Thursday, September 28, 2006

agony & ecstasy

“I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other friends who have never known me personally. My goal is that they will be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have full confidence because they have complete understanding of God's secret plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”. Col. 2:1-3

For almost 9 years Michelle and I have labored here in this field, partnering with God and you to build New Community Church. It truly has been the agony and the ecstasy. Our goal has always been to build life-long relationships that enrich the lives of all who enter into them. Our desire is to share the great news that Jesus can completely alter people’s lives and bring healing into their hearts. That is what He did for me. I am still amazed at where I once was and where I am today. Only God can do this in someone.

As I said, it has been a mixture of joy and pain, like birthing a child and watching it grow. Giving nurture, teaching, modeling, praying, crying, laughing and a whole host of other experiences along the way.

What is most rewarding (ecstasy) are the relationships built along the way. I have deep and growing relationships in our church. It has been a joy to watch many of you get married, have kids, and build your lives. It has been a privilege to walk with some through the difficult moments as well. Our hearts are deeply invested in you. Our lives are happily entangled with yours. I would not have it any other way!

What I have found to be utterly heart-breaking (agony) is when people break away because of hurt. The painful truth is that people leave churches. Some leave our lives the right way while others fall short. The bonds of love were not strong enough. Because of the sin in all of our lives we must work to strengthen our friendships. We must communicate until we understand each other. We must pray together until God’s Spirit produces unity. Of course, there will always be those who will still walk away. In these moments we must guard our hearts and allow God to heal us from the painful loss of relationship.

I believe that if we allow Jesus to be at the center of our church and relationships we “will be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love”. In Jesus, is all of the wisdom and knowledge we need to work through all of life’s challenges.

May we allow Him to have our hearts today.
May we Center ourselves on Him.
May we move into our future together allowing Him to build strong, abiding relationships among us.

“Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” -Jesus John 13:34-35


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