Twenty years ago this coming Sunday God allowed me to become a Pastor. Before that moment, I trained, prayed, dreamed and planned to be a pastor because that is what God called me to be. I did not do this alone. I had the joy of a woman whom God used to love me, refine me, encourage me and help me in the task that He called me to. Like the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 3:7, "I became a servant of this gospel by
the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power." Also like the Apostle of the heart set free, I am the least of all people to be given such a critical task.
You see, God is full of mystery. In his mysterious way, hidden from the understanding of the wise, God revealed his wisdom through an assembly of his chosen followers, a collection of fools in the eyes of the world, but he calls us his church. Ephesians 3:10 says: "His intent was that now through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord." This is the mystery, God has placed his plan of salvation for all mankind in the hands of redeemed sinners who obey
his word by gathering into family like groups called the local church. They gather to worship, pray and believe God together. They gather regularly to renew their loyalty to the gospel and each other. They gather to help, encourage and support one another, only then to be scattered into their culture in order to infect others with the same life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ.
Their purpose in life, their chief end is not personal happiness, but to give him glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! They live for their redeemer. They long for his return. They bring his hope to bear on a broken world. They bind up the wounded, they reach out to the rejected and they love as he loves them. This is his church, glorious as an army with banners. Powerful, in prayer and the hope of a nation. Yet, cursed by the shuttering evil one and despised among cowardly principalities.
I should not wonder that churches struggle. We are under the worst kind of ongoing spiritual attack. Why? Because the evil rulers and authorities in the heavenly places despise what we are. We bring hope because he has made us salt to preserve and light to reveal. We are the glorious church of the living God. With all of our struggles we yet represent God in this generation. His gentle hand lifts up your head and wipes your tears away with a smile that says, I am coming for you, soon. He is the love of your life. He is your kinsman redeemer. He is the Lord of glory, Jesus, our lover and lord!
We must stop going to church and just start being the church.
We must stop acting like Christians and start being Christians.
We must stop just being known as believers and start believing.
We are God's mysterious plan at work in this world, what greater significance could we desire?
We are called, equipped, empowered and deputized to represent our Lord to our neighbors with a love that cannot die. When we love him supremely we will obey him completely. We will never lack for power, never lack for joy and never lack for the fruit of changed lives. We are the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I, for one, am glad and exceedingly humbled by God's choice to call me as an under-shepherd of his church. I consider it an honor to give myself to him by caring for, protecting and preparing his bride for her wedding day. Thank you Lord for calling me, equipping me and anointing me to pastor one of your churches.
Happy Anniversary Lord!