Archive - January, 2012

The Gospel Is for Church Planters Too

As a church planter I’m always looking ahead!  Always.

Maybe you’re not like me.  Maybe I’m the only one who looks at the budget, volunteers & available resources & wonders how we will ever do all that God has put in my heart. Maybe I’m the only one who meets a goal and instantly begins to think about what’s next.  Maybe I’m the only one who struggles with forfeiting today’s joy in exchange for tomorrows hopes & dreams.  But I doubt it…

By nature church planting is entrepreneurial.  That means we are constantly looking forward.  There is no time for whining, head shrugging or lamenting the past.  Growth doesn’t come through spinning your wheels or getting stuck.  The future is glorious & our job is to paint that picture & to call people to seize it!

But there’s a problem that comes with always focusing on the future.  If we always dream about tomorrow, it’s really hard to be present today!  I’m learning more & more how important it is to climb down off the “vision ladder” occasionally & to daily rejoice in the Gospel that I have today!

Paul said it this way:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV)

This is what I need to hear.  Because sometimes the Sunday offering doesn’t give me a reason to rejoice.  But can I still rejoice on Friday afternoon even when the P.O. Box is empty?  Can I rejoice on the evening that I put extra work into our small group & half the group decided not to show up?  Paul says yes!

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5 ESV)

I’m convinced that gratitude is the foundation for hope & joy to spring up in our lives.  If I live in the future & what could be, I’ll never enjoy the goodness of the Lord today! I’ll forfeit the glory of the cross & the salvation that God has so graciously offered for me today!

Ultimately my struggle is the sin of lust. Not in porn, or in a sexual nature, but in lusting after what I feel could complete me. Do you lust after the future? Do you lust after goals, achievements, & accolades that will come if you reach a certain mark? The truth is it will never be enough. Only Jesus can satisfy. And the Gospel is available to us every day of our lives in every circumstance.

I challenge you to spend the last few minutes of your day practicing the discipline of gratitude! Thank God for His goodness. Rejoice in the accomplishments & struggles of the day. Lay your head down at night resting in the Gospel. On the cross Jesus declared, “It is finished.” And it is! We are utterly & completely loved by our Father.  Not because of what we have done.  But because of what He did!