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God Is Working In The Hearts Of His People

February 21, 2024


Leadership Notes

    

I love our fine little church. I love the people of Covenant Church. I love the many ways in which you show your love for Jesus. There's no place in ministry I’d rather be, than right here, right now.


     I love, especially, the responses I get to these almost weekly missives. From different people at different times, they are fair, insightful, and always helpful. Last week, for example, had its share of provocations, depending on where you sit. Responses were fair and balanced…good natured…kindhearted. We are a well-adjusted bunch of weirdoes here at 5290 Milwaukee Road {see my office window for applicable sticker}.


     In preparation for a leadership team {The Session in our denomination’s parlance} planning meeting this week, I was reading an article by Thom S. Rainer, titled, “9 Dangerous Fault Lines for Churches in 2024.” Here’s #7:


Ignoring Toxicity -  Church toxicity is often denied or ignored. Our team recently

received a plea to work with a church that had lost two-thirds of

its attendance in just a few months. They refused to deal with a toxic

member who ultimately ran off the pastor. Church members were already

leaving regularly because of the toxic church member. When he succeeded

in forcing the pastor out, one-half of the attendance left in a

week. The toxic member is still at the church.


That is not us. That will never be us. All praise and glory and honor go to God for working in the hearts of His people to be a healthy church. Galatians 5:22-23 is grafted into our DNA!


     I love how Psalm 28:6-9 captures this spirit:


Blessed be the Lord!    

For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;    

in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;

my heart exults,    

and with my song I give thanks to him.

The Lord is the strength of his people;     

he is the saving refuge of his anointed.

Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!    

Be their shepherd and carry them forever.


That speaks to the heart of who we are and where God is taking us.


     Here’s something to think about:


“HAPPPY IS THE PERSON WHO DIES WITH UNFULFILLED

DREAMS.”

What say you?


     Let’s wrap things up with some random, yet always pithy, thoughts.


     In a last word about the “He Gets Us” ad campaign, one Christian apologist/author observed:


“In our Neo-Pagan secular age, it is amazing how many

evangelical leaders want to legitimize themselves as shepherds by

a ringing testimonial from the wolf.”


     According human rights estimates, in 2023, more than 8,000 Christians in Nigeria were murdered. I’m sure you can guess by whom. Yet where is the international outrage? Where are the marches against the slaughter of Christians?


     Finally, in spite of the dangers, toils, and snares of this fallen world, we do not lose faith or hope or love. We know, that as pastor Shane Pruitt writes:


“There is nothing that you have done that can’t be forgiven,

because of what Jesus has done.”


     And now, a final thought:


“THE SCRIPTURES ARE SHALLOW ENOUGH FOR A BABE TO COME

AND DRINK WITHOUT FEAR OF DROWNING AND DEEP ENOUGH

FOR THEOLOGIANS TO SWIM IN WITHOUT EVER REACHING THE

BOTTOM.”


-      St. Jerome


     Open your Bible. Spend time in God’s Word. Learn and grow!


With Much Love and Affection,


Richard

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