Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;
This Sunday we will continue to work through the glorious truth that God changes His people through the process of sanctification. He patiently wades through our dysfunction as we are transformed into His likeness. We will dive into the New Testament book of James.
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Next week we start community groups at New Life. Each semester when we begin group life I am reminded about the one another statements found in the New Testament. Here are a few that I would like to share:
Over the past few weeks we have been working through Ecclesiastes and Solomon has made a contrast between the perspective of living under the sun. You can go through life recognizing the creator and enjoy His creation or live a life of emptiness and ignore the reality of God.
In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon takes time to write out his advice for the next generation. In the third chapter, he writes a vision of a simple, yet remarkably meaningful life. Listen to his counsel from chapter 3 -I’m sure theses verses will sound very familiar.
As we have been working through the book of Ecclesiastes together, there has been a compelling reality that I believe Solomon is trying to help un understand. He wants everyone that hears his voice or reads his words recognize that life was intended to be lived. In fact, I think if Solomon were with us today he would say live like you life depends on it! Living like your life depends on it is not normal.
When it comes to wisdom and specifically understanding the purpose of life under the sun, it is essential that we develop two specific traits within our spiritual growth. The first is a healthy dose of humility. Solomon ends chapter 1 with these words “And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind. Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.”
As many of you know this past Sunday Dan and Courtney announced that they will be moving to Georgia to serve a church in Gainesville as the student pastor. I am excited for Dan and Courtney as they move into this new position and I believe that God has directed their steps to make this move possible. I had the opportunity to speak with the pastor in Gainesville and I think that Dan is moving to a healthy church and the church there will be served well by Dan and Courtney. The next few weeks will be important as we cherish our limited time with the Tucker’s and prepare to say goodbye.
Have you ever thought about a Biblical response to saying goodbye? I believe this is an important topic to consider and because of our current situation we have an opportunity before us to develop a good understanding of this farewell and learn some important lessons as we move forward. Saying goodbye is not easy. Because of God’s grace we have an opportunity to develop relationships and significantly grow together in community. When those relationships end or change, it is emotionally taxing. Nevertheless, in a world of change, saying goodbye often seems to be the one constant. Like many of you I have had to say a final farewell to loved ones who have passed and I will never see them on this earth again. Other significant relationships in my life have changed and they will never be the same. Walking through the process of saying goodbye reveals a lot about a persons understanding of God and the eternal hope that we should develop in this life. As difficult as it is to say goodbye, here are 3 things we must remember as we strive to honor God in this process.
God is with us: It is often difficult to say goodbye because change is occurring in our lives and we don’t like the change. The natural response to saying goodbye to someone we care about is hard and reflects our God given desire for something consistent. We find comfort in consistency.
If you are in Christ please know He is the one person in your life that will never say farewell. Hebrews 13:5 is a reminder of this great promise “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.’” The good news of Jesus is that nothing, not even death, has the power to separate us from Christ. Romans 8:38-39 states, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Too often we hold our earthly relationships in such high esteem that we begin seeking from those relationships the one thing that only God can offer.
God will never leave you. As you go through life and say goodbye to friends and family on this journey, make sure you use the opportunity to take comfort in the ever abiding presence of God.
God is in control: Here is another characteristic that separates the mortal from the immortal. As humans we like to take control of the events of our day. We pride ourselves in our ability to create and execute our plans. There is nothing wrong with planning but at the end of the day we must remember that God is the one who gives life to our plans. Proverbs 16:9 provides this humble reminder: “The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” Saying goodbye has a way of turning our world upside down. Again, we do not like the pain that comes with change so we seek to dismiss the pain with a planned response. Our comfort should come not from an orchestrated set of plans but from a confident reminder that no matter what we experience in this life God is not caught off guard, He has a plan and He is in control. Our appropriate response is to place our hope in Him and in His timing.
God is faithful: The Bible is filled with the reminder of God’s faithfulness. If you have placed your faith in Christ, He is actively growing you in His likeness. He will continue this process in your life until the day you meet Him face to face. Philippians 1:6 states, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Regardless of the number of goodbyes you experience in this life God is actively working His image into the fabric of your life. God often uses people to encourage, support and help grow us in the faith. When we say goodbye to fellow servants and faithful ministers of the gospel, God has not abandoned His people and His work is not complete. When Dan and Courtney announced their plans for the future several in the church asked a legitimate question:
“What are we going to do now?” Make no mistake, the Tucker’s will be missed and things will never be the same. Nevertheless, by God’s grace we will disciple people of all ages in the faith, as we continue to pass the gospel to the next generation.
Our Pastor writes most of the blog posts we publish, however, occasionally some of our other church leadership (some staff, some volunteer) who also contribute to the New Life blog.