We Belong To Christ Forever

September 22, 2021

Leadership Notes


This first day of fall brings transition and change. It's a beautiful time. Much has been happening that gives reason to laugh and celebrate. Much has been happening that gives reason for sorrow and lament. We live life in the margins, I suppose.


Just days after a deadly terrorist attack on United States troops {mostly Marines}, the U.S. launched a drone strike against an alleged terrorist target. Government officials called it a "righteous" operation, claiming we got the bad guys.


What was interesting was that days after the strike, the identities of the dead terrorists were not forthcoming. Personally, I think those same government officials were hoping the story would go away because they knew within hours, if not minutes, that it was a botched operation, hastily put together and executed.


Many people's suspicions were verified after an investigative report by the New York Times. The drone target was a man bringing water to his family. Seven of the victims were children…many of whom ran out of their house to greet their father. Our hearts ache for the trauma and tragic loss. I don't think you can call this collateral damage. It is something else…whatever you choose to call it, it is not collateral damage. I don't know how the U.S. government can even begin to help those families heal. In a civilian situation, criminal charges would be a beginning. I can't imagine where we go from here.


I think of what Paul said in Ephesians 4:31-32:


Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away

from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another,

tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.


Is it possible that sometimes, when governments are perceived to be weak, they resort to hasty and/or flawed actions to project strength? The overwhelming thing is that decisions are made, on our behalf, where we are out of the loop, the results of which can bring deep sorrow and regret. What do we do with that? Where do we go from there?


Taking Paul's words to heart, we tend to our own garden. While we can't do much about what happens halfway around the world, we can have a positive impact on our little corner of God's world. We don't have to be carriers of the ugliness we see in so many places. When we see the horrible effects of sin on the world, we repent and embrace the challenge

of Ephesians 4.


As we grow where we're planted, right here in the greater Tecumseh area, our tutoring/reading ministry, The Learning Cove, begins in October. We have great leaders and coaches, with valuable support from Tecumseh Public Schools. This ministry will positively impact the lives of children and their families for years to come. Your generosity is making a difference in people's lives!


There is much good and evil in our world. At times, the heartbreak is so heavy. And it affects us all, for the battle is waged within each and every person's heart. The amazing thing about the human spirit is that we can stand at all. Where would any of us be without the grace of God?


Usually it's simple observations that keep me afloat. Pastor and teacher Steven Lawson writes:


"God is always previous. Long before {men and women} sinned,

He had already prepared the way of salvation."


In light of the triumphs and tribulations of life, I find great comfort in these passages:


* Matthew 24:24 - "For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs

and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect." When we are in Christ, as the true elect, we are his forever. No person or situation can change that.


* Ephesians 1:4-6 - "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has

blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved." This is a poetic way of saying that whatever passes away in the world, we belong to Christ forever.


* Romans 8:30 - "And those whom he justified he also glorified. And those whom he

predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified." A sinful, fallen world does what a sinful, fallen world does. But none of what it does can separate us from God's grace and mercy.


Sometimes it feels as if this world overwhelms the soul. But it is not up to us to stand strong. It is God, through the Spirit of Christ, who gives us strength. Our hope is in Christ, and Christ alone.


And now, your Moment of Spurgeon:


"Self-despair throws a man upon his God; he feels that he can do nothing,

and he turns to one who can do all things."


Even When It's a Struggle, Being of Good Cheer,


Richard

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