Happy 17th birthday to my youngest son, Lincoln. I like everything about this guy!
This statement was in my notes today but did not make it in the sermon. Still, I think it is important to consider:
If there is never a time when a conviction conflicts with someone you like, then you probably are not living as the Lord’s servant.
“For am I now trying to persuade people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10
On Thursday, I went to Dallas for Pastor J. Don George‘s funeral. It was a hard but beautiful day. I saw old friends, many that I did not even have the chance for a conversation. I am blessed to be part of the company of pastors who descend from Pastor George’s ministry.
This picture is a treasure to me. Pastor George and Jaroy Carpenter are anointing me with oil before a mission trip in 1990. Behind us is Calvary’s long-time worship leader Lynn Hancock, extending his hand in prayer towards us. Lynn also passed away just a few weeks ago. He was such a good friend to my family and me in my formative years. I learned how to worship in Lynn’s ministry.
I am sad Pastor George and Lynn Hancock have passed away, but I know I will see them again.
“But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.” – Jesus
During Sunday’s sermon, we looked at the important phrase “grace and peace.” Paul used it when he wrote:
“Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:3).”
After an analysis of the Greek word for grace (charis), theologian William Barclay concluded:
“When Paul prays for grace to be bestowed on his friends, it is as if he were saying: ‘May the beauty of the undeserved love of God be on you, so that it will make your life lovely, too.'”
I like that. Grace be with you today and every day.
We lost a spiritual giant today, as Pastor J. Don George went to his heavenly reward. The loss was sudden and unexpected.
He was my pastor growing up, so he is the preacher I have heard more sermons from than any other person. But, he was more than a great preacher to me. He was a life-long example of class and professionalism. I learned so much about leadership by just watching his life. I also learned a lot about friendship by observing how loyal he was to friends. He was a good friend to me.
No one preaches like J. Don George. Here is a one minute clip from 2017 that will build your faith and bring a smile to your face.
It is logical to conclude the next 4-5 months may be challenging. Daylight will shorten, the election will heat up, and concern about a potential second wave of COVID-19 lingers. Without discounting others’ suffering, I hope to have a great 4-5 months of relationship with God and others.
As I shared this sentiment at our 10:45 am service on September 6, God stirred this passage as a guiding prayer for the days ahead. I hope you can claim this prayer, too!
“There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” – Psalm 4:6 (CSB)
As you plan your week, plan for God.
“For God wishes to be seen, and he wishes to be sought, and he wishes to be expected, and he wishes to be trusted.” – Julian of Norwich (1343-1416)
We had such a powerful worship experience last night. We took that evening to lean into the “Spirit stream” and found refreshing in the Lord.
Last Sunday, I started our vision series CIL Forward and shared our identity as a Three Streams church. Here is the chart that we shared during the sermon about the Biblical-basis for a Three Streams identity. Pastor Dan Scott introduced this chart to me a few years ago, and it has been a great way to put in words how God has formed us.
CIL’s Twelfth Anniversary was not what I imagined when we planned the year, as the global pandemic contributed towards a subdued recognition. Still, with a heartfelt, “Thanks be to God!” we honored Jesus by gathering in His name – both online and in-person.
I have never been so happy to be part of a spiritual family as I am now, and I have great hope for our future together!