By virtue of being a pastor’s wife I’m often asked how my church is going. I’ve alluded here to a difficult season my congregation has been going through and so I’m asked a little more often than usual by people that are well-meaning, I’m sure. My answer? It is thriving. It is being refined by fire. It is persevering through trial and is flat out meeting the needs of people both evangelically and relationally. Our church, God’s church, is going wonderfully.
Since December, Luke (my husband) has been teaching through Luke (the gospel). We are about to finish chapter 13. For those who feel this pace is rather tedious, well, it is. And that is precisely how a thorough examination of the scriptures should be. There are no PowerPoint presentations. No catchy graphics to package the series. No fill-in-the-blank outlines. Luke (the hubby and the doctor) has/have been bringing it old school with powerful, Bible-based preaching and I’ve never loved a season of teaching more – especially all the times it has banged me up and left me feeling horribly exposed. I am biased towards this man but I of all people know him well enough to comprehend that he hasn’t come up with all this stuff on his own. I love to brag on him but I don’t do it to convince anyone of his merit as a pastor/teacher or the faithfulness of his walk before the Lord. The only commendation that matters comes from God alone and at the end of the day, that’s enough. And again I confidently say: It is enough.
It’s no accident that the Holy Spirit has orchestrated the timing of many of the Luke (the gospel) sermons to be absolutely relevant to what individuals are facing personally and what our church has been experiencing corporately. The lessons have run the gamut on prayer, unity, forgiveness, repentance, anxiety, faith, and most recently hypocrisy. Hear me loud and clear when I say it, we have to be in the Word to get a word. What we miss when we don’t open our Bibles every day to see what God would speak over our calamity! What we miss when we don’t present ourselves in the sanctuary to bring sacrifice and to join in worship alongside our Christian brothers and sisters! We have a seriously flawed view of the church if we see it as an institution meant to serve us up a big enough dose of goosebumps to get us through until the following week or just to serve us period. It’s much more than that. It’s a place we give to, not take from though – if we are contributing faithfully – she never fails to bless in return. Church is safety. It is community. It is family.
What else is the church? She is a place of offering. Of receiving marching orders and encouragement on how to navigate the waters of uncertainty and the earthquakes of circumstance. It is a place where our gifts are made manifest in order to glorify a God whom the heavens can not hold and yet who condescends to meet with us when we come together in His Name. It is a place of stability when our steps are uncertain. A place of forgiveness when we’ve failed. It is a place of communion and friendships and holding one another up when we can’t do the job alone. I am so proud of the church we serve because she has a genuine love and affection for people and I’ve never seen a need made known yet that she hasn’t sought to satisfy in what ways she could.
Does the church have its share of hypocrites? Sure. But in the words of one of my favorite preachers, “Don’t let that stop you from coming – there’s always room for one more.” Do church people blow it? Absolutely. But in the words of another, “The cashier at Walmart ticks you off too but you keep going back.” Do church people miss it? You can count on it. But maybe it’s because they just didn’t know. I love the lyric of the song Lean on Me that says, “no one can fill, those of your needs, that you won’t let show.” Are there any among you who are hurt or disappointed? Try telling someone and inviting them into the situation so they can be the help you need.
Luke and I have been praying like mad that the Lord would redeem much heart ache by wrecking us all. Humbling us. Reviving us. Do you want to know how I know it is working? Because Satan is prowling and he is devouring testimonies and he’s doing it in on a healthy dose of steroids. He’s selling the lie that shrinking back from difficulty is the answer. God help us if we buy it. But do you know what else is happening? Our God who neither slumbers nor sleeps is in overdrive as well. He is wooing. He is engaging. He is strengthening. He is resolving. He is revitalizing. He is re-focusing. He is saving. In fact, this past Sunday Luke had the honor of baptizing Sam, a precious man who had asked the Lord for mercy at our altar the previous week. I’ve watched our church embrace him as if he had always been a part though he’d only recently begun attending. He hasn’t wiped the smile off his face since that day. Neither have we.
So how’s our church? She’s beautiful.
Thanks for asking.
How is yours?