Dear First Press Family,
For those who were in worship on Sunday, you were given an unanticipated gift. If you missed it, you can enjoy a solid taste of that gift by listening here. We were in the final week of our series: ALL IN, where we have each been challenged to invite Jesus into all of our business, failures, fears, and relationships. And Sunday finished with inviting Jesus into our heart.
Now, of course, that invitation of Jesus is the real gift to each of us. But Sunday’s gift was in addition to that. What you heard was an introduction by Chris of an unexpected guest speaker. Chris welcomed Beverly Hancock, because her husband was rather ill. Any who have a sense of Beverly would know that she spoke solidly, delivering the message I crafted, but tweaked to fit her voice a bit more. She made her humor adjustments as needed, of course.
I had been sick a couple days but thought I may be coming out of it on Sunday. But that was not the case. Just past midnight, later that day, in the ER, I learned I had pneumonia. That explained a few things. The good news is that I am laying low and it is a very hard to transmit type.
The other good news, at least as a seamless transition for the purpose of these notes, is that the first part of the word pneumonia is from the Greek word meaning wind, breath or Spirit. A much-used word in the New Testament, especially in reference to the Holy Spirit.
On Sunday we looked at Revelation 3:14-22, and what the Spirit was saying to the Church of Laodicea. And what the Spirit is saying to our church, and to each of us. The church is told very directly and harshly that because of their being complacent, self-satisfied, and indifferent to the real issues of faith in Christ, that they were like the putrid lukewarm water that their city had to deal with day in and day out. They understood what this meant: they were useless to Christ.
But in his love, he calls them to be earnest and repent, to turn from their ways and respond to his knocking on the door of their hearts. He loves them and longs to have intimate fellowship with them.
How would this church, or you, have responded to this letter in Revelation? I’m grateful that each of us is a part of this congregation. But for each of us, that invitation from Jesus is still the same. It is one that beckons and requires a personal decision. Whether here for 5 weeks or 50 years, whatever roles we have served in, or how faithful to this church, Christ knocks on the door of each of our hearts.
Have you ever looked at Jesus and said, “You are welcome in my heart?” That is an initial clear decision that each of us must make. And it is a daily practice for us too, welcoming him in each day. If you have welcomed Jesus in, that is wonderful. If you haven’t or you are not sure you have, you can do that anytime. Right now. Today. Soon. One of the pastors would love to help you in that process.
Now, the Gospel of Jesus is far more than the simple praying of a prayer to receive Jesus into our hearts. Make no mistake. But that is also the crucial step we each must make into that loving inviting relationship with the God of the Universe.
Grateful to be on this journey with you,
Associate Pastor for Congregational Care