time. In…marriage you are a link in the chain of generations that God, for the sake of [his] glory, allows to rise and fade away, and calls into [his] kingdom.”

You see, we are ancestors to generations yet to be born. Albert Mohler submits, “You are an ancestor to someone yet to come. If you live your life knowing you are an ancestor, that will change the way you make your decisions, the way you live your life, the way you love your wife.”

Wow, that is powerful stuff. I was forced to stop and consider again, “how differently would I invest into my marriage if I were able to keep that multi-generational perspective?” If I were able to keep this ancestry perspective then I would likely make a stronger statement about the gospel in my marriage, in my parenting, and in my investment at home. And by God’s grace, if my kids kept that perspective and a gospel-centered commitment in their marriages based on what I’ve taught them and what they’ve “caught” by watching and listening in our home, there are tens, hundreds, or thousands of people that could be impacted in the way they understand marriage and in their gospel commitment…all from future generations in my family tree. With every decision I should consider not what makes my wife and kids happy today (because the right decision isn’t always the popular decision), but what makes them happy in 20 years from now when they reflect on the gospel impact each of those decisions made in the long run.

Dave Harvey said, “Marriage is embedded in the culture as a gospel testimony that is always making statement. The only question is whether it’s a good statement or a bad one.”

If you are engaged or one day hope to be married, please invest in your marriage more than you invest in your wedding. Engage in biblical premarital counseling well ahead of your wedding day and learn from those in the church that seem to have gospel-centered marriages. (side note: this ancestry perspective would likely change our commitment to celibacy as well)

If you are married, commit to invest in your marriage now. It is never too late to make this commitment, even if you look back on many years of your marriage and shake your head in disappointment because of your short-sighted self-absorbed perspective. Seek marriage counseling. Read some of the great resources available from evangelical authors (I’ve provided a list of recommended reads at the end of this entry). Pray that God would resurrect your marriage and your commitment to a strong gospel statement through your marriage relationship. God specializes in that kind of thing you know…resurrection is one of his trademarks. And just as the fall in Genesis 3 dealt a fatal blow to God’s perfect design for marriage, the gospel resurrects that perfect design and gives your marriage hope. It is never too late to commit yourself to leaving a gospel legacy through your marriage.

And if you are divorced I want you to know there is no shame for your failed marriage(s). Even if you were the primary reason it (they) failed. There is forgiveness available through the cross of Christ and victory in his resurrection. If you are in Christ, you are no longer a slave to sin and the powers of this world, but you are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 2:20). Your sin is forgiven if you are in Christ because “for our sake [God] made [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in [Jesus] we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). You are a billboard for the power of the gospel and the reconciliation of God can be on display through your life. In fact, God often gets the most glory when we bring our broken stuff to him and allow him to make it new.

With regards to marriage, let’s concern ourselves more with our ancestry than the fairytale ever-afters. Let’s maximize the opportunity that we have to impact generations for the gospel through our marriages.

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for the marriages at CBC and that we would be a people committed to a long view of gospel impact on display in our homes. I pray that you would embolden husbands to make a stand for the gospel in their family leadership. I pray that these husbands would completely reprioritize their schedules and commitments based on this ancestry perspective and that they would be servant leaders as Christ is of the church. I pray for the wives in these homes, that you would give them joy in submitting to the leadership of their husbands, just as the church should to Christ. I pray that you would be gracious to impact the hearts of future generations as they see gospel-centered marriage examples so that they, too, would be key influencers within our lineage, for your glory. Thank you for the sure hope of the gospel in our lives and our marriages. Amen.

 

Recommended marriage & family resources:

Parenting, Paul David Tripp

Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God, C.J. Mahaney

The Meaning of Marriage, Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller

What Did you Expect? – Paul David Tripp

Gospel-Powered Parenting, William Farley

The Complete Husband, Lou Priolo

When Sinners Say “I Do”, Dave Harvey

God, Marriage, and Family, Andreas Kostenberger with David Jones

The Exemplary Husband, Stuart Scott

Women of the Word, Jen Wilkin

The Disciple-Making Parent, Chap Bettis

 

Remembering Diane Holcomb Durham

It is impossibly difficult to put into words what we all feel right now: confusion, pity, sorrow, anger, disappointment. For those who know and love Diane, the circumstances around her tragic death have been disorienting, like the first steps off a spinning tilt-a-whirl. To say we are experiencing a Job-like moment is no exaggeration. We have been blind-sided in the most unexpected way. If we are honest, we want answers. Our finite minds and broken hearts want an infinitely wise, holy, and loving God to explain how we got here.

We feel an acute sense of loss because Diane is a godly saint. I say “is” because, for those who are in Christ, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:8). She is a precious daughter of God who loves and knows Jesus – now better than any of us. And she was the aroma of Christ to all who knew her (2 Cor 2:15-17).

Diane’s joyful, other-centered, Jesus-exalting disposition is what makes this occasion so painfully perplexing. She lived to stir up gospel faith in those she loved. In every conversation I’ve had with Charlie and the girls this week, they have mentioned how often Mimi would speak the truth of the gospel into the lives of her grandkids – and oh how she loved her kids.

Over the past several weeks, a darkness of soul settled upon Diane’s heart and mind. Most of us had no idea she was unable to see vestiges of light in this season of sadness. She found herself struggling to say to Christ whom she loved, “I believe, though with a weak, fragile faith; Lord, help my unbelief.” She was vulnerable, perhaps like Peter when Jesus told him he had prayed for him because the Enemy, Satan, desired to “sift [him] like wheat” (Luke 22:31).

Why did her faith in Christ not carry her through her consuming despair? Why couldn’t she see that all the promises of Christ – the promises she prayed over Tyler and Sarah, over Jeff and Corbin, over her precious grandchildren, over the love of her life, and over her countless friends and co-workers – were the solution to what she felt?

We want to ask “why”. This is only natural. We want to know why Christianity does not have a specific answer to every problem we have. We want to know why Diane felt so hopeless.

But we will go mad chasing after the elusive “why”. Rather than looking for answers to what we don’t know, and won’t likely find, I want to offer you comfort in what we do know.

My hope over the next few minutes is to offer some perspective and encouragement to hurting hearts desperately trying to make sense of this day.

Take comfort, for the Bible accounts for seasons of consuming despair in the lives of God’s saints. Diane’s dark night of the soul was not unique. Psalm 88 is but one example.

  • “I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength…” (88:4a)
  • “You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep. Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves” (88:6-7)
  • “I am shut in so that I cannot escape; my eye grows dim through sorrow” (88:8b-9a)
  • “O LORD, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me?” (88:14)
  • These words expressing escaping hope, like air rushing out of a deflating balloon, should provide a measure of comfort. Seasons of darkness are not unusual or abnormal for the true believer
  • Even Jesus knew and felt descending darkness upon his soul. He too was eager to escape that darkness
    • “And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled” (Matt 26:37)
    • He said his soul was “sorrowful, even to death” (26:38) and he begged God to let the cup of the cross pass from him (26:39)
  • What does this mean? It means, as Pastor John Piper reminds us, the first shockwaves of the bomb of depression that drops into the human heart, the feeling that your future is threatened or inescapably dark, is not sin
  • The real danger is not the darkness; it’s giving in to the darkness. Yes, our dear Diane lost this battle
  • We are reminded today that not everyone who loves Jesus experiences “victory in Jesus” in this life. We don’t win every battle on the earth. Look no further than that great chapter of faith in Hebrews 11. Some saints overcome, some die alone and in agony
  • Christ died for our sins, even the despair that leads one to act with finality. He has loved us – and Diane – at our worst
  • For a brief moment, Diane felt too weak to hold onto Christ. But Christ is still holding onto her. Her salvation depends upon the strength of Christ’s grip upon her, not hers on him
  • “Attached to every thorn of pain is a rose of purpose. It is often better to be held by God than healed by Him.” (Christian George) – Praise God, Diane is being held and has been healed by Christ today

This is not a time to judge God.

  • The difficulty of Job’s life is hard to understand. A man of God is afflicted in the worst ways imaginable
    • All his children die in a natural disaster
    • He loses all his earthly wealth
    • His wife tells him to abandon his faith and curse God
    • His friends all point the finger at him, suggesting that the “why” for his suffering is his own fault
    • Everyone in the story wants to solve the riddle of Job’s suffering
  • Though Job does not curse God, he certainly questions Him, interrogates Him, and steps right to the brink of judging Him
  • If we learn anything from Job it is this: God doesn’t promise us a life of ease and prosperity, and should we not receive a suffering-free life, does not make God any less good, wise, or loving.
  • We can lift our eyes to God in this heart-wrenching moment because we have a mediator, an advocate, who has paid the ransom for our sin, given us access to God, and satisfied the justice that our guilt required.
  • We have a Savior beckoning us to bring our weary souls, tear-stained faces, and broken hearts to Him to find rest

Our hearts can be broken and hopeful at the same time.

  • We grieve today because we will no longer see Diane in this life. But we rejoice because Diane is in the presence of Christ
  • We grieve today because we are in pain. But we rejoice because God is at work in our pain (see James 1:2-4)
    • “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you maybe perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”
  • We grieve today because this is unspeakably hard. But we can have joy because this pain is designed to increase our capacity for God (see 2 Cor 4:17-18)
    • “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal”
    • Our present sorrow feels neither light or momentary, but it is not without purpose. God is working to increase our capacity for him

When it is too painful to pray, know the Spirit and Jesus are interceding for you.

  • In times like these, we may not have energy or the words to pray. We may not want to pray. We may be disillusioned by our questions or emotions. The Spirit is available for times such as these
  • “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Rom 8:26)
  • Jesus purchased the strength we need for trials and sorrows such as these
  • Jesus is with us even now (Matt 28:20)
  • He knows and sympathizes with our weakness (Heb 4:14-16)

Guard your heart against anger, bitterness and doubt.

  • I think we all feel some measure of anger and disappointment. But if you allow your anger or bitterness to consume you, if doubt about the goodness of God grows in your heart because you insist on knowing why this happened, then this one irrational act will become the defining thing you remember about Diane
  • That would be a tragedy because her moment of weakness was not her most defining trait
  • On the day Diane saw Jesus face-to-face, her Bible was open to Rom 5:1-2
    Her most defining trait was her faith in her Savior, Jesus
  • We grieve with hope today because Diane was justified – made right with God – not because she was a good person, but because of her faith in the finished work of Christ
  • Don’t let her moment of despair define her. Forgive her, as Christ has forgiven you by faith (Eph 4:32).

Diane’s Christianity did not fail her on January 20. On the contrary, Diane has never been more alive than she is right now. She is in the presence of Christ, and one day, her soul and body will converge again. We know this is true because Christ has been risen. Because Christ is risen, all the saints of God will also be raised with Him and will be like Him in glory.

Yes, we feel devastated. There is a reason for this. Our mortal enemies, sin, Satan, and death, have struck a blow. We feel the sting of this wound. But sin, Satan, and death will not have the final word. As Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “We have suffered bereavement after bereavement, but we are going to the land of the immortal where graves do not exist.”

To Charlie, Tyler, and Sarah. To Jeff and Corbin. To the grandkids Emersyn, Carter, and Cameron. To her brothers Danny and Darryl. We grieve with you the loss your wife, mother, “Mimi”, and sister. Even though I loved Diane, I cannot begin to know your suffering and the sense of loss you must feel today.

But remember that God knows what you feel. That’s because a Father who sent his Son in love to die for sinners can identify with your suffering. Jesus emptied Himself and become obedient to the point of death on the cross, so that the penalty for our sin might be paid, and we might become the righteousness of God by faith. Because the Father gave us Jesus, Diane has been adopted into the family of God, as have so many of us here honoring her life and faith.

My sorrow is put into perspective by these words from Michael Horton to each of us: “For all of us here who are afraid of death, or of life, the good news is that…[there is a Mediator] …at God’s right hand, [an] advocate who pleads our case. His name is Jesus Christ and if your faith is in the Rock of Ages and in this Mighty Fortress, he will be your friend, in this world and the world to come.”

What a friend Diane has in Jesus, and what a friend we can have, to bear our sin, grief and sorrow. Take your burdens to him today. Grieve for this woman we all loved so dearly. Grieve deeply. But grieve with hope. Because Christ has died, and Christ is risen, and Christ is coming again, Diane is alive and full of eternal, satisfying joy in the presence of God.

Living for Eternity

I’ll never forget the first time I ever shared the Gospel with someone. I was on my first mission trip, in Jamaica and I was between my junior and senior year of high school. I was there with another lady to lead a week-long Vacation Bible School for almost a hundred children. There had been a young girl that had stood out to me all week long. On one of our last days there, I went up to her as she sat with all her friends in the back of that little church. I remember them staring at me and my feeling so completely awkward. But I knew the Lord wanted me to share with her about who Jesus was and what He had done for her. My little 17-year-old self, started talking about how God created us, and we rebelled, how He wanted to have relationship with us and He sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, that it was only through a relationship with Jesus that we could be forgiven and have access to the Father, that we had been created to worship Him and live for Him. I prayed for her and her friends. And that was it. No decision to give her life to Christ. Just a simple conversation that I felt was so awkward.

A few years later, I received a letter in the mail. It was from this young girl whom I had shared the Gospel with in Jamaica. She wrote to tell me that she had given her life to Christ and that she was now attending and serving in the Church. She thanked me for telling her about Jesus and how she had listened to every word I shared with her all those years ago. I cannot tell you how blown away I was to receive that letter from her. What a gift?! I never saw her again, but I do know that I will see her again one day when we both get to Heaven.

This week, many of us have been reminded of how frail life truly is. It’s easy for us to go about our days not really living in light of eternity. We keep ourselves busy and distracted with the things of this world, that we forget that this is not our forever home. But then there are moments that bring us back to reality and sober us up to the fact that we are living for something much bigger than who we are in our little world.

Paul says in Acts 20:24,

“I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

Paul was facing prison and hardships, but still he went. The Spirit compelled Him to go- not knowing what would happen but knowing that God had called Him, and he had a purpose in declaring the name of Jesus. Paul knew that his life paled in comparison to the glory of God and in magnifying His name.

I don’t know about you, but for me, there are times that I am simply worn out from my day and even life. I’ve never faced prison or hardships of the same magnitude as Paul. But sometimes, the thought of reaching out to that one friend who might need an encouraging word or heading out for a walk with my family so that we can intentionally engage in eternal conversations with our neighbors or even considering making sacrifices, so we can go on a mission trip as a family- it all seems overwhelming. Just a bit too much. But as I read the words of Paul, I am encouraged and inspired in my spirit to press on. To not give up. To continue to run my race and finish the work that God has called me to. To remember that I have been created with a specific purpose. God wants to use me to be a part of His great mission.

The same is true for you. He has planted you right where you are in the exact season of life, so that you might leverage your talents and resources and time for the sake of the Gospel.

This past Sunday, we were reminded in Pastor Aaron’s sermon of the Enemy’s plan. We were reminded that he wants to weaken our confidence in God’s word. He wants to put doubt in our minds. He wants us to question the goodness and generosity of God. When it comes to living on mission, we think that if we step out to obey God’s Word, that somehow, we are going to miss out or be slighted somehow. We think that it’s a sacrifice to serve the Lord, to go on mission, to give of our time and ALL that money. Who uses vacation time to share the Gospel? Who raises large amounts of money for a week on a mission trip? Those funds could go to fixing up that bathroom we’ve been wanting to remodel or that trip to Disney that we’ve been waiting to take. Not that a bathroom remodel or trip to Disney are bad because God wants us to enjoy life. At the same time, He also wants us to know what a joy and privilege it is to serve Him. It’s an honor to be a part of declaring His goodness and grace to the nations. It brings us life. It nourishes our spirit in a way that other things can’t.

I can only speak to this because I have experienced it firsthand. Receiving the letter from that little girl in Jamaica all those years ago, gave me life and energy and excitement about sharing the Good News. I knew that there was more to live for than creating a nice little life for myself or my family one day. There is Eternity. It’s not some far off idea, but it is a reality. There are lives that hang in the balance and are waiting to hear the glorious, great news that there is a Savior who loves them and died for them and wants to give them an abundant life. We were challenged on Sunday to be sober-minded, to be watchful of the Enemy’s schemes. This is true in our personal walk with the Lord, but also as we step out to declare His name and share the Gospel, let us not allow the Enemy to distract us or make us think we are too busy or stir up fear or doubt the call of our Heavenly Father. He asks us to walk in obedience of His Word- to complete the task of the Lord Jesus- to testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.

What seems awkward and uncomfortable to us, is the very thing that God wants to use. He can take an awkward conversation in the back of a little church and turn it into a changed life, forever marked by the grace and love of Jesus- for all Eternity.

Conviction

Conviction

Noun      \   Con * vic * tion   \   ‘ kən-ˈvik-shən \

Conviction is strong belief or persuasion. It is the state of mind of a person who is sure that what he or she says or believes is true. No great movement or accomplishment has ever occurred or been achieved without conviction. Conviction is the current of influence and the catalyst for change. Winston Churchill once said, “One man of conviction will overwhelm a hundred who have only opinions.”

Martln Luther King, Jr. was certainly a man of conviction. He held to an enduring conviction that humanity would progress toward the “Beloved Community”, an achievable global vision where humanity lives together for the good of the other. This would be a community where poverty, homelessness, and economic inequality were not tolerated because human decency would not accept these things as the norm. His vision for society was such that racism and all forms of bigotry and prejudice would be replaced by an all-inclusive brotherhood and sisterhood. His was a vision where love and trust triumph over hatred and fear, where the pursuit of reconciliation and peaceful, non-violent conflict resolution was preferred over military might. In short, King had a vision of a world where we all would truly seek to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

We know King was a man of conviction because of the many obstacles put in the way of his pursuit of what he believed was right – the physical violence he suffered, the trumped up charges of disorderly conduct leading to imprisonment, the numerous death threats to him and his family, the apathy among so many whites and blacks who should have been at the forefront of the fight against racial injustice, the scope and depth of racial discrimination in society, and the maligning criticism he faced from other civil rights leaders.

What we learn from generational leaders like Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as others such as Margaret Thatcher, Thomas Paine, Martin Luther, and more, that conviction is more than strong belief; it is belief in action. It is belief tested by fire that is not found wanting. It is being so persuaded of your convictions that they shape all aspects of your personal life and the life you desire for others.

Beginning February 11, we are going to explore the core convictions God tells us should shape all aspects of life in this family of redeemed sinners we call Community Bible Church. As we examine the first-century Jerusalem church, we will discover how six convictions transformed not only the lives of the early church, but the Jerusalem community and the entire world.

It’s my desire for God to so grip our hearts for Jesus and the gospel that we would be willing to endure and overcome, by His grace, any obstacle to seeing God change lives and advance the mission of God among all people. I hope that you will plan to be here all six weeks as we seek God’s face and ask him to make us a church of conviction, a people eager to proclaim, pray, worship, serve, belong and multiply, no matter the cost.

It’s a joy and privilege to lead you on this journey, as we devote, disciple, and deploy in 2018.

A Feast for Our Souls

Genesis Chapter 1 – what a great place to begin this new year. What a feast for our souls, what a gift this chapter is to his people! For many of us, this chapter has been read to us or by us more times than we can remember for more years than we can recall. We assume that we have rung it out like a towel over the sink. We fly through it or skip over it entirely because we know it so well. We see it like an introduction that isn’t necessary. Similar to when we buy a new toaster and immediately chuck the manual in the trash – we know what it will say, we don’t need to re-read it.

What a tragedy this is! This is a shocking and amazing account! How can it be that we have been given this story from God himself? Y’all (I searched my brain for a better word, but I can’t say this emphatically enough without using the word y’all) – we meet God in this chapter! We see the Godhead (The Father, Son and Holy Spirit) as they have existed for all time, working as one to bring creation out of nothingness. But we take this for granted. Oh, that we would be shaken by the Word of God himself.

Genesis 1 shows us the astounding power and authority of God and sets us rightly in our place of submission under Him. When we read the creation account, we should fall on our face, duck our heads with faces aflame that we ever do anything BUT submit to this God we meet in Genesis. This chapter shows us the framework of the catastrophic rebellion that takes place just two chapters later, when the very “thing” (Adam and Eve) dared to elevate themselves above this mighty God who created them. But that’s a future blog entry.

One aspect we see in this chapter is the effortlessness of creation for God. He spoke! (read John 1:1-5 for an expanded picture of this) and it was so. One instant there was nothing, then God speaks and (snap) there was something. Some unbelievable “somethings.” The sky, the sun and moon, the earth and solar system, oceans teeming with life, land filled with trees and plants and grass and cows and creepy crawly things. All this burst into existence at the word of God. Effortless. He didn’t create giant machinery to dig out lakes or a lab to splice up some DNA that he had whipped together to get all the species of the earth started. He spoke.

Of course, we know what happens on the 6th day. On the 6th day he did more than speak his crowning glory into existence. With his own hands, he fashioned the shape of a man. The man didn’t come into existence in the same way that the animals and the land and the heavens did. God breathed his very breath into the nostrils of the man and “the man became a living creature.”(Gen 2:7)

I can recall the day that my son was born down to the smallest detail. If you stopped me in the hall and asked me about that day I wouldn’t have to think hard or even pause before I spilled the story. It takes my breath away almost 12 years later that I was part of such a miracle. His birth story is a gift that is turned over in my heart and mind over and over, it causes me to marvel at the work of the Lord.

We just spent December turning over the most beautiful birth story ever told – that of our Jesus, sent by His Father to live and breathe and walk on the very earth that he created. To be killed by and for the very people he created, to save us from our sins.

Genesis 1 is our birth story. It is the birth story of all creation, inspired by the Holy Spirit and recorded for us to read across thousands of years. How can we callously skip over this without care? It too is to be remembered, stared at, pondered again and again throughout our days. May we have new eyes to see as we enter into the coming weeks in this book. May the Spirit of God who was once hovering over the deep hover in our midst as we turn these events over in our hearts. Consider these lyrics as we spend our time in this beautiful book:

“This is our God, living and breathing. Call him courageous, relentless and brave. This is our God, loving and reaching, scandalous mercy and mighty to save. Hallelujah, this is our God! Sing praise!” (“This Is Our God by Travis Cottrell, David Moffitt and Sue C. Smith)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the day is coming! We are one year closer and we will see Him face to face. Revelation 22:20 Jesus himself told the disciple John, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen, Come Lord Jesus! This is our God in Genesis, John and Revelation. Hallelujah, sing praise!

Happy New Year!