Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fail Trying...

I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…
2 Timothy 1:3-10

Paul is writing to his apprentice, Timothy.  Paul is reminding Timothy of the calling that God had given him as a pastor.  A calling to serve, to love, to lead, to be courageous in pointing to God’s purpose…and His grace in Christ Jesus.  This is a powerful text.  It is also one that I have been thinking about for a while now…
You see, I have been doing some serious reflection over the summer.  This summer we marked our one year anniversary together as pastor and people.  And it has been an interesting year to say the least.  We have studied the scriptures together.  We have been challenged together.  We have also cried together.  We have prayed together.  We have shared times of life…and death together.  We have shared the Lord’s Supper together and have witnessed God at work through the waters of baptism. 

We have shared life together and have sought to impact our community for the sake of the Gospel together.

It has been a crazy year together.  Not to mention…

We have hired Jared Tanz and Heidi Koehler to join our staff.  We will soon be joined by Kristin Schweain as Eric Coomer leaves his position here at St. Andrew to return to Michigan to be with his family before heading out on the next adventure with Jesus.

We began discussions about how to expand our worship capacity here at 804 N. Cape Rock.  We began discussions about the possibility of launching a multi-site worship location near the Southeast campus and will, soon, sign a lease (with a spectacular rate) on a strip mall location on Sprigg.  We continue to experience the joys and the struggles of change. 

But here is what I find encouraging…even in the midst of the change and the uncertainty.  It has all been…and will continue to be…all about Jesus!  It has all been about faithfully celebrating our baptismal identity.  It has all been about living out that identity by growing in what it means to love God, what it means to love others in His name, and what it means to make disciples of Jesus as we walk through life.  It has all been about the Kingdom of God.  In other words, it has all been…and will continue to be…all about Jesus!

One of our long-time members recently said, “Pastor John, this is what St. Andrew has always been about.  You are just helping us go out and do it in a new way.”  St. Andrew has always been about serving with Jesus as He is at work in and around us.  I appreciate that.  I find it comforting.  I find it refreshing.  It is what makes St. Andrew different from so many other churches.  We get it!

And so…

As we continue to move forward together, I have no doubt that we will stumble and fall.  We will fail at communicating effectively.  We will fail at planning.  We will fail at executing.  We will fail at appropriately responding.  We will fail at loving each other.  We will fail at receiving love.  We will fail.  BUT…we will fail trying.  Trying to love God.  Trying to love others in His name.  And trying to extend His kingdom in Cape County by making disciples.  We will fail trying together to be faithful…and then we will delight in the reality that Christ and His Church will not fail. 

As I reflect back on the past year of ministry together…and as I look ahead to the coming year(s), I am reminded of Paul’s words to Timothy.  “God did not give us a spirit of fear…”  As I reflect back on the past year…and as I look forward to the year(s) to come, I am thankful for the honor of pastoring such an incredible group of Christ followers.  Thanks…and let’s continue to fail trying together.

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