Yesterday was Sunday. Sundays are always a day of high and low for me. Let me explain. I love Sundays. I love when I get to be with people – God’s people. I anticipate my opportunity to present myself before God with the gathered church to pray, look, wait, seek, sing and savor, trust and treasure my Lord Jesus. There is nothing quite like worship when you understand it is about God and not my own priorities and preferences. Further, I get to do what God has created, called and gifted me to do. I serve Jesus and His church in exercising gifts of teaching, exhortation and leadership. I believe our highest joy is when we understand our identity and role in God’s kingdom and we are following through in obedience to what that role is. So absolutely, Sundays are a high for me.
And yesterday was a great Sunday. In the morning we had our Bible Group with a study in the book of Numbers. We were discussing the Israelites journey of (dis)obedience to enter the Promised Land as God commanded. The Israelites were not always an obedient people. That is what a majority of the Old Testament is about. And yet, God is faithful to pursue and bring about His redemptive plans through this people. In our discussion, one growing believer in our group was trying to understand the correlation ofIsrael’s disobedience and our own nature and apathetic tendencies. She quipped, “So, you’re saying we shouldn’t be half-assed toward God?” Indeed, her candid response was spot on. Our “half-heartedness” is a common problem among many Christians. Another honest believer asked, “Where do you find the time to give fully devoted energy to everything in life? God, work, relationships, church… There’s just so much.” Again, a refreshingly honest moment for our discussion to realize that we must also prioritize our lives in such a way that we limit the focus of our time so we can do a few things with God-exalting excellence. Simply put, sometimes less really is more. And so we must pray for God to open our eyes and awaken our souls to a greater hunger and thirst for His righteousness and kingdom work; and how to discern the difference between good and great efforts of service knowing each of our own time and talents. Perhaps you can partly see why I enjoy Sundays – our Bible Group truly is a place where people are sincerely seeking to grow and be challenged to the reality of gospel living.
Then, we had our morning worship gathering. Again, I enjoy our service of worship to enter His gates with thanksgiving and celebration of God’s amazing grace displayed in our lives through the gospel. Our singing is growing more full and deep as we seek to be worshipers in truth and spirit. I then preached from Luke 3:1-21 on the message of loving God with great sincerity and loving others through service of meeting tangible needs. God is stirring and steering our church with greater intensity to live out these two commands: Loving God and Loving Others. It is very exciting to see and of which to be a part.
Thirdly, this Sunday we had an evening worship gathering. This time we hosted another church as we met as two churches with one shared purpose of mission. You see, over 50 years ago Glen Burnie Baptist Church sent out
resources to plant a church in Severna Park. Multiple generations later we stood together last night affirming this partnership in the gospel and are re-committing to continue the partnership to reach the unreached. Our churches are linking arms together to send resources of people, money and ministry somewhere internationally. It may sound strange but at this point the location really is… “somewhere”. We don’t know exactly where God wants us to go but we have some beginning opportunities before us that we are considering and praying through; notably, Honduras, Nicaragua and Brazil.
We are praying over these locations, along with common Scripture passages and trusting God to bring about His guidance in this area. For some, it is uncomfortable not knowing all the details or logistics but we are intentionally working through a process of common prayer and pursuit of God’s agenda and not our own. We had about a total of 40 people from both our churches. It was a good group of interested people across the age-spectrum of our churches. The spirit and fellowship was a blessing. I truly sense God is going to use this partnership in a big way.
So, after a full Sunday of ministry I was tired. This is the low. Ministry can be exhausting. If it’s not then you’re probably not doing much. It is why we read in the Gospels that Jesus often withdrew from the crowds to pray, rest and recharge in his humanity. As ministers, we must be mindful to fill up with God’s Spirit and Word so that we can be poured out for Him and His glory. So, when I got home at almost 11pm, my wife and I tucked our three girls to bed and then we tucked ourselves in. A soft pillow and warm covers help bring about the beginning of a new week. Sunday’s coming again. I can’t wait.